The L.A. band Beachwood Sparks took a decade-long hiatus before releasing a fantastic new album, Tarnished Gold, earlier this year. A standout on a set of easygoing alt-country, the title track is sure to appeal to fans of The Grateful Dead and especially cosmic-country hero Gram Parsons.
Originally published on Tue August 28, 2012 8:15 pm
Conductor, pianist and peace advocate Daniel Barenboim first recorded all five of Beethoven's piano concertos in 1967. Barenboim, a brash and fantastically smart 24-year-old, was paired with an elder statesman, conductor Otto Klemperer. There was real magic in that collaboration, yielding recordings that still set a benchmark.
It may come as a surprise that the photographer who shot these country stars — and their fans — is from Massachusetts. But, Henry Horenstein explains, country music "was a rural music, not necessarily a Southern music."
As a young photographer, Horenstein spent a good part of the 1970s and early '80s at bluegrass festivals, Nashville's Grand Ole Opry, New England honky-tonks and elsewhere, documenting what he believed was an "era that was going to go away."
All Songs Considered hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton are back from their 2012 World Tour, which is to say they visited Seattle and Portland, Ore. last week, and have returned with a batch of new songs and stories to share. On the west coast Bob and Robin hosted a couple of listening parties, where they played music for an audience, the audience got to rate the songs, then everyone talked about them, just like hardcore music fans.
Texas singer-songwriter James McMurtry makes his ninth appearance on Mountain Stage. Drawing from his family's storytelling tradition — he's the son of novelist Larry McMurtry — he fuses wry, literate observations about the world he inhabits with the snarl of barroom rock. The result is at times sardonic, subversive and funny, but often vulnerable and always poignant.