• Pearl Jam: Backspacer

    Pearl Jam: Backspacer

    If the recent deluxe edition of Pearl Jam’s Ten reminded audiences of the band’s prior glory, then Backspacer serves notice that—even two decades into its career— the Seattle quintet remains a vital, vibrant unit. The ...
  • Kurt Elling: 1619 Broadway

    Kurt Elling: 1619 Broadway

    The most consistently adventurous, self-assuredly swinging, unabashedly romantic and audaciously hip singer of his generation, Chicago native Kurt Elling pays tribute to the tune factory in midtown Manhattan that produced so many American popular songs ...
  • Mark Knopfler: Get Lucky

    Mark Knopfler: Get Lucky

    Mark Knopfler writes mood music for sad and lonely men. Mark Knopfler writes modern Celtic-folk songs about an old country none of us has ever known, but long for deep in our hearts. Mark Knopfler ...
  • Nielsen: Symphonies 2 and 3

    Nielsen: Symphonies 2 and 3

    There are now two superb New York performances of Nielsen’s glorious Third Symphony, the first being the famous Bernstein recording from 1965 that brought Nielsen renown in the U.S. The Third is a fascinating if ...
  • Heart: Red Velvet Car

    Heart: Red Velvet Car

    On Heart’s first studio album in six years, the Seattle-based sister act of singer Ann and guitarist Nancy Wilson prove that, musically speaking at least, you shouldn’t mess with a good thing. The 2010 version ...
  • Elvis Costello: This Year's Model

    Elvis Costello: This Year's Model

    Produced by Nick Lowe, and originally released in 1978, This Year’s Model was Elvis Costello’s second album, his first in a string of successes with The Attractions, and the first in which this brilliant pop ...
  • Punch Brothers: Antifogmatic

    Punch Brothers: Antifogmatic

    More than a year ago I chatted with Chris Thile about the Punch Brothers’ second album, specifically asking him how much of the material he had penned himself—a natural question, given his remarkable growth as ...
  • Ray Charles: The Great Ray Charles

    Ray Charles: The Great Ray Charles

    Fans who scooped up Ray Charles’ 1957 eponymous debut—which spawned the classics “Mess Around,” “I’ve Got a Woman,” and “Drown in My Own Tears”—were treated to a new and exciting R&B voice. This instrumental jazz ...
  • Van Morrison: Born to Sing

    Van Morrison: Born to Sing

    Van Morrison’s first studio album since 2008’s Keep It Simple marks his return to the Blue Note label (where he picked up a Grammy nomination for 2003’s What’s Wrong with This Picture?) and finds the ...
  • Lynda Randle: 'Til the Storm Passes By

    Lynda Randle: 'Til the Storm Passes By

    A powerful example of traditional and contemporary gospel seamlessly co- mingling with other roots styles, Lynda Randle’s ’Til the Storm Passes By also makes sure its inventive music never subsumes the praise and worship messages ...
  • Clare Fischer: Extension

    Clare Fischer: Extension

    Although improvisation is critical to what Whitney Balliett famously labeled the “sound of surprise,” the svelte and complex arrangements on this long-obscure masterpiece prove that extemporaneity is not the be-all and end-all of jazz. Extension, ...
  • Los Lobos: Tin Can Trust

    Los Lobos: Tin Can Trust

    There’s a groove that Los Lobos keeps finding on Tin Can Trust that’s kind of slow and that seems like the ultimate cruising music, perfect to listen to if you’re driving down a street as ...

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