Top Picks: Chris Stapleton's 'From a Room: Volume 1,' 'Land of Mine' on DVD and Blu-ray, and more

In PBS’s 'The American Epic Sessions,' artists including Elton John, Jack White, and the band Alabama Shakes are challenged to create music using old technology, the NPS National Mall app could help you on a Washington, D.C., trip, and more.

Soul stirrer

The man can really sing. He plays a mean guitar. And he writes timeless songs that look us in the eye and speak directly to the soul, sans fuss or ornamentation. He’s not so much country as he is ... human. If you need more evidence that Chris Stapleton is the real deal, check out From a Room: Volume 1, the follow-up to his Grammy-winning album “Traveller.” The title is good news because it presumably means there will be another collection – soon, we hope. All nine songs are gems, but “Broken Halos” and “Either Way” are guaranteed to get you on board.


Mercy over hatred

Land of Mine, nominated for the Oscar for best foreign language film, tells the story of German World War II prisoners of war (two of whom are played by Louis Hofmann and Joel Basman) tasked with finding land mines still buried in Denmark. Roland Møller, as the Danish sergeant in charge of the Germans, gives a performance that Monitor film critic Peter Rainer describes as “powerful”; Rainer writes that it shows “when mercy must overrule hatred.” The movie will be released on DVD and Blu-ray June 6.

Music challenge

In PBS’s The American Epic Sessions, artists including Elton John, Jack White, and the band Alabama Shakes are challenged to create music using old technology. Instead of using modern components, they use a recording lathe, which allows them to record direct to disc in about three minutes. It airs June 6 at 8 p.m. 

Capital guide

Heading to Washington, D.C., this summer? The NPS National Mall app, which is free for iOS and Android, has features including giving you the ability to hold up your phone and have sights on the National Mall identified, read about their history, and get tips that take into account your interests and time constraints.


Glimpse at ‘Comet’

The Tony Awards air on June 11; Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, which stars Josh Groban and Denée Benton and is based on the classic Leo Tolstoy novel “War and Peace,” has received the most nominations. Ahead of the big night, check out Benton performing the lovely song from the show “No One Else” at

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