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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Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen