As a member of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young our guest today, David Crosby, is one of folk-rock's superstars. He has made four solo albums, worked with his partner Graham Nash, produced Joni Mitchell, and formed a band with his son James Raymond.
He's had such a wild life, we're thankful that he is still with us — and turning out work as good and relevant as his fourth solo album, Croz.
The North Jersey-based band Real Estate returns to the Cafe today with its new album, Atlas, in tow. The disc is a further refinement of their '80s-influenced guitar pop.
You will not find a more unassuming band — they repeatedly say that they are just the boys from up the street that you knew in high school who happened to form a band. That may be true, but more mature themes of responsibilities and even nostalgia for the not-so-distant past have crept into Martin Courtney's writing — themes that were not part of the band's first two albums.
Even in music's melting pot, Young Fathers are an unlikely trio. Alloysious Massaquoi is originally from Liberia, Kayus Bankole has Nigerian parents, and producer Graham "G" Hastings hails from North Edinburgh, Scotland, where the three first met as teenagers in the early 2000s.
In a conversation with NPR's Audie Cornish, the members of the genre-mashing group say they connected instantly — even though, under the circumstances, they couldn't actually speak to one another:
Tony-winning actress and vocalist Christine Ebersole has been a stage and screen presence for more than 30 years. Her resume includes the musicals Grey Gardens,Oklahoma! and Camelot, as well as a role in the 1984 film Amadeus and an appearance on FX's American Horror Story: Coven.
Guitarist Howard Alden's superb solo and accompaniment skills have led to work with legends including Red Norvo, Woody Herman and his mentor, guitarist George Van Eps. On this episode of Piano Jazz, Alden demonstrates his harmonic and melodic mastery of the seven-string guitar with a glowing version of "Single Petal of a Rose."
Another month means another Recommended Dose from All Songs Considered. We listen to literally hundreds of new electronic music tracks each month, test the standouts on some very loud speakers and highlight the best of the best in a 30-minute mix.
You can stream this month's mix here or on NPR Music's SoundCloud page. If you'd rather just hear each song individually, check out the playlist below.
Damon Fowler makes his first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown.
Known as a master of the guitar in and around his hometown of Tampa, Fowler started wowing audiences with his musical exploits as a teenager. He began singing and writing his own music as the years passed, further expanding his repertoire. Fowler has released three albums for the Blind Pig label, including his latest, Sounds of Home.
This is FRESH AIR. I'm David Bianculli, in for Terry Gross. Drummer Billy Hart has recorded hundreds of records, backing, among many others, guitarist Wes Montgomery, pianists Shirley Horn and Herbie Hancock, saxophonists Stan Getz and Dave Liebman, and the co-op band The Cookers. Billy Hart sometimes records under his own name, too, especially now that he has a well-seasoned quartet. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews their latest.
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the Pokemon games we purchased for our kids even though they're entirely indistinguishable from the other Pokemon games we've purchased for our kids is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on what it means (and whether it's even possible) to sell out as a musician.
If you think my picks for these weekly puzzlers were hard, try guessing the ones selected by an actual drummer. Charlie Hall, who anchors the Philadelphia-based rock group The War On Drugs, is this week's guest quizmaster. He offers an eclectic, surprising and (for me anyway) challenging batch of fills and intros to identify. See how you do!
Ever since I moved to Mexico City, I've been overwhelmed by the amount of music at my fingertips. I'm not just talking about amazing concerts: So many artists from all over Latin America live here in Mexico, and I love being here to check in on their creative process.
We started the series Mi Casa Es Tu Casa with Fusion based on that concept; the idea of catching musicians in their most comfortable setting, and having them go beyond performances and into the DNA of their art.
Ray LaMontagne's fifth album is out this week. The 40-year-old is known for putting his own spin on music from a different era. His last release in 2010 earned a Grammy for best contemporary folk album. But this time, LaMontagne has stepped away from the rootsy folk sound that his fans have come to expect.
Reviewer Meredith Ochs says his new album, "Supernova," is a pleasant surprise.
Eilen Jewell makes her second appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown.
The self-proclaimed Queen of the Minor Key, Jewell has a sweet voice and easygoing delivery that have won her fans from her native rural Idaho to Boston, where she's now based. Her music encompasses a wide range of musical styles, from folk, country and gospel leanings to electric outings that skirt the edge of '60s garage rock and Chicago blues.
It's hard to imagine a musical career that included musicians as varied as Charlie Parker, Peggy Lee, George Shearing and Carlos Santana. But such was hand percussionist Armando Peraza's resumé after almost 70 years making music.
The great outdoors is a perennial theme in classical music, usually expressed through bucolic or picturesque works. But the Seattle Symphony knew that to appear on Spring for Music — an annual festival of adventurous programming by North American orchestras — it required a more unusual, daring take on this theme.
Beck kept busy during his six-year hiatus between studio albums. Earlier this year, he returned with the gorgeously melancholy Morning Phase, a highlight of his already impressive catalog. With only a handful of live shows under his belt this year, the L.A. native recently played in his hometown for the first time since the new album's relelase. When he took to a small stage in Santa Monica for KCRW fans, he shared old songs and new favorites like this sweeping ballad, "Blue Moon."
This summer Nas is traveling the world performing his debut album, Illmatic, in full. The crowds coming out to see him — in Texas, Germany and California — are turning up because the 20-year-old record is an acknowledged classic.
In the early '90s hip-hop was just beginning its takeover of popular music. It was landing on the charts, but more often than not, the songs there were novelties (see: MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice).
For the people who took hip-hop seriously, and especially the fans in rap's hometown of New York City, this was a problem.
Fiona Ritchie meets Len Graham, the legendary singer and song collector from Northern Ireland, to chat about the connections between Scotland, Ireland and Appalachia, with plenty of time for a song or three.
Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
The Julian Lage Trio makes its first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown.
A bona fide prodigy, Lage was the subject of the Oscar-nominated documentary Jules At Eight. He made his recording debut in 1999 at age 11, alongside David Grisman, Bela Fleck, Vassar Clements and Edgar Meyer.
Australian electronic musician Chet Faker has been releasing singles and EPs on the web for a few years, attracting a fair bit of attention for his popular cover of Blackstreet's "No Diggity." Faker accompanies his soulful singing with loops, samples and keyboards, as he improvises over tracks he'd recorded in the studio. Earlier this month, he released his full-length U.S. debut, Built on Glass.
The members of Sydney, Australia's Boy and Bear have enjoyed a fair amount of success: Their second album, Harlequin Dream, made its debut at No. 1 on the Australian charts. The folk-rock band, led by Dave Hosking and Killian Gavin, joins World Cafe guest host Michaela Majoun in the studio for a live set.
Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 1:04 pm
If you've witnessed a headlining performance from pianists Toshiko Akiyoshi or Hiromi, visited a "jazu kissa" cafe where records are spun and coffee poured, or read nearly any work by author Haruki Murakami, then you probably have a sense that Japan has taken well to jazz music.