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.
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.
Since releasing her first solo album in 1967, Parton has become a star in movies and on television. But rock critic Ken Tucker says that her new album, Better Day, returns the focus to Parton's singing and her frequently underestimated songwriting.
One of American popular music's great enigmas, says critic Ed Ward, is what would have happened to Patsy Cline's career if it had lasted longer. She was poised to revolutionize the role of the solo female singer, as well as Nashville's place in the music business, when she was killed in a plane crash. Decca has just released her complete recordings on an album called Sweet Dreams.