Tom Petty: Eye Wide Open
Tom Petty has spent a good portion of the past decade looking back on his storied career. He participated in the expansive documentary Runnin’ Down a Dream, dug deep into his back catalog during multi-night theater runs in New York and Los Angeles and even reunited with his original group, Mudcrutch. Petty and The Heartbreakers have also connected with a new, younger audience, thanks to appearances at cultural events like Bonnaroo and the Super Bowl, as well as a series of rowdy tribute shows affectionately dubbed Petty Fest. Never one to stand still for too long, with the release of his latest studio album Hypnotic Eye, Petty has entered a new, exciting era in his career by revisiting the sounds that inspired him to make music in the first place. And, as Alan Light finds out, he’s still a “cranky hippie” at heart.

Aaron Freeman Comes Alive
As one half of alt-rock oddballs Ween, Aaron Freeman carved out a unique-but-endearing place in the indie-jam landscape under the alias Gene Ween. However, things came to a head a few years ago following Freeman’s infamous onstage breakdown and Ween’s subsequent public breakup. Now clean and living in Woodstock, N.Y., Freeman has embraced a very different chapter of his life: teaching music lessons, palling around with Megafaun’s Brad Cook and, perhaps most surprisingly, leading a new band under his given name. Contributing Editor Jesse Jarnow spent time with Freeman as he prepared to release his first solo studio album of original material and found that despite his latest moniker, Freeman is still Gene Ween at heart.

moe.: The Land of Guts and Glory
moe. is in the midst of something of a comeback year. The jamband stalwarts recently released No Guts, No Glory —a classic moe. album that’s managed to win over critics and fans alike—and the Buffalo, N.Y.-bred quintet remain a live-music force around the globe. But that doesn’t mean that things have been easy. As Blair Jackson discovers, the group originally planned to make an acoustic-inspired record at Levon Helm’s studio, only to watch their grand plan crumble piece by piece. However, with the help of an old friend with ties to the rap community, moe. channeled that guts and glory into their best album in years.

Tweedy & Son
After devoting most of his creative attention to Wilco for nearly 20 years, Jeff Tweedy finally decided to make an album under his own name in 2013. He hunkered down at Wilco’s fabled Loft recording space with his usual studio team and remained adamant about crafting a true solo album where he played most of the instruments himself, with one notable exception: the addition of his teenage son, Spencer. A child prodigy who was already a noted photographer, drummer and blogger before he was old enough to drive, Spencer rose to the occasion and spent his senior year of high school working on his dad’s solo debut, Sukierae. The experience, as Editor-in-Chief Mike Greenhaus finds out, is a classic example of father-son bonding.

Delta Spirit Steps Into the Wide
Delta Spirit are often pegged as an Americana band, thanks to their name and association with the folk-rock supergroup Middle Brother, but their music isn’t that easily definable. Frontman Matt Vasquez has always had eclectic tastes, and he’s managed to channel his love of the Grateful Dead, White Zombie, Pearl Jam and rock-and-roll theatrics into a sound that’s entirely his own. Noted producer and musician Jesse Lauter sat down with Vasquez as he prepared to relocate from New York, N.Y., and explains why Into The Wide is an album that only Delta Spirit could make.

Plus: Skrillex, Joe Russo, Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood, Mike Mattison, Greensky Bluegrass, The Antlers, Shakey Graves, Blake Mills and much more!

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