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403 Segments




Ashley Monroe Is 'Like A Rose,' Briars And All.

Recruiting the likes of Guy Clark and Vince Gill, the country singer and member of The Pistol Annies works within a tradition that extends back well beyond her twentysomething years. Monroe avoids the pitfalls of cliche, with sentiments on her new album that are nothing if not nicely ambivalent.


'Nashville' Soundtrack Stands On Its Own.

A new album of original songs from the Golden Globe-nominated TV series about Music City reflects the tastes of the show's musical producer, T-Bone Burnett, as well as the vocal talents of stars Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere.


Ken Tucker's Top 10 Albums Of 2012

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.


'Buddy And Jim': Friends In Life And Songwriting.

Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale just released a new album of duets. Critic Ken Tucker says Buddy and Jim recalls an earlier era of country music. The pair's voices, Tucker says, connect through "shared emotion in a song."


Taylor Swift Leaps Into Pop With 'Red.'

Critic Ken Tucker says that, like all good pop artists, Swift continues to evolve in a manner which challenges her diehard fans while inviting naysayers to give it another listen.


Making Music From Messy Relationships With 'Kin'.

Kin: Songs By Mary Karr and Rodney Crowell is a new collaboration between Karr, the bestselling author and poet, and the maverick singer-songwriter. Together, they've written 10 songs, which are performed on the album by a variety of singers, including Norah Jones, Rosanne Cash and Emmylou Harris.


James Burton: The Teen Who Invented American Guitar

You've heard guitarist James Burton even if you don't know it. Ever since he was 15, he's been recording behind a bewildering number of artists, from Ricky Nelson to Ray Charles. He also managed to put out some records on his own. Rock historian Ed Ward shares his story.


Janie Fricke: The 'Country Side Of Bluegrass'

Fricke was one of the most popular country-music vocalists of the 1980s/ Between 1982 and 1984, she scored six No. 1 hits. Since then, her career has dimmed, but now she's back, having arranged some of her biggest hits with bluegrass instrumentation.


Buck Owens: Finding His Voice In 'Bakersfield'

Owens may be best known as the smiling country singer who co-hossted Hee Haw, but he also sang original tunes. A new collection, Buck Owens: Bound for Bakersfield, goes back to the days before Owens made it big.


The History Of Hillbilly Boogie's Earliest Days

Boogie-woogie was a piano style that began in the early 20th century and later became a huge fad. Rock historian Ed Ward explains how the genre re-emerged as an important precursor to rock 'n' roll.


'Four The Record,' Lambert Comes To Terms With Herself

Four the Record is Miranda Lambert's first new collection of songs after her 2009 album Revolution. Since then, Lambert has quickly become one of Nashville's most prominent stars. But rock critic Ken Tucker says Lambert is still not a typical country act.


Shelby Lynne: A 'Revelation' With An Exceptional Voice.

Lynne's new album Revelation Road contains both a torchy pop ballad and a startlingly direct song about her parents' murder-suicide. Rock critic Ken Tucker says the album is an excellent showcase for Lynne's sharp songwriting and fantastic voice.


Breathing New Life Into Hank Williams' Lyrics.

The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams features a number of major country and rock musicians, who craft songs around lyrics that Hank Williams left behind in four notebooks when he died in 1953. Bob Dylan, Alan Jackson, Jack White and Norah Jones are among the artists on the album.


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