• 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.

  • Though singer/songwriter Chely Wright made her name on the country charts back in the '90s, her new album's quiet confidence showcases what is probably the truest side of her: a conscious and caring, creative and compassionate soul rooted in faith and family above all else.

  • 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.”

  • When you grow up in a small town, oftentimes, your dreams are all you have. The dream Brandy Clark harbored was to be a country singer... a dream that has come true.

  • 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.

  • When Natalie Merchant departed 10,000 Maniacs in 1993, it was to find her voice … which also happened to be the voice of her generation. Finding it, becoming it was something she accomplished right out of the gate.

  • In the two decades since her debut, Patty Griffin has blown her music wide open, time and again. This year, she brought all of her influences and inspirations to bear in Servant of Love, a masterful and mesmerizing work.

  • 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.

  • Lee Ann Womack makes the kind of country music that country used to be -- the kind of country that sings about heartaches, not tailgates. And it's the kind of country that proves how much she still has to offer and how ready she is to offer it.

The Urgency of History: A Conversation with Rhiannon Giddens

Posted on Sep 8, 2017 in Artist Interviews
The Urgency of History: A Conversation with Rhiannon Giddens

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. Her latest album, Freedom Highway , takes its cues from the warriors of justice who came before her … Joan Baez, […]

Deb Talan: “Joshua Tree in the Headphones”

Posted on May 5, 2017 in Song Premieres
Deb Talan: “Joshua Tree in the Headphones”

Few things recall an era as quickly and clearly as citing “wood panel walls and shag carpet,” as Deb Talan does in “Joshua Tree in the Headphones.” She does so to set the scene of a very specific memory of being at her best friend’s house, stoned and immersed in U2’s “Where the Streets Have […]

Squared Roots: Pieta Brown x Rickie Lee Jones

Posted on Apr 28, 2017 in Artist Interviews
Squared Roots: Pieta Brown x Rickie Lee Jones

There are some artists who defy every convention and expectation we attempt to impose upon them. Rickie Lee Jones is one of them. Right out of the gate, she played by her own rules and danced to her own very groovy drum. Her eponymous debut in 1979 — with stunning songs like “The Last Chance […]

Five Questions: Tift Merritt

Posted on Apr 21, 2017 in Artist Interviews
Five Questions: Tift Merritt

On her seventh studio album in 15 years, Stitch of the World, singer/songwriter Tift Merritt has churned out another solid set of roots-infused tunes that reach backward, forward, and side to side. You see, Merritt has a lot of musical ground to cover and she does just that, from the throwback folk-country of “Dusty Old […]

Five Questions: John Craigie

Posted on Apr 14, 2017 in Artist Interviews
Five Questions: John Craigie

Singer/songwriter John Craigie grew up in Southern California, which easily explains his breezy, bright folk-rock sensibilities. After graduating with a degree in mathematics from UC Santa Cruz, Craigie took to the road and the recording studio, which readily explains his existential musical explorations. Craigie’s latest release — No Rain, No Rose — finds him folding […]