thu 30/03/2017

Americana

Sunday Book: George Saunders - Lincoln in the Bardo

George Saunders has written a historical novel. Of course, this being Saunders, author of four volumes of dystopian short stories about contemporary America (the wonderful Tenth of December is the most recent), it’s unlike any other. This is a tale...

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CD: Alison Krauss - Windy City

An album to please old fans and make new ones, Windy City is a peach – even at first playing it feels like slipping in to a worn-in pair of jeans or boots, a comfy ol’ fit. And that’s because the songs are country classics and in our musical DNA....

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Tom Waits: Tales from a Cracked Jukebox, BBC Four

“I’m not necessarily the ‘I’ in my songs” declared Tom Waits in James Maycock's documentary, its title a tipping of the proverbial hat to another artist who, in his 69 years on earth, inhabited many roles.Tom Waits has mostly kept journalists at arm...

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Josh Ritter, St Stephen's Church

The only British gig in Josh Ritter’s so-called work-in-progress tour took place in the somewhat unlikely venue of St Stephen’s Church, Shepherd’s Bush, a rather fine example of gothic revival style. It’s almost opposite Bush Hall, which would have...

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CD: Ryan Adams - Prisoner

Ryan Adams’s 16th solo album since he debuted in 2000 with Heartbreaker reveals many influences, including AC/DC and the Electric Light Orchestra - notably on the opening track and single, “Do You Still Love Me”, where keyboards are to the fore. But...

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Albums of the Year: Dolly Parton - Pure & Simple

The unsinkable Dolly Parton turned 70 in 2016 and the new year marks the 50th anniversary of her debut album, Hello, I’m Dolly. Pure & Simple is her 43rd studio album, its genesis a brace of stripped-down concerts given at Nashville’s Ryman...

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When Sam Shepard was a Londoner

Sam Shepard came to live in London in 1971, nursing ambitions to be a rock musician. When he went home three years later, he was soon to be found on the drumstool of Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder tour. But as soon as he arrived in London was waylaid...

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Buried Child, Trafalgar Studios

What stroke of prescience brought two Sam Shepard plays to London in the very month America voted for Trump? The kind of people we’re learning to call the disenfranchised have been Shepard’s focus for the last 40 years, and now they’re global news....

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CD: Neil Young - Peace Trail

The 37th studio album from the man dubbed “the godfather of grunge” is raw, down and dirty-sounding – like many of the problems Neil Young grapples with. Recorded over four days at Rick Rubin’s Shangri-la Studios in Malibu with Jim Keltner on drums...

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Sunday Book: The New Yorker Book of the 60s

As the United States – and the world – agonises over the coming of Donald Trump, it seems to many of us that all hope is almost irretrievably lost. How timely, then, is the publication of a collection of essays which chronicle and celebrate a...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: REM

Good grief, was Out of Time really 25 years ago? This was the seventh studio album from the li'l ole band from Athens, Georgia, and the one with which they finally cracked open the mainstream international market. This was when people still used to...

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CD: Martha Wainwright - Goodnight City

After four years, Martha Wainwright is back with her fourth solo album. While she’s been away she’s turned 40 and now says that on this outing she’s “a songwriter, but also just a singer and interpreter. This is perhaps the essence of who I truly am...

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