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Poignant letter is filled with words of encouragement for her 22-year-old self

Album: Joey & Rory, A Farmhouse Christmas (Sugar Hill)

A kind of pathological localism lies at the heart of the American ideal of Christmas, and they don't get any more local than Joey and Rory, a husband and wife duo from Tennessee.

Album: Kalli, Last Train Home (One Little Indian)

The lure of Laurel Canyon stretches far and wide – to Iceland in Karl "Kalli" Henry's case, though he actually travelled to Nashville to record Last Train Home, surmising that top sessioners like Buddy Spicher, Hargus "Pig" Robbins and "Gentleman" Lloyd Green were best equipped to realise his country-rock dream.

Album: Ashton Shepherd, Where Country Grows (MCA Nashville)

There's something immensely gratifying about rockin' country music like this: the songs, the wit, the playing, the production values, the crackle of atmospheric enjoyment which accompanies such certainty of purpose.

Album: Dave Cloud and the Gospel of Power, Practice In The Milky Way (Fire)

Nashville's "garage-rock lounge lizard extraordinaire" is given to bouts of Beefheartian lyricism on his latest collection, bawled with sinister charm over grinding riffs whose function is surely to keep his muse on the rails.

Album: Joss Stone, LP1 (Stone'd/Surfdog)

Recorded over six days in Nashville with Dave Stewart, the debut release on Joss Stone's own label is, she claims, the first on which she has exerted total creative freedom.

Talinha Sky: The Story of Kings of Leon (15)

An unlikely success story is recounted in Stephen C Mitchell's patchwork rockumentary.

Curragh murk may hobble Royal hopes

The Queen's colt out to avenge Epsom defeat but soft ground puts Irish Derby challenge in doubt

Carlton House poses threat to O'Brien's dream of sixth straight Curragh success

There will still be four runners from Ballydoyle in Sunday's Irish Derby, but not the four originally envisaged. Treasure Beach, Memphis Tennessee and Seville are still on course for the Classic that has become a benefit for their trainer Aidan O'Brien, but Recital was not on top form yesterday morning and his place in the squad will be taken by Roderic O'Connor.

Explosion rocks GKN's profits

A fatal explosion last month at an American plant run by the industrial and engineering group GKN will result in a £30m one-off hit, before insurance claims, to GKN's profits, the company said yesterday.

Kings of Leon, 02 Arena, London

Four scruffy guys walk on to the stage amid a noise level that rivals thunder and take hold of their instruments. Familiar rifts entice the crowd as a sepia film brings the faces of the Followill family close up even to thosein the deepest corners of the 02.

O'Brien settles on Derby quartet

Yesterday was a time for some i-dotting and t-crossing, and a little head-scratching, in mission control at Ballydoyle. In the morning, Aidan O'Brien's squad for the Derby was finalised; a quartet – Seville, Recital, Treasure Beach and Memphis Tennessee – is set to challenge for the £1.25m Investec-sponsored purse at Epsom on Saturday, with another who might have done so, Roderic O'Connor, heading for the Prix du Jockey-Club at Chantilly the following day.

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.

Picture of the Day: Once this was all fields... The Mississippi floodgates open

Over the next few days, water spewing through a Mississippi River floodgate will crawl through the swamps of Louisiana's Cajun country, chasing people to higher ground while leaving much of the land under 10 to 20 feet of water.

The worst is yet to come from the mighty Mississippi

The flood is expected to crest next Thursday at Vicksburg, where the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers meet, at a level easily higher than in the Great Flood of 1927
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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 1 May 2015
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power