Years of dues led Carolina Story to stellar debut

Ben Roberts comes from Arkansas, his wife Emily is from South Dakota, and they met in Memphis a decade ago. But Nashville was always their destiny. The couple’s debut album, “Lay

‘Lost’ 1963 John Coltrane album a treasure

It’s a rare pleasure to hear this “lost” John Coltrane album for the first time. The component sounds of his classic quartet are so familiar that it’s

Xavier Rudd’s ‘Storm Boy’ inspired by childhood film

The title track of Xavier Rudd’s latest album was inspired by a pelican he saw while sitting by a river sipping tea. The water bird reminded him

Roger Daltrey aces set of soulful covers, originals

It may seem paradoxical to begin a review of a Roger Daltrey album by mentioning Pete Townshend, but The Who vocalist himself credits his bandmate for encouragement in getting

Shawn Mendes fragile and soulful on self-titled CD

The month of May is turning into a banner one for album releases from young, good- looking, sensitive singer-songwriters blessed with awesome falsettos. First came Charlie Puth and

Potent pop pastiche from Californian Matt Costa

Rock ‘n’ roll is now old enough to draw social security, which means that for contemporary acts, influences become multigenerational. Such is the case with California singer-songwriter Matt Costa,

Sevendust polished, heavy and melodic on new album

There are some people who sneer at hard rockers Sevendust, expressing dislike for the metal band for its lighter tones and stylistic changes. To which we respectfully

Kat Edmonson truly sings like an ‘Old Fashioned Gal’

Kat Edmonson’s “Old Fashioned Gal” sounds like an alternate soundtrack to an Audrey Hepburn film, 11 self-penned songs of gentle romance and vulnerability in a decades-old style

‘Wolfman’ Washington’s album is deeply New Orleans

Inside a New Orleans studio, Walter “Wolfman” Washington takes a sip of his drink, puts the glass down — ice cubes percussively chinking — and strums

Sting and Shaggy collaborate on sunny reggae album

The fact that Shaggy and Sting are teaming up on a CD does, admittedly, sound like a gimmick. Why are these two very different artists together? Because they happen

Rock’s not dead, neither is Spinal Tap’s bassist

This album answers a question no one was asking: Is Derek Smalls still alive? Smalls was once a bit player in the two-bit heavy metal band

Ben Harper, Charlie Musselwhite stage blues reunion

With a Grammy for best blues album in their pocket for 2014’s “Get Up!” Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite put themselves in contention again with “No Mercy

Kim Richey keeps great music coming below the radar Kim Richey, “Edgeland” (Yep Roc Records)

Kim Richey has been winning over critics for years, but music buyers have been slower to catch on. On her eighth album, “Edgeland,” she once again

Snoop Dogg takes us to church on gospel double CD

Snoop Dogg, one of rap’s OGs, has a gospel double album out. Yes, that’s right: The D-O-Double-G is doing G-O-D. A humble, peace-loving, family-centered Snoop emerges

Joan Baez’s expressive talent intact on new album

Nearly 10 years on from her last studio album, Joan Baez delivers another pearl, 10 deeply felt interpretations about the human condition and the state of the world. Baez's

Randy Bachman reimagines George Harrison tunes, goes too far

Randy Bachman, founder of The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive, let’s his imagination run away with 11 George Harrison songs on “By George — By Bachman,” which

Troubadour Vance Joy delivers on ‘Nation of Two’

If ukuleles make their way back onto the pop charts, you can probably thank Vance Joy. The Australian singer-songwriter delivers an exciting sophomore effort with “Nation of Two,” a

Angelic harmonies shine on I’m With Her’s new album

Feels like fate must have brought together three already successful alt-folk musicians whose angel voices blend as seamlessly as their strings. The lovely sounds of I’m With

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