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.
Nora Jane Struthers is a singer-songwriter who grew up in New Jersey and was teaching high-school English in Brooklyn before moving to Nashville to attempt a full-time career in music. With her band The Party Line, she's just released a new album called Wake. Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker has a review.
Bakersfield, Calif., has become famous for its own brand of country music, with such stars as Merle Haggard and Buck Owens given credit for putting the town on the musical map. But they evolved through a music scene that was wild and wide-open during the 1950s and '60s, and Fresh Air's Ed Ward has the story.