Working at Paste, we’re lucky for lots of reasons, not least all the concert tickets, craft beer and day after day of scouring the internet for fun new stuff. Perhaps the best perk is when we get to interact with some of our favorite artists in person for our video sessions, which took place this year everywhere from SXSW stages to backyards to the ruins at an old fort. Each session was great for its own set of reasons, whether it was the unforgettable performance, a particularly nice lighting or a shot that captures the singer’s emotion at just the right time. Narrowing down favorite sessions was virtually impossible, but these are 15 of the most memorable sessions of 2013.
15. Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors – The Maplewood Sessions
In June, we went down to Nashville, Tenn. to catch bands as they made the trek to nearby Manchester for Bonnaroo. Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors didn’t have to come far — they lived right down the street, and although it was swelteringly hot out there on the porch, you’d never know it by the band’s laid back performance of “Another Man’s Shoes.”
14. Josh Ritter – Live at SXSW
In the wake of a heart-wrenching divorce, Josh Ritter has given us one of the best kiss-off songs of all time. The fact that he’s trying to forgive the woman who broke his heart makes the twist at the end all the more potent. “I hope you’ve got a lover now, hope you’ve got somebody who / Can give you what you need like I couldn’t seem to do / But if you’re sad and you are lonesome and you’ve got nobody true / I’d be lying if I said that didn’t make me happy too.” —Josh Jackson
13. Phosphorescent – Live at Newport Folk
As the artist who topped our lists of best albums and best songs of 2013, Phosphorescent’s stripped-down acoustic take on “Song for Zula” at Newport Folk didn’t disappoint. Without the additional instrumentation, the lyrics are all the more prominent, and Matthew Houck’s vocals are on display in a way that makes you hear the original differently.