Arts and Entertainment

Sheryl Crow "Feels Like Home" (Warner Bros)

Album: Hiss Golden Messenger, Bad Debt (Blackmaps)

Minor new talent alert! "Minor" only in the sense that MC Taylor's Hiss Golden Messenger project is unlikely to figure in any of those "ones to watch in 2011" lists.

Album: Giant Sand, Blurry Blue Mountain (Fire)

Slouching into his 50s, Giant Sand songwriter Howe Gelb sounds a tad circumspect about life in general on Blurry Blue Mountain.

State Fair, Trafalgar Studios 2, London

State Fair was the only musical that Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein composed specifically for the movies.

Album: The Climbers, The Good Ship (Willkommen Records)

Although the Climbers predate the Leisure Society (with whom they share musicians Christian Hardy and Nick Hemming), if you're going to take six years to make a record – as songwriter Tim West has – you're going to pay the price.

Album: Carole King & James Taylor, Live At The Troubadour (Hear Music)

Back in 1970, Carole King and James Taylor made their debut appearance together at Los Angeles' famed haunt, The Troubadour, as respected songwriters but unproven performers.

Album: Stornaway, Beachcomber's Windowsill (4AD)

There's an air of suspension about the eleven songs on Stornoway's debut, perhaps indicative of a band perched on the cusp of studenthood and real life.

Free downloads: Communion compilation album

The nu-folk scene that has blossomed in recent years in London and around the country has been built on like-minded musicians supporting each other and putting on gigs together. Nothing typifies this better than musical collective Communion, formed by members of Mumford and Sons amongst others, which has now started a record label, the fruits of which are made available exclusively by the Independent below.

Album: Vinicio Capossela, The Story-Faced Man (Nonesuch)

Do we really need an Italian Tom Waits?

Album: Julian Casablancas, Phrazes for the Young (Rough Trade)

On 2006's First Impressions Of Earth, Julian Casablancas seemed in terminal retreat from his muse, apparently bent on bringing The Strokes' waning momentum to a halt.

Album: Mark Eitzel, Klamath, (Decor Records)

Since Rolling Stone proclaimed him songwriter of the year in 1991, Eitzel ("the American Morrissey") has done his level best to live up to such praise and, mostly (and characteristically), he's failed.

Waterson Family & The Eliza Carthy Band, Royal Festival Hall, London

The family that plays together...

Best served cold: A lyrical revenge

Radiohead’s rather odd tribute to The Last Tommy, Harry Patch, while laudable is a little out of kilter with the natural inclination of songwriters to write about their love lives. And the songwriters art is never sharper than when writing about the bitterness of love. Katy Guest looks at the best example of the genre of revenge.

Union Chapel to host Willkommen Collective's coming-out party

Willkommen Collective, a loose community of folk-centric young bands based in Brighton, launched a record label last year and next Friday, it's hosting a coming-out party at the Union Chapel in Islington, London.

Reckless Amy: The greatest songwriter you've never heard of

'Heroin addicts, ex-cons, married men...' Amy Rigby has always based her darkly funny tales of love-gone-wrong on her own life. So how did the 'greatest modern songwriter you've never heard of' find herself living in the middle of nowhere with a former punk-rocker called Wreckless Eric?
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Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?