Christmas Vacation with Andra Day, Jon Batiste, and Kacey Musgraves

Historically, Christmas records served as a vacation from the artist’s career. Singers stopped building their images and presented themselves as people like you who love Christmas too. Married singers who portrayed themselves as ready for love suddenly sang the joys of domesticity, complete with kids. Rock ’n’ roll complicated that Christmas vacation because pop vocalists in the 1940s and '50s were hitmakers who reached a broad demographic.

Two Ways to Hear Nathaniel Rateliff, and Other Concerts

Sunday night, Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats played Tipitina’s, and by the end of the night I wasn’t sure what I thought about the show. The band couldn’t wear its collective love of Stax/Volt R&B more obviously if they were all wearing T-shirts from its museum’s gift shop, but for most of the show, I wanted the band to groove harder when the tempos dropped and the songs became more intimate.

Jazz Fest: Jazz Fest Closes with Little Pink Cacti for You and Me

[Updated] Sunday afternoon, country singer Kacey Musgraves closed the Fais-Do-Do Stage with pink neon cacti on her stage. They were unassuming, slightly silly and of a piece with Musgraves and her band’s attire—self-consciously stereotypical country music wear with twinkling lights embedded in her blue boots and their Nudie suits. The presentation was novel on that stage, but it and the two video panels that flanked Ed Sheeran on the Gentilly Stage Saturday may signal a Jazz Fest change.

Jazz Fest: Sunday, May 3 at Jazz Fest

If Saturday's crowd at Jazz Fest wasn't record-breaking, it was at least enough to make everything difficult. When Davell Crawford's tribute to Fats Domino ended at 2:45, I started to head toward Congo Square on the track, but it was quickly clear that I was going to be shoulder to shoulder with people all way. After a resigned sigh, I went the other way. The upside? I walked by Astral Project in the Jazz Tent and saw a couple of songs before Jerry Lee Lewis started.

Last Week: Kacey Musgraves at the House of Blues

Country singer Kacey Musgraves' debut album with a country music major label, Same Trailer Different Park, earned her four Grammy Award nominations including one for Best Album, one for Best New Artist, and two for Best Song for her part in writing Miranda Lambert's "Mama's Broken Heart" and her own "Merry Go 'Round." Critic Ann Powers reviewed the album for NPR.com, writing:

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