Alejandro Escovedo’s passions elevate ‘The Crossing’

Drawing up a family tree of Alejandro Escovedo’s lengthy career results in a small forest with branches spread out across punk, rock and alt-country. Now 67, he’s

Engaging pop potpourri from Aaron Lee Tasjan

When performing on a cruise ship, Aaron Lee Tasjan has been known to play New York Dolls music that sends listeners fleeing for the exits. The amusing

Iron & Wine retains intimacy on 6-song ‘Weed Garden’

For fans of Iron & Wine, it’s Christmas in August. “Weed Garden” is a six-track EP including songs written by Sam Beam mostly while working toward his

Gilbert O’Sullivan’s 19th album even better than first

Gilbert O’Sullivan is still himself — reflective, sensitive and witty — on his 19th studio album, which often sounds like his 1971 debut, maybe even better.

A powerhouse debut from duo the War and Treaty

A long with his considerable talents as a guitarist, singer, songwriter, producer, bandleader and radio host, Buddy Miller is an excellent talent scout. In the case of the

On ‘Vicious,’ Halestorm rides on elevated thrash-pop

Vicious comes five years after Halestorm’s Grammy-winning hit “Love Bites (So Do I)” became the group’s standing claim to mainstream fame. Produced by Nick Raskulinecz, who has

Willie Nile delivers depth, danceable defiance

“I wanna be a painting; I don’t wanna be a sketch.” Willie Nile, who embraces this noble objective in the song “Lookin’ for Someone,” delivers depth and

Tom Bailey follows the Thompson Twins’ blueprint

At its peak, Thompson Twins created some great 1980s synth pop, songs with refined melodies, thoughtful lyrics and a wide range of keyboard sounds, enlivened by crystalline

Meg Myers is angry, anguished, exciting on new album

If you assume from the title of Meg Myers’ new album that she’s taken a fun and frivolous turn, you’ll be sorely mistaken. Thrilled, but very mistaken. The superb

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

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