fri 07/05/2021

Americana

Album: They're Calling Me Home - Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi

Now we are at the beginning of lockdown’s end and the gradual loosening of the pandemic’s grip on pretty well every aspect of our lives, what is perhaps one of the warmest and most uplifting of albums recorded under Covid conditions comes in the...

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Album: Ted Barnes - 17 Postcards

Ted Barnes is an outsider by design. Not in the sense of being wilfully awkward or outré – the music on his first solo album in almost 13 years years is gentle, harmonically rich, extremely accessible – but in that he has sidestepped standard career...

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Hughes, Manchester Collective, Lakeside Arts online review - creating the occasion

There’s an atmosphere of tender restraint through most of the programme created by Ruby Hughes and Manchester Collective for Lakeside Arts at the University of Nottingham. It was streamed live yesterday afternoon, and, as is the way with most...

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Disc of the Day 10th Anniversary: the level playing field

Theartsdesk is a labour of love. Bloody-mindedly run as a co-operative of journalists from the beginning, our obsession with maintaining a daily-updated platform for good culture writing has caused a good few grey and lost hairs over the years. But...

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Disc of the Day 10th Anniversary: Albums We Got Wrong

Continuing our week of pieces celebrating the 10th birthday of theartsdesk’s album reviews section, today it’s time to ‘fess up! Seven of our regular reviewers reflect on occasions when, in retrospect, their writing did not correctly sum up the...

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Disc of the Day Celebrates 10 Years of Album Reviews

Ten years ago yesterday, on Monday 14th February 2011, one of theartsdesk’s writers, Joe Muggs, reviewed an album called Paranormale Aktivitat, by an outfit called Zwischenwelt. It was the first ever Disc of the Day, a new slot inserted into...

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Album: Steve Earle & The Dukes - JT

Among the many tragic deaths last year was that of Justin Townes Earle, son of Steve Earle, who died in August, felled by the demons his father had vanquished but which Townes Van Zandt, the revered singer-songwriter after whom his daddy named him (...

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Albums of the Year 2020: Steve Earle & The Dukes - Ghosts of West Virginia

In this most dark and dislocating of years, music has sustained me as it always has. Balm, refuge, escape, retreat. A way of opting out of the daily horror show, often with familiar sounds – musicians and albums that have long been old friends,...

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Mary Chapin Carpenter, One Night Lonely livestream review - down-home and perfectly paced

Mary Chapin Carpenter’s Songs from Home has been an anchor-point almost since the beginning of lockdown for many people, all of us invited into the singer’s sun-dappled Virginia farmhouse, often the kitchen, where, accompanied by Angus the most...

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Hutchings, Britten Sinfonia, Paterson, Barbican online review – saluting an American classic

When Aaron Copland wrote his most beloved work, Appalachian Spring, in 1943/44, he gave it the unfussy working title of “Ballet for Martha” – Martha being the choreographer Martha Graham, for whom he’d written the score. It was only shortly before...

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Little Wars, Union Theatre online review - richly emotional, but formulaic

Feuds make good theatre. I mean, look at the furious 1970s spat between playwright Lillian Hellman and critic Mary McCarthy. Yikes. So far, I’ve counted three recent stage versions: in 2002 there was Nora Ephron’s Imaginary Friends, followed in 2014...

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Shirley review - hothouse art film about American horror writer

Shirley is one of those films that the mood you’re in when you watch it will dictate whether you think it’s a great psychological horror movie or overheated and pretentious. Go to the cinema wanting to be plunged into a fever dream of gothic...

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