Sunday Selections: May 15, 2016

Rhiannon Giddens goes Broadway, Kris Kristofferson gets boxed, and Beyoncé survives being Dixie Chicked, all in this week’s Sunday Selections!

This week’s new releases are led off by Sugarland frontwoman Jennifer Nettles.


Playing with FireNew Releases & Reissues, 5/13/2016
Rob Baird, Wrong Side of the River. (Hard Luck Recording Company)
The Blind Boys of Alabama, Spirit of the Century (2001). (Omnivore Recordings)
John Evans, Polyester. (Splice)
Sawyer Fredericks, A Good Storm. (Republic)
Hard Working Americans, Rest in Chaos. (Thirty Tigers)
Sammy Kershaw, The Blues Got Me. (Big Hit)
Michaela Anne, Bright Lights and the Fame. (Kingswood)
Jennifer Nettles, Playing With Fire. (Big Machine)
John Prine, Aimless Love (1984), German Afternoons (1986), and 9 other albums through 2011’s The Singing Mailman Delivers. (Oh Boy)
Todd Snider, 5 albums from 2000’s Happy to Be Here through 2004’s East Nashville Skyline. (Oh Boy)

News & Notes

“I’m fully aware that, in our culture and in our society, there are myriad limits and boundaries and ridiculous glass ceilings and etiquettes from top to bottom… I know those things exist. Maybe I’ve gotten myself in trouble here and there by either ignoring them or mouthing off about them or whatever it is. I see something that says you can’t be a certain way, and it just makes me want to be that certain way.”
— Mary Chapin Carpenter reflected on her tendency to push back hard against boundaries in a terrific interview and profile with Amanda Wicks of The Bluegrass Situation. Carpenter’s latest album, The Things We Are Made Of, is her strongest in at least a decade, and The Bluegrass Situation has, quite sensibly, named her their artist of the month for May. (JK)

Because there is apparently nothing she can’t do, the incomparable Rhiannon Giddens will be making her debut on Broadway this summer, filling in for Tony-award winner Audra McDonald in the role of 2016 Tony-nominated Shuffle Along: Or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed. She’ll be joined on stage by Savion Glover. (JK, LW)

“After all, the protests against Sinead O’Connor and the Dixie Chicks were huge and dramatic, and extremely effective at signaling to other women that they should be silent or suffer the wrath of the angry mob. In both cases, the women who were targeted never really recovered, retreating from the spotlight somewhat and downscaling their artistic ambitions… Beyoncé, on the other hand, seems unstoppable.”
— Amanda Marcotte of Salon drew parallels between the current protests Beyoncé has drawn and the reaction to Natalie Maines’ comments about George W. Bush, positing that Maines– and Sinead O’Connor, in her protests against the abuses of the Catholic church– have fallen on the “right” side of history in their stances. (JK)

“I just always set out to be authentic to myself and never chase whatever the trend is. I make a conscious effort just not to allow people to sway or persuade me to do certain things. I write what’s true to me and what I think is true to my fanbase. I’m elated when a song works on radio because I understand how important radio is, but I never write in terms of chasing after that.”
— Kip Moore suggested that he probably won’t be the next act to try his hand at lite-R&B masquerading as country in an interview with Entertainment Focus. Moore spoke at length about his recent gigs in the United Kingdom and how the fans he has cultivated overseas respond differently to his music than do U.S. audiences. (JK)

“It’s going to be exciting to be playing with real musicians — people who actually know music… It’s going to be a little intimidating for me. I’m just going to have to put it in the back of my head. Hopefully, they can play with our mediocrity as far as our knowledge of notes, and we’ll sing our songs. Hopefully it will be a special night for us and all involved.”
— Randy Owen of Alabama expressed some nerves about his band’s May 12 – 14 performances with the Nashville Symphony, in an interview with Chuck Dauphin of Billboard. (JK)

“I’m not going to say no. Chris has taught me a lot about walking through the doors that are open. It would definitely take some soul-searching, but I’m open to it.”
— Morgane Stapleton cast another beacon of hope that she might put out a proper solo album in an insightful and charming interview with Billboard‘s Phyllis Stark. Stapleton comments on her brief stint at Arista Nashville, the Southern Family compilation album, and her husband’s awards show run. (JK)

A 16 disc box set, The Complete Monument & Columbia Album Collection, will be released on June 10th  in celebration of Kris Kristofferson’s 80th birthday. From Sony Music Legacy Recordings, the collection will include 11 of Kristofferson’s studio albums from the 70s as well as many rare and unreleased recordings. The package will also include a deluxe booklet of essays and liner notes especially written for the project. (LW)

Video Highlights:

Listen to Sturgill Simpson chat with comedian, Marc Maron, on Maron’s popular podcast, WTF. (LW)

Cam has released her new music video, “Mayday,” inspired by the sexist backlash experienced by Amelia Earhart. (JK)

Cyndi Lauper twangs up “Time After Time” in Louisville while promoting her quite good country album, Detour. (KJC)

Trisha Yearwood talks about how lucky she is to sing for a living in an interview with WOOD. (KJC)

Dixie Chicks cover Beyoncé’s “Daddy Lesssons” in Dublin. (KJC)


  1. I have to give credit to the Chicks for this startling performance of Beyoncé, whatever one thinks of the controversial stances each of them has taken on issues.

    As for the Trisha Yearwood interview–I wonder if any interviewer can restrain themselves from asking about her marriage to Garth Brooks. To me, it’s old news.

  2. FYI – “Do You Love Music? Silicon Valley Doesn’t” – article in today’s NY Times by Jonathan Taplin on digital piracy.

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