Ruben Studdard became a national superstar when he won "American Idol."
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: After 24 million votes, the winner of American Idol 2003 is Ruben Studdard.
(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)
MARTIN: Ten seasons of "Idol" have gone by since that win. But Ruben Studdard remains one of the show's biggest-selling stars. His new album is his sixth studio release. It's a collection of classic love songs with a few originals mixed in for good measure. It is called "Unconditional Love."
The folk- and roots-music world is full of cross-generational collaboration. But it usually takes the form of folksingers pairing up with other folksingers, borrowing from a long musical tradition. It's another thing altogether to take words written long ago and give them musical life. Leyla McCalla does just that on her new album, Vari-Colored Songs: A Tribute to Langston Hughes. Though the disc includes a balance of her original arrangements with Haitian folk songs, what's most intriguing is the way she built many of the songs around Hughes' poetry.