Arts and Culture

Arts and culture

Jean Shepard, one of the first women to find success in country music as a solo act, died Sunday at age 82. Shepard was a feisty, straight-shooting singer who created a career in an industry where she had few female role models.

Courtesy of T Bone Burnett

Editors Note: T Bone Burnett is a Grammy-winning producer whose O Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack helped ignite an American roots music insurgence over the past 15 years. He's worked with countless Nashville artists — from Roy Orbison to Gillian Welch — is a songwriter in his own right, and once played guitar in Bob Dylan's band. 

Courtesy of Grant Lee Phillps

This week in Nashville the Americana Music Association is holding its annual festival and conference.

Americana is a wide ranging roots music genre. But sometimes it gets narrowly defined by those who buy into an emerging stereotype - the hipster musician wearing suspenders, clutching a banjo.

Nashville Symphony

Giancarlo Guerrero will stay with the Nashville Symphony for nearly another decade, at least. The music director has agreed to a five-year extension of his existing contract.

A Nashville Poet Writes About Spit And Civil Rights

Sep 13, 2016
Courtesy of Ciona D. Rouse

Editor's Note: Ciona Rouse says she used to avoid writing about race. She didn't want to be pigeonholed as a black poet who only writes about this one topic. But eventually, she decided she needed to talk about race if she wanted to express who she was in her poetry. One of the poems she's written since then is called "Spit." She explains the idea started with an interview she heard on the radio.


Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

Nashville is known for its songwriters — people like Victoria Banks, who is paid to come up with tunes and lyrics on a regular basis. 

Banks, who wrote the 2000 Sara Evans hit "Saints & Angels," talked to WPLN's Emily Siner in our live series and podcast Movers & Thinkers about the challenges of cultivating creativity — especially when it's your job.

Lagnajita Mukhopadhyay
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

Nashville’s first Youth Poet Laureate visited the White House this week as one of five finalists vying for the National Youth Poet Laureate title.

Good novels are like good parties: You get the right mix of people together, and you never quite know what will happen.

In Ann Patchett's new novel Commonwealth, a christening party takes a turn when one guest arrives with a bottle of gin. The gin leads to a wonderfully sloppy afternoon with cocktail mixing, a dancing priest, and two adulterous kisses.

The kisses lead to divorces, and a new blended family, six kids bouncing back and forth between Southern California and Virginia.

Robert Ashworth / via Flickr

On Friday morning, a Murfreesboro radio station will stop playing jazz and start playing a musical genre with deep roots but a short history.

To older country fans, Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn are the ultimate examples of superstars who stayed true to their humble roots. Tara Thompson, 28, happens to come from Parton's mountains and Lynn's bloodline. The younger singer, typical of her oversharing generation, translates their down-home pride into tell-all songs.

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