Music

I'll bet that all of us can remember what we were doing and thinking on this past Election Day. The members of Drive-By Truckers were at World Cafe Live, performing and discussing their new album, American Band. The timing couldn't have been better — American Band may be the most political record of Drive-By Truckers' career, though the band has been writing songs about being from the South since its 2001 debut.

Today's All Songs +1 podcast is a conversation with The Antlers' Peter Silberman on how hearing loss would eventually lead him to create his first solo album.

The bowed electric guitar droned as Thao & The Get Down Stay Down revved up a mighty sound. This set, recorded live this past August as part of the Lincoln Center Out Of Doors series in New York's Damrosch Park, was the fiercest set I've seen from this San Francisco group. Singer Thao Nguyen has been a bandleader for the past dozen years or so, and these three songs — from Thao & The Get Down Stay Down's fourth studio album, A Man Alive — more than capture her quirkiness and angular power.

On the cover of Aaron Lee Tasjan's new record Silver Tears, he almost looks the perfect picture of an Americana star. He's wearing a cowboy hat, he's got a brooding expression and he's walking thoughtfully under a cloudy sky. And then there's the Bonanza-meets-disco-ball suit. Bejeweled with hand-glued pieces of mirror, it's a fitting outfit for an artist whose avant-garde and often irreverent approach reflects Americana back at itself.

This week, all the songs I play ended up being about the ways people, particularly women, empower themselves in the face of difficult times. Singer Sam Phillips offers a feast of sound in less than two and a half minutes with "World On Sticks," a song about the indomitable human spirit.

earthsongs.net

 On the Wikwemikong reserve of Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Crystal Shawanda grew up with country music and the blues. The pain and authenticity in artists’ voices moved her as she sang at funerals at a young age, a witness to alcoholism and depression in her community. Always self-motivated and ambitious, Crystal wrote an album by age 13 and moved to Nashville at 16. There, she was offered a record deal at RCA, despite being told along the way that she was not marketable as a country artist. Her first album awarded her CCMA’s Female Artist of the Year in 2008.

Before there was Dark Side Of The MoonPink Floyd's magnum opus, which stayed on the charts for years and years and has come to define progressive rock — there were years of albums and experimentation for the band. That included ballets, film scores and even live accompaniment to the moon landing. All this material, which also includes outtakes, BBC recordings and more, has been gathered into a 27-disc box set of music and video called The Early Years 1965-1972.

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