Pop Music

Dream Syndicate’s Steve Wynn and his wife Linda Pitmon are appearing in their creative 13-show online Impossible Tour from Jan. 17-Feb. 28. (Courtesy Steve Wynn)

Dream Syndicate’s Steve Wynn launches Impossible Tour

Clever 13-show event streams from rehearsal space in Queens

 

Matthew Sweet’s new album “Catspaw,” being released this week, was completed in 2019. <ins>(Courtesy Evan Carter)</ins>

Matthew Sweet’s got a thing for felines

Pop rocker releases ‘Catspaw,’ sells bronze cat sculptures

 

Veteran bluesman George Thorogood recently released a live double album of a historic 1982 concert in Boston. <ins>(Courtesy David Dobson)</ins>

Bluesman George Thorogood recalls busking in SF

Kind Bay Area fans gave the once poor street singer food stamps

 

Robbie Chater, left, and Tony Di Blasi of The Avalanches released “We Will Always Love You” in December. (Courtesy photo)

Avalanches met with real humans in the studio

Australian electronic duo’s latest third album features impressive guests

Robbie Chater, left, and Tony Di Blasi of The Avalanches released “We Will Always Love You” in December. (Courtesy photo)
With tunes both scathing and heartwarming, Bruce Springsteen’s 2020 release “Letter to You” exemplifies the rocker’s versatility. (Courtesy Danny Clinch)

Top 10 rock albums of 2020

Despite a dearth of concerts, musicians released truly remarkable records

With tunes both scathing and heartwarming, Bruce Springsteen’s 2020 release “Letter to You” exemplifies the rocker’s versatility. (Courtesy Danny Clinch)
The Oak Ridge Boys' William Lee Golden, second from right, is working on an album of classic tunes with his sons slated for release next year, along with a biography. (Courtesy photo)

William Lee Golden recalls music from his youth

Oak Ridge Boys baritone records classic tunes with his sons

The Oak Ridge Boys' William Lee Golden, second from right, is working on an album of classic tunes with his sons slated for release next year, along with a biography. (Courtesy photo)
X — from left, DJ Bonebrake, Billy Zoom, Exene Cervenka and John Doe – released “Alphabetland,” its first album in 27 years, in 2020. (Courtesy Kristy Benjamin)

X, with new album, stays home for the holidays

‘Tough times make for good art’ says Exene Cervenka

X — from left, DJ Bonebrake, Billy Zoom, Exene Cervenka and John Doe – released “Alphabetland,” its first album in 27 years, in 2020. (Courtesy Kristy Benjamin)
Steve Perry, who famously took a long break from the pop music world, released “Traces (Alternate Versions and Sketches)” this month.<ins> (Courtesy Myriam Santos)</ins>

Steve Perry strips songs down on second ‘Traces’

Legendary Journey vocalist reimagines soulful tunes on new recording

Steve Perry, who famously took a long break from the pop music world, released “Traces (Alternate Versions and Sketches)” this month.<ins> (Courtesy Myriam Santos)</ins>
Jules Shear, who wrote hits for Cyndi Lauper and The Bangles, recorded his latest CD in his home studio in upstate New York. (Courtesy photo)

Versatile Jules Shear goes ‘Slower’ during COVID

Flames still flicker for old-school singer-songwriter

Jules Shear, who wrote hits for Cyndi Lauper and The Bangles, recorded his latest CD in his home studio in upstate New York. (Courtesy photo)
Violinist Lindsey Stirling’s online Christmas celebration is Dec. 12. <ins>(Courtesy Sydney Takeshta)</ins>

Lindsey Stirling prepared well for the holiday season

Violinist, band quarantined in July to create yuletide show

Violinist Lindsey Stirling’s online Christmas celebration is Dec. 12. <ins>(Courtesy Sydney Takeshta)</ins>
The Smashing Pumpkins’ 2020 recording is the 20-song “CYR.” (Courtesy photo)

Billy Corgan continues to confound expectations

Smashing Pumpkins release retro-sounding ‘CYR’

The Smashing Pumpkins’ 2020 recording is the 20-song “CYR.” (Courtesy photo)
The versatile Dave Alvin’s recent recording is “From An Old Guitar: Rare and Unreleased Recordings” Photo (Courtesy Chip Duden)

Unusually, in 2020 Dave Alvin stayed home

Busy, blues rockabilly guitarist reflects rather than tours

The versatile Dave Alvin’s recent recording is “From An Old Guitar: Rare and Unreleased Recordings” Photo (Courtesy Chip Duden)
Coronavirus hasn’t stopped Brit Taylor from releasing her excellent debut recording “Real Me.” (Courtesy David McClister)

Nashville singer Brit Taylor stays true to country roots

Musician thankful, grateful for 2020 being better than 2017

Coronavirus hasn’t stopped Brit Taylor from releasing her excellent debut recording “Real Me.” (Courtesy David McClister)
Katy J Pearson of the English pop duo Ardyn has developed a different sound as a solo artist. (Courtesy Seren Carys)

Katy J Pearson makes solid solo debut with ‘Return’

Former Ardyn singer tries on a new, natural style

Katy J Pearson of the English pop duo Ardyn has developed a different sound as a solo artist. (Courtesy Seren Carys)
Don McLean’s 2020 release “Still Playin’ Favorites” includes country, folk, gospel, bluegrass, blues, jazz and soul covers of tunes by Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Bessie Smith and others. (Courtesy photo)

As it’s about to turn 50, Don McLean remembers ‘American Pie’

Songwriter never dreamed people would ‘embrace’ it the way they have

Don McLean’s 2020 release “Still Playin’ Favorites” includes country, folk, gospel, bluegrass, blues, jazz and soul covers of tunes by Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Bessie Smith and others. (Courtesy photo)
Up-and-coming pop singer Winona Oak’s new single is “Piano in the Sky.” (Courtesy Julian Gillström)

Winona Oak retreats to magical Swedish town

Singer releases ‘She’ following songwriting stint in So Cal

Up-and-coming pop singer Winona Oak’s new single is “Piano in the Sky.” (Courtesy Julian Gillström)
Jimmie Vaughan released “The Pleasure’s All Mine,” with covers and more, in 2020. (Courtesy Todd Wolfson)

Jimmie Vaughan finds pleasure in his five-decade career

Blues guitarist, car collector is doing what he loves

Jimmie Vaughan released “The Pleasure’s All Mine,” with covers and more, in 2020. (Courtesy Todd Wolfson)
From left, Jake Sprecher, Brice Bradley and Chris Rosi are The Smokescreens. (Courtesy David Kilgour)
From left, Jake Sprecher, Brice Bradley and Chris Rosi are The Smokescreens. (Courtesy David Kilgour)
Singer-songwriter Cam is finding musicmaking to be healing during 2020’s world health crisis. Courtesy 
Dennis Leupold

Cam challenges country music tropes

Bay Area-bred songwriter releases ‘The Otherside’

Singer-songwriter Cam is finding musicmaking to be healing during 2020’s world health crisis. Courtesy 
Dennis Leupold
San Francisco DJ and producer Jah Yzer livestreams most mornings from his home. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Roots & Tings build community through music

Lateef the Truthspeaker, Jah Yzer and Winstrong call for voting as a form of healing

San Francisco DJ and producer Jah Yzer livestreams most mornings from his home. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)