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Well said Rich and I for one totally agree except I listen to classical music. I think all composers after Shostakovich stink and yes I know I shall be shot down in flames by the minimalists but these are my thoughts and I am entitled to them as others will shoot me for my beliefs in Bach Beethoven and the rest.
The quality songwriting, singing, and musicianship you crave has moved underground, where there is healthy, burgeoning activity. It is called Americana. There was once a print magazine devoted to the genre, entitled No Depression. While the print version is dead, an internet version rose from it's ashes.
There are hundreds of practitioners of Americana, regularly releasing great music. Emmylou Harris, John Hiatt, Buddy Miller, Richard Thompson, Ry Cooder, Iris Dement, Jim Lauderdale, Marty Stuart, Steve Earle, Jason Isbell, Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams, Mary Gauthier, Alison Krauss, Ray Davies (from The Kinks), Dave Alvin, Jimmy Dale Gilmore, John Doe (from X), Larry Campbell (a veteran of Dylan's and Levon Helm's bands), Rosanne Cash, her half-sister Carlene Carter, Rodney Crowell, Tift Merritt, Bonnie Raitt, and many, many more.
I have old friends and bandmates who are constantly bellyaching about the good ol' days. It's never been better than now! Artists no longer have to play the game via record company rules; they can record themselves and distribute the music any way they choose. Support them and they'll give you more!
Nice to meet ya Rich! Living in L.A. from 1979-2016, I was able to see and hear a lot of great stuff live. Los Lobos, Lucinda Williams, and Dwight Yoakum before they got record deals. Locals like The Continental Drifters (a great band containing Vicki Peterson of The Bangles, Susan Cowsill, Peter Holsapple of the db’s, studio drummer Carlo Nuccio), The Long Ryders (Lucinda’s then-husband was their drummer. Sid Griffin is almost as much a Band fanatic as am I), The Blasters, The Plimsouls (containing Peter Case), The Beat (their debut album is a Power Pop classic. A great, great live band), dozens more.
That was after having grown up in the N. California Bay area (San Jose/Cupertino), having seen all the local bands starting at age 14. The Chocolate Watchband, The Syndicate Of Sound, People, Stained Glass, The Otherside (an offshoot of The Chocolate Watchband). In 67 I started going up to see all the San Francisco bands, good (The Dead, Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks, Sons Of Champlin, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service, The Steve Miller Blues Band---with Boz Scaggs just playing rhythm guitar!, The Flamin’ Groovies), and bad (Big Brother & The Holding Company---absolutely dreadful!, Country Joe & The Fish, Blue Cheer---oy!). I somehow failed to ever see the best of them---Moby Grape.
warning - generalization ahead -
I do think the Americana performers make better recordings than a lot of pop/rock acts, I imagine this is due to their audience and how they procure and listen to music these days. Music that is more dance orientated also generally sounds better to me than music you're likely to hear on the radio or similar, and I'd guess for the same reason.