To quote many of the music reviews coming in on singer-songwriter Sufjan Steven's new album, "this might be the year's masterwork." Every once in a while a record comes along with such breathtaking creativity and audaciousness and Illinoise is this year's model.
On their new album Why Should The Fire Die? the newgrass trio Nickel Creek continue to grow beyond their bluegrass and folk roots yet demonstrate how those genres have informed the expansion of their musical horizons.
As witnessed by his incredible performance at the XPN All About The Music Festival in July, Rodney Crowell has returned with yet another amazing album of country influenced rock songs. The Outsider is the third of a trilogy of CD’s that he’s released (The Houston Kid and Fate’s Right Hand being the first two) that find him at yet another creative peak of his long outstanding career.
Lead vocalist Ben Gibbard sings like an angel and the songs on this CD make great use of jangly guitars and sinewy synthesizers. Bellingham, WA, indie pop quartet Death Cab for Cutie may remind you of a cross between REM and New Order, but they craft truly unique songs about relationships that draw you completely in.
If you're already a fan of blues singer Shemekia Copeland you'll be happy to know she's made the best album of her career. The Soul Truth is the third album from the daughter of the late great bluesman Johnny Copeland, and is Ms. Copeland's funkiest, grittiest, blues-iest rockin' record yet.
Two years after the release of the remarkable, critically acclaimed Let Go, Nada Surf return with another infectious collection of super-melodic guitar driven pop songs. There isn't a better album of smart guitar pop you'll hear this year than Nada Surf's The Weight Is A Gift.
Welcome back Mr. David Gray!
How much do XPN listeners and members love your music?
Let me count the ways.
For starters, our infatuation began with David long before his 1999 breakthrough record, White Ladder. From his 1993 debut, A Century Ends, we marveled at songs like the title song, “Shine,” “Wisdom,” and the brilliant “Let The Truth Sting.”
Neil Young's Prairie Wind completes a trilogy of acoustic-based albums he began with the landmark Harvest in 1972 and continued with Harvest Moon in 1992. On the new album, Young is joined by keyboardist Spooner Oldham, pedal-steel guitarist Ben Keith, drummer Chad Cromwell, percussionist Karl Himmel, bassist Rick Rosas, vocalist Emmylou Harris, Wayne Jackson of the Memphis Horns and the Fisk University Jubilee Singers.