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Reviews and Commentary

The Best Albums of 2014

Here are Lanny Fields’ picks for the best albums of the year. This year’s list is marked by the inclusion of several debut and one-off recordings from recently formed ensembles, as well as small-bands featuring just two or three members; although a few old favorites did once again make the cut. Also notable this time around is a turn toward the noisier, freer, more avant-garde side of the musical spectrum, alongside groups representing traditional Appalachian and Irish music.

The Best Albums of 2013 - A Baker's Dozen

NPR posted its list of the 50 Favorite Albums of 2013 earlier this week, which prompted me to come up with a list of my own. I didn’t do a whole lot of active searching for new music in 2013, instead I let it come to me. I don’t have 50 worth mentioning, but here are my 13 favorites from 2013. Some are from 2012 but I didn't hear them until this year! 

Interview with Duncan Webster and Jeff Stickley of Hammer No More The Fingers

Durham, NC rock trio Hammer No More the Fingers (photo L-R: Joe Hall, Duncan Webster, Jeff Stickley) plays Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar in Charlottesville this Saturday, June 30.  Their excellent new release, a 5-song EP entitled Pink Worm, is some of the best new indie rock to come out this year.

Album Review: Béla Fleck and the Marcus Roberts Trio - Across the Imaginary Divide

It’s rare to hear banjo in a straight-ahead jazz setting these days, which makes the new collaboration between banjoist Béla Fleck and jazz masters the Marcus Roberts Trio all the more interesting.  What started as an impromptu jam session at the Savannah Music Festival in 2009 has turned into an hour long album entitled Across The Imaginary Divide, released June 10 on Rounder Records. 

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