Arts and Entertainment

Sheryl Crow "Feels Like Home" (Warner Bros)

Pappy's: Last Show Ever, Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh

After some muted outings, the sketch group Pappy's are back to their lovable best, on the kind of form that saw them shortlisted for Edinburgh's comedy award in 2007 and will probably get them a place on this year's list, too.

Album: Bill Fay, Life Is People (Dead Oceans)

Success in songwriting is as much a lottery as a measure of true quality.

Album: Karima Francis, The Remedy (Vertigo)

In 2008 that arbiter of popular culture the Daily Mail called Francis "the next big thing". What followed was a debut album that didn't quite deliver and nine months in a hospital bed with anorexia.

Anna Calvi

Here strum the girls

A new wave of women aren't content to use the guitar to simply accompany songs. They have forged brave new ways to play the instrument, argues Chris Mugan

Paul Heaton Presents The 8th, Barbican, London


“You looked confused at some points,” amiably admits Paul Heaton after overseeing his confusing and long-winded soul opera, The 8th.

Jim McCrary: Photographer who shot over 300 album covers

The US photographer Jim McCrary created over 300 album covers, including Reach Out by Burt Bacharah, Mad Dogs and Englishmen by Joe Cocker, Now & Then by The Carpenters, Nuthin' Fancy by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Two Sides of the Moon by Keith Moon and Remote Control by The Tubes.

Amy Macdonald

Amy Macdonald: Songs in the key of life – from Glasgow

Amy Macdonald isn't your average pop star. She writes positive songs, refuses to relocate to London, and has a footballer boyfriend yet hasn't sold her privacy to the tabloids. David Sinclair meets her

John Mayer fights back over Taylor Swift's 'Dear John' track

Taylor Swift has never revealed her target in the scathing song "Dear John," but John Mayer is pretty sure it was about him — and he doesn't think that's cool.

Bob Dylan's a hit at the White House

Bob Dylan, who once wrote that "even the president of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked", has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama.

Album: Joel Frederiksen, Requiem for a Pink Moon (Harmonia Mundi

There's been increasing traffic between the folk and classical fields of late, though it's rare for a contemporary songwriter to be the focus, as in this "Elizabethan Tribute to Nick Drake".

Album: Delaney Davidson, Bad Luck Man (Voodoo Rhythm)

This New Zealander's second album is a rattling, twanging, guitar-thumping celebration of the inebriated underdog as tragicomic hero.

Ke$ha's name, and her clothes, speak volumes - whereas acts such as Sonia seem more subtle than today's stars

'Sluttish stars harm youngsters,' says Mike Stock

Hit Eighties' songwriter blames today's singers for taking the easy option

Jodie Marie - The shy singer who became a folk-pop sensation

But for a chance encounter in a B&B in west Wales, Jodie Marie might never have got a record deal. She still can't quite believe it's all happening, she tells Elisa Bray

Album: Carole King, The Legendary Demos (Decca)

You might remember King from such pop classics as “You've Got A Friend”, “Natural Woman”, “It's Too Late”...

Album: BBB (Balkan Beat Box), Give (Crammed Discs)

This New York-based trio's name has always irritated because it fails to convey how musically eclectic they are.

Voices
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Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week