Six Takeaways From Bruce Springsteen’s Show In Nashville

bruce-05 springsteen 2014

#1 Every Bruce Springsteen show I’ve seen has been better than the last, and every show I’ve seen has been amazing. #2 The songs from the last few albums are made for live performance. “High Hopes,” “41 Shots,” “Death To My Hometown” and “Shackled And Drawn” more than held their own among more classic material […]

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Bobby Bare Jr.’s Young Criminal Starvation League: Undefeated

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Bobby Bare Jr.’s Young Criminal Starvation League Undefeated (Bloodshot) 3 out of 5 stars Just when you think you have a sense of Bobby Bare Jr.’s style, he up and changes it, which on this, his fourth album under the Young Starvation League moniker, he does on nearly every track. One moment he’s a sly, […]

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Noah Gundersen: Ledges

Noah Gundersen Ledges

Noah Gundersen Ledges (Dualtone) 3.5 out of 5 stars Noah Gundersen’s first full-length album opens with “Poor Man’s Son,” a nearly a cappella tune featuring the Seattle singer-songwriter harmonizing with his sister Abby. He strums a few times on his acoustic guitar, but that’s mainly to let you know it’s still there. Mostly the song […]

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Del Barber: Prairieography

del barber prairieography

Del Barber Prairieography (True North Records) 4 out of 5 stars Country music suits Del Barber well. On Prairieography, the fourth album from the Winnipeg singer-songwriter, Barber shies away from the folkie romanticism of his previous several albums, leaning, instead, on the sounds, styles, and guidelines of traditional country for the first time. The result, […]

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The Afghan Whigs: Do To The Beast

The Afghan Whigs

The Afghan Whigs Do To The Beast (Sub Pop) 4 out of 5 stars In the 1990s, The Afghan Whigs occupied an unusual — even unique — niche. They were as much a grunge band as an R&B group, sounding as comfortable on a playlist or a festival lineup next to Funkadelic as they were alongside […]

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Rodney Crowell: Tarpaper Sky

rodney crowell

Rodney Crowell Tarpaper Sky (New West) 3.5 stars out of 5 Working your way to legendary status as a singer/songwriter might be a marathon as opposed to a sprint. But Rodney Crowell blew out of the blocks awfully strong with songs that remain staples, written and recorded back in the mid-70s such as the immortal […]

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NEEDTOBREATHE: Rivers In The Wasteland

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NEEDTOBREATHE Rivers In The Wasteland (Atlantic) 2.5 out of 5 stars Perhaps it’s inevitable that most Christian rock acts feel the need to display an ostentatious, widescreen sound—heavy on the drama, please— to communicate their often unsubtle messages. That has certainly been South Carolina’s NEEDTOBREATHE’S M.O. over the years since its 2006 debut and few […]

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Joan Osborne: Love and Hate

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Joan Osborne Love and Hate (EOne) 3.5 out of stars There’s plenty of love involved in Joan Osborne’s first album of original material since 2008 although not a lot of hate. So the title might be a little misleading as the singer dives into a passionate dozen song cycle that examines love from various angles, […]

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Track Review: Ed Sheeran, “Sing”

ed sheeran 2014

Ed Sheeran “Sing” Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars Pharrell Williams is pretty much everywhere these days. He sang on two tracks on Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories last year, produced a track on Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz, appeared on Beyoncé’s recent self-titled album and, of course, repeatedly shouted “whoo!” on Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” Williams […]

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Linda Ronstadt: Duets

Linda Ronstadt

Linda Ronstadt Duets (Rhino) Rating: 2 1/2 stars In the tradition of the recording industry never missing an opportunity to wring extra bucks out of existing work, Linda Ronstadt’s long awaited induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year is greeted with a quickie cash-in compilation. There’s no doubt that the prolific […]

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Wilko Johnson & Roger Daltrey: Going Back Home

Wilko Johnson and Roger Daltrey going-back-home

Wilko Johnson & Roger Daltrey Going Back Home (Chess/Universal) 4 out of 5 stars The Going Back Home title of this one-off collaboration between the two British rock legends indicates its contents. Through eight previous solo albums, Who frontman/singer Daltrey has never consistently captured the essence of gritty blues that informs his lifelong work in […]

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Nickel Creek: A Dotted Line

Nickel Creek A  Dotted Line

Nickel Creek A Dotted Line (Nonesuch) 3 out of 5 stars Since Nickel Creek never broke up—they just went on a lengthy hiatus in 2008—it’s hard to call this next step a reunion, even if it comes on the band’s 25th anniversary. With only three previous studio albums in their slim catalog and with an […]

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