This past week was a good one for music. I am always on my own personal quest for “the next big thing” — the artist with personality, talent and staying power. I look forward to “New Music Tuesdays” on Spotify, sorting through all of the latest releases, hoping I’ll strike gold amidst the generic pop and folk. It is rare for me to discover a new artist that is “love at first listen”; lucky for me, last week I found two.

Coming Home, Leon Bridges
I have been long awaiting this album’s release and it did not disappoint. Leon Bridges teased us with an E.P. and several singles before serving up his full album, and his sound has had me smitten for months. He is a sweet crooner with an old school sound, like the Otis Redding for our generation. Plus, he hails from my hometown of Fort Worth, Texas, which makes me love him even more. Play this album while making brunch on a Saturday morning and I can guarantee plenty of kitchen dancing and a good mood that will last all weekend.

Pageant Material, Kacey Musgraves
Kacey Musgraves has given my poor country-deprived heart a reason to love again. While I grew up in Texas, I was never a diehard fan of country music, with one exception: empowered female vocalists. I still have vivid memories of blasting Dixie Chicks in my car at the age of 16, windows rolled down and speeding down a big open highway. Play me a little Natalie Maines, Patty Griffin, Reba, or Dolly Parton, and I am yours until the cows come home.

Living in New York City, I had almost forgotten how much I loved this genre of country music. That is, until I stumbled upon Kacey Musgraves’ latest album, recommended to me by a co-worker. There is no song on Pageant Material that isn’t brilliant; she is witty and wise, and sings about accepting yourself for who you are and not for what people expect you to be. I could write another 10 paragraphs about all of the reasons I love this album, but instead I will just let you listen for yourself (be prepared though — once you start, you won’t want to stop):

OITNB Season 3 Soundtrack
The only OITNB spoiler I am going to reveal is this: the soundtrack is damn good. And while no official soundtrack has been released, I have hunted around on TuneFind to compile an unofficial one as a Spotify playlist. My picks are “Hummingbird” by Miss E, “Mama Said” by The Shirelles, “Cross Country Feelin’” by White Heat, and “Workin’ Together” by Ike & Tina Turner.

What are your favorite albums right now? Let us know in the comments below!