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

Interview: Caitlin Rose - 2010's honky tonk heroine

The first time you hear Caitlin Rose, the Nashville-born singer-songwriter whose country-tinged arrangements are threatening to make a big impression in 2010, you'll thank your lucky stars that she chose to pursue a career in music rather than go to college.

Why it's getting easier to carry a gun in the US

In the past two years, firearm restrictions have been relaxed in 24 states

Worldwide record-breaking mania strikes

More than 200,000 people around the world came together today to break some wacky and wonderful records on the fifth annual Guinness World Records Day, which commemorates the day in 2004 when Guinness World Records became the world's bestselling copyright book.

Album: Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Speed of Life (Sugar Hill)

The Nitties were one of those happy aggregations that spent the late 1960s alloying the American folk tradition with new-fangled West Coast rock, to no discernable impact on the drift of Western culture – even when Jackson Browne was briefly a member.

Album: John Hammond, Rough and Tough, (Chesky)

An umptysquillionth album by the son of the man who discovered Bob Dylan, a veteran bluesman with all the payable dues duly signed and docketed except for the unfixable fact of his whiteness.

Apple boss Jobs admits to liver transplant

But the talismanic CEO kept fans guessing over the revolutionary touch-screen 'Tablet'

Album: Dave Cloud & The Gospel Of Power, Fever (Fire Records)

Nashville's resident "garage-rock lounge lizard extraordinaire", Dave Cloud looks like Jim Royle readying himself for a "tom tit" trip to the loo, and sounds like something nasty lurking in the undergrowth waiting to scare small children.

How we saw off Brüno

Murray Echols was a 75-year-old Alabama pensioner innocently indulging his passion for ballroom dancing. Then along came Sacha Baron Cohen and his film crew ...

American Football: McNair was murdered say police

Former American football player Steve McNair's shooting death was a homicide, police said yesterday, but authorities stopped short of saying it was a murder-suicide committed by the 20-year-old girlfriend found dead by his side.

Album: Levon Helm, Electric Dirt, (Vanguard)

Dirt Farmer revisited. Perhaps Son of Dirt Farmer would be more idiomatic. Or just Son of the Dirt. Either way it continues the former Band singer/drummer's impressive return as the grand old man of soulful Southern-ness.

Album: Levon Helm, Electric Dirt (Vanguard)

On his 2007 comeback album, Dirt Farmer, Levon Helm's distinctive weather-beaten vocal tones animated the plight of the rural underclass as vividly as any documentary.

Hannah Montana: The Movie (U)

Surprisingly entertaining, feature-length treatment of the smash-hit TV series, in which Miley Cyrus plays ordinary high-school student Miley Stewart, transformed by night into rock super-star Hannah.

Two dead, dozens injured in Tennessee tornadoes

Two people were killed and dozens more injured yesterday in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, when a series of tornadoes ripped through the state, causing extensive property damage in several communities.

Stroke victim's 'deathbed' confession to 32-year-old murder proves premature

Lying in his bed for what he was convinced were his final moments, James Brewer, a stroke victim, felt compelled to confess to a crime that had weighed on his conscience for more than three decades.

Album: Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Beware (Domino)

What the hell to make of Will Oldham's umpteenth record in his guise as Bonnie "Prince" Billy?

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NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own