In 2009, The Avett Brothers became one of the surprise hits of the year. Paste Magazine considered their I and Love and You the best album of that year, calling it "an overpowering acoustic album brimming with sadness and soul."
That sadness took on new meaning recently. Bassist Bob Crawford took a temporary leave from the band to tend to his infant daughter, Hallie, after she developed a brain tumor.
Next month, The Avett Brothers release a new album, The Carpenter, which explores the delicate balance between life and death.
Just a small-town girl, living in a lonely world — in Belgium, with her guitar and a MySpace page. That's how Selah Sue used to introduce her music to those outside her hometown: with short videos made between high-school classes and weekend shows at local clubs, posted to her online journal.
Sean Rowe has a voice and a style that stands out in popular music. His voice is deep — really, truly deep — fine, and often doleful. He's a baritone troubadour who sings of roads not taken, regrets and the dreams that shake you awake at 3 in the morning.
After years of working bars, road houses and more bars, Rowe is playing concert stages and winning over critics for his story-songs and that remarkable voice. But, as he tells NPR's Scott Simon, he wasn't always so proud to be a singer.
If you ever listened to jazz vocalists and wondered if you could ever in your life scat like them, there's someone who's willing to teach you. The vocalist Rhiannon has long held the importance of improvisation as a personal credo, and in her career has blended that art form with jazz, world music and storytelling.