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Love the Stones, but Want to Diversify Your Music Portfolio? We Have Options

A lifelong Stones fan finds satisfaction in some contemporary music

spinner image josh kiszka of greta van fleet performing in new orleans louisiana
Josh Kiszka of Greta Van Fleet performs at Smoothie King Center on Nov. 1, 2022 in New Orleans.
Erika Goldring/Getty Images

The Rolling Stones have been among my favorite bands since eight-tracks gave way to cassette tapes. Formats have changed a lot since then­ — now practically all the world’s music can be accessed with a few taps on a phone screen — and yet the Stones have kept me under their thumbs. In fact, at the end of 2022, Spotify notified me that I was among “the top 0.01% of The Rolling Stones listeners this year.” The streaming music app went on to tell me that Mick, Keith and I had “spent 6,655 minutes together.”

This gave me pause. Learning that I’d spent the equivalent of close to five full days listening to just one band made me wonder if I should diversify my musical portfolio — partly to get out of a bit of a decades-long habit, but also because there are reported mental benefits. “New experiences enhance cognition and mental flexibility,” says Concetta Tomaino, executive director of the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function. She encourages people over 50 to seek out and actively listen to unfamiliar music they might enjoy.

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And so I searched for contemporary artists who might make me feel like the Stones do. Perhaps they take inspiration from the classic rock I grew up with, but also from earlier generations of blues, soul and country acts — the same folks who once inspired Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and others to make music.

Here are five acts I found that you might like too.

spinner image amythyst kiah performing during the twenty twenty two stagecoach festival in indio california
Amythyst Kiah performs on the Palomino stage during the 2022 Stagecoach Festival on April 29, 2022 in Indio, California.
Timothy Norris/Getty Images for Stagecoach

Amythyst Kiah

This solo artist from Tennessee lists influences that include Jimi Hendrix, Dolly Parton and Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Pulling those diverse sources into a coherent whole is part of Kiah’s musical superpower, along with her thoughtful lyrics and a voice that can fill any room. Start with “Black Myself.”

spinner image from left to right danny wagner josh kiszka jake kiszka and sam kiszka of greta van fleet
(Left to right) Danny Wagner, Josh Kiszka, Jake Kiszka and Sam Kiszka of Greta Van Fleet.
Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images for P+ and MTV

Greta Van Fleet

These 20-something rockers from Michigan are often compared to Led Zeppelin, in part because lead singer Josh Kiszka has a vocal range as wide as the Great Lakes. Zeppelin’s Robert Plant has called Kiszka “a beautiful little singer.” No argument here. Start with “Highway Tune.”

spinner image from left to right rebecca lovell and megan lovell and tarka layman of larkin poe performing at the historic scoot inn in austin texas
(Left to right) Rebecca Lovell, Megan Lovell and Tarka Layman perform in concert at the Historic Scoot Inn on Feb. 24, 2023 in Austin, Texas.
Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images

Larkin Poe

Sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell named their band after an ancestor (who was a cousin of Edgar Allen Poe), and their appreciation for history informs their music. Says Rebecca, “It’s really important for bands of our generation to listen and educate ourselves on the history of American music.” The pair grew up in Georgia and channel their connections to place, and the past, into sharp, sassy, blues-soaked Southern rock. Start with “Bleach Blonde Bottle Blues.”



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spinner image from left to right alex stiff chris vos and marc cazorla of the record company at the pilgrimage music and cultural festival in franklin tennessee
(Left to right) Alex Stiff, Chris Vos and Marc Cazorla perform onstage during the Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival in Franklin, Tennessee.
Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival

The Record Company

A few of this L.A. band’s tunes may sound familiar, since the Record Company’s music has been played on multiple TV series and commercials. The band mixes an almost punk rock edge into a bluesy sound, which Rolling Stone described as “a raw, rootsy racket.” Start with “Off the Ground.”

spinner image tanya trotter and michael trotter jr of the war and treaty performing at ryman auditorium in nashville tennessee
(Left to right) Tanya Trotter and Michael Trotter Jr. perform onstage for Rock The Ryman at Ryman Auditorium on March 1, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Ryman Auditorium

The War and Treaty

This married duo from Michigan blends blues with soul, gospel, country and rock. Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya Trotter bring powerhouse vocals to every song and performance, including the concerts where they’ve opened for headliners like Al Green and Van Morrison. Start with “Lover’s Game.”

Sure, the Rolling Stones will remain part of my playlists, but there’s room for new folks, too. It’s all rock ’n’ roll. And I like it, like it. Yes, I do.

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