Paul Simon | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN |

As we move beyond its halfway point, 2016 has proven to be filled with a wealth of new musical treasures. We’ve been treated to unexpected and rich collaborations between Dawn Landes & Piers Faccini (Heaven’s Gate EP), Sam Beam (of Iron & Wine) & Jesca Hoop (Love Letter for Fire), and the self-titled albums from Colvin & Earle and case/lang/veirs (both of whom are performing the weekend of our XPoNential Music Festival in Camden, NJ).

Well-established artists like Paul Simon (Stranger to Stranger), Bill Frisell (When You Wish Upon a Star) and Lucinda Williams (The Ghosts of Highway 20) have offered some of the best recordings of their careers, while Allen Toussaint’s swan song (American Tunes, produced by Joe Henry) serves as both a perfect coda, as well as poignant elegy to the pianist/singer/songwriter’s incredible life.

Country is alive and well with a high-profile release from Sturgill Simpson (A Sailor’s Guide to Earth) and the long overdue recognition of Karl Blau (Introducing Karl Blau). And guitar-centric releases from William Tyler (Modern Country), Steve Gunn (Eyes on the Lines) and the forthcoming release from Ryley Walker (Golden Sings That Have Been Sung) are keeping the six-string relevant in an era increasingly awash (for better and worse) with “electronic” instruments.

And as we await to hear what great music awaits us, enjoy this playlist of some of the Sleepy Hollow hosts’ favorite recordings from the first half of 2016.