We close out the year with music from singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III and Nighthawks bandleader Vince Giordano. They collaborated on the 1920s and '30s style music for the series 'Boardwalk Empire' and the film 'The Aviator.' Now they've gotten together again on the new album, 'I'd Rather Lead a Band,' a collection of songs from the Great American Songbook. They talk with Terry Gross about their new record and the music of the era.
Luker died last Wednesday of ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease. She was 59. She had a beautiful singing voice, and received Tony nominations for her performances in 'Showboat,' 'The Music Man,' and 'Mary Poppins.' She also starred in a revival of 'The Sound of Music.' We listen back to excerpts of several Fresh Air interviews.
Also, Kevin Whitehead remembers some jazz greats we lost his year.
Even Stephen King is feeling like he's living in a Stephen King novel these days. The author of the 1978 pandemic novel 'The Stand' says he understands why fans have said the COVID-19 pandemic feels like something out of his books. King says he doesn't feel panic or terror, but rather, a "gnawing anxiety."
Patrick Stewart is back as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the CBS All Access series 'Star Trek: Picard.' He says he's changed as an actor over the years: "I am not averse to risk-taking and I don't judge myself." Stewart spoke with 'Fresh Air' producer Sam Briger about 'Picard,'
One of the most popular shows of the year is the Netflix limited series 'The Queen's Gambit,' which has been streamed by more than 62 million households. It's about an orphaned girl who becomes a chess prodigy, then a chess pro in a male-dominated world. We hear from Scott Frank, the co-creator, executive producer and director of the series. He spoke with guest contributor Arun Venugopal.
John Powers reviews the new psychological thriller 'Elizabeth Is Missing' starring Glenda Jackson, which airs on PBS Masterpiece. And Clint Smith reads a poem about growing up in the shadows of Confederate statues.
COVID upended the movie, TV and music industries. Concerts were canceled and movie theaters were mostly closed. Still, our critics say there was some really good stuff to watch and listen to this year, and many people had more time than usual to do it. We'll hear from our TV critic David Bianculli, our rock critic Ken Tucker and our film critic Justin Chang. Also, we lost a lot of great musicians this year, our jazz critic Kevin Whitehead will pay tribute to some of them.
On a Christmas that has many of us wishing for the familiar comforts and pleasures of a holiday with family and friends, we turn to two singers whose performances have been a pleasure to return to over the years. We'll hear a 2005 interview with Rebecca Kilgore in which she sang some classic Christmas songs, and we have an excerpt of our onstage concert and 1997 interview with Rosemary Clooney.