Music News 8/6/2020


Three singer/songwriters—each a veteran in her own way—have new albums out. 

Laura Marling, SONG FOR OUR DAUGHTER (Partisan, $13.98) – The British singer, guitarist, and songwriter 

Mary Chapin Carpenter, THE DIRT AND THE STARS (Lambent Light/30 Tigers, $14.98) – All new songs, written in her rural Virginia home 

Taylor Swift, FOLKLORE (Republic, $16.98) - A surprise offering from Ms. Swift (arrival probably next week) 


When musical centennials are celebrated, you will often see new biographies and “best of” collections appear. But these two masters rightfully deserve (and now have received) full and attentive biographies. 

Last year was the centennial of Nat King Cole. Jazz scholar and Wall Street Journal writer Will Freidwald has now released Will Friedwald, STRAIGHTEN UP AND FLY RIGHT: The Life and Music of Nat King Cole (Oxford, $34.95). Friedwald is a worthy biographer, with his previous books focusing heavily on jazz vocalists, and his research and his keen ear are in full display here. 

Listen to ULTIMATE NAT KING COLE (Capitol, $14.98) with 20 of his greatest vocal hits. 

This year is Ravi Shankar’s centennial. He was the pioneer is bringing traditional Indian music to a worldwide audience, as a performer, collaborator, composer, and teacher. 

A new biography, INDIAN SUN: The Life and Music of Ravi Shankar (DaCapo, $32), by Oliver Craske, has gotten rave reviews, in portraying Shankar’s long career and influence, from both Indian and international perspectives. 

Listen to RAVI SHANKAR EDITION (Warner Classics, 5 CDs, $18.98), five CDs for the price of one, focusing on Shankar’s work on the EMI, in both ragas, and in collaborations with Zubin Mehta, Yehudi Menuhin, and Jean-Pierre Rampal, among others. 


Harpsichord player Jean Rondeau and lute player Thomas Dunford are two young instrumentalists carrying on and expanding on the work of the first generations of “historically informed” performers.  

BARRICADES (Erato, $18.98) is their first collaboration, featuring music from Versailles in the reigns of Louis XIV and Louis XV. The composers include Lambert, Marais, Charpentier, Forqueray, de Visée, among others.