Pop Music

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

 

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

 

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

 

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)
Joe Grushecky, left, found a kindred spirit in his collaborator Bruce Springsteen.(Courtesy John Cavanaugh)

Joe Grushecky sings on with The Boss

Pittsburgh rocker teams with Springsteen on patriotic single

Joe Grushecky, left, found a kindred spirit in his collaborator Bruce Springsteen.(Courtesy John Cavanaugh)
After a 19-year recording break, Blue Öyster Cult has released a studio album. (Courtesy photo)

The symbol remains for Blue Öyster Cult

Old band uses new tech to make heady music

After a 19-year recording break, Blue Öyster Cult has released a studio album. (Courtesy photo)
“David Byrne’s American Utopia” is a wild and thoughtful concert film featuring the Talking Heads frontman. (Courtesy David Lee)
“David Byrne’s American Utopia” is a wild and thoughtful concert film featuring the Talking Heads frontman. (Courtesy David Lee)
Hayden Thorpe’s new solo EP is “Aerial Songs.” (Courtesy Broomberg & Chanarin)

Hayden Thorpe’s ‘Aerial Songs’ come out of the country

Wild Beasts’ frontman inspired by nature on new recording

Hayden Thorpe’s new solo EP is “Aerial Songs.” (Courtesy Broomberg & Chanarin)
Melanie C, who rose to fame in the 1990s as Sporty Spice, released self-titled album, her eighth solo project, in 2020. (Courtesy Conor Clinch)

Melanie C has accepted all aspects of herself

Former Spice Girl’s new album full of dance-pop confessionals

  • Oct 12, 2020
Melanie C, who rose to fame in the 1990s as Sporty Spice, released self-titled album, her eighth solo project, in 2020. (Courtesy Conor Clinch)
Songwriter Suzanne Vega is confident that live music will come back post-pandemic. (Courtesy George Holz)

Suzanne Vega sings New York songs

Troubadour plays live-streamed gigs from Blue Note

Songwriter Suzanne Vega is confident that live music will come back post-pandemic. (Courtesy George Holz)
Ed Harcourt’s most recent releases are 2018’s “Beyond the End” and 2020’s “Monochrome to Colour.” (Courtesy Steve Gullick)

New instrumentals from Ed Harcourt

Songwriter explores new frontiers after major label break

Ed Harcourt’s most recent releases are 2018’s “Beyond the End” and 2020’s “Monochrome to Colour.” (Courtesy Steve Gullick)
Jimmie Dale Gilmore, appearing in a recorded session, is among the dozens of musicians performing in the online version of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass on Oct. 3. (Courtesy photo)

A few wise words from Jimmie Dale Gilmore

Texas troubadour takes philosophical view of pandemic’s effects

Jimmie Dale Gilmore, appearing in a recorded session, is among the dozens of musicians performing in the online version of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass on Oct. 3. (Courtesy photo)
The cover of the remix edition of her new album reveals how Yelle is attached to her home in Brittany by the sea. (Courtesy photo)

Yelle creates techno sounds in 17th century country cottage

Dance-pop artist sings in French in new album ‘L’ere Du Verseau’

The cover of the remix edition of her new album reveals how Yelle is attached to her home in Brittany by the sea. (Courtesy photo)
Nina Gerber, left, and Laurie Lewis appear in the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass online festival “Let The Music Play On.” (Courtesy photo)

Full lineup of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass announced

20th anniversary roots music festival streams on Oct. 3

Nina Gerber, left, and Laurie Lewis appear in the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass online festival “Let The Music Play On.” (Courtesy photo)
G.E. Smith, left, and LeRoy Bell’s new album is called “Stony Hill.” (Courtesy John Peden)

Guitar great G.E. Smith finds right vocalist in LeRoy Bell

After cold call, music vets meet, hit it off, make soulful record

G.E. Smith, left, and LeRoy Bell’s new album is called “Stony Hill.” (Courtesy John Peden)