Arts and Entertainment

Sheryl Crow "Feels Like Home" (Warner Bros)

Album: Taylor Swift, Fearless, (Big Machine)

Taylor Swift, a lion-haired, God-thanking teenager from Pennsylvania, is currently the hottest thing in the US since sliced Obama, and Universal is shifting as many copies of Fearless as possible before she does a Britney.

Album: Miss Lana Rebel, All I Need (Loose)

Ah, good old-fashioned country music. Well, good old-fashioned country music as played by someone who spent her twenties in "a sludgy, noisy, instrumental math-metal band called Last of the Juanitas". Miss Lana Rebel is a native of Portland, Oregan, who writes and sings whisky-soaked country songs guaranteed to put tears in your beers. Too left-field for the Nashville mainstream, 'All I Need' is one for those who can tell their Neko Case from their Mary Gaulthier.

Butch Baldassari: Mandolin player whose work encompassed several musical genres

Avirtuoso mandolin player, Butch Baldassari effortlessly straddled musical genres.

Bettie Page: Queen of the Fifties pin-ups who became a cult figure

Though her modelling career only spanned seven years in the Fifties, the American pin-up Bettie Page fuelled many a fantasy and helped usher in the sexual revolution of the Sixties.

Lambchop, Union Chapel, London

Lambchop once played so quietly at London's Somerset House that you could hear the birds in the trees above them.

Police foil plot by white supremacists to kill Obama

A plot by far-right extremists to assassinate Barack Obama and kill and decapitate dozens of other black Americans at a school has been broken up, US officials claimed yesterday.

Charlie Walker: Honky-tonk singer of 'Pick Me Up On Your Way Down'

Charlie Walker was a honky-tonk musician and disc jockey best known for his classic recording of "Pick Me Up On Your Way Down". Written by the great Harlan Howard, the song, with its insistent shuffle rhythm, was a Top Five country hit in 1958.

Don Helms: Hank Williams' steel guitarist

A highly influential steel guitarist, Don Helms was best known for his membership of Hank Williams' band The Drifting Cowboys. His distinctive style, with its blues inflections and characteristic use of the upper octaves, featured on over a hundred of the singer's classic sides, including "Cold, Cold Heart" (1950), "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love With You)" (1951) and "Your Cheatin' Heart" (1952).

Johann Hari: Here's how to tune in to both Muslims and the Deep South

Music is the key to understanding two of the most politically charged, politically reviled places on earth

My Secret Life: Kid Rock, Musician, age 37

The home I grew up in... was a beautiful, very middle-class American colonial house. It was set over six acres of land and there was an apple orchard out the back. My dad got me selling the apples to our neighbours at an early age.

Nicole Kidman gives birth to girl



Nicole Kidman gave birth on a Monday to a baby girl named Sunday.

Album: Solomon Burke, Like a Fire (Pinnacle)

The King of Rock and Soul's last album Nashville didn't, as far as I recall, get a UK release, but Like a Fire continues its clear country orientation with a satisfying set of country-soul performances, ranging from the almost swamp-funk gospel of Ben Harper's "A Minute to Rest and a Second to Pray" at one extreme to "If I Give My Heart to You", a torch-song in the pioneering black-country tradition established by Ray Charles, at the other.

Album: Emmylou Harris, All I Intended to Be (Nonesuch)

Emmylou's Daniel Lanois period is over. She's back in Nashville with Brian Ahern on the other side of the thickened glass, which means that an elegantly chiming country-rock sound replaces the arty false perspectives and cultivated grit of the Lanois vibe.

Album: Dolly Parton, Backwoods Barbie (Dolly/Universal)

The first album on her own label has apparently secured Dolly Parton her first Top 20 placing since 1993 – and no wonder, given its combination of technical accomplishment and sheer likeability.

Eddy Arnold: Country music superstar

Eddy Arnold was arguably the most successful country singer of the 20th century. He sold an estimated 85 million records and enjoyed more than 140 US hits, 28 of them chart-toppers. He cut his first single for RCA Victor in 1944 and was still very much a presence on the country scene in the 1990s, having made a guest appearance on the teen sensation LeAnn Rimes' award-winning album Blue in 1996.

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Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
Fifa corruption: Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

But if a real smoking gun is found, that might change things, says Tom Peck
Twenty two years later Jurassic Park series faces questions over accuracy of the fictional dinosaurs in it

Tyrannosaurus wrecked?

Twenty two years on, Jurassic Park faces questions over accuracy
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
Genes greatly influence when and how many babies a woman will have, study finds

Mother’s genes play key role in decision to start a family

Study's findings suggest that human fertility is still evolving
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
England can win the Ashes – and Elvis Presley will present the urn

England can win the Ashes – and Elvis will present the urn

In their last five Test, they have lost two and drawn two and defeated an India side last summer who thought that turning up was competing, says Stephen Brenkley
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

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9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

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