Brothers Dave and Phil Alvin might relish the music of Big Bill Broonzy who, arguably, has been as important to American folk music as Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie and Carter Family, yet they haven't wrapped his songs in cotton wool either.
Young enough to be asked for ID by bouncers, old enough to express cynicism, Chicago quartet The Orwells offer a rowdy, teenage party vibe on their sophomore album.
From man-made snowflakes to skis and boards that are easier to turn, 3-D computer modelling of jumps to advances in telecommunications that have flattened learning curves, science has made great strides on the slopes, writes Shane Gilchrist.
Formed as a solo project in 2009 by songwriter Hollie Fullbrook, Tiny Ruins has expanded to include bassist Cass Basil and drummer Alexander Freer.
The latest musical export from Iceland (following Bjork, Sigur Ros, Of Monsters and Men . . . ), Asgeir Trausti might play acoustic guitar but he reveals he is more than a twee folk troubadour on his debut album, actually his sophomore effort given it is an English-language version of his original release.
Central Otago contemporary commercial artist and art tutor Andrew Price believes inspiration also requires no small measure of perspiration, writes Shane Gilchrist.
Never heard of Normacol Intestinal Evacuant or Elliotts Kidney Vaccine? Well, head to Gilchrist's Store, Oturehua. It stocks all sorts of items, though some of them aren't for sale, says Shane Gilchrist.
Natural history authors Brian Patrick and Neville Peat continue their wild affair with Dunedin's flora and fauna, writes Shane Gilchrist.
As the Gold Guitars reach finals weekend in Gore, Shane Gilchrist discusses big breaks and the business of songwriting with previous winner Kaylee Bell, who last week added the 2014 New Zealand Best Country Music Album (Tui) Award to her trophy cabinet.
He might have gone all-electric on his latest album, but Lloyd Cole will be bringing an acoustic guitar to New Zealand for his forthcoming tour, writes Shane Gilchrist.
Mix strong vocal harmonies with rustic acoustic instruments (banjo, fiddle, mandolin, cigar-box slide, the Chinese zhongruan) and tales of highwaymen, sealers, gambling and drinking and the result is Wheel Of Experience, both the name of a show and musical trio.
Dunedin writer Breton Dukes might adopt a less-is-more approach yet, as he tells Shane Gilchrist, it's the wee details that make all the difference.
Tui award-winning outfit Great North is marking the release of third album Up In Smoke with an extensive national tour that includes a performance at Chick's Hotel, Port Chalmers, on Friday, May 16.
Paul DiMeo, the emotional carpenter from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, is now building cabins for people who want to get away from it all.
Blur frontman, Gorillaz conspirator, soundtrack/opera composer ... Damon Albarn's output comes in many guises; here, it is as contemplative solo artist as he teams with producer Richard Russell, with whom he worked on Bobby Womack's excellent The Bravest Man In The Universe.
Los Angeles musician Greg Franco returns to New Zealand for a nationwide tour with his band Rough Church that includes a gig at Chick's Hotel tonight.
The Central Otago town of Alexandra is at the core of two new novels by New Zealand writers Owen Marshall and Paddy Richardson. Shane Gilchrist finds out why.
The multitalented Kris Kristofferson is about to embark on a solo New Zealand tour in which he'll distil the essence of his many songs, writes Shane Gilchrist.
Aldous Harding, aka Hannah Harding, might describe much of the material on her self-titled debut album as ''long and dreary'', but she's nonetheless celebrating its release by hitting the road on a national tour that includes gigs at Chick's Hotel, Port Chalmers, on Friday, May 2, and at Oamaru's Opera House on Sunday, May 4.
Dividing her time between New Zealand and England, New Zealand violin virtuoso Fiona Pears is back home for a series of collaborations with Christchurch guitar duo La Petite Manouche that includes several shows in the South.