News

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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Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee