David Greene

Ever since he was a kid, Ketch Secor was obsessed with old-time country music. In fact, he made a career of it by leading the string band Old Crow Medicine Show. Appalachia, the birthplace of the band, has served as a wellspring of knowledge for Secor, and even inspired the musician to write a new children's book, Lorraine.

"That's where this story comes from," Secor says. "This is an Appalachian folktale, with a couple of personal twists."

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The three-month confirmation fight is over, and Brett Kavanaugh is the newest associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Yesterday he was in his chambers preparing for oral arguments before this newly constituted court.

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Paul Simon says he's ready to stop touring and retire from music. But first, he's going back through his discography to do a little tinkering.

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In Charlotte, N.C., back in May, fans at Willie Nelson's Outlaw Music Festival only saw a few moments of the country legend. He walked stiffly across the stage, struggled to put on his guitar, then, clearly frustrated, he tossed his hat into the crowd and walked off stage. Nelson had already canceled a string of performances in February, citing a bad case of the flu. Some fans were wondering whether this was it.

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In a ruling seen as a major victory for privacy rights in the digital age, the U.S. Supreme Court this morning has ruled that police need a search warrant to track people's cellphone locations. For more on what this means, we're joined by NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg. Nina, thanks for being here.

NINA TOTENBERG, BYLINE: My pleasure.

MARTIN: On its face, this seems like a highly consequential ruling.

Kamasi Washington's idea of heaven is the world he creates and retreats to in his mind. The jazz torchbearer's double album Heaven and Earth, out today, represents that inward heaven versus his outward reality on Earth.

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In making a cover album of Talking Heads' Remain in Light, people kept telling Angélique Kidjo that the absurd songs had no meaning. But it didn't seem that way to her. She connected the music with folk songs from her home country of Benin and interpreted them through the same cultural lens that the band did.

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If you've flipped through a radio dial recently, there's a good chance you've stumbled on Charlie Puth's voice — maybe on a few stations at once. His song "Attention" has been everywhere for months; the full album, Voicenotes, is out today.

That title is a nod to process: Like many songwriters, when inspiration strikes he'll sing little fragments of melodies into his smartphone. Less common is where he goes from there — writing, recording and producing fleshed-out tracks in a room of his Beverly Hills mansion, where he recently got a visit from Morning Edition.

Comedian Louie Anderson would like to introduce you to his mom, Ora Zella Anderson. She died years ago, but he's been thinking about her a lot lately.

In his new book, Hey Mom: Stories for My Mother, But You Can Read Them Too, he's written a series of letters to fill her in on all that she's missed — like the breakthrough TV role that she inspired on the FX show Baskets.

Anderson plays the sweet, sometimes flustered mom, whose son Chip is played by Zach Galifianakis.

In the balcony of the Marquis Theatre on Broadway, Jimmy Buffett watches the final rehearsal for his new musical, Escape to Margaritaville. Down below, technicians inflate beach balls, which, in true Buffett fashion, are to be dropped on theater-goers' heads at the end of the show.

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NPR's Noel King and David Greene look back on a year of great music releases with writers who cover the various genres.

Lee Ann Womack, The Lonely, the Lonesome & the Gone

"Lee Ann Womack is sort of a modern traditionalist; she was a mainstream hitmaker in the late 90's, and she's in a different phase of her career now. With this particular album, she kind of is trying to get to what she feels like is the emotional core of country music: it's melancholy." - Jewly Hight

In Tiffany Haddish's new memoir, The Last Black Unicorn, she writes "I know that a lot of these stories will seem unbelievable. I look back over my life and I'm like, 'For real, that happened?'"

You could just look at Tiffany Haddish's career this year and ask that question. She was the breakout star of this summer's raucous hit movie, Girl's Trip, and last month, Haddish became the first African-American woman stand-up comedian to host Saturday Night Live.

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