Ann Powers

Ann Powers appears in the following:

First Listen: Angaleena Presley, 'American Middle Class'

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Presley, of The Pistol Annies, releases a solo debut that chronicles real life, unresolved. In the singer's patient, exacting hands, the clichés fall away.


Roots, Plugged In

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The standout acts at the Americana Music Festival in Nashville last week wove electricity, individualism and rule-breaking together with tradition to create a joyful noise.


First Listen: Leonard Cohen, 'Popular Problems'

Monday, September 15, 2014

Cohen's 13th album creates a space for slow-moving reflection that expands with each listen. The tarpit-voiced raconteur's songs unfold like dirty canticles, with room for both jokes and profundities.


An Emerging Voice Of Americana (And Oklahoma)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Parker Millsap, a 21-year-old with a thick rubber-band tenor, has potential to burn and a new video for one of our favorite songs of the year, "Truck Stop Gospel."


First Listen: Steelism, '615 To FAME'

Sunday, September 07, 2014

The debut album by the guitar duo Steelism doesn't simply tap into all the flavors of country music; it also demonstrates how those flavors blend and complement each other.


First Listen: Robert Plant, 'Lullaby And... The Ceaseless Roar'

Monday, September 01, 2014

Plant's 10th solo album lovingly layers elements in ways that mirror memory, creating new constructs from floating shards of the musical past.


Taylor Swift Aims For Pop's Throne

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Erstwhile country singer Taylor Swift has a new sound and a new goal: to be the world's biggest pop star, with all the attention and provocation that comes with the job.


A Tale Of Two Polls

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Two surveys claim to capture the public's view of the Common Core State Standards. But they tell very different stories.


Top 40 In A Summer Of Discontent

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

It's striking how little current pop hits reflect the angst and anger that have dominated this summer's news. But critic Ann Powers finds that one of 2014's biggest songs offers unexpected guidance.


Top Stories: Some Protests Turn Violent In Ferguson

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Also: A California fire prompts officials to call for thousands of evacuations; Iceland may get a volcanic eruption; and wreckage near Java is identified as a U.S. Navy ship that sank in World War 2.


First Listen: Shovels & Rope, 'Swimmin' Time'

Sunday, August 17, 2014

It's easy to feel the romance in the musical relationship between Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst, who've become musical embodiments of how loving couples make it work.


First Listen: Imogen Heap, 'Sparks'

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sparks documents a fruitful time for one of popular music's most curious explorers. But it also captures how, in the 21st century, art, technology and life meld to make whole new narratives.


First Listen: Sinead O'Connor, 'I'm Not Bossy, I'm The Boss'

Sunday, August 03, 2014

On her 10th album, O'Connor returns to familiar ground, yet still widens the scope of rock with frank, urgent, compelling songwriting that proves how complicated the idea of the personal can be.


East Nashville Rocks

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Four stories of rock and roll musicians making a home — and a scene — in a buzzing neighborhood just across the Cumberland River from the palaces of country music.


First Watch: Maddie & Tae, 'Girl In A Country Song'

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The video for the teenage duo Maddie & Tae's first single, "Girl In A Country Song," cheerfully turns the tables on the cartoonish macho tendencies of so much recent country music.


First Listen: Jenny Lewis, 'The Voyager'

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Voyager's clever (but never too-clever) sound builds an open structure within which Lewis can explore her current fascination: the weight of full adulthood, and its paradoxical precariousness.


First Listen: Morrissey, 'World Peace Is None Of Your Business'

Sunday, July 06, 2014

"The rhythm of life goes round," the singer repeats, summing up a set ranging from politics to gang violence to gender identity. He's in fine voice, belting and going gentle without strain.


The Hits Of Yesterday And Today

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Many of today's biggest radio hits came out months — even years — ago. That extended lifespan can change your relationship with a song, but it's not always a matter of overexposure.


He'll Be There For You

Thursday, June 26, 2014

On his new album, X, rising singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran turns the at times troubling idea of the "friend zone" into something safe and sustaining.


First Listen: Jim Lauderdale, 'I'm A Song'

Sunday, June 22, 2014

On his new country album, the roots-music veteran still touches nerves, carefully but firmly. Lauderdale continually shows that the trappings surrounding a song are only as meaningful as its core.