Album of the Week

Date

She & Him: Volume 2

Sometimes all you want is a simple tune, something to take your mind of things. Although you love Dylan’s thought-provoking ballads, Steve Earle’s manifestos, and Ani Difranco’s frank self-analysis’s...

Broken Bells

The Shins are a band that will change your life, or so said Natalie Portman’s character in the movie Garden State. Following the band’s 2007 release, Wincing the Night Away, lead singer James Mercer...

The Pursuit

Jamie Cullum is going to be around for a long time and is going to enjoy a very successful career. Already he’s forged a reputation as a gifted multi-instrumentalist, a sought after producer, a...

The Open Road

John Hiatt’s reputation as a songwriter is built upon his ability to capture the essence of characters and their everyday lives. He particularly singles in on men who struggle to create a home, who...

The Courage of Others

There is a Druidic sensibility about The Courage of Others, the 3rd release from the Texas band Midlake. The cover is adorned by a hooded, contemplative figure double-imposed for mirror effect – the...

Downtown Church

What is gospel music? If you’re going by the book, the bible or the dictionary, you’re talking about music that expresses Christian beliefs. The music takes on many forms; gospel has been sung in...

Declaration of Dependence

Erik Boe and Erlend Oye have occasionally been referred to as the Norwegian equivalent of Simon...

July Flame

Inspiration comes from the most unlikely places. In the summer of 2008 singer/songwriter Laura Veirs was struggling with writers block. On a hot Portland, Oregon afternoon she and a friend headed to...

East Carson Street

Joe Grushecky is a complicated guy and I mean that in the best sense of the word. Don’t assume anything about him, other than these basic facts; he’s one of the hardest working musicians this city...

Transference

While standing at the precipice of mass audience success thanks to their 2007 release Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, the Austin, Texas-based band Spoon reflected on their musical direction. The band went back into...

Give Up the Ghost

Nothing matches the passion of a young woman singer songwriter. Over the years, beginning with Joni Mitchell and followed by an avalanche of artists - Suzanne Vega, Rickie Lee Jones, Tracy Chapman,...

MiddleCyclone

Neko Case’s sound is timeless in an idiosyncratic way. Much of her music would have sounded right at home around Tom Joad’s roadside campfire – sans production, and yet, I can imagine some future...

Secret, Profane & Sugarcane

It comes as no surprise that Elvis Costello is going acoustic, even a little rustic on Secret, Profane...

Love At the End of the World

For a country that is often viewed (unfairly) as the little sibling of the United States, Canada has produced a treasure trove of rock and roll to rival big bro. Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Rush,...

Electric Dirt

After a miraculous recovery from throat cancer Levon Helm released his first solo album in nearly a quarter century, 2007’s Dirt Farmer. Helm picked up a Grammy for that one and headed back into the...

With Blasphemy So Heartfelt

Folk music has seen its share of offshoot styles including new folk, alt-folk, and freak-folk. Add to that drone-folk, or at least that’s how I refer to the music of 19 year old Kent, Ohio...

Build Me This

If Build Me This was a movie it would be shot in Cinemascope. The camera would sweep down on wide open expanses full of golden light, and yet, there would be figures slightly out of focus, lurking in...

The Fall

Norah Jones writes a lot about love on her new album The Fall. The last song on the record, “Man of the Hour,” is the most intimate, featuring only Jones’ vocals and piano. It’s a song about choice,...

Sad Man Happy Man

According to a recent interview Mike Doughty’s favorite word is “inscrutable.” I tried to decipher the reasons why this might be so as I listened to his new album Sad Man Happy Man, but I found the...

Backspacer

Backspacer presents two interesting perspectives on the state of Pearl Jam.The first is immediately apparent as soon as the music starts; these guys are rocking as hard, if not harder, than they have...

Strict Joy

The Swell Season is essentially a duo featuring The Frames' Glen Hansard and Czech musician Markéta Irglová. The pair became known as performers together after being cast in the 2007 indie movie Once...

The Sun Came Out

If you consider environmental responsibility and the eradication of hunger and poverty a family issue then 7 Worlds Collide offers a musical way to introduce this concern to your significant others...

The List

Shorty after graduating high school, Rosanne Cash took her father up on his offer to join him on tour. The 18 year old was not only schooled in the ways of stage performance and the drudgery of bus...

I and Love and You

From the beginning the Avett Brothers’ music attracted the attention of both men and women. It was their raw, frenzied mix of grunge and bluegrass that seemed to draw the guys while the gals lined up...

Draw the Line

Brooding is a word I’ve come to associate with David Gray. Even his most intimate love ballads belie a moody underbelly that suggests struggle and consequence to even the strongest of bonds. Perhaps...

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