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Read & Spin

CD   Budding singer-songwriter Kerry Hayes recently relocated to New Orleans, bringing with her the music from her original album Somebody Else. Her throaty alto tackles ballads and blues with consistent aplomb; while her subject matter shows some measure of restraint (love, loss, family), her range and style rival the likes of Gillian Welch and Allison Krauss. The instrumentation is minimal but pleasing. On the first track she challenges that she “already know what angels look like” – and thanks to her, we now know what they sound like.

PHOTOGRAPHY  Author Anne Butler and photographer Henry Cancienne document the entire length of Louisiana Highway 1, which stretches 436.2 miles from Grand Isle to Ark-La-Tex. LA 1 is part history book and part local color feature. Butler tells the story of each town and region against Cancienne’s raw, largely untouched photographs.

HUMOR  Shellie Rushing Tomlinson addresses the concerns of southern belles in Sue Ellen’s Girl Ain’t Fat, She Just Weighs Heavy. Tomlinson mixes anecdotes, observational humor, advice and recipes. She covers everything from flatulence to men to gift-giving to politics.

HISTORY  In The Chitlin’ Circuit and the Road to Rock ‘n’ Roll, music journalist Preston Lauterbach traces the evolution of black music from the late 1930s through the Civil Rights movement. He reports on how Little Richard would autograph bills for street urchins and dirty cops. The Circuit, named for an accidental delicacy, is a chain of backrooms, barrooms and saloons linking the metropolises of the deep-South, venues of last resort for black musicians who were ignored or rebuffed by white music halls.

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