Brandi Carlile is a singer-songwriter who has cited influences as various as Elton John, Patsy Cline, and Queen's Freddie Mercury. 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.
Brothers Joel and Ethan Coen continue to mine American pop culture in their latest film. It's 1961 in Greenwich Village, and a homeless folk singer is trying desperately to break out. Critic David Edelstein says the overarching tone of the film is snotty, condescending, and cruel.
Cash spent half a century in the limelight as a country singer turned American icon. Between 1958, when he first recorded for Columbia, until 1986, when it didn't renew his contract, he recorded more than 50 singles and 60 albums for the label.
The singer-songwriter often writes songs about his complex relationships with women. On his new Electric, Thompson is still coming to terms with the sources of his frustrations which out to give him material for many years to come.
From the inescapable "Call Me Maybe" to Fiona Apple's intricate word puzzles to the strikingly gorgeous return of Iris DeMent, the Fresh Air critic counts down hiss favorite albums and musical moments of the year.
Plant's new solo album is called Band of Joy. That's the name of a group he was in back in 1967, before Led Zeppelin, with drummer John Bonham. Rock critic Ken Tucker says that if the album title suggests nostalgia for older musical styles, there's nothing musty about the results.