20 Best Things We Saw at Americana Music Fest 2014

Rolling Stone Country singles out the best moments from music's most authentic — and seemingly fastest growing — festival

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Best Subtle Storm: Gregory Alan Isakov
Gregory Allen Isakov Gary Miller/Getty Images14/20

Best Subtle Storm: Gregory Alan Isakov

The periwinkle glow of Third Man Records' Blue Room is enough to make anyone feel like they're stuck in a Violet Beauregardian state of consciousness, but Isakov, a South Africa-born, Philadelphia-raised songwriter turned the place into an intimate living room serenade (even with Jack White's beloved taxidermy hanging overhead). Isakov's songs, wistful and often-string chugged, could blend into the landscape if they were a hair less sincere or a hair more weepy, but the balance here is just right. Crowded around a mic with his dynamite band, Isakov's presence was delicately hypnotic, proving folk music can be electric and impassioned without that virulent Mumford strum. —Marissa R. Moss

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