Ken Tucker

Ken Tucker reviews rock, country, hip-hop and pop music for Fresh Air. He is a cultural critic who has been the editor-at-large at Entertainment Weekly, and a film critic for New York Magazine. His work has won two National Magazine Awards and two ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards. He has written book reviews for The New York Times Book Review and other publications.

Tucker is the author of Scarface Nation: The Ultimate Gangster Movie and Kissing Bill O'Reilly, Roasting Miss Piggy: 100 Things to Love and Hate About Television.

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Music
3:31 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Courtney Barnett Makes Ennui Vivid On Debut Album

Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 11:01 am

Courtney Barnett is an Australian singer-songwriter in her late 20s who's just released her first full album. It's called Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit. Barnett fills her songs with details about things she observes around her, everyday details that Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker says she somehow manages to infuse with a freshness rare in any songwriter, let alone one this young.

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Music
1:40 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

Brandi Carlile's Surging Voice Grounds 'The Firewatcher's Daughter'

Brandi Carlile is a singer-songwriter who has cited influences as various as Elton John, Patsy Cline, and Queen's Freddie Mercury. Carlile has been releasing albums for the past 10 years, and Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker says her new one, called The Firewatcher's Daughter, is her best yet.

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Music
3:00 pm
Mon March 9, 2015

James McMurtry Is More Expressive Than Ever On 'Complicated Game'

Originally published on Tue March 10, 2015 1:33 pm

Complicated Game is James McMurtry's first new studio album since 2008. The Texas-born singer-songwriter, now based in Austin, is known for songs with strong narratives and a blend of country, blues, and rock melodies. Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker says Complicated Game demonstrates a new range of style and subject matter for McMurtry.

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Music
2:20 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

Nora Jane Struthers Is Wide Awake On New Album

Nora Jane Struthers is a singer-songwriter who grew up in New Jersey and was teaching high-school English in Brooklyn before moving to Nashville to attempt a full-time career in music. With her band The Party Line, she's just released a new album called Wake. Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker has a review.

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Music Reviews
2:14 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

Mavericks' Singer Raul Malo Restlessly Explores Genres

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

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Music Reviews
3:00 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Robert Earl Keen Delves Into Bluegrass With A Texan Twang

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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Music
1:51 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

Bob Dylan Looks To The Ageless American Songbook

Bob Dylan's unusual new album Shadows in the Night consists of ten cover versions of standards from the American Popular Songbook including "Autumn Leaves" and "Some Enchanted Evening." Dylan is accompanied by a five-piece band on songs that usually use orchestral accompaniment, and the singer has said the recordings were done live in "one or two takes." Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker says Dylan both infuses the songs with his personality, while also allowing them to be heard anew.

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Music
12:13 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Sleater-Kinney Comes Roaring Back With 'No Cities To Love'

Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 1:27 pm

Sleater-Kinney is one of the most widely-praised rock bands of the last 20 years. The band formed in the mid-90s in Olympia, Wash., and went on to record seven albums. The group split up in 2006, but have reunited to release a new album, called No Cities to Love, and Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker says it's a strong comeback.

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Music
2:32 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Ty Segall Goes 3-D On 'Mr. Face'

Ty Segall is 27 years old, and he does it all — writes, sings, produces, plays guitar and drums. He's released a large amount of music over the past decade, solo albums as well as working with other bands. Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker reviews Segall's new four-song EP, Mr. Face, and tries to get a fix on Segall's productivity.

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Music
1:32 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

D'Angelo's 'Black Messiah' Collapses Years, Genres

D'Angelo has built a considerable reputation on the basis of three albums: 1995's Brown Sugar, 2000's Voodoo, and now Black Messiah, unexpectedly released early Monday morning. The singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist has been widely praised for connecting many decades of different rhythm & blues styles, and Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker says Black Messiah is as adventurous as any fan could hope for.

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