Olsen’s new record, My Woman, supports her emotional power with her best songwriting yet.
Clearer melodies, fuller compositions, and a full band showcase an artist who’s growing and learning.
Some may interpret her new sound—full of soul and ’60s California breeze—as a shift towards pop music, but Olsen has always had pop in her bones. Since 1985, Willie Nelson, Neil Young, and John Mellencamp have gotten together to put on a benefit concert for family farms.
She’s just a better songwriter now and able to bring it to the surface, and she’s no longer letting her flames run wild, scorching everything. Farm Aid’s consistent focus is impressive: It’s tempting for festivals to grow and grow until they’re unrecognizable anymore, but Farm Aid has always kept its mission in mind, growing into an organization that farmers can depend on.
Angel Olsen is known for her emotionally raw lyrics and striking, sparse solo performances.
Those who have broken her heart receive no quarter in her songs.
But when it comes time for “Young Folks,” the group doesn't balk at the crowd’s extra excitement, either. Frontwoman Kam Franklin could steal the stage—she’s charming, funny, and has a voice that buckles knees—but she knows just when to pull back and let the band take over. Just ask Mason Bates, the Kennedy Center’s first-ever composer-in-residence, part-time DJ, and unofficial muse of Silicon Valley, who’s also earned commissions from You Tube. His blending of piano with 40-channel, one-bit electronics isn’t exactly dance-friendly; it’s noisy and challenging, more USAISAMONSTER than Aphex Twin. But its music is much more than that: These two sisters and their childhood best friend warble and harmonize on pop-rock numbers while incorporating cumbia and bolero rhythms often tapped out on a wooden percussive box.
What they share is a trance-inducing quality that’ll leave audiences transported. She’s a soloist for whom the word “serious” is most commonly thrown around. —Mike Paarlberg Pioneered by artists like Wiley and Dizzee Rascal at the beginning of the millennium in London’s intimate rave culture, grime is finally beginning to grab a foothold here in the states. is certainly no stranger to the sound, and the city has recently hosted grime artists like DJ Spooky, AJ Tracey, and Skepta.And those who wish to get as far away from the original as possible—the wisest choice—can hear pianist Dan Tepfer’s jazz interpretation. ,” “Space Oddity,” and “Rebel, Rebel.” First recorded for Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Jorge’s Portuguese covers are even more poignant after Bowie’s death. Not only is his artistry revered throughout jazz circles, Shorter, as one of the few remaining 20th century jazz icons that is still alive and playing at a high level who has influenced a wide spectrum of non-jazz artists.Even the Thin White Duke loved them, saying that Jorge “imbued” his songs with a “new level of beauty.” Regardless of what happens after Election Day, we could all use some beauty. With sideman work and compositions that stretch back to the days of the Miles Davis Quintet and the jazz-fusion brilliance of Weather Report, Shorter, now in his 80s, continues to tour with his quartet, featuring pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci, and drummer Brian Blade. There have been several attempts to combine hip-hop and classical music, a lot of them corny.Bèyènè’s songs are defined by his vocals, which distinctively blend Ethiopian traditions with suave Nat King Cole crooning, and his instrumental numbers cleverly stir together atmospheric, film noir-feeling sax blowing, fuzztone guitar, and finger-snapping rhythms. The result of this gradual growth is her fifth—and best—studio album, My Piece of Land. It’s still very much a living instrument, however, with numerous schools and styles of playing, often distinguished by geography: funky Yemeni, folksy Egyptian. Not because they can hide behind wild antics or crank up the PA to 11, but because a live performance allows the group space to explore and improvise.Written just before the birth of her daughter last year, Shires contemplates the meaning of home and struggles with the anxiety that comes with having something to lose in a way only a new mother and an artist reaching her peak can. Few Americans would likely be aware of this if it weren’t for the occasional oud musician to get caught up in refugee crises produced by international tragedies, such as the Armenian genocide, or the failed post-Gulf War uprising against Saddam Hussein that brought Iraqi oud master Rahim Al Haj to the U. Al Haj is a reminder that those countries that benefit from the talents of those who flee their home countries are ones that don’t build walls. Walker, who often sounds bored on his records, frees himself from expectations and constraints to grow his songs into experiments at the boundaries of American primitive guitar. Hilary Hahn may not quite be the world’s biggest name to handle a violin, but she arguably deserves to be, and may yet be someday.