Putting her glorious pipes to work on Willie Dixon's "I Want To Be Loved," Cassandra Wilson offered a master class in vocal restraint at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium. Where she could have easily reached for the rafters, Wilson chose to follow the song's lead and, instead, slide down into more sultry terrain.
Introduced at the Americana Music Awards as "the hero of outlaw country" by Elizabeth Cook (who surely knows of what she speaks), Sturgill Simpson did his darnedest not to disappoint as he ripped and roared through "Life Of Sin" from his breakthrough album, Metamodern Sounds In Country Music.
Winner of the 2014 Spirit of Americana Free Speech Award, singer-songwriter Jackson Browne demonstrated exactly why the honor was bestowed upon him with a rendering of "The Long Way Around," a cut from his album Standing In The Breach.
The song wraps a melody around a look back at his life and times, touching on gun violence, environmental destruction, income inequality and other issues. But, as he always does, Browne burnishes the politics with poetry.
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
Musicians Molly Ledford and Billy Kelly met accidentally. What started as an unusual friendship grew into a musical collaboration. Their debut album together is simply called "Trees." Kids music reviewer Stefan Shepherd has their story.
On this week's All Songs Considered we talk about the secrets to being happy and how they relate to a euphoric new track from the electro-pop group Passion Pit. We'll hear the first song from Franz Ferdinand's collaboration with one of Bob Boilen's favorite bands from the early '70s — the wild, strange and playful duo Sparks. Together, as FFS, they cordially invite everyone to "piss off!"