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Spotlight On: Lee Ann Womack

Almost seven years after her last album debut, country star Lee Ann Womack is finally back with The Way I’m Livin’, out this September. And get ready; it features some of her most raw and intimate songs yet. “It just seems like music when it is most powerful hits you right between the eyes,” says Lee Ann, here wearing Tory’s Margherita dress. “Some of these songs are hard truths, tough moments, places you’d rather not be, but you know, life takes you to those places sometimes.” Produced by her husband Frank Liddell, each tune comes from a different songwriter — 13 in all — adding to the album’s emotional reach. Here, we chat with the Grammy winner about what we can expect with The Way I’m Livin’ — plus her first music memories and thoughts on the singer-songwriter relationship.

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Music Tastemaker: Holly Williams on Nashville & Stage Style

Holly Williams has country music in her blood, really — her father and grandfather are industry legends Hank Williams, Jr. and Sr. She’s equally renowned on her own, too, with three albums to her name and a tour this summer through the South (Duluth, Georgia, is up on Thursday) and Canada (August 9th and 10th). But her CV goes beyond her set of incredible pipes to include two Nashville shops: fashion boutique H. Audrey and White’s Mercantile, which she dubs a modern-day general store. And have we mentioned her addictive lifestyle blog The Afternoon Off? (Five words: key lime coconut bar recipe.) Here, for The Tory Blog’s Music Issue, Holly takes some time out of her packed schedule to dish music memories, NKOTB crushes and on-stage style.

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Word of Mouth: 2014, The Year of Music Anniversaries

This is a big year for anniversaries, from Woodstock (above) to Purple Rain to Born In the U.S.A. Here, our look at the musical milestones we’re celebrating in 2014.

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Music Tastemaker: Anna Kendrick on First Concerts & Albums

With two musical movies upcoming (Into the Woods, Pitch Perfect 2) and a Billboard hit (Cups) in her back pocket, Anna Kendrick knows a thing or two about singing. Here, she shares the album that made her want to be a performer — and details that time she entered a mosh pit.

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Audra McDonald On: Billie Holiday

Anyone who’s familiar with Audra McDonald knows the Broadway star has the booming, classically trained voice of a soprano; it’s served her well through numerous musicals (Ragtime, A Raisin in the Sun), solo albums (five and counting) and countless concerts from Carnegie Hall to the White House to the Kennedy Center Honors. Which is why seeing her slip seamlessly into the raw, vulnerable voice of Billie Holiday in the play Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill — and a ravaged Billie Holiday in the months before her death, no less — is awesomely impressive. We’re not the only ones to think so. Just last month, Audra picked up her record-breaking sixth Tony Award for the role. Here, she takes us behind the scenes and into the shoes of the jazz legend.

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Beauty Tip: Cover Art

Music to our ears turned music at our fingertips. Inspired by the lush palms and hibiscuses on the cover of Maroon 5’s summer single Maps, we headed to chic Beverly Hills salon Olive & June to make the idea a reality…

Music Tastemaker: Karen Elson on Stevie & Kylie

Kylie Minogue, Stevie Nicks, Neil Young and Mazzy Star… Brit model and singer/songwriter Karen Elson talks about her music loves — and shares her ultimate beauty secret while she’s at it, too.

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Tory’s Playlist: Road Trip

Windows up or windows down, we’re on the road this summer. Whether it’s Route 66 or Route 27, to the Grand Canyon or to the Rockaways, it’s a great song or two that help us through the traffic and keeps us moving even at a standstill. Here are some tunes that may not help you get there faster, but will make the journey more memorable. It’s a good return trip, too.

Listen on Spotify now.

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Music Tastemaker: Q-Tip on 45s & NYC

Where does Q-Tip go for pizza when he’s in New York? What turned him into a dancing machine as a kid? And just what exactly is he doing with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill in their upcoming series, Native Tongue? Find out in our Q&A with the rapper and producer.

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Meet the Songstress: Sophie Auster

As the daughter of acclaimed writers Paul Auster and Siri Hustvedt, Sophie Auster could have easily gone down a similar literary route. Instead, she opted to carve out her own path in the music world. With two albums under her belt — and a third coming later this year — we chatted with the chanteuse, here wearing Tory’s Cady pant, about new music, old music and on-stage style. If you’re in New York, catch her soulful rock tunes when she performs live tonight at (Le) Poisson Rouge.

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Tory On: Memorable Album Covers

It’s here: The Tory Blog’s 2014 Music Issue. And before we turn our attention to some outstanding artists and their music this week, we shine the spotlight on the visuals that telegraph our favorite beats and sounds. Here, to kick things off, Tory shares her list of most memorable album artwork — from a splashy Damien Hirst Babyshambles cover to not one but two covers from Janelle Monaé — and all the reasons why.

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Meet the Artist: Jose Romussi

Beautiful black and white images, a shock of colorful embroidery — the pairing is a signature for Chilean-born, Berlin-based artist Jose Romussi. Find his works on show at New York’s Robert Mann Gallery and in the upcoming book Collage: Contemporary Artists Hunt and Gather, Cut and Paste, Mash Up and Transform, and read on to discover his top sources of inspiration.

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