Top Picks: 'Bill Moyers: The Language of Life,' a funny Bob Dylan album, Joe Bonamassa's 'Dust Bowl,' and more

Bill Moyers' DVD anthology on spoken poetry, live recordings of a Bob Dylan concert, Joe Bonamassa's latest album 'Dust Bowl', and more recommendations.

Courtesy of Ryan Matthew Smith/Modernist Cuisine
Modernist Cuisine
Jeff Daly / NEWSCOM
Joe Bonamassa

Bonamassa blues

Joe Bonamassa is a little bit Stevie Ray Vaughan, a little bit B.B. King, with a mash-up of British blues-rock and Nashville twang thrown in. His latest disc "Dust Bowl" smolders with the soaring stomp of "Black Lung Heartache," chugs with squealing guitar on "Slow Train," and employs veteran rock singer Glenn Hughes on "Heartbreaker," a song written by Paul Rodgers. Bonamassa broke through as a guitarist, but his husky vocals are solid, too. Some of the finest moments on the new collection come when he branches into country leanings, with expert assistance from Vince Gill ("Sweet Rowena") and John Hiatt ("Tennessee Plates").

The power of language

In "Bill Moyers: The Language of Life," the celebrated journalist explores the magic of the spoken word. This three-disc set of eight episodes delves into the richness of modern poetry, including interviews and performances from such luminaries as Robert Bly, Adrienne Rich, Gary Snyder, and Coleman Barks.

A scientist in the kitchen

Nathan Myhrvold – former chief technology officer for Microsoft – and a team of 20 scientists, chefs, and photographers have transported the simple act of cooking into something much more complex. Think molecular biology as your guide to carving meat. The six-volume "Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking" emphasizes maximizing flavors with sous-vide techniques, a step above most home cooks, but foodies with scientific minds are giddy over the freeze-frame photos. If the $625 price is too much to swallow, get a sampling at

Dylan funny? no joke

Bob Dylan used to be funny. Seriously. Need proof? A youthful, engaging, and yes – funny – Dylan will charm you on "Bob Dylan in Concert: Brandeis University, 1963." There's a palpable love in the air between audience and performer that makes this live collection of early Dylan songs worth savoring. Side 1 includes classics like the "Ballad of Hollis Brown" and "Masters of War," and Side 2 ends with the "Talking Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues," a song every bit as funny as its title.


Jean Pierre Sagahutu lost his parents, sisters, and brothers to the 1994 ethnic genocide in Rwanda. He survived by hiding in a septic tank. The riveting and moving documentary "Earth Made of Glass" (HBO2, April 6, 8 p.m.) traces his calm but determined effort 15 years later to find his father's killers and personal peace. His story is one of hope and renewal in today's lush and peaceful Rwanda, where a young generation is moving past the horrors of war between Tutsis and Hutus.

165 Eaton Place hums again

Time has moved on in the universe of the well-loved PBS series, "Upstairs Downstairs," returning in an all-new version April 10. But some pillars of the show remain, most notably Jean Marsh as Rose Buck. Tune in Sunday nights as 165 Eaton Place welcomes a new couple in the shadow of World War II.

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