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Iron & Wine: Let Go the Reins

As far as voices go, Sam Beam has one of the more distinctive vehicles within indie folk. It’s been hailed as “intimate,” “unadorned,” and — interestingly — “limited,” the latter description coming from an earlier observation he…

Mark Normand on Being the Odd Man Out, Kind Of

Following Donald Trump’s election, a growing chorus of voices began to request—if not require—something more from cultural art forms. Say something meaningful. Use your voice to inform, dissent, disrupt. Comedy has always been a space…

Marty Stuart: Surfing the Desert Waves

Marty Stuart’s catalog reads like an ode to the American landscape, even if that reverence arises more through sound than song title. “You’re talking to somebody who will build around a tree instead of cut…

Scene Report: Folk and Americana in Baton Rouge

Any reliable definition of Baton Rouge’s local independent music scene first begins with a discussion of what it is not. Thanks to surrounding cities like New Orleans and Lafayette, whose musical identities have not…

Béla Fleck on Playing His Newest Role

Béla Fleck has explored chapter and verse over the course of his tome-length music career, but there remained one role he had yet to play — father. The world’s most inventive banjo player took…

Katherine Ryan Doesn’t Bite Her Tongue

It takes only one hand to count the number of times a UK comic’s Netflix special has been released globally. Two fingers, to be exact. Jimmy Carr’s Funny Business marked the first, and now Katherine…

Chris Thile and Brad Mehldau: Playing Against Type

The repertoire for mandolin and piano isn’t exactly teeming with arrangements. Compared to other duets, those two specific instruments haven’t conversed with one another as often, but consider that dearth a starting point from…

How ‘Oh, Hello’ Turned Broadway on Its Comedic Head

Before Oh, Hello rang the doorbell on the Great White Way, Comedy Central’s pipeline to Broadway was non-existent. Broadway may have borrowed from novels, from movies, from all manner of forms to feed new…

For Nick Thune, Storytelling Runs in the Family

Stand-up comedians require a certain kind of demon to do the work—or at least that’s been the generalizing trait associated with the form and its players for many a year. Think of Richard Lewis’s…

Mandolin Orange Carry On the Rambling Tradition

A nomadic impulse hums through the very heartbeat of American music, and, by extension, its newer occurrence of Americana. Many a name, from Merle Haggard to Miranda Lambert, have sung about the rambling spirit…