These days, people expect to try before they buy. Particularly with music. It seems reasonable to want to hear a song or two before you head to iTunes to shell out $10 for a band’s album, and there are a zillion clandestine ways to access free music. Today, I’d like to share one of my favorite legitimate ways to get free (and guilt free) new music: The Daytrotter Sessions. Every single day, a nationally touring band that’s passing through the Midwest stops by the Horseshack Studio in Rock Island, Illinois to spend a couple hours recording live versions of their songs. Some of my favorite bands have made this stop, including Vampire Weekend, Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes and many more. In each case, what results is a 4-song live set that’s easy to download straight into your iTunes library, complete with custom album art, done by an in-house illustrator. It’s almost too good to be true, and it’s where I looked when a bandmate recommended that I check out Jason Isbell. He’s a former member of the Drive By Truckers, and I’ve grown to love this Daytrotter session. Isbell is from Alabama, and his story-based southern rock songs sound worn, as if years of touring as a musician have polished his songwriting until perfectly seamless. Check out his song “Streetlights” below, or better yet, download the Daytrotter session.
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