Arts and Entertainment

Sheryl Crow "Feels Like Home" (Warner Bros)

KD Lang: 'In the end, I knew it would all come back to the music. And it did'

She has been a lesbian icon, party animal, and paparazzi favourite. But now, she tells Fiona Sturges, she's happy just to be singing

The anti-Gagas: A new tribe of young female artists is going back to basics

They come from the same generation as Lady Gaga – but the young female artists on the following pages certainly don't share her love for outlandish showmanship. simmy richman meets the sisters doing it for posterity

The Secret Sisters, Bush Hall, London

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.

Album: Mona, Mona (Zion Noiz/Island)

Much is expected of Nashville-based rockers Mona, winners of MTV's "Brand New for 2011" award.

Emmylou Harris: 'I smoked country music but I didn't inhale'

She may now be winning Grammys for 'contemporary folk', but Emmylou Harris is finally ready to confront the heartache and loss that made her the queen of the red-raw country ballad

Chilli: C'mon baby, light my fire

Spicing our food with chilli has become as British as salt and pepper. But what does our obsession with heat reveal about the national psyche? And can we ever get enough? Christopher Hirst feels the burn

Album: Toy Horses, Toy Horses (Albino Sparrow)

Toy Horses are the Welsh stepson/stepfather duo of Adam Franklin (21) and Tom Williams (40) whose music has, as they say, "gone viral" in the past year, with the result that they were invited to Nashville to record their debut album.

Country Strong (12A)

Starring: Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim McGraw

Ferlin Husky: Country singer who pioneered the 'Nashville Sound'

One of the most versatile vocalists in country music, Ferlin Husky was also one of its most popular all- round entertainers, as assured handling a comedy routine as he was performing classics like "Gone" and "Wings Of A Dove".

Album: The Secret Sisters, The Secret Sisters (Decca)

Laura and Lydia Rogers are twenty-something sisters from Alabama.

Nicole Kidman overjoyed with new baby

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban are "on cloud nine" with their new baby.

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban welcome daughter

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban have become the proud parents of a baby girl.

Album: Indigo Girls, Holly Happy Days (Vanguard)

Christmas is an American state of mind.

Robert Plant, Roundhouse, London

Robert Plant looks as comfortable in his skin as a man can be. He has already skipped past his twin 2007 triumphs, the massively acclaimed hit album with Alison Krauss, Raising Sand, and Led Zeppelin's reunion show. His new album, Band of Joy, sensibly follows up neither, instead finding some of the rock spark missing from his work with Krauss. Playing with this Band of Joy, Plant includes four Zeppelin songs and revisits their wells of inspiration with urbane conviction.

First Night: Electric Proms: Elton John, Leon Russell, Plan B and Rumer, The Roundhouse, London

Elton delivers on the hits... pity about the misses
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Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there