Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 2:48 pm
Paul Thorn is perhaps the "second most famous singer from Tupelo, Mississippi," as he likes to say (a man named Elvis is first). Thorn writes about his Southern upbringing on his autobiographical ninth album, Pimps & Preachers. On the album, he sings about lessons learned from his mentors, including his Pentecostal minister father and his uncle, who pursued more licentious means of employment.
To stand out as an acoustic-guitar-wielding folk-rock singer-songwriter, you'd better have an awful lot of charisma at your disposal — and it helps if, like Josh Ritter, you're able to infuse your songs with a sense that stakes are high and words ring true. A prolific singer-songwriter who's appropriately delved into a side career as a novelist, Ritter crafts his words carefully, but never loses sight of what makes them relate to the experiences of those who hear him.
Watching Jose James perform live was one of the most remarkable experiences we've had at our intimate in-studio sessions.
The soulful jazz singer blends his powerful vocals with hip-hop beats, smooth R&B choruses and an equally talented backing band. You'll never hear James' songs the same way again after hearing them live.
Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 6:09 pm
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At a show one night in Washington, D.C., Brendan Canty — a legendary and active local drummer, Fugazi alumnus, filmmaker and music fan — handed me a home-burned CD. The disc was just silver, with no writing or markings on it and music by his new band Deathfix, in which he performs with his friend and former Bob Mould bandmate and producer, Rich Morel.
Melissa Block talks to Parke Puterbaugh, a lecturer in music at Guilford College in Greensboro, N.C. He's a former senior editor of Rolling Stone. He got to know Tandyn Almer in recent years and has written liner notes to a collection of his songs called Along Comes Tandyn.