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Duets by Linda Ronstadt
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As Heard on Public Radio: 
The Diane Rehm Show: Singer Linda Ronstadt
Rhino brings together 14 of Linda Ronstadt’s most memorable musical partnerships, along with a previously unreleased collaboration with Laurie Lewis, for a collection that was created with help from Ronstadt and her longtime manager, John Boylan.
Other Notable Music by Linda Ronstadt:
Trio II:  One of my absolute favorite albums!  If you want to listen to some stellar acoustic & vocal performances, this is the album.  Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris combine for their second album alternating lead vocal duties and harmony.  They are backed by a crack band which provided the music for O Brother Where Art Thou.  The album won a Grammy Award for their cover of Neil Young’s “After the Goldrush.”
 Canciones De Mi Padre - Linda pays homage to her roots in this ranchera album.  Linda is backed by Mariachi Vargas on this wonderful cd.  The album demonstrates that she is one of few artists who cannot be categorized and that she has a unique ability record in multiple genres.
Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind - Contemporary Pop album featuring the mega commercial hit duet “Don’t Know Much” with Aaron Neville.  This album begins with strong songwriting aided by lush orchestration and that voice.  Among my favorites is “Adios” which was produced by Brian Wilson.
For Sentimental Reasons - No Linda Ronstadt list would be complete without including at least one of the collaborations with Nelson Riddle.  Linda defied record labels, agents and critics to record “standards” during a time in which that was something pop/rock singers just didn’t do.  For Sentimental Reasons proves that the third time was the charm as it is their best collaboration and includes “When You Wish Upon a Star,” “My Funny Valentine,” and “‘Round Midnight.”

Duets by Linda Ronstadt

Buy  Buy CD | MP3 | iTunes

As Heard on Public Radio: 

The Diane Rehm Show: Singer Linda Ronstadt

Rhino brings together 14 of Linda Ronstadt’s most memorable musical partnerships, along with a previously unreleased collaboration with Laurie Lewis, for a collection that was created with help from Ronstadt and her longtime manager, John Boylan.

Other Notable Music by Linda Ronstadt:

Trio II:  One of my absolute favorite albums!  If you want to listen to some stellar acoustic & vocal performances, this is the album.  Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris combine for their second album alternating lead vocal duties and harmony.  They are backed by a crack band which provided the music for O Brother Where Art Thou.  The album won a Grammy Award for their cover of Neil Young’s “After the Goldrush.”

 Canciones De Mi Padre - Linda pays homage to her roots in this ranchera album.  Linda is backed by Mariachi Vargas on this wonderful cd.  The album demonstrates that she is one of few artists who cannot be categorized and that she has a unique ability record in multiple genres.

Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind - Contemporary Pop album featuring the mega commercial hit duet “Don’t Know Much” with Aaron Neville.  This album begins with strong songwriting aided by lush orchestration and that voice.  Among my favorites is “Adios” which was produced by Brian Wilson.

For Sentimental Reasons - No Linda Ronstadt list would be complete without including at least one of the collaborations with Nelson Riddle.  Linda defied record labels, agents and critics to record “standards” during a time in which that was something pop/rock singers just didn’t do.  For Sentimental Reasons proves that the third time was the charm as it is their best collaboration and includes “When You Wish Upon a Star,” “My Funny Valentine,” and “‘Round Midnight.”

nikki nack by tUnE-yArDs
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As Heard on Public Radio:
The Current: tUnE-yArDs perform live in The Current studio
NPR: tUnE-yArDs In Concert
The Current: Album Review: tUnE-yArDs, ‘Nikki Nack’
Fresh Air: Tuneyards: Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing
NPR: First Listen: tUnE-yArDs, ‘Nikki Nack’
NPR’s All Songs TV: tUnE-yArDs, ‘Water Fountain’
Folk Alley: tUnE-yArDs, Live In Concert: Newport Folk Festival 2012
World Cafe: tUnE-yArDs On World Cafe
NPR Front Row: Tuneyards in Concert
Studio 360: MERRILL GARBUS BECOMES TUNE-YARDS
Sound Opinions: Nikki Nack review
The Current Review by Mac Wilson
My kids were the ones who gave me a new perspective on Tune-Yards from the first release of the new single, “Water Fountain.” When we heard it on The Current one evening, my two-year-old daughter was particularly delighted to hear a song about a water fountain. But as we listened, she started to pay close attention to the recurring lyrical motifs: no water in the water fountain, no wood in the Woodstock, no side in the sidewalk. After hearing the song once or twice, my daughter was coining her own variations on the theme, such as “no trees in the treehouse,” etc.
Not only did Merrill Garbus create a hook so interesting that even a two-year-old can appreciate it, but she also essentially coined a new snowclone; in this case, “No X in the XY.” At its base level, her music sounds simple, but even a cursory listen immediately reveals new patterns, en route to a world that’s distinctly her own.
Tune-Yards’ new album Nikki Nack consistently blurs the line between silliness and seriousness: these are gravely serious nursery rhymes. The album title is derived from the chorus of “This Old Man,” a bunch of seemingly nonsense syllables that I’ve sung a hundred times without even really thinking about. The front cover depicts what appears to be a Fruit Roll-Up (a wonderful indulgence even as an adult) and the lyrics are rife with subtle invocation of childhood songs and mantras. You’ll hear echoes of “The Bear Went Over the Mountain” in “Time of Dark,” counting chants in “Hey Life,” and assorted references to Pop-Tarts and sippy cups. The brief “Rocking Chair,” near the album’s end, sounds like a bizarre lullaby, with the fitting refrain, “Rock me to sleep.” Even the interlude “Why Do We Dine on the Tots?” sounds like eavesdropping on a pair of kids making up a story as they go along.
Behind the wackiness, the subject matter isn’t quite as G-rated. Garbus addresses weighty issues ranging from domestic abuse, 21st-century masculinity, the verbiage of consent, and racist sports nicknames. As with Tune-Yards’ previous record, Whokill, there’s a pervasive, underlying gravitas to the topics of Garbus’ songs; it’s clearly discernible, but never overwhelming. Whenever the proceedings feel like they *might* start to seem ponderous, a song will shift its focus in another creative direction. There’s a lot to dissect here, but it’s also possible to enjoy the record without the need to dive into Thinkpiece Trench.
On “Left Behind,” Garbus invokes another musician known for his sense of playfulness, as she repeatedly hollers, “Let’s go crazy!” In reading between the lines of Nikki Nack, it’s clear to see that there’s a surfeit of evidence that our entire world is indeed progressing on a path to insanity. But one needn’t focus on that to still enjoy this album for its twists and turns, and that sense of adventure that many of us may not have felt since we were kids ourselves.

nikki nack by tUnE-yArDs

Buy  Buy CD | Vinyl | iTunes

As Heard on Public Radio:

The Current: tUnE-yArDs perform live in The Current studio

NPR: tUnE-yArDs In Concert

The Current: Album Review: tUnE-yArDs, ‘Nikki Nack’

Fresh Air: Tuneyards: Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing

NPR: First Listen: tUnE-yArDs, ‘Nikki Nack’

NPR’s All Songs TV: tUnE-yArDs, ‘Water Fountain’

Folk Alley: tUnE-yArDs, Live In Concert: Newport Folk Festival 2012

World Cafe: tUnE-yArDs On World Cafe

NPR Front Row: Tuneyards in Concert

Studio 360: MERRILL GARBUS BECOMES TUNE-YARDS

Sound Opinions: Nikki Nack review

The Current Review by Mac Wilson

My kids were the ones who gave me a new perspective on Tune-Yards from the first release of the new single, “Water Fountain.” When we heard it on The Current one evening, my two-year-old daughter was particularly delighted to hear a song about a water fountain. But as we listened, she started to pay close attention to the recurring lyrical motifs: no water in the water fountain, no wood in the Woodstock, no side in the sidewalk. After hearing the song once or twice, my daughter was coining her own variations on the theme, such as “no trees in the treehouse,” etc.

Not only did Merrill Garbus create a hook so interesting that even a two-year-old can appreciate it, but she also essentially coined a new snowclone; in this case, “No X in the XY.” At its base level, her music sounds simple, but even a cursory listen immediately reveals new patterns, en route to a world that’s distinctly her own.

Tune-Yards’ new album Nikki Nack consistently blurs the line between silliness and seriousness: these are gravely serious nursery rhymes. The album title is derived from the chorus of “This Old Man,” a bunch of seemingly nonsense syllables that I’ve sung a hundred times without even really thinking about. The front cover depicts what appears to be a Fruit Roll-Up (a wonderful indulgence even as an adult) and the lyrics are rife with subtle invocation of childhood songs and mantras. You’ll hear echoes of “The Bear Went Over the Mountain” in “Time of Dark,” counting chants in “Hey Life,” and assorted references to Pop-Tarts and sippy cups. The brief “Rocking Chair,” near the album’s end, sounds like a bizarre lullaby, with the fitting refrain, “Rock me to sleep.” Even the interlude “Why Do We Dine on the Tots?” sounds like eavesdropping on a pair of kids making up a story as they go along.

Behind the wackiness, the subject matter isn’t quite as G-rated. Garbus addresses weighty issues ranging from domestic abuse, 21st-century masculinity, the verbiage of consent, and racist sports nicknames. As with Tune-Yards’ previous record, Whokill, there’s a pervasive, underlying gravitas to the topics of Garbus’ songs; it’s clearly discernible, but never overwhelming. Whenever the proceedings feel like they *might* start to seem ponderous, a song will shift its focus in another creative direction. There’s a lot to dissect here, but it’s also possible to enjoy the record without the need to dive into Thinkpiece Trench.

On “Left Behind,” Garbus invokes another musician known for his sense of playfulness, as she repeatedly hollers, “Let’s go crazy!” In reading between the lines of Nikki Nack, it’s clear to see that there’s a surfeit of evidence that our entire world is indeed progressing on a path to insanity. But one needn’t focus on that to still enjoy this album for its twists and turns, and that sense of adventure that many of us may not have felt since we were kids ourselves.

A Letter Home by Neil Young
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Sound Opinions: A Letter Home review
NPR’s All Songs TV: Neil Young Wants You To Truly Hear Music
NPR’s All Songs TV: Neil Young Covers Bert Jansch’s ‘Needle Of Death’
All Songs Considered: Hear Neil Young Explain His Pono Music Player At SXSW
Third Man Records unearths Neil Young’s A Letter Home. 
Neil Young recorded a collection of covers with Jack White on a refurbished 1947 Voice-O-Graph recording booth at Third Man’s Nashville headquarters. Imagine a very simple recording studio not much larger than a phone booth and you ll get the idea. He describes the album as “an unheard collection of rediscovered songs from the past recorded on ancient electro-mechanical technology captures and unleashes the essence of something that could have been gone forever.” Recorded live to track to one-track, mono, the album has an inherent warm, primitive feel of a vintage Folkways recording.
As for the track-listing, Young chose songs that have personal meaning for him, such as British folk artist Bert Jansch s “Needle of Death” (which inspired Young to write 1972 s “Needle and the Damage Done”), Bob Dylan s “Girl from the North Country,” Willie Nelson s “Crazy,” Don Everly s “I Wonder If I Care as Much,” Bruce Springsteen s “My Home Town,” and many others.

A Letter Home by Neil Young

Buy  Buy CD | Vinyl | iTunes

Sound Opinions: A Letter Home review

NPR’s All Songs TV: Neil Young Wants You To Truly Hear Music

NPR’s All Songs TV: Neil Young Covers Bert Jansch’s ‘Needle Of Death’

All Songs Considered: Hear Neil Young Explain His Pono Music Player At SXSW

Third Man Records unearths Neil Young’s A Letter Home. 

Neil Young recorded a collection of covers with Jack White on a refurbished 1947 Voice-O-Graph recording booth at Third Man’s Nashville headquarters. Imagine a very simple recording studio not much larger than a phone booth and you ll get the idea. He describes the album as “an unheard collection of rediscovered songs from the past recorded on ancient electro-mechanical technology captures and unleashes the essence of something that could have been gone forever.” Recorded live to track to one-track, mono, the album has an inherent warm, primitive feel of a vintage Folkways recording.

As for the track-listing, Young chose songs that have personal meaning for him, such as British folk artist Bert Jansch s “Needle of Death” (which inspired Young to write 1972 s “Needle and the Damage Done”), Bob Dylan s “Girl from the North Country,” Willie Nelson s “Crazy,” Don Everly s “I Wonder If I Care as Much,” Bruce Springsteen s “My Home Town,” and many others.

Turn Blue by The Black Keys
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As Heard on Public Radio:
The Current: Turn Blue by The Black Keys
The Current: Dan Auerbach in Studio
All Songs Considered: The Black Keys ‘Turn Blue’: The All Songs Interview
Morning Edition: Bound to be Different - The Black Keys Interview
World Cafe: The Black Keys On World Cafe
Sound Opinions: Turn Blue review
Turn Blue is the upcoming eighth studio album by American rock band The Black Keys. It was co-produced by Danger Mouse and the band, and will be released on Nonesuch Records on May 12, 2014. The album was primarily recorded during the summer 2013 at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, California, with additional recording at Key Club in Benton Harbor, Michigan and guitarist Dan Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound Studio in Nashville, Tennessee, in early 2014. The band announced the album via a tweet by retired boxer Mike Tyson and a series of cryptic YouTube videos featuring a hypnotist played by actor Micah Fitzgerald.

Turn Blue by The Black Keys

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As Heard on Public Radio:

The Current: Turn Blue by The Black Keys

The Current: Dan Auerbach in Studio

All Songs Considered: The Black Keys ‘Turn Blue’: The All Songs Interview

Morning Edition: Bound to be Different - The Black Keys Interview

World Cafe: The Black Keys On World Cafe

Sound Opinions: Turn Blue review

Turn Blue is the upcoming eighth studio album by American rock band The Black Keys. It was co-produced by Danger Mouse and the band, and will be released on Nonesuch Records on May 12, 2014. The album was primarily recorded during the summer 2013 at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, California, with additional recording at Key Club in Benton Harbor, Michigan and guitarist Dan Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound Studio in Nashville, Tennessee, in early 2014. The band announced the album via a tweet by retired boxer Mike Tyson and a series of cryptic YouTube videos featuring a hypnotist played by actor Micah Fitzgerald.

Now 50: Now That’s What I Call Music!
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As Heard on Public Radio:
Weekend Edition: Now That’s What We Call a Hit CD!
Now That’s What I Call Music!, a compilation of best-selling top 40 music, released its 50th U.S. album this week.
Track Listing
Happy [Pharrell Williams]
Dark Horse {Katy Perry [feat Juicy]}
The Man [Aloe Blacc]
Hey Brother [Avicii]
Pompeii [Bastille]
Team [Lorde]
Talk Dirty {Jason Derulo [feat 2 Chainz]}
#Selfie [The Chainsmokers]
Turn Down For What {DJ Snake [feat Lil Jon]}
Show Me {Kid Ink [feat Chris Brown]}
La La La {Naughty Boy [feat Sam Smith]}
Young Girl [Bruno Mars]
Adore You [Miley Cyrus]
All Of Me [John Legend]
Let Her Go [Passenger]
Best Day Of My Life [American Authors]
She Keeps Me Warm [Mary Lambert] [NOW What’s Next]
Ten Feet Tall [Stephen Warbel] [NOW What’s Next]
Youth [Foxes] [NOW What’s Next]
Big Talk [Conway] [NOW What’s Next]
On My Mind [Pia Mia] [Now What’s Next]

Now 50: Now That’s What I Call Music!

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As Heard on Public Radio:

Weekend Edition: Now That’s What We Call a Hit CD!

Now That’s What I Call Music!, a compilation of best-selling top 40 music, released its 50th U.S. album this week.

Track Listing

  1. Happy [Pharrell Williams]
  2. Dark Horse {Katy Perry [feat Juicy]}
  3. The Man [Aloe Blacc]
  4. Hey Brother [Avicii]
  5. Pompeii [Bastille]
  6. Team [Lorde]
  7. Talk Dirty {Jason Derulo [feat 2 Chainz]}
  8. #Selfie [The Chainsmokers]
  9. Turn Down For What {DJ Snake [feat Lil Jon]}
  10. Show Me {Kid Ink [feat Chris Brown]}
  11. La La La {Naughty Boy [feat Sam Smith]}
  12. Young Girl [Bruno Mars]
  13. Adore You [Miley Cyrus]
  14. All Of Me [John Legend]
  15. Let Her Go [Passenger]
  16. Best Day Of My Life [American Authors]
  17. She Keeps Me Warm [Mary Lambert] [NOW What’s Next]
  18. Ten Feet Tall [Stephen Warbel] [NOW What’s Next]
  19. Youth [Foxes] [NOW What’s Next]
  20. Big Talk [Conway] [NOW What’s Next]
  21. On My Mind [Pia Mia] [Now What’s Next]
Shine On by Sarah McLachlan
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As Heard on Public Radio:
The Key: Sara McLachlan
Three Time Grammy Winner and legendary singer songwriter makes her Verve debut with her eighth studio album, SHINE ON. Sarah has sold over 40 million albums in her career and is one of the most respected female artists in music today.The new album was recorded in Vancouver with longtime collaborator/producer Pierre Marchand,along with contributions from producer/songwriter Bob Rock and keyboardist Vincent Jones.In a press release, McLachlan revealed that the album was inspired by her father’s passing and her own appreciation of life: This album is about moving through the second half of my life in a more mindful and meaningful way, recognizing that every day, every moment is precious and though we all have our issues and problems, our damages, we all have the ability to continue to learn, grow from our experiences, thrive and shine on. Many of the songs are inspired at least partially or wholly by my father’s passing three years ago and the profound effect losing him had on me. I had to find my footing againwithout the anchor of his unconditional love.

Shine On by Sarah McLachlan

Buy  Buy CD | MP3 | iTunes

As Heard on Public Radio:

The Key: Sara McLachlan

Three Time Grammy Winner and legendary singer songwriter makes her Verve debut with her eighth studio album, SHINE ON. Sarah has sold over 40 million albums in her career and is one of the most respected female artists in music today.
The new album was recorded in Vancouver with longtime collaborator/producer Pierre Marchand,along with contributions from producer/songwriter Bob Rock and keyboardist Vincent Jones.

In a press release, McLachlan revealed that the album was inspired by her father’s passing and her own appreciation of life: This album is about moving through the second half of my life in a more mindful and meaningful way, recognizing that every day, every moment is precious and though we all have our issues and problems, our damages, we all have the ability to continue to learn, grow from our experiences, thrive and shine on. Many of the songs are inspired at least partially or wholly by my father’s passing three years ago and the profound effect losing him had on me. I had to find my footing again
without the anchor of his unconditional love.

Indie Cindy by Pixies
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KCRW Presents: Pixies
World Cafe: Pixies On World Cafe
NPR: Pixies: Tiny Desk Concert
NPR: First Listen: Pixies, ‘Indie Cindy’
2014 will be the year that PIXIES indelibly stamp their musical footprint on rock history. On April 29, the Alternative Rock legends release their first studio album since 1991 s Trompe Le Monde . Needless to say, with two million catalogue album sales to their credit, and the recent press announcement for the new record creating huge waves of anticipation, a lot of people are very, very excited.

Indie Cindy by Pixies

Buy  Buy CD | Vinyl | iTunes

KCRW Presents: Pixies

World Cafe: Pixies On World Cafe

NPR: Pixies: Tiny Desk Concert

NPR: First Listen: Pixies, ‘Indie Cindy’

2014 will be the year that PIXIES indelibly stamp their musical footprint on rock history. On April 29, the Alternative Rock legends release their first studio album since 1991 s Trompe Le Monde . Needless to say, with two million catalogue album sales to their credit, and the recent press announcement for the new record creating huge waves of anticipation, a lot of people are very, very excited.

Do to the Beast by Afghan Whigs
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As Heard on Public Radio:
The Current: Album Review: Afghan Whigs, ‘Do To The Beast’
The Current: Barb Abney’s 20th Afghan-Whigs-iversary
NPR First Listen: The Afghan Whigs, ‘Do To The Beast’
KCRW Presents: The Afghan Whigs
The Current: Afghan Whigs announce first new album in 16 years
Sound Opinions: Do to the Beast review
Do to the Beast is the first new album by The Afghan Whigs in over a decade and a half. Founded in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1988, the band has long stood out from its peers, with their savage blend of hard rock, classic soul, and frontman Greg Dulli’s searing angst and obsessions. The new album is both a homecoming it marks their return to Sub Pop and a glimpse into the future of one of the most acclaimed bands of the past thirty years.

Do to the Beast by Afghan Whigs

Buy  Buy CD | Vinyl | iTunes

As Heard on Public Radio:

The Current: Album Review: Afghan Whigs, ‘Do To The Beast’

The Current: Barb Abney’s 20th Afghan-Whigs-iversary

NPR First Listen: The Afghan Whigs, ‘Do To The Beast’

KCRW Presents: The Afghan Whigs

The Current: Afghan Whigs announce first new album in 16 years

Sound Opinions: Do to the Beast review

Do to the Beast is the first new album by The Afghan Whigs in over a decade and a half. Founded in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1988, the band has long stood out from its peers, with their savage blend of hard rock, classic soul, and frontman Greg Dulli’s searing angst and obsessions. The new album is both a homecoming it marks their return to Sub Pop and a glimpse into the future of one of the most acclaimed bands of the past thirty years.

III by Death
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NPR First Listen: Death, ‘Death III’
All Songs Considered: Song Premiere: Death, ‘North Street’
Morning Edition: Death: A ’70s Rock Trailblazer, Reborn
Archive collection from the proto-Punk band. Death III slams the door on the vault with a powerful set of songs that bring equal amounts of Rock and ethereal soul-searching, in high-fidelity, rich bottomed, studio-grade sound. Alongside songs from 1975, 1976 and 1980, Death III contains 2 songs from 1992, as the Hackney brothers reconvened nearly a decade after they’d stopped playing together. Death III serves as a companion piece of sorts to the A Band Called Death documentary, tracking the band’s movement from spiritual young rockers to older and wiser, bruised-but-undefeated brothers, in pure musical terms.

III by Death

Buy  Buy CD | Vinyl

NPR First Listen: Death, ‘Death III’

All Songs Considered: Song Premiere: Death, ‘North Street’

Morning Edition: Death: A ’70s Rock Trailblazer, Reborn

Archive collection from the proto-Punk band. Death III slams the door on the vault with a powerful set of songs that bring equal amounts of Rock and ethereal soul-searching, in high-fidelity, rich bottomed, studio-grade sound. Alongside songs from 1975, 1976 and 1980, Death III contains 2 songs from 1992, as the Hackney brothers reconvened nearly a decade after they’d stopped playing together. Death III serves as a companion piece of sorts to the A Band Called Death documentary, tracking the band’s movement from spiritual young rockers to older and wiser, bruised-but-undefeated brothers, in pure musical terms.

Love Without Fear by Dan Wilson
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World Cafe: Dan Wilson
The Current:  Dan Wilson performs in The Current studio (2014)
Wits: Fred Willard with Dan Wilson
The Current: Dan Wilson talks about the success of ‘Closing Time’ and the changing industry
The Current: Dan Wilson debuts new single ‘Disappearing’
The Current: Theft of the Dial: Dan & Matt Wilson (2013)
MPR News: Dan Wilson on the science of the tearful ballad
From his early days as singer and guitarist for Minneapolis cult favorites Trip Shakespeare to his Grammy-winning turn as songsmith for acts like the Dixie Chicks and Adele, Dan Wilson’s career has been a humble and inspiring Midwestern success story. Pouring his passions and talent into various collaborations, production efforts, and graphic art, Wilson has dedicated a relatively scant amount of time (though plenty of effort) to his career as a solo artist. 2007’s sharp collection Free Life was only his first studio LP and it took him another seven years to follow it up with the warm, meditative Love Without Fear. Although Wilson began his career in the mid 1980’s, he’s chosen his projects carefully and since the dissolution of Semisonic (his second and most successful band) in 2001, he’s made it his business to stand for quality over quantity. The eleven songs on Love Without Fear pull from the various styles in which Wilson has worked, blending bits of country and Americana with straight-ahead rock and pop, all fused to a sturdy spine of classic singer/songwriter music. Even more so than on Free Life, the songs are delivered on warmly-recorded acoustic guitar or piano and tastefully backed by a band of industry pros and guests like Blake Mills, Nickel Creek’s Sean Watkins, and Dixie Chick Natalie Maines. There’s certainly a weariness to tracks like the country waltz “Too Much” and the darkly epic “However Long,” but Wilson never wallows in it. His songs have always carried a thread of hope and contain a silver lining more often than not. It’s what gives legs to a great track like “A Song Can Be About Anything” which is actually about a breakup or to the lovely, melancholic album closer and Missy Higgins duet “Even the Stars Are Sleeping.” Love Without Fear is a strong, mature work and it’s great to hear Wilson step out from behind his collaborators to present his own work again. His songwriting may have brought him the most success, but it’s Wilson’s superb tenor voice that gives those songs a life of their own. Let’s hope it’s not another seven years before we hear it again.

Love Without Fear by Dan Wilson

Buy  Buy CD | Vinyl | iTunes

World Cafe: Dan Wilson

The Current:  Dan Wilson performs in The Current studio (2014)

Wits: Fred Willard with Dan Wilson

The Current: Dan Wilson talks about the success of ‘Closing Time’ and the changing industry

The Current: Dan Wilson debuts new single ‘Disappearing’

The Current: Theft of the Dial: Dan & Matt Wilson (2013)

MPR News: Dan Wilson on the science of the tearful ballad

From his early days as singer and guitarist for Minneapolis cult favorites Trip Shakespeare to his Grammy-winning turn as songsmith for acts like the Dixie Chicks and Adele, Dan Wilson’s career has been a humble and inspiring Midwestern success story. Pouring his passions and talent into various collaborations, production efforts, and graphic art, Wilson has dedicated a relatively scant amount of time (though plenty of effort) to his career as a solo artist. 2007’s sharp collection Free Life was only his first studio LP and it took him another seven years to follow it up with the warm, meditative Love Without Fear. Although Wilson began his career in the mid 1980’s, he’s chosen his projects carefully and since the dissolution of Semisonic (his second and most successful band) in 2001, he’s made it his business to stand for quality over quantity. The eleven songs on Love Without Fear pull from the various styles in which Wilson has worked, blending bits of country and Americana with straight-ahead rock and pop, all fused to a sturdy spine of classic singer/songwriter music. Even more so than on Free Life, the songs are delivered on warmly-recorded acoustic guitar or piano and tastefully backed by a band of industry pros and guests like Blake Mills, Nickel Creek’s Sean Watkins, and Dixie Chick Natalie Maines. There’s certainly a weariness to tracks like the country waltz “Too Much” and the darkly epic “However Long,” but Wilson never wallows in it. His songs have always carried a thread of hope and contain a silver lining more often than not. It’s what gives legs to a great track like “A Song Can Be About Anything” which is actually about a breakup or to the lovely, melancholic album closer and Missy Higgins duet “Even the Stars Are Sleeping.” Love Without Fear is a strong, mature work and it’s great to hear Wilson step out from behind his collaborators to present his own work again. His songwriting may have brought him the most success, but it’s Wilson’s superb tenor voice that gives those songs a life of their own. Let’s hope it’s not another seven years before we hear it again.

The Both by The Both (Aimee Mann and Ted Leo)
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NPR: First Listen: The Both, ‘The Both’
NPR Music: The Both: Tiny Desk Concert
Wits: Episode 38 | Tim Heidecker with Aimee Mann and Ted Leo
Wits: Episode 42 | Aimee Mann and Ted Leo
KEXP: Live Video: The Both at Bumbershoot Music Lounge
Sound Opinions: The Both review
Critically acclaimed musicians Aimee Mann and Ted Leo have joined forces for a collaborative project they call The Both. The duo’s self-titled debut will be released April 15 via SuperEgo Records. Building on a friendship forged while they were on tour together last year, it was Leo’s solo sets that piqued Mann’s interest in getting on stage with him and writing music together. Of the project, Mann notes, “Honestly, I feel like for the first time, I’m part of a rock band.”

The Both by The Both (Aimee Mann and Ted Leo)

Buy  Buy CD | Vinyl | iTunes

NPR: First Listen: The Both, ‘The Both’

NPR Music: The Both: Tiny Desk Concert

Wits: Episode 38 | Tim Heidecker with Aimee Mann and Ted Leo

Wits: Episode 42 | Aimee Mann and Ted Leo

KEXP: Live Video: The Both at Bumbershoot Music Lounge

Sound Opinions: The Both review

Critically acclaimed musicians Aimee Mann and Ted Leo have joined forces for a collaborative project they call The Both. The duo’s self-titled debut will be released April 15 via SuperEgo Records. Building on a friendship forged while they were on tour together last year, it was Leo’s solo sets that piqued Mann’s interest in getting on stage with him and writing music together. Of the project, Mann notes, “Honestly, I feel like for the first time, I’m part of a rock band.”

Looking Into You: A Tribute to Jackson Browne
  Buy CD | iTunes
As Heard on Public Radio:
WFPK: Album of the Month - Looking into You
Strange Currency: New Music
A Tribute album to Jackson Browne featuring Ben Harper, Lyle Lovett, Keb Mo, Bonnie Raitt, Shawn Colvin, Bruce Hornsby and Bruce Springsteen, among others.

Looking Into You: A Tribute to Jackson Browne

Buy  Buy CD | iTunes

As Heard on Public Radio:

WFPK: Album of the Month - Looking into You

Strange Currency: New Music

A Tribute album to Jackson Browne featuring Ben Harper, Lyle Lovett, Keb Mo, Bonnie Raitt, Shawn Colvin, Bruce Hornsby and Bruce Springsteen, among others.

3rd by The Baseball Project
  Buy CD | Vinyl
The Current: The Baseball Project perform in The Current studio
KEXP: The Baseball Project: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Home Run
Weekend Edition: The Baseball Project: Double Play
NPR: Baseball Project: When Perfection Slips Away
All Things Considered: The Baseball Project: For Love Of The Game
Only a Game: The Baseball Project Reaches Third (Album)
Sound Opinions: The Baseball Project
2014 album from the super group. The Baseball Project, the critically acclaimed alt-rock supergroup featuring Peter Buck (R.E.M., The Minus 5), Scott McCaughey (The Minus 5, Young Fresh Fellows, R.E.M.), Mike Mills (R.E.M.), Linda Pitmon and Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate), deliver another batch of songs inspired by the great American past-time. This collection continues their tradition of inspired rock songs that provide passionately funny and sarcastically reverent commentary on the sport of baseball. And those who aren’t fans of the sport can still enjoy the music, while brushing up on their knowledge.

3rd by The Baseball Project

Buy  Buy CD | Vinyl

The Current: The Baseball Project perform in The Current studio

KEXP: The Baseball Project: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Home Run

Weekend Edition: The Baseball Project: Double Play

NPR: Baseball Project: When Perfection Slips Away

All Things Considered: The Baseball Project: For Love Of The Game

Only a Game: The Baseball Project Reaches Third (Album)

Sound Opinions: The Baseball Project

2014 album from the super group. The Baseball Project, the critically acclaimed alt-rock supergroup featuring Peter Buck (R.E.M., The Minus 5), Scott McCaughey (The Minus 5, Young Fresh Fellows, R.E.M.), Mike Mills (R.E.M.), Linda Pitmon and Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate), deliver another batch of songs inspired by the great American past-time. This collection continues their tradition of inspired rock songs that provide passionately funny and sarcastically reverent commentary on the sport of baseball. And those who aren’t fans of the sport can still enjoy the music, while brushing up on their knowledge.

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (40th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition) by Elton John
  Buy CD
Fresh Air: Elton John
This 40th anniversary super deluxe box set includes the original album remastered, a CD of all-new cover versions by contemporary artists personally chosen by Elton with additional tracks and B-sides, the full LIVE AT HAMMERSMITH ‘73 concert on two CDs, and a DVD of Bryan Forbes’ 1973 film ELTON JOHN AND BERNIE TAUPIN SAY GOODBYE TO NORMA JEAN AND OTHER THINGS. In addition to the discs, the box also contains a 100-page illustrated hardback book packed with rare photos, memorabilia and a new essay containing interviews with Elton John and Bernie Taupin.

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (40th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition) by Elton John

Buy  Buy CD

Fresh Air: Elton John

This 40th anniversary super deluxe box set includes the original album remastered, a CD of all-new cover versions by contemporary artists personally chosen by Elton with additional tracks and B-sides, the full LIVE AT HAMMERSMITH ‘73 concert on two CDs, and a DVD of Bryan Forbes’ 1973 film ELTON JOHN AND BERNIE TAUPIN SAY GOODBYE TO NORMA JEAN AND OTHER THINGS. In addition to the discs, the box also contains a 100-page illustrated hardback book packed with rare photos, memorabilia and a new essay containing interviews with Elton John and Bernie Taupin.

The Punk Singer
  Buy DVD
NPR: Silent For Years, A Riot Grrrl Steps Back To The Mic
Day to Day: Kathleen Hanna: A Riot Grrrl’s New Act
All Things Considered: Bikini Kill Rises Again, No Less Relevant
NPR’s The Record: Revolution Girl Style, 20 Years Later
Fresh Air: Kathleen Hanna and Johanna Fateman of the Band, Le Tigre
Kathleen Hanna, lead singer of the punk band Bikini Kill and dance-punk trio Le Tigre, rose to national attention as the reluctant but never shy voice of the riot grrrl movement. In so doing she became both one of the most famously outspoken feminist icons and a cultural lightning rod. While her critics wished she would just shut up, her fans hoped she never would. So when in 2005 Hanna stopped shouting, many wondered why. Through 20 years of archival footage and intimate interviews with Hanna and those who were part of the scene, including music legends Joan Jett and Adam Horowitz, THE PUNK SINGER takes viewers on a fascinating tour of contemporary music and offers a never-before-seen view into the life of this fearless leader.

The Punk Singer

Buy  Buy DVD

NPR: Silent For Years, A Riot Grrrl Steps Back To The Mic

Day to Day: Kathleen Hanna: A Riot Grrrl’s New Act

All Things Considered: Bikini Kill Rises Again, No Less Relevant

NPR’s The Record: Revolution Girl Style, 20 Years Later

Fresh Air: Kathleen Hanna and Johanna Fateman of the Band, Le Tigre

Kathleen Hanna, lead singer of the punk band Bikini Kill and dance-punk trio Le Tigre, rose to national attention as the reluctant but never shy voice of the riot grrrl movement. In so doing she became both one of the most famously outspoken feminist icons and a cultural lightning rod. While her critics wished she would just shut up, her fans hoped she never would. So when in 2005 Hanna stopped shouting, many wondered why. Through 20 years of archival footage and intimate interviews with Hanna and those who were part of the scene, including music legends Joan Jett and Adam Horowitz, THE PUNK SINGER takes viewers on a fascinating tour of contemporary music and offers a never-before-seen view into the life of this fearless leader.

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