• mavis

    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.”

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    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.

  • steve-edie

    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.

  • Natalie-Merchant-450

    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.

  • PattyGriffin_DavidMcClisterPhoto_2450

    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.

  • shawn_colvin_lg_pic2

    Amidst six albums of originals, Colvin has never abandoned her love of the cover and has just released her second batch of interpretations. On it, she turns to some of her very favorite writers -- Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Paul Simon, Neil Finn, and Stevie Wonder.

  • DavidMcClisterPhoto

    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.

  • ashley-monroe-960

    With On to Something Good, Ashley Monroe puts her beguiling voice through its paces, delivering toe-tapping boogies, soul-tinged ballads, and summer-loving boppers.

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    Alabama has a lot to be proud of when it comes to musical heritage, from both then and now. One of the Cotton State's newest treasures is soul-based singer/songwriter Anderson East.

  • earle450

    Politically outspoken, in his life and his art, Steve Earle learned his craft from the masters -- guys like Townes Van Zandt, Kris Kristofferson, and Bob Dylan -- who often ran toward a challenge rather than away from it.

  • igbig

    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.

  • beard450

    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.

  • shakesbigcrop

    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.

  • We Are The RhoadsClient: DCFC

    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.

  • LAW-Roadcases450

    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.

Wendell Berry and the Virtue of Hope: A Conversation with Filmmaker Laura Dunn

Posted on May 27, 2016 in Artist Interviews
Wendell Berry and the Virtue of Hope: A Conversation with Filmmaker Laura Dunn

For legions of folks, Wendell Berry is far more than a writer and a farmer. He’s also a hero, an icon, a role model. His plain-spoken, yet poetic way of moving through the world inspires those who seek to tread a similarly thoughtful path without leaving much in the way of footprints. Through his book […]

Five Questions: Sean Watkins

Posted on May 23, 2016 in Artist Interviews
Five Questions: Sean Watkins

Most folks in the roots music world are very familiar with Sean Watkins, if not through his years as one-third of Nickel Creek (alongside Chris Thile and his sister Sara) or his ongoing Watkins Family Hour project, then certainly through his solo records. The guitarist/singer/songwriter always seems to have new music pouring out. His latest […]

Born Again: A Conversation with Mavis Staples

Posted on May 20, 2016 in Artist Interviews
Born Again: A Conversation with Mavis Staples

Sixty–five years into her recording career, Mavis Staples’ incomparable voice and infectious spirit are truly wonders to behold. Born in 1939 to Oceola and Roebuck “Pops” Staples, Mavis got her start early, singing in church and at home. Pops eventually put together a family band, and though Mavis was the youngest, she soon became the […]

Soul-Full: Ruby Amanfu Lets Her Little Light Shine

Posted on May 16, 2016 in Feature Pieces
Soul-Full: Ruby Amanfu Lets Her Little Light Shine

Every now and then, an artist comes along who is, at once, transcendent and humble, pursuant of glory but steadily grounded. Ruby Amanfu is such an artist, moving the audience’s emotions alongside her own as she winds her way through a song. It’s an inherent and intangible gift she brings to bear, and one that […]

Brandy Clark and a Dream Come True

Posted on May 12, 2016 in Feature Pieces
Brandy Clark and a Dream Come True

“Ain’t we all the stars playing the leading part in our own soap opera?” Brandy Clark belts out that question to kick off Big Day in a Small Town, positing the premise of not just the opening track (“Soap Opera”), but all 10 songs that follow it. The towns that anchor Clark’s new album may […]