• 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.

Ani DiFranco: No Walls Mixtape

Posted on Jun 8, 2019 in Reviews
Ani DiFranco: No Walls Mixtape

As the story goes, when asked to define country music, songwriter Harlan Howard retorted, “Country music isn’t nothing but three chords and the truth,” and many have lived by those words of wisdom ever since. A lot of folk music abides by the same constraints. Heck, a lot of ALL music does. Every now and […]

Mavis Staples: We Get By

Posted on Jun 3, 2019 in Reviews
Mavis Staples: We Get By

There are all sorts of clichés to describe the cyclical nature of time: “Everything old is new again”; “History repeats itself”; “The more things change, the more they stay the same”; and others. This particular moment in time feels like a grab bag of eras colliding. While young adults are sporting the acid wash of […]

Caroline Spence: Mint Condition

Posted on May 14, 2019 in Reviews
Caroline Spence: Mint Condition

In her new Netflix special, The Call to Courage, Brené Brown talks about how it’s the small, ordinary moments in life that we miss the most once we no longer have them. Whether that loss applies to a pet, a parent, a partner, or someone else doesn’t much matter. What matters is that life — […]