• "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.

Birdtalker: One

Posted on Jul 20, 2018 in Reviews
Birdtalker: One

In her stunningly brilliant piece, Nanette, comedian Hannah Gadsby talks about how jokes have two parts: tension and release. The performer creates the former in order to provide the latter and, essentially, come out looking like a champ. She laughs that it’s a somewhat abusive relationship, that of comedian and audience. Songs can be similarly […]

Lera Lynn: Plays Well with Others

Posted on Jul 13, 2018 in Reviews
Lera Lynn: Plays Well with Others

Finding your voice, as an artist, is a multi-faceted endeavor. There’s the style of singing that, albeit weighted with inherent gifts, still demands work on technique and timbre to be really great. Then there’s the craft of songwriting which requires even more effort to hone. Figuring out what to say and how to say it, […]

Erin Rae: Putting on Airs

Posted on Jul 2, 2018 in Reviews
Erin Rae: Putting on Airs

It’s not as easy as it seems to make a record that stands the test of time. Great songs and classic sounds play their part, as do brilliant performances. But the key lies in the obvious restraint such an undertaking demands in the moment and rewards only in hindsight. Timeless albums are only timeless because […]