• Two songwriters who have perfected the art of weepers are Lori McKenna and Lucy Wainwright Roche, though they employ completely different means to reach the same end. Wainwright Roche is the Kupka to McKenna's Gauguin, with both coaxing beauty out of sadness.

  • "By the Way, I Forgive You" is the album many of Carlile’s fans and critics — as well as Carlile, herself — have been waiting for her to make, as it captures both the expansive power and vulnerable intimacy that make her live shows so indelible and affecting.

  • Every now and then, a voice comes along that is so thoroughly in tune with the times that it can't -- and shouldn't -- be ignored. This year, that voice belongs to Rhiannon Giddens.

  • On what is, perhaps, her finest release of the past 15 years, Aimee Mann wanders in and out of stories that revolve around the hub of dysfunction that is the experience of being human.

  • It wasn't the first time I heard k.d. lang's voice that carved out a forever place for her in my heart. It was the first time I saw a photo of her for, in it, I saw a reflection of who I was or, more likely, who I wanted to be.

  • It's hard to describe Amanda Shires, as a person or an artist. There's just something about her that floats above and beyond categorization and calculation. Perhaps it's the poet in her that tilts and colors her worldview.

  • Kenny Rogers has sold more than 120 million albums worldwide, and made in onto the charts every decade for the last seven. He's had 24 number one hits, 12 number one albums, and racked up more accolades, awards, and accomplishments than he can keep track of.

  • Mavis Staples' need to do what she does seems unattached to anything other than the pure pleasure and emotional expression of the music itself. If she weren't “Mavis Staples, the much-lauded gospel singer,” no doubt she'd still be “Mavis, that lady with the amazing voice in the church choir.”

  • Mere mention of Steve Martin's name instantly evokes a multitude of references to his iconic comedic work over the past five decades. But there's so much more to the man than just a wild and crazy guy.

  • Singer/songwriter Jason Isbell grew up in Greenhill, Alabama, with a head full of poetry and a heart full of soul. He's come a long way since then ... without going all that far.

  • For over 30 years now, the Indigo Girls have continually pushed their music forward, switching up styles and sounds as their muses demand -- because, despite their activist and acoustic leanings, they've never been mere folk singers.

  • Chris Stapleton's soulfully rocking take on country music sidles up alongside Tim McGraw as naturally as it does Sturgill Simpson and Willie Nelson, carving out a middle ground that may well suit the mainstreamers, the upstarts, and the outlaws, alike.

  • From the opening strains of the title track through all the howls and hollers that follow, Alabama Shakes' new album is a huge step forward, artistically… though not a surprising one to anybody who knows their work and certainly not to the band.

  • Ben Gibbard has long been considered one of the most literate and compelling voices on the rock scene, indie or otherwise, and on his eighth Death Cab for Cutie album, Kintsugi, he has staged a return to form that even he acknowledges.

Ordinary Elephant: Honest

Posted on Mar 10, 2019 in Bios
Ordinary Elephant: Honest

“Keep kind all that rises from your chest to your tongue. Don’t ever let your words undo the work you’ve done,” sings Crystal Damore on “Worth the Weight,” a song that beats at the heart of Ordinary Elephant’s potent new album, Honest. In the song, it’s a two-line enjoinder from an adult to a kid. […]

“Closer to Fine” at 30: The Legacy of Indigo Girls’ Spellbinding Sing-along

Posted on Mar 7, 2019 in Features
“Closer to Fine” at 30: The Legacy of Indigo Girls’ Spellbinding Sing-along

Though it wasn’t their debut album, the Indigo Girls’ 1989 eponymous release might as well have been, as it was the first thing most people outside of their hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, ever heard of the duo comprised of Amy Ray and Emily Saliers. The two had been friends since elementary school, eventually gigging around […]

Hayes Carll: What It Is

Posted on Mar 2, 2019 in Reviews
Hayes Carll: What It Is

At a Sturgill Simpson show at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium a few years back, some drunk dudes got into a fight down in front of the stage. As they were escorted out, Simpson said something along the lines of, “One of these days, these bearded, redneck motherf#@kers are going to realize I’m not one of them.” […]