Mary Gauthier, The Foundling

“There’s freedom in knowing that you don’t have to know it all,” she says, “which is why to me, a song should end with a question, not an answer.”  It might seem that after six groundbreaking albums of original songs, more than a dozen years of recording and touring around the world, a harvest of music industry awards, and covers of her songs by a roster of great artists – that Mary Gauthier (say it: go-shay) should have a handle on some of the big answers. … Read...

John Grant, The Queen of Denmark

One time vocalist with criminally underrated The Czars John Grant had all but given up on the notion of being a musician before he was convinced by Midlake to get back into the studio. Not content with producing one of the albums of this year themselves (The Courage of Others), Midlake offered their services to Grant as his band.… Read...

Al Stewart, Uncorked (Live With Dave Nachmanoff)

Al Stewart’s first all-acoustic live recording since 1992’s Rhymes In Rooms is a little like reconnecting with an old friend. Although not entirely unexpected, it’s still a welcome reminder of just how fine a talent the one-time “Year Of The Cat” hit-maker really is. Especially when left alone in a room to do his thing unadorned by the strings and over-production of some of those records made back when Stewart filled arenas, rather than the smaller, folkier venues where he was recorded here.… Read...

Seth Swirsky, Watercolor Day

Seth Swirsky just wants to make the world whistle and hum, and that’s just what he does on his new, second solo album, Watercolor Day. Swirsky’s love of classically constructed pop songs continues from his winning solo debut, Instant Pleasure (Best Pop Album 2005, Los Angeles Music Awards) through his deliciously retro, British Invasion-minded project with Mike Ruekberg, The Red Button, whose 2007 release, She’s About to Cross My Mind, was both a critical and commercial success.… Read...

Josh Rouse, El Turista

Tourists get a bum rap. They’re loud, invasive and wear ugly clothes — at least according to caricature. Cultural tourists endure an even worse rep. They’re exploitive, clueless and downright racist — if only to purists who look askance at anyone who dares annex the art of a land other than his own. (Prime targets of wrath from the intolerant range from Paul Simon to Vampire Weekend.) Given all this, you have to admire the guts of singer-songwriter Josh Rouse.… Read...

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