I still remember when I heard the Minneapolis band The Jayhawks' 1992 album Hollywood Town Hall for the first time. It was so fresh, yet so familiar at the same time, that I stopped dead in my tracks and declared it my favorite album of that year.
Sam Beam, better known by his stage name Iron and Wine, released his first album, The Creek Drank The Cradle, on the Sub Pop label back in 2002. He wrote, performed, recorded and produced every track by himself at a studio in his home.
Suze Rotolo, an American artist and author who became famous because of her four-year relationship with Bob Dylan, has died. She was 67.
Rolling Stone has described Rotolo as the muse behind some of Dylan's classic songs, including "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right." In Dylan's autobiography Chronicles: Volume One, he compares Rotolo to "a Rodin sculpture come to life."
Intimate and hushed, Sharon Van Etten's folk tunes tend to quiet any room she plays them in. These are the type of nuanced songs that can render a crowd breathless.
Van Etten was introduced to an eclectic blend of folk and rock 'n' roll while growing up in Nashville. She worked her way to Brooklyn, and after a national tour in support of her debut album, Because I Was In Love, she turned to Epic, a seven-song LP that was one of NPR Music's favorite records of 2010.
A 62-year-old soul singer, Charles Bradley has a story you can hear in his voice. But for most of his life, he wasn't a singer.
Born in 1948, Bradley spent most of his childhood in Brooklyn. One day, his sister invited him to come to the Apollo Theater in Harlem, where she was going to see James Brown. At the time, Bradley didn't know who Brown was, but his sister offered to pay his way.