Rock critic Ken Tucker says the group's first collaboration with country artists, Will the Circle Be Unbroken, breathed new life into their music. The second volume of that effort is less focused, with a strange and haphazard assortment of collaborators.
Rock critic Ken Tucker says that, with the rise of bad boys and neo-traditionalists in country music, fans and critics have overlooked several accomplished women artists. He reviews new albums by four singers worth checking out.
Rock critic Ken Tucker once more looks at the best and worst songs currently hitting the airwaves. Represented artists include Matthew Sweet, Bunny Wailer, Violent Femmes, Tone Loc, and Emmylou Harris.
Country musician Buck Owens is back and as corny as ever. Rock critic Ken Tucker says his new album, Hot Dog!, successfully incorporates the sound and spirit of early rock and roll. A reissue of live recordings is also worth checking out.
Rock critic Ken Tucker reviews recent releases by Jesse Winchester and Guy Clark, two country songwriters who are popular with critics, but who haven't yet found mainstream success. Tucker says Winchester's album leans toward new age, while Guy Clark's work may have more in common with folk than country.
Nelson grew up picking cotton, and got his start as a musician playing in local Texas bars. Before finding fame as a singer, he sold songs he wrote to other performers, which later became hits. Nelson has a new memoir, called Willie, and an album of standards titled What a Wonderful World.
Last year, Ken Tucker reviewed albums by Randy Travis and Dwight Yoakum, whom he thought had the power to shake up the country music establishment. Now they are the establishment, both with new albums. Tucker says Travis gives listeners a postmodern take on traditional country; Yoakum has fashioned himself the genre's Raymond Chandler, with songs that are brooding and sometimes offensive.
Rock Critic Ken Tucker reviews new albums by George Strait and Steve Wariner. Their music is marketed as country, but Ken says their style is similar to that of singer-songwriters of the late '60s and early '70s, like James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt.
Arthel "Doc" Watson, one of America's premier acoustic folk guitarists. His flat-pick style of playing traditional folk and bluegrass has made his sound one of the most distinctive of any folk artist. His 24 albums have earned him four Grammys. In the folk music community, Watson is best known for his part in preserving the traditional ballads and melodies of southern Appalachia.
Rock historian Ed Ward profiles the career of versatile Texas rock n' roller Doug Sahm, including the night in 1952 when he performed while sitting on the lap of Hank Williams, and his escapades as the leader of The Sir Douglas Quintet, a group of southerners who tried to convince the public they were British.
Banjo and pedal steel guitar player Winnie Winston will perform several pieces. A four-time world champion on the banjo at the country's top bluegrass competition, the Union Grove Old Time Fiddler's Convention in North Carolina, Winston has played with Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys, Dave Bromberg and the late Steve Goodman.