Ken Tucker http://wrvo.org en The Cowboy That Wasn't A Cowboy Sings http://wrvo.org/post/cowboy-wasnt-cowboy-sings Cowboy Jack Clement, who died in 2013 at age 82, was a prolific producer, songwriter, arranger, and talent scout. He brought Jerry Lee Lewis to Sun Records, helped nurture the career of one of the few black country stars, Charley Pride, and worked on important albums for artists as various as Waylon Jennings and U2.<p>Jack Clement only made three albums of his own, the last of which is the new <em>For Once and For All</em>. Tue, 15 Jul 2014 19:03:00 +0000 Ken Tucker 58915 at http://wrvo.org If Jim Lauderdale Is A Song, More People Should Hear It http://wrvo.org/post/if-jim-lauderdale-song-more-people-should-hear-it <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/16295727/jim-lauderdale">Jim Lauderdale</a>'s new album is called <em>I'm A Song</em>, a title that suggests his deep Wed, 09 Jul 2014 18:37:00 +0000 Ken Tucker 58607 at http://wrvo.org Strand Of Oaks: Songs Heal All Wounds http://wrvo.org/post/strand-oaks-songs-heal-all-wounds If you're going to be downbeat, glum, or morose, it's best to do it the way Timothy Showalter does it. Which is, with an energy and purpose that doesn't contradict the melancholy, but rather frames it as various stories — studies in seriousness. He records under the name Strand of Oaks, he writes and performs nearly all of the music on this new album himself. It's titled <em>Heal</em> as in "healing a wound," something Strand of Oaks frequently seems in need of. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2014 NPR. Wed, 02 Jul 2014 18:49:00 +0000 Ken Tucker 58255 at http://wrvo.org Lana Del Rey's 'Ultraviolence' Has A Firm Grasp On Pop History http://wrvo.org/post/lana-del-reys-ultraviolence-has-firm-grasp-pop-history <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/145913023/lana-del-rey">Lana Del Rey</a> is a figure of some controversy for her suggestive lyrics, and critical debate as to the extent of her vocal talent versus her talent for publicity. She recently caused a stir when she gave an interview in which she said, quote, "I wish I was dead already," and drew criticism from, among others, Kurt Cobain's daughter Frances Bean. Thu, 26 Jun 2014 18:08:00 +0000 Ken Tucker 57975 at http://wrvo.org Parquet Courts' Misery Is Exhilarating http://wrvo.org/post/parquet-courts-misery-exhilarating Parquet Courts is a Brooklyn by way of Texas band that has just released its new third record, <em>Sunbathing Animal</em>. The quartet has drawn comparisons to New York rock and punk acts as various as the Velvet Underground, the New York Dolls, and Sonic Youth, but rock critic Ken Tucker says this album proves Parquet Courts is an original. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2014 NPR. Tue, 17 Jun 2014 18:36:00 +0000 Ken Tucker 57470 at http://wrvo.org Miranda Lambert's 'Platinum' Has Backyard Swagger http://wrvo.org/post/miranda-lamberts-platinum-has-backyard-swagger Miranda Lambert's new album is called <em>Platinum</em>. Lambert has become one of the best-selling artists in country music, and one of the most critically acclaimed. Rock critic Ken Tucker says her new album continues Lambert's ongoing project to create songs about women who are complex, fun-loving, and assertive. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2014 NPR. Wed, 04 Jun 2014 19:28:00 +0000 Ken Tucker 56824 at http://wrvo.org John Fullbright's Uneven 'Songs' Finds A Way To Fascinate http://wrvo.org/post/john-fullbrights-uneven-songs-finds-way-fascinate <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/153197900/john-fullbright">John Fullbright</a>'s <em>Songs</em> is the most interestingly uneven album I've heard in a while. The work of a smart young man, it's also the work of a self-conscious young man who's prone to mistaking articulate melancholy for wisdom. Fullbright's debut album contained bold melodies and told stories about daydreamers and offbeat people. Mon, 02 Jun 2014 19:09:00 +0000 Ken Tucker 56717 at http://wrvo.org John Fullbright's Uneven 'Songs' Finds A Way To Fascinate Two New Items From Hank Williams http://wrvo.org/post/two-new-items-hank-williams Transcript <p>TERRY GROSS, HOST: <p>This is FRESH AIR. Hank Williams is commonly considered the most important country music songwriter and one of its first tragic figures, dying at age 29, in 1953. Mon, 26 May 2014 18:03:00 +0000 Ken Tucker 56354 at http://wrvo.org Ray LaMontagne Finds The Bright Side On 'Supernova' http://wrvo.org/post/ray-lamontagne-finds-bright-side-supernova <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X294h3dl2_I</p> Tue, 13 May 2014 21:02:00 +0000 Ken Tucker 55735 at http://wrvo.org Ray LaMontagne Finds The Bright Side On 'Supernova' tUnE-yArDs: Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing http://wrvo.org/post/tune-yards-aint-nothing-real-thing <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbiFcPhccu8</p> Mon, 05 May 2014 17:43:00 +0000 Ken Tucker 55299 at http://wrvo.org tUnE-yArDs: Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing For Jessica Lea Mayfield, Sometimes Sanity Is The Better Option http://wrvo.org/post/jessica-lea-mayfield-sometimes-sanity-better-option <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meHGilIpCbE</p> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 18:44:00 +0000 Ken Tucker 54723 at http://wrvo.org For Jessica Lea Mayfield, Sometimes Sanity Is The Better Option A Duo's Debut Album: A Collaboration From 'The Both' http://wrvo.org/post/duos-debut-album-collaboration-both Transcript <p>DAVE DAVIES, HOST: <p>The Both is the name for the duo formed by veteran singer-songwriters Aimee Mann and Ted Leo. "The Both" is also the name of their debut album. The two began performing together in 2012, when Ted Leo was Mann's opening act. Mann began joining Leo onstage during his set. They liked the sound their voices together and started collaborating. Rock critic Ken Tucker has this review of "The Both."<p>(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE GAMBLER")<p>THE BOTH: (singing) The ball dropped in the cold like dawn on a cold eastern morning. Thu, 17 Apr 2014 20:57:00 +0000 Ken Tucker 54440 at http://wrvo.org Carlene Carter Carries The Heavy Burden Of History Lightly http://wrvo.org/post/carlene-carter-carries-heavy-burden-history-lightly <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbdrFYYgn3k</p> Fri, 04 Apr 2014 16:53:00 +0000 Ken Tucker 53770 at http://wrvo.org Carlene Carter Carries The Heavy Burden Of History Lightly Jon Langford Sings Our Impulse To Destroy http://wrvo.org/post/jon-langford-sings-our-impulse-destroy <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJO6KR5A9wg</p> Wed, 02 Apr 2014 18:54:00 +0000 Ken Tucker 53656 at http://wrvo.org Jon Langford Sings Our Impulse To Destroy Sara Evans: Country Power Ballads With A Punch http://wrvo.org/post/sara-evans-country-power-ballads-punch <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lexeFtDREPg</p> Thu, 20 Mar 2014 21:35:00 +0000 Ken Tucker 53017 at http://wrvo.org Sara Evans: Country Power Ballads With A Punch Angel Olsen: A Voice Of Confounding Power http://wrvo.org/post/angel-olsen-voice-confounding-power <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/245998397/angel-olsen" target="_blank">Angel Olsen</a> begins the song "Hi-Five" by paraphrasing <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15199726/hank-williams" target="_blank">Hank Williams</a>, admitting she's so lonesome she could cry. She goes on to say she just wants someone who believes in love as urgently as she does. The twanging guitar throbbing beneath these sentiments suggests that it's going to be a long, lonely search. Tue, 11 Mar 2014 17:31:00 +0000 Ken Tucker 52519 at http://wrvo.org Angel Olsen: A Voice Of Confounding Power Pharrell Williams: Just Exhilaratingly Happy http://wrvo.org/post/pharrell-just-exhilaratingly-happy Pharrell Williams, who frequently goes by just his first name, is the sort of pop star whom many people would like to view as a friend. Emerging from hip-hop, he makes charming recordings that suggest a deep appreciation of pop, soul and R&B music extending at least as far back as the 1960s. To hear Pharrell on his new album <em>G I R L</em>, you'd think his world consisted of grooving on catchy beats and flirting with women. Thu, 06 Mar 2014 19:38:00 +0000 Ken Tucker 52304 at http://wrvo.org Pharrell Williams: Just Exhilaratingly Happy Chuck Mead: Gleefully Sinister Country Serenades http://wrvo.org/post/chuck-mead-gleefully-sinister-country-serendes In "Reno County Girl," Chuck Mead serenades us with a tale about a young woman with whom his narrator fell in love. It's a loping country song, Mead's version of cowboy music, but as its pretty melody unfurls, you realize that its scenario is bleak: Mead's character urged her to leave home despite the objections of her father, and it turns out Daddy was right — this guy leaves her all by her lonesome much of the time. Mon, 03 Mar 2014 18:04:00 +0000 Ken Tucker 52138 at http://wrvo.org Chuck Mead: Gleefully Sinister Country Serenades Vertical Scratchers: Slashed Chords, Fractured Poetry http://wrvo.org/post/vertical-scratchers-slashed-chords-fractured-poetry The members of Vertical Scratchers don't have to pretend: They are free spirits, making music that is at once tightly composed, whimsical and anarchic.<p>The vocals on a Vertical Scratchers song tend to be high-pitched and yearning. John Schmersal creates harmonies from his vocal tracks that have a keening romanticism. His guitar lines are a series of slashed chords — vertical scratching, and thus the band's name. Mon, 24 Feb 2014 19:15:00 +0000 Ken Tucker 51822 at http://wrvo.org Vertical Scratchers: Slashed Chords, Fractured Poetry Lake Street Dive: 'Portraits' Of Heartache http://wrvo.org/post/lake-street-dive-portraits-heartache Lake Street Dive is powered by the voice of Rachael Price; it's what hits you first when you listen to this quartet. It's a ringingly clear, strong voice, a sound that's at once beseeching and in control. Price regularly harmonizes with the other members of Lake Street Dive — bassist Bridget Kearney, drummer Mike Calabrese and Mike Olson, who also plays guitar and trumpet. Wed, 12 Feb 2014 21:13:00 +0000 Ken Tucker 51296 at http://wrvo.org Lake Street Dive: 'Portraits' Of Heartache Hangin' Tuff: Eric Church Takes A Chance On 'The Outsiders' http://wrvo.org/post/hangin-tuff-eric-church-takes-chance-outsiders <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15397601/eric-church">Eric Church</a> is working on a level that few other country artists of his generation can touch. Now, one of the things I mean by that is that Church is willing to take big chances such as "The Outsiders," the title track from his fourth album, and clearly a manifesto he's proud of. Mon, 10 Feb 2014 18:41:00 +0000 Ken Tucker 51167 at http://wrvo.org Hangin' Tuff: Eric Church Takes A Chance On 'The Outsiders' Don't Pigeonhole Me, Bro: New Country Albums On The Borderline http://wrvo.org/post/dont-pigeonhole-me-bro-new-country-albums-borderline <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqrktVBto4s</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gp9gKMU4TJU</p> Wed, 29 Jan 2014 18:36:00 +0000 Ken Tucker 50598 at http://wrvo.org Don't Pigeonhole Me, Bro: New Country Albums On The Borderline On 'Hard Working Americans,' Songs For The Ordinary Joe http://wrvo.org/post/hard-working-americans-songs-ordinary-joe <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0yWTr2mGUk</p> Thu, 23 Jan 2014 19:45:00 +0000 Ken Tucker 50299 at http://wrvo.org On 'Hard Working Americans,' Songs For The Ordinary Joe Uneven But Vital, Bruce Springsteen Has 'High Hopes' http://wrvo.org/post/uneven-vital-bruce-springsteen-has-high-hopes <em>High Hopes</em> is a different sort of release for <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/14837922/bruce-springsteen">Bruce Springsteen</a>. It features original and cover songs that had been performed live over the years, some never recorded in a studio setting, as well as a few older songs reconceived with new arrangements and musicians.<p>Springsteen first recorded the title track in the '90s; it's a cover of a song he's long liked, by the band The Havalinas. It's a good, rough-sounding piece of music, with a rousing chorus that sounds both joyful and determined. Tue, 14 Jan 2014 17:55:00 +0000 Ken Tucker 49915 at http://wrvo.org Uneven But Vital, Bruce Springsteen Has 'High Hopes' Rosanne Cash: Seeking A 'Thread' Through Southern History http://wrvo.org/post/rosanne-cash-seeking-thread-through-southern-history For the past two decades, <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15009017/rosanne-cash">Rosanne Cash</a> has lived with her family in Manhattan, but in 2008, she was asked if she wanted to help with a project to restore the childhood home of her father, <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15165794/johnny-cash">Johnny Cash</a>, in the small town of Dyess, Ark. She agreed and went down there to do some fundraising — and in the process, she and her husband, producer-songwriter-guitarist John Leventhal, took some car trips throughout the South, soaking up history and music. Fri, 10 Jan 2014 17:29:00 +0000 Ken Tucker 49752 at http://wrvo.org Rosanne Cash: Seeking A 'Thread' Through Southern History Ken Tucker's Top 10 Albums Of 2013 http://wrvo.org/post/ken-tuckers-top-10-albums-2013 <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUqHEzgFRoA</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCP0y-mbaFo</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUxkZreYiQs</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C02bCT6telc</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLx11xq6X7Q</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9e9NSMY8QiQ</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uFjXd9trQE</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypJ3dP7qCpE</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ij0Vg0jQJks</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEsEUpk5rU8</p> Tue, 17 Dec 2013 20:09:00 +0000 Ken Tucker 48705 at http://wrvo.org Ken Tucker's Top 10 Albums Of 2013 A Former Girl-Group Singer Goes 'All Or Nothing' http://wrvo.org/post/former-girl-group-singer-goes-all-or-nothing A half-century on, La La Brooks still sings about boys and girls falling in love. At an age when other veterans of first-generation rock movements are thinking about retirement or oldies tours, Brooks has come up with a fresh, energetic collection that doesn't deny her past, but also refuses to succumb to mere nostalgia.<p>Brooks has a strong, surging voice that has deepened over the years, as can be heard in "Mind Made Up." But it's not as though the teenager who sang The Crystals' "Da Doo Ron Ron" and "Then He Kissed Me" was a cooing puppet for Phil Spector. Mon, 16 Dec 2013 18:40:00 +0000 Ken Tucker 48640 at http://wrvo.org A Former Girl-Group Singer Goes 'All Or Nothing' Two Sides Of Holiday Cheer From Kelly Clarkson, Nick Lowe http://wrvo.org/post/two-sides-holiday-cheer-kelly-clarkson-nick-lowe <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMimVRA1hRo</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ks4xy_HVD9I</p> Fri, 15 Nov 2013 17:08:00 +0000 Ken Tucker 47228 at http://wrvo.org Two Sides Of Holiday Cheer From Kelly Clarkson, Nick Lowe Brandy Clark Tells The 'Stories' That Are Tough To Hear http://wrvo.org/post/brandy-clark-tells-stories-are-tough-hear <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCP0y-mbaFo</p> Thu, 31 Oct 2013 16:06:00 +0000 Ken Tucker 46461 at http://wrvo.org Brandy Clark Tells The 'Stories' That Are Tough To Hear It's A Family Affair On Linda Thompson's 'Won't Be Long Now' http://wrvo.org/post/its-family-affair-linda-thompsons-wont-be-long-now <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15394091/linda-thompson">Linda Thompson</a> is probably best known for the albums she recorded with her husband <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/14960080/richard-thompson">Richard Thompson</a> in the '70s and early '80s. They divorced, and Thompson has maintained a sporadic solo career. Tue, 22 Oct 2013 16:22:00 +0000 Ken Tucker 46004 at http://wrvo.org It's A Family Affair On Linda Thompson's 'Won't Be Long Now'