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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4:14pm

Wed July 29, 2015
Music Reviews

Ashley Monroe's 'Blade' Blends Country Sentiment And Delicate Phrasings

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2:33pm

Tue July 21, 2015
Music Reviews

'Sonic Trickster' Miguel Blends Genres And Melodies On 'Wildheart'

Originally published on Tue July 21, 2015 9:48 pm

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3:14pm

Tue July 14, 2015
Book Reviews

Jason Isbell's 'Something More Than Free' Rings With The Promise of Joy

Originally published on Tue July 14, 2015 6:47 pm

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2:01pm

Mon July 6, 2015
Movie Reviews

Country's Kacey Musgraves Mixes Wit And Sincerity In 'Pageant Material'

Originally published on Mon July 6, 2015 6:11 pm

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3:24pm

Thu June 25, 2015
Music Reviews

Leon Bridges Offers Retro R&B With A Twist In 'Coming Home'

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1:03pm

Thu June 11, 2015
Music Reviews

Shamir Bailey Invites Everyone In, With Plenty Of Pop Star Potential

Originally published on Thu June 11, 2015 1:28 pm

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3:03pm

Fri May 29, 2015
Music Reviews

Joanna Gruesome's 'Peanut Butter' Rises Above The Band's Gimmicky Name

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2:06pm

Thu May 14, 2015
Music Reviews

Country Hit Writer Chris Stapleton Breaks Out On His Own In 'Traveller'

Originally published on Thu May 14, 2015 3:16 pm

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3:41pm

Fri May 1, 2015
Music Reviews

Nellie McKay Celebrates The '60s With 'My Weekly Reader'

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1:31pm

Mon April 27, 2015
Music

Alabama Shakes Opens New Territory On 'Sound & Color'

Over the course of Sound & Color, Alabama Shakes messes with what had already, after its first album, become its signature sound. Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker has this review.

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3:14pm

Thu April 23, 2015
Music

Dwight Yoakam's 'Second Hand Heart' Is First Class

Dwight Yoakam has been making music that mixes country with rock 'n' roll since the 1970s. Working out of Los Angeles rather than Nashville, he's built a career that has also included a solid acting career, appearing in movies like 1996's Sling Blade and the recent TV series Under the Dome. Yoakam's new album is called Second Hand Heart, and Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker says it's one of Yoakam's most stylistically diverse.

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2:29pm

Tue April 14, 2015
Music

The Mountain Goats' John Darnielle Finds Refuge In The Ring

The Mountain Goats have a new album called Beat The Champ. It's unusual in that it is a concept album about professional wrestling, based on the interest in that sport band leader John Darnielle has had since he was a boy. Darnielle is also a prose writer whose novel Wolf in White Van was nominated for a 2014 National Book Award. Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker has this review.

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3:27pm

Thu April 9, 2015
Music

There Is A Rich World In Kendrick Lamar's 'To Pimp A Butterfly'

Kendrick Lamar made a big impact for his storytelling skills on his 2012 major-label debut Good Kid, M.a.a.d City, and won two Grammys in February for the song "i." That song appears in Lamar's latest album, To Pimp A Butterfly, which Fresh Air music critic Ken Tucker says has an excitingly adventurous sound.

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3:31pm

Thu March 26, 2015
Music

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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1:40pm

Mon March 16, 2015
Music

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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