Fresh Air: Rock Music
Poetry Is Set To Melody In Iris DeMent's 'The...08/12/15
Poems by the Russian writer Anna Akhmatova form the basis of singer Iris DeMent's new album. Critic Ken Tucker says Akhmatova and DeMent share an urge to articulate "sorrow, sacrifice and gratitude."
Daniel Romano's Eccentric 'Countrypolitan' Sound Blends...
Canadian musician Daniel Romano specializes in country music that's a throwback to a bygone era. Rock critic Ken Tucker calls his new album, If I've Only One Time Askin', a "moving collection."
Ashley Monroe's 'Blade' Blends Country Sentiment And...
Rock critic Ken Tucker says the third studio album from country star Ashley Monroe "is a collection of deceptively pretty songs that cohere as a strong, serious piece of work."
'Sonic Trickster' Miguel Blends Genres And Melodies On...
Singer-songwriter Miguel mixes rock, pop, hip-hop, reggae and funk on his new album. Critic Ken Tucker says the musical slight-of-hand that results is "excitingly diverse and vivid."
Jason Isbell's 'Something More Than Free' Rings With The...
The former member of the Drive-by Truckers unleashes his storytelling skills in his new album, Something More Than Free. Rock critic Ken Tucker says Isbell's lyrics reward a close listen.
Country's Kacey Musgraves Mixes Wit And Sincerity In...
The 26-year-old singer focuses on cleverly constructed lyrics — instead of rebellion — in her new record. Critic Ken Tucker says the singer falls short of creating a "sustained great album."
Leon Bridges Offers Retro R&B With A Twist In 'Coming Home'
The Texas-raised singer connects to R&B music from the past — and challenges himself to give it an updated sound — in his new album. Critic Ken Tucker says Bridges' album packs an emotional punch.
Shamir Bailey Invites Everyone In, With Plenty Of Pop Star...
The young singer and songwriter lets his voice soar on his debut album, Ratchet. Rock critic Ken Tucker says it's one of the year's most striking collections, full of energy and optimism.
Joanna Gruesome's 'Peanut Butter' Rises Above The Band's...
The Welsh band's name is a play on that of singer-songwriter Joanna Newsom. Ken Tucker likens the group's second album to a high-wire act accompanied by "furiously strummed punk-rock guitar chords."
Country Hit Writer Chris Stapleton Breaks Out On His Own...
The Nashville songwriter has written countless hits for other artists. Critic Ken Tucker says that Stapleton's debut solo album showcases a wide range of musical styles with a distinctive sound.
Nellie McKay Celebrates The '60s With 'My Weekly Reader'
McKay's new album My Weekly Reader is a collection of covers of songs made famous in the 1960s. The range of material is wide — from the Beatles' "If I Fell" to Frank Zappa's "Hungry Freaks, Daddy."
Alabama Shakes Opens New Territory On 'Sound & Color'
Over the course of Sound & Color, Alabama Shakes messes with what had already, after its first album, become its signature sound. Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker has this review.
Dwight Yoakam's 'Second Hand Heart' Is First Class
Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker says the album is one of Yoakam's most stylistically diverse.
The Mountain Goats' John Darnielle Finds Refuge In The Ring
Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker says The Mountain Goats' concept album about pro wrestling is filled with a remarkable range of melodies and moods.
There Is A Rich World In Kendrick Lamar's 'To Pimp A...
Fresh Air music critic Ken Tucker says the rapper's second album has an excitingly adventurous sound.
Courtney Barnett Makes Ennui Vivid On Debut Album
Brandi Carlile's Surging Voice Grounds 'The Firewatcher's...
Carlile has been releasing albums for the past 10 years, and Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker says her new one, called The Firewatcher's Daughter, is her best yet.
James McMurty Is More Expressive Than Ever On 'Complicated...
Complicated Game demonstrates a new range of style and subject matter for McMurtry.
Nora Jane Struthers Is Wide Awake On New Album
Given the content of the songs, the title Wake seems, in part, to refer to an awakening Struthers has had about who she is, what she wants to do, and how she wants to sound.
Mavericks' Singer Raul Malo Restlessly Explores Genres
In the band's latest album Mono, Malo demonstrates how he likes to make music that confounds the usual expectations of what a country hit-maker can do.
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