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'Step It Up and Go' Gives North Carolina Music Its Dues

David Menconi's Step It Up is an absorbing love letter to the artists, scenes, and sounds of North Carolina's contributions to American popular music.


The Rolling Stones Dance With Decadence on 'Goats Head Soup'

Almost 50 years on, the rock star excess on display on the Rolling Stones' Goats Head Soup still resonates.


The Chefs Serve Up a Wordless, Rockin' Good Time on 'Heated & Treated'

As the Chefs, a former Georgia Satellite and a former Heartbreaker cook up a full platter of the tasty instrumentals on Heated & Treated.


H.C. McEntire Delivers Her Masterpiece with 'Eno Axis'

Born in isolation not so much by outside mandate as by natural inspiration, H.C. McEntire's Eno Axis is a masterwork of deep, spiritual escapism.


Steve Earle Finds Common Ground With 'Ghosts of West Virginia'

On Ghosts of West Virginia, Steve Earle chronicles the lives, hopes, dreams, and regrets of families who've lived for generations in coal country with a masterful song cycle that's long on empathy and short on judgment.


Remembering John Prine's 'The Missing Years'

On John Prine's first album of the 1990s, the legendary singer-songwriter invited a few Heartbreakers, some ace session players, an Everly, Bonnie Raitt, and the Boss to help make the best album since his classic debut.


'Stone Crush' Proves (Again) That Memphis Is Ground Zero for Soul and R&B

Stone Crush shines a light on the forgotten -- or never known -- artists that passed through the doors of Memphis' most storied studios in an attempt at just one fleeting moment of fame.


Jazz Guitar Virtuoso Wolfgang Muthspiel Gets the 'Angular Blues'

Jazz guitar virtuoso Wolfgang Muthspiel scales back to a trio for Angular Blues, trimming the fat while leaving plenty of space for inventive and exciting improvisation.


James Taylor's Standards Album Sounds Exactly Like You Imagine It Does

The father of soft rock is the latest to mine the Great American Songbook for inspiration, but unlike his peers, James Taylor approaches the material with the love, care, and sincerity of a true fan.


Melodic Improvisation Fuels Paul Haslinger's 'Exit Ghost'

Ex-Tangerine Dream and classically-trained pianist Paul Haslinger frees himself from 20 years of composing for television and film and looks inward for inspiration on his latest atmospheric journey through dreamlike soundscapes.


Robert Cray Bares His Soul on 'That's What I Heard'

Forty years into his career, Robert Cray has been steadily building one of the most consistent catalogs of pure soul and smooth blues with the help of his stinging Stratocaster and a voice that somehow gets even better with age.


Delfeayo Marsalis Makes a Joyful Noise on 'Jazz Party'

Trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis takes the sound of an all-night throwdown in the French Quarter worldwide with help from his mighty Uptown Jazz Orchestra.


'If You're Going to the City' Illuminates the Cerebral Artistry of Mose Allison

Too adventurous for blues, too raw for jazz, Mose Allison danced on the ivories in both worlds, tipping his hat to singer-songwriter pop along the way. A new tribute album reveals the many avenues worth exploring of one of the most singular voices in music.

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