Dave Blanchard

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

National Book Award winner Barry Lopez was famous for chronicling his travels to remote places and the landscapes he found there. But his writings weren't simply accounts of his journeys — they were reminders of how precious life on earth is, and of our responsibility to care for it. He died on Christmas Day following a years-long battle with prostate cancer, his wife confirmed to NPR. He was 75.

Lopez spent more than 30 years writing his last book, Horizon, and you don't spend that much time on a project without going through periods of self doubt.

Back in 1970, as the book was closing on The Beatles' time together, Paul McCartney came out with a release that established him as an artist in his own right — and a versatile one, who played every instrument on the album simply titled McCartney. In 1980, he followed it up with McCartney II — another kind of do-it-yourself solo album, released as another band of his, Wings, was breaking up.

The return of live music may still be a distant hope, but Jeff Tweedy has found plenty to keep him busy during the pandemic. The leader of Wilco has a new solo album called Love Is the King, on which he's traded his usual bandmates for people he's been quarantining with — his sons Spencer, who's 24, and Sammy, who's 20.