Old songs provide a lens through which we can view lifestyles and work-ways, now passed into history, when manual labors filled the day. Hear of horse-drawn ploughs, hand loom weavers, miners and the men who fished under sail with Davy Steele, Dick Gaughan, Christine Kydd and many more.
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Talib Kweli has been writing and performing for almost 20 years now — as a solo act and as half of well-received duos that reached a broad audience — and for much of that time he's been pinned with a label that's a relic of a 1990s understanding of hip-hop: "conscious rap."
Thao Nguyen has been busy since her last album, Know Better Learn Faster, came out in 2009. The band moved to San Francisco while Nguyen explored recording with other artists, even making an album with Mirah.
Among hell-raising tour stories and loving odes to his wife Sharon, there's a nugget in I Am Ozzy, the entertaining autobiography of the original Black Sabbath vocalist, that sticks with me: Ozzy Osbourne loves The Beatles. The Prince of Darkness, mind you. I kept that in mind while listening to "Valley of the Dolls" from Mind Control, the third album by the U.K. doom-metal band Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats.
The Australian duo Dead Can Dance recently performed a live session for Morning Becomes Eclectic that could only be described as a cinematic experience. Combining baroque orchestral sounds with haunting synths and vocals, the group played up its medieval aesthetic inside the historical Moroccan Ballroom at the Village Studios.