Top Picks: Eilen Jewell’s album ‘Gypsy,’ ‘Grand Designs,’ and more

Culture writer Stephen Humphries recommends Eilen Jewell’s new album “Gypsy” and the long-running British interior design show “Grand Designs.”

“Gypsy” from Eilen Jewell, Signature Sounds.

Jewell of the Gem State 

When I listen to Eilen Jewell’s “Gypsy,” I feel as if I’ve run a mile. The snap of Jason Beek’s drums and the supple syncopation of Shawn Supra’s bass get my knees pumping. Amid squalls of guitar and fiddle, Ms. Jewell’s appealing voice remains as steady as a ship’s mast. The Americana artist wrote her eighth album in her Idaho cabin. On the single “Crawl,” she appears torn between the lull of domesticity and the call of the road. If the latter impulse wins out, these songs will sound great live.

Boldly Go into History

Before George Takei became Mr. Sulu in “Star Trek,” he was deemed an enemy of the people. A new graphic novel, “They Called Us Enemy,” chronicles his childhood inside a Japanese internment camp during World War II. Mr. Takei’s father initially told him it was an exotic vacation. The beautifully illustrated memoir, full of humor and bravery, traces the macro and micro forces behind President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s shameful policy. (As the story toggles between present and past, there’s also a nifty cameo by Captain Sulu’s starship.)

‘They Called Us Enemy’ by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, and Steven Scott, illustrated by Harmony Becker, Top Shelf Productions, 208 pp.

Britain’s “Fixer Upper”

Despite my aversion to DIY projects, I adore the long-running British home renovation show “Grand Designs.” The latest series, now on Netflix, follows homeowners who embark on architecturally ambitious renovations. For fun, why not transform a London water tower into an apartment? Dapper host Kevin McCloud – who has the most memorable raised eyebrow since Roger Moore – delves into what motivates these resilient homebuilders.

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