Fall Country Music Preview 2015: 25 Essential Albums and Events

From a presumed nail-biter at the CMA Music Awards to a rock icon's big country move, here's what we're most looking forward to in the coming months

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Americana Music Festival
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Americana Music Festival

Every fall, the Americana Music Festival brings the nation's best country, folk, soul and singer-songwriter artists of all ages and (mostly plaid) stripes to Nashville for a week of parties and showcases. This year, more than 170 acts are slated to play the festival, which in recent years has become a bit of a mini-SXSW for the growing tent of contemporary roots music. Loretta Lynn, Steve Earle, Los Lobos and Patty Griffin are among the legends topping the bill. Meanwhile, genre stalwarts like Grant-Lee Phillips, Glen Hansard, Jay Farrar and James McMurtry will be on hand as well, appearing alongside rightfully buzzing favorites like Angaleena Presley, Lindi Ortega, Lera Lynn and Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear. Perhaps this year's Americana breakout star will be an emerging crooner like Sam Outlaw, whose brand of self-proclaimed "SoCal Country" takes the Topanga Canyon sounds of Little Feet and Linda Rondstadt down a dirt road into outlaw country territory. Or perhaps it'll be fresh-faced soul-R&B singer Anderson East, who hails from the same North Alabama town as Alabama Shakes and could be poised for a similar breakthrough if the response to his stellar Dave Cobb-produced debut, Delilah, is any indication. Or perhaps it'll be a 60-something-year-old singer-songwriter like Doug Seegers, who in less than two years has gone from living at the Nashville Rescue Mission to be a contender for Emerging Artist of the Year at the Americana Honors and Awards, which also take place during the festival. Adam Gold