1. Metropolitan Opera singer Dolora Zajick spoke to Terry Gross about how performers must develop a ‘kinesthetic awareness’ to connect with their audience:

"The audience hears something entirely different than what you feel. Well, the singer is listening for focus. You’re being expressive. There are sensations that you’re feeling physically that the audience isn’t feeling. There is a kinesthetic, sympathetic awareness that audience has if you are really using your body when you sing that they are feeling at the same time. A lot of the times the audience doesn’t realize that’s what’s happening. Some of them do. It’s a very visceral thing."


photo of Zajick in Aida by lynn lane via operafresh View in High-Res

    Metropolitan Opera singer Dolora Zajick spoke to Terry Gross about how performers must develop a ‘kinesthetic awareness’ to connect with their audience:

    "The audience hears something entirely different than what you feel. Well, the singer is listening for focus. You’re being expressive. There are sensations that you’re feeling physically that the audience isn’t feeling. There is a kinesthetic, sympathetic awareness that audience has if you are really using your body when you sing that they are feeling at the same time. A lot of the times the audience doesn’t realize that’s what’s happening. Some of them do. It’s a very visceral thing."

    photo of Zajick in Aida by lynn lane via operafresh

  2. opera

    metropolitan opera

    delora zajick

    music

  1. Jazz composer Marty Ehrlich conducts his Large Ensemble for his first album devoted to orchestral music, A Trumpet in the Morning.
You can hear the interview with Ehrlich and previews of his album here.

photo by Bryan Murray

    Jazz composer Marty Ehrlich conducts his Large Ensemble for his first album devoted to orchestral music, A Trumpet in the Morning.

    You can hear the interview with Ehrlich and previews of his album here.

    photo by Bryan Murray

  2. jazz

    orchestra

    music

    marty ehrlich

  1. 
Burn Your Fire For No Witness is Angel Olsen’s first album with a backing band, and she makes great use of it. Her singing contains a naturally mysterious quality, at once confiding and baffling, even unknowable. On a song such as “Forgiven/Forgotten,” Olsen has the drums and bass guitar hammer away at her dented vocal. This creates the sound of someone beating herself up for being so obsessed with being in love, knowing that that’s not enough, for her or for the object of her love.

Read all of Ken Tucker's review of Olsen's album

photo of Angel Olsen  (Autumn Northcraft) via wnyc View in High-Res

    Burn Your Fire For No Witness is Angel Olsen’s first album with a backing band, and she makes great use of it. Her singing contains a naturally mysterious quality, at once confiding and baffling, even unknowable. On a song such as “Forgiven/Forgotten,” Olsen has the drums and bass guitar hammer away at her dented vocal. This creates the sound of someone beating herself up for being so obsessed with being in love, knowing that that’s not enough, for her or for the object of her love.

    Read all of Ken Tucker's review of Olsen's album

    photo of Angel Olsen (Autumn Northcraft) via wnyc

  2. angel olsen

    review

    ken tucker

    music

  1. Ken Tucker reviews Rosanne Cash's album The River & The Thread:

One of the recurring themes of The River & The Thread is the notion that music can be a repository for history, as well as a way to heal old wounds, old heartache. On “When the Master Calls the Roll,” two lovers — based loosely on two of Cash’s relatives from the Civil War era — are reunited in death, in everlasting bliss. On other songs that kind of healing works on narrators grappling with contemporary struggles. Taken together, the result is a concept album, a timeless work of comfort and quiet joy.



photo of Rosanne Cash by Deborah Feingold View in High-Res

    Ken Tucker reviews Rosanne Cash's album The River & The Thread:

    One of the recurring themes of The River & The Thread is the notion that music can be a repository for history, as well as a way to heal old wounds, old heartache. On “When the Master Calls the Roll,” two lovers — based loosely on two of Cash’s relatives from the Civil War era — are reunited in death, in everlasting bliss. On other songs that kind of healing works on narrators grappling with contemporary struggles. Taken together, the result is a concept album, a timeless work of comfort and quiet joy.

    photo of Rosanne Cash by Deborah Feingold

  2. fresh air

    review

    rosanne cash

    johnny cash

    music

  1. Have you seen NPR Music's 50 Favorite Albums of 2013?
I spy some Fresh Air favorites on the list including:
Jason Isbell
Brandy Clark
Kacey Musgraves
Vampire Weekend
HAIM
Valerie June

    Have you seen NPR Music's 50 Favorite Albums of 2013?

    I spy some Fresh Air favorites on the list including:

  2. fresh air

    npr music

    best albums of 2013

    music

    reviews

  1. Mark Mulcahy’s most recent album is the first since his wife passed away in 2008. After her death he had to parent his twin 3 year old girls on his own. Colleagues and friends responded by organizing benefit concerts and a tribute CD (of covers of his songs) to help Mulcahy stay afloat financially during that time.
He explains to Fresh Air’s Terry Gross how his album “Dear Mark J. Mulcahy, I love you" got its name:

It’s a note I got from somebody. At the time when I got it I just had it, I didn’t think about how to use it. I hung it on the wall. And when I was trying to think of a title for my record, I walked past it and I thought, that’s sort of the way because of the way I made the record and because of my life at that moment, I felt very lucky to have a lot of people [who] I know cared about me. I thought it summed up something about not only just the record but just everything. One day I was driving and I realized that it’s kind of like a movie title and the whole of the information of what the album was — was in one sentence.
View in High-Res

    Mark Mulcahys most recent album is the first since his wife passed away in 2008. After her death he had to parent his twin 3 year old girls on his own. Colleagues and friends responded by organizing benefit concerts and a tribute CD (of covers of his songs) to help Mulcahy stay afloat financially during that time.

    He explains to Fresh Air’s Terry Gross how his album “Dear Mark J. Mulcahy, I love you" got its name:

    It’s a note I got from somebody. At the time when I got it I just had it, I didn’t think about how to use it. I hung it on the wall. And when I was trying to think of a title for my record, I walked past it and I thought, that’s sort of the way because of the way I made the record and because of my life at that moment, I felt very lucky to have a lot of people [who] I know cared about me. I thought it summed up something about not only just the record but just everything. One day I was driving and I realized that it’s kind of like a movie title and the whole of the information of what the album was — was in one sentence.

  2. fresh air

    mark mulcahy

    music

    interview

    loss

    love

  1. In this powerful photograph by Mikhail Evstafiev, we see musician Vedran Smailović, known as the Cellist of Sarajevo. The photo was taken in 1992 during the Siege of Sarajevo/Bosnian War.

via Twisted Sifter View in High-Res

    In this powerful photograph by Mikhail Evstafiev, we see musician Vedran Smailović, known as the Cellist of Sarajevo. The photo was taken in 1992 during the Siege of Sarajevo/Bosnian War.

    via Twisted Sifter

  2. sarajevo

    bosnia

    war

    music

    rubble

    architecture

  1. How big a deal is electro-swing? Not very. But at least a few numbers will last as offbeat treats. And I’m fascinated by the story of its growth, which shows how, particularly in dance music, a tossed-off novelty sound can persist and become a full-blown school. Sometimes it amounts to a classy one-roomer like electro-swing, sometimes it balloons into a world-class university like hip-hop.

    — 

    Milo Miles checks out the electro-swing genre that’s got Europe dancing

    Meet us at a discotheque?

  2. fresh air

    review

    milo miles

    music

    swing

    electro-swing

  1. Me & You & Jackie Mittoo" from Superchunk's new album “I Hate Music" (Merge Records)

    Music reviewer Ken Tucker reviews the album :

    “I hate music, what is it worth?/Can’t bring anyone back to this earth,” says Superchunk on its new downbeat-but-upbeat album. It’s the kind of sentiment you imagine someone blurting out with bitter spontaneity. It’s not really music the band hates, it is, among other things, a death they’re mourning, the despair and grief their music is bearing witness to. The album is dedicated to a close friend who died last year, but more broadly speaking, I Hate Music wants to explore various kinds of loss—of innocence, of youth, of friendships, of passions that struggle and sometimes fail to survive.

  2. Fresh Air

    review

    Ken Tucker

    Superchunk

    I hate music

    music

    merge records

  1. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead on pianist Aki Takase's homage to Duke Ellington, My Ellington:

The total effect can be a little unnerving. There’s an eerie call-and-response episode in the 1928 classic “The Mooche” where Takase uses loud and soft dynamics to suggest physical space — between her piano in the foreground and another far in the distance, as if heard in memory. She creates atmospheres at the piano, drawing an aura around a composition. At one point in “I Got It Bad,” she floats from bird calls to a Monk tune — music Ellington listened to and music he inspired.

    Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead on pianist Aki Takase's homage to Duke Ellington, My Ellington:

    The total effect can be a little unnerving. There’s an eerie call-and-response episode in the 1928 classic “The Mooche” where Takase uses loud and soft dynamics to suggest physical space — between her piano in the foreground and another far in the distance, as if heard in memory. She creates atmospheres at the piano, drawing an aura around a composition. At one point in “I Got It Bad,” she floats from bird calls to a Monk tune — music Ellington listened to and music he inspired.

  2. Fresh Air

    Reviews

    Kevin Whitehead

    Aki Takase

    My Ellington

    Duke Ellington

    Jazz

    Music

  1. Ken Tucker on Southeastern, the new album from Jason Isbell:

Isbell has been releasing his own albums since leaving the Drive-By Truckers in 2007, frequently with a band called the 400 Unit, named after a psychiatric ward, which gives you some idea of where his head was at. “Was” is the correct tense to use here, because Southeastern, billed as simply a Jason Isbell album, is the first release he’s put out since going public about his alcoholism and rehab. Throughout this new album there are references to lost weekends, drinking Listerine when the booze runs out, and swearing off the stuff. But Isbell is too much of a language-drunk artist to permit his work to turn into a recovery memoir.

Image courtesy of Jason Isbell View in High-Res

    Ken Tucker on Southeastern, the new album from Jason Isbell:

    Isbell has been releasing his own albums since leaving the Drive-By Truckers in 2007, frequently with a band called the 400 Unit, named after a psychiatric ward, which gives you some idea of where his head was at. “Was” is the correct tense to use here, because Southeastern, billed as simply a Jason Isbell album, is the first release he’s put out since going public about his alcoholism and rehab. Throughout this new album there are references to lost weekends, drinking Listerine when the booze runs out, and swearing off the stuff. But Isbell is too much of a language-drunk artist to permit his work to turn into a recovery memoir.

    Image courtesy of Jason Isbell

  2. Fresh Air

    Reviews

    Ken Tucker

    Jason Isbell

    Southeastern

    Music

  1. Milo Miles on the new album Live From Festival au Desert Timbuktu:

Although it was inspired by traditional festivals held by the Touareg people, the Festival in the Desert is a distinctly international symbol of modern Africa. Popular music has become a reliable export from many African countries, increasingly recognized as a force to bring diverse people together. Frequent guests appear from outside the continent. As is often noted, rock veterans like and have attended and performed at earlier Festivals.

Image of the Festival au Desert via the Imaginative Traveller View in High-Res

    Milo Miles on the new album Live From Festival au Desert Timbuktu:

    Although it was inspired by traditional festivals held by the Touareg people, the Festival in the Desert is a distinctly international symbol of modern Africa. Popular music has become a reliable export from many African countries, increasingly recognized as a force to bring diverse people together. Frequent guests appear from outside the continent. As is often noted, rock veterans like and have attended and performed at earlier Festivals.

    Image of the Festival au Desert via the Imaginative Traveller

  2. Fresh Air

    Reviews

    Milo Miles

    Festival Au Desert

    Music

    Mali

    Timbuktu

  1. Ken Tucker likes Stories Don’t End, the new album from Dawes and thinks you might too:

I kid Dawes about their influences — I kid because I like the way these boys carry those influences with their own good humor, and with a loose assurance that their distinctiveness will shine through. On the lovely title song “Stories Don’t End,” singer-songwriter-guitarist Taylor Goldsmith talks about the ineffectiveness of talk — how words cannot express all that he wants to say about the woman he’s describing, the feelings he has for her. For that, he requires not only words, but the slightly fuzzy timbre of his voice and the gentle drumming of his brother Griffin Goldsmith. He gets closer, in this way, to suggesting how complex a story one song can tell, because as the title reminds us, the stories of a relationship, once launched, don’t end. We impose a narrative — a beginning, middle and end — upon them.

Image via Dawes View in High-Res

    Ken Tucker likes Stories Don’t End, the new album from Dawes and thinks you might too:

    I kid Dawes about their influences — I kid because I like the way these boys carry those influences with their own good humor, and with a loose assurance that their distinctiveness will shine through. On the lovely title song “Stories Don’t End,” singer-songwriter-guitarist Taylor Goldsmith talks about the ineffectiveness of talk — how words cannot express all that he wants to say about the woman he’s describing, the feelings he has for her. For that, he requires not only words, but the slightly fuzzy timbre of his voice and the gentle drumming of his brother Griffin Goldsmith. He gets closer, in this way, to suggesting how complex a story one song can tell, because as the title reminds us, the stories of a relationship, once launched, don’t end. We impose a narrative — a beginning, middle and end — upon them.

    Image via Dawes

  2. Fresh Air

    Reviews

    Dawes

    Ken Tucker

    Stories Don't End

    Music

  1. Ken Tucker on how Natalie Maines' new solo album Mother can be seen in light of the ostracism she experienced after criticizing the Iraq invasion on stage with the Dixie Chicks in 2003:

When Natalie Maines remarked from a London stage in 2003 that the Dixie Chicks were “ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas,” she was criticizing Iraq War policy in a manner that would earn her instant condemnation and worse, even as her take on that war would eventually become a majority opinion in the U.S. No matter: What she and her group-mates felt in immediate response wasn’t just an overreaction from a segment of the country-music audience. It was also the cowardice of a music industry running scared from blunt political ideas in a perilous industry economy. There’s a tendency, therefore, to hear every song on this album as some sort of response to Maines’ life-altering remark and her subsequent public retreat. It lurks here and there, to be sure, but after the first few listens, Mother becomes the work of a mother, wife, feminist, teammate and solo artist taking her place in the public square once again, making stubbornness sound like a kind of freedom.

Image via Blacklisted Journalist View in High-Res

    Ken Tucker on how Natalie Maines' new solo album Mother can be seen in light of the ostracism she experienced after criticizing the Iraq invasion on stage with the Dixie Chicks in 2003:

    When Natalie Maines remarked from a London stage in 2003 that the Dixie Chicks were “ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas,” she was criticizing Iraq War policy in a manner that would earn her instant condemnation and worse, even as her take on that war would eventually become a majority opinion in the U.S. No matter: What she and her group-mates felt in immediate response wasn’t just an overreaction from a segment of the country-music audience. It was also the cowardice of a music industry running scared from blunt political ideas in a perilous industry economy. There’s a tendency, therefore, to hear every song on this album as some sort of response to Maines’ life-altering remark and her subsequent public retreat. It lurks here and there, to be sure, but after the first few listens, Mother becomes the work of a mother, wife, feminist, teammate and solo artist taking her place in the public square once again, making stubbornness sound like a kind of freedom.

    Image via Blacklisted Journalist

  2. Fresh Air

    Reviews

    Ken Tucker

    Natalie Maines

    Dixie Chicks

    Mother

    Entertainment Weekly

    Music

  1. Our pop music critic Ken Tucker on the title track from Natalie Maines' new solo album, Mother:

    Natalie Maines doesn’t hesitate to make audacious moves, and wresting away “Mother” — Roger Waters' hymn to oppressive maternal authority figures from Pink Floyd — is the biggest one on her first solo album. Maines takes the “Mother” from Pink Floyd’s The Wall and deconstructs it, emotional brick by emotional brick. She rebuilds the melody and radically alters the vocal intonation of the lyric to render it resilient enough for new interpretations. “Mother” becomes a plea for understanding; to come to terms with difficult relationships through love and trust. Which, among other things, could be heard as Maines’ attempt to reach out to Dixie Chick fans, both present and former, loyal and hostile.

  2. Fresh Air

    Reviews

    Ken Tucker

    Natalie Maines

    Mother

    Dixie Chicks

    Music

    Soundcloud

    Pink Floyd

    Roger Waters

    The Wall