Jim Allen

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released.

David Crosby is on a roll. After a gap of more than two decades in his solo discography, he has now made three solo albums in less than four years. "Sell Me A Diamond," from his latest album Sky Trails, shows the kind of lyrical firepower keeping Crosby so prolific these days.

Stephen Stills and Judy Collins' duo album, Everybody Knows, marks the long-deferred continuation of a story that started nearly half a century ago. But the title track brings closure to a musical relationship that goes even farther back.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.


Though its title is taken from the Old English term for "the sound of winter," much of James Elkington's solo debut bears a distinctly autumnal vibe. With a feel that harks back to the British singer/songwriters of the early '70s, Wintres Woma ultimately seems to capture the slow seasonal slide from fall's gentle unbuttoning into an icier, more frigid landscape.

For a guy with a luminous past, Glenn Morrow sounds firmly fixated on the future on this tune from his first album in 28 years. In the '80s, Morrow was at the epicenter of the Hoboken indie scene that spawned the likes of The Feelies, The Bongos and Yo La Tengo. He fronted local linchpins The Individuals and had played in 'a,' the band that evolved into The Bongos and basically laid the groundwork for the whole Hoboken movement.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

Nick Lowe has always been something of a prankster. The guy who called his first album Jesus Of Cool and once notoriously rhymed "Rick Astley" with "ghastly" always loved to give people's expectations a bit of a tweak. So in retrospect it's not surprising that his 1984 album Nick Lowe And His Cowboy Outfit featured only one actual country tune, a cover of the Faron Young hit "Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young," buried at the end of the LP's second side.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

Five decades after The Byrds forged the Big Bang of country rock with Sweetheart Of The Rodeo, the impact's still being felt: An alt-country love letter to that influential LP was what tripped the trigger for rising Americana artist Pete Mancini's solo debut.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

From its very beginnings, country music has scarcely lacked for songs about Jesus — you could fill several box sets with them and barely scratch the surface. But thanks to rising Texan alt-country songsmith Jason Eady's "Barabbas," the shadowy figure whose presence is crucial to Christ's tale is getting a rare shot at the spotlight.

If Buddy Holly is somehow still capable of hearing the sounds emanating from this mortal plane, there's a good chance he's sporting a broad grin upon encountering "Tip My Heart." The title track from the debut album by Sally & George bears a Spartan sparkle not far removed from the kind that marked the late rock 'n' roll pioneer's venerated output.

Don't be misled — the rugged, timeworn quality of the vocal at the center of this song from Michael Chapman's latest album, 50, has nothing to do with the fact that the veteran British troubadour is 75 years old; he already sounded like that when he was in his 20s.

As partners in marriage and in the rootsy duo Shovels & Rope, Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent used to think there was no way their worlds could get any more intertwined. Then they had a kid.

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