Big Harp guitarist and lead singer Chris Senseney pulls his minivan into a gas station off Interstate 80 near the small town of Walnut, Iowa. His wife, and the band's bassist, Stefanie Drootin-Senseney jostles through children's books and toys scattered on the floor. Their kids do what kids do on long car trips: sing.
This past year was a good one for Naxos Records. In fact, it's been a great quarter century for the company, which has grown from a budget-label punch line to a leading force in classical music recording.
As a boy, Christopher Owens was raised by a single mother, a follower of the nomadic religious cult Children of God. They skipped across continents — no telephones, no TV, no outside books — just their tight-knit community of hippie expatriates.
The Children of God taught Owens and the other kids in the cult to sing and play guitar on the street for spare change. That's partially how they supported themselves. It's also how Owens found a way out.
He turned his busking into a one-way ticket to Texas when he was 16.
Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 10:13 am
The pride of Hoboken, N.J., and record collectors everywhere, Yo La Tengo is set to release its 13th studio album, Fade, on Jan. 15. The iconic indie-rock band visited World Cafe Live in Philadelphia on Friday to perform some of the best songs from the new record.
One of the great little-known albums of last year came from a native of Halifax, Nova Scotia — a seasoned and award-winning singer-songwriter who has steadily built a following here in the U.S. Rose Cousins' self-released We Have Made a Spark landed on Folk Alley's Best of 2012 list for its beautiful harmonies, creative arrangements and the sort of arresting songwriting that's sad even as it leaves listeners feeling hopeful.
Bob Dylan has made some puzzling moves in his celebrated career, but the compilation that his record label recently released may be as odd as anything he's ever put out.
The compilation, 50th Anniversary Collection, is a limited-edition, four-CD set that was only released in Europe. It seems to have been designed by the label to exploit a recent change in European copyright law.
Vocalist and poet Kurt Elling brings his rich baritone to Piano Jazz for a set of tunes and spoken improvisations with host Marian McPartland. As a child, Elling sang regularly in church and discovered jazz while studying at the University of Chicago Divinity School. He began sitting in at the city's jazz clubs, where his unique ability to improvise vocally led him in a new career direction.
Singer and actor Eric Benét charges his old-school soul songwriting with healthy doses of modern funk and hip-hop. His winning formula has been recognized with multiple Grammy and NAACP Image Award nominations. He also has a busy acting career in film and television, and starred in the 2011 feature film Trinity Goodheart.
Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 4:19 pm
David Bowie released a new single this week. The song may be new, but it sounds old. It sounds familiar. Like a David Bowie song. It sounds new and familiar at the same time. This is what makes it so good, I think. (It also has the wonderful lyric: "The moment we know we know we know.")
This got me thinking about the fact that music has a history. This is puzzling. Why should music have a history?