Will.i.am, Ed Sheeran and Mumford & Sons are among the stars who have recorded new versions of celebrated protest songs to highlight issues of global poverty.
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Sunday 30 December 2012
Forty years in the making, four CDs and 260 minutes long, Mississippi-born trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith's Ten Freedom Summers proved hard to beat for strength and depth.
Sunday 18 November 2012
Generous, creative – and still groovy after all these years
Tuesday 21 August 2012
Singer David Gray has fallen out with his neighbours over his plans to convert famed north London recording studios into flats.
Saturday 11 August 2012
Last week, Grizzly Bear unveiled the second single from their new 10-track album, Shields, due on 18 September – coming a little more than three years after their much-loved third album, Veckatimest.
Sunday 05 August 2012
The third album by London-Irish singer McGuinness, most visible until lately as a member of Miles Kane's backing band, packs a sly wit and a melodic punch which, at its best, recalls early Squeeze and Talking Heads circa Remain in Light.
Friday 16 March 2012
Books I've just finished Russell Banks's Lost Memory Of Skin, which has its flaws, but the man can really write and he's passionate about social justice in America. He chose his country's most marginalised group [sex offenders] as his focus and continued with courage, for which he has my thanks. I've also been reading Daniel Simpson's A Rough Guide to the Dark Side – it's all about why he left The New York Times and the jaw-dropping realities of modern journalism. Great, funny, passionate stuff.
Friday 16 March 2012
Books: I've just finished Russell Banks's Lost Memory Of Skin, which has its flaws, but the man can really write and he's passionate about social justice in America. He chose his country's most marginalised group [sex offenders] as his focus and continued with courage, for which he has my thanks. I've also been reading Daniel Simpson's A Rough Guide to the Dark Side – it's all about why he left The New York Times and the jaw-dropping realities of modern journalism. Great, funny, passionate stuff.
Saturday 19 November 2011
Further to your obituary of Jackie Leven (17 November), when I was writing a book about the British on holiday, and wanted to include a chapter on cruising, a mutual friend put me in touch with the singer-songwriter, who in his droll Scottish manner told me about his experience as the "entertainment" on a two-week cruise of the Norwegian fjords in 2002.
Friday 19 August 2011
There's a heavy Elvis Costello influence behind the songs of Simon Bristoll, singer/songwriter with Leeds combo Captain Wilberforce.
Friday 20 May 2011
Laughing and joking with the crowd, at ease on stage, you'd never guess that less than two years ago Laura and Lydia Rogers had never been on a plane, let alone performed in front of a live audience. The sibling duo, who hail from the perfectly Bible-Belt-sounding Muscle Shoals, Alabama, formed The Secret Sisters after elder sister Laura (who handles lead vocals) was spotted at an impromptu Nashville audition. Los Angeles beckoned and their self-titled debut album of sweet harmonies and country charm (recorded, in faux-1950s fashioned, without any digital equipment) was born.
Sunday 01 May 2011
She's on the cover, smirking in front of an old map: a naughty sea god(dess) in a Cruikshank cartoon. Which somehow suits the discursive post-folk rompery of the music: highly arranged, wordy as an Elvis Costello song with larks taking the place of bitterness.
Sunday 27 February 2011
Americana's most ripped and bleeding soul gets down with a Don Was co-production, which means presence and rough warmth in the ear.
Sunday 12 December 2010
Close-harmonising sisters, mandolins, lapsteels and, when the songwriting hits the spot, country-pop which – were it given that "polished" production that kills most music of this kind – would sell squillions in those parts of America tourists rarely tread.
Sunday 24 October 2010
From Plant to John to Costello – what is it about singers of a certain age that makes them turn to T Bone Burnett (who, if he spreads himself any thinner, will have to change his name to Minute Steak)?
Sunday 25 July 2010
When pop's fickle finger briefly pointed towards Sunderland about five years ago, Renney's band the Golden Virgins were swiftly signed up alongside the Futureheads and Field Music.
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