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‘If not hope, then what?’: the musicians finding optimism in dark times
Against a backdrop of Covid, a striking number of musicians, from hard rock to jazz, made music rich with positivity. In the first of a two-part series, they tell their stories

Christine Ochefu, Dave Simpson and Laura Snapes

27, Apr, 2021 @7:23 AM

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Pearl Charles: Magic Mirror review – LA singer's sugar and strife
Combining various soft rock touchstones, Charles’s new album sometimes veers into cloyingly sentimental pastiche

Alim Kheraj

15, Jan, 2021 @8:30 AM

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Steve Earle and the Dukes: JT review – a father's fond farewell
Steve Earle reprises 10 songs by his son, the late Justin Townes Earle

Neil Spencer

26, Dec, 2020 @4:00 PM

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The 50 best albums of 2020: the full list
Our countdown is complete, topped by a mercurial work of sprawling invention by a woman who has dug deep to survive. Taken as a whole, these choices contain drama, solace, poetry and fire, a fitting selection for a turbulent year

Ben Beaumont-Thomas and Laura Snapes

18, Dec, 2020 @8:07 AM

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The 50 best albums of 2020, No 6: Waxahatchee – Saint Cloud
Katie Crutchfield’s new sobriety led to a move away from rollicking indie and toward a calmer, Americana-informed sound that reels you in

Rachel Aroesti

11, Dec, 2020 @6:00 AM

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The 50 best albums of 2020, No 9: Taylor Swift – Folklore
Swift retreated to a country cabin to create a lockdown album full of imagined characters, dark musings and intimate moments, deepened by a new richness to her singing

Kathryn Bromwich

08, Dec, 2020 @6:00 AM

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M Ward: Think of Spring review – a spectral tribute to Billie Holiday
The ever-questing Matthew Ward turns his minimalist attentions to Holiday’s lush 1958 album Lady in Satin

Neil Spencer

05, Dec, 2020 @4:00 PM

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Gillian Welch: Boots No 2: The Lost Songs, Vol 3 review – more riches after the flood
This final instalment of unpublished gems from Welch and David Rawlings doesn’t disappoint

Kitty Empire

15, Nov, 2020 @9:00 AM

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Jerry Jeff Walker: the 'outlaw' songwriter who gave Mr Bojangles to the world
Walker, who has died aged 78, was a maverick of Americana whose best known song was recorded by Nina Simone, Sammy Davis Jr and Robbie Williams

Garth Cartwright

27, Oct, 2020 @12:09 PM

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Frazey Ford review – an emotional, imperfect, lyrical balm
The cult Canadian country singer cooks up an exquisite livestreamed set with honeyed funk, buttery vocals and plenty of soul

Kitty Empire

03, Oct, 2020 @1:00 PM

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Gillian Welch: Boots No 2: The Lost Songs, Vol 1 review – inspired outtakes from 2002
Spare yet perfectly formed, these discarded demos from Welch and David Rawlings – with more to come – offer riches galore

Phil Mongredien

09, Aug, 2020 @12:00 PM

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'A billboard with 50 years of layers': readers on Bob Dylan's Rough and Rowdy Ways
‘A serious intellect at work’ or ‘like watching your granny pole-dancing’? Guardian readers have their say about Dylan’s rapturously reviewed new album

Ben Beaumont-Thomas and Guardian readers

24, Jun, 2020 @7:00 AM

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