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Illinois music and the great alternative, rock, folk, soul, blues, reggae artists you've come to love on 91.9-HD3.  Mid-October launch into the musical universe!

Welcome to the first day of fall — at least for us in the Northern Hemisphere. There's a noticeable chill in the air, the leaves are starting to shift color and perhaps you find yourself turning a little more inward in your mood and your musical tastes.

Composers and songwriters have plenty to say about the changing seasons. To mark the Autumnal Equinox, try this fall music quiz stocked with songs of wistful introspection. Score high and revel in autumn's golden glow. Score low and feel the sadness of earlier and earlier sunsets.

Kamasi Washington On World Cafe

Sep 22, 2015

Kamasi Washington, a 34-year-old saxophonist from Los Angeles, is changing the way people think about jazz. His sprawling three-disc debut album, The Epic, is selling well alongside softer, more commercial jazz fare, and his recent East Coast tour drew impressive crowds.

How does an artist pay homage to roots he obviously cherishes without getting permanently entangled in them? It's a question many soul-music throwbacks struggle to answer. Some settle for permanent comfort amid the retro cushions, while others rage against and abandon the creative impulses that had previously guided them. Only a few recognize their musical strengths and desires, yet consciously subvert them from the get-go with... let's call it personality.

For years, the trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah has been operating under a rubric he calls "stretch music": his own vision of a modern, genre-agnostic, hybrid jazz. Stretch Music is also what the New Orleans native calls his new album. The unrelenting intensity remains, but here it's fulfilled with a younger, bigger band lineup and an expanded palette of sounds. The album quickly shot to the top of iTunes' jazz chart, and is also being released as an app where all the individual tracks can be manipulated for practicing purposes.

Metropolis: 9/19/15

Sep 21, 2015

This Week's Playlist:

  • Hermitude, "Ukiyo" (Elefant Traks)
  • Janet Jackson, "No Sleeep [Two Inch Punch Remix]" (Black Doll/BMG)
  • Hermitude, "Hijinx" (Elefant Traks)
  • A-Trak, "We All Fall Down [Feat. Jamie Lidell]" (Fools Gold)
  • Disclosure, "Omen [Feat. Sam Smith] [Claptone Remix]" (Capitol)
  • Jauz, "Deeper Love" (Spinnin' Deep)
  • Florence & The Machine, "Queen Of Peace [Hot Chip Remix]" (Interscope)

When the curtain rises on the Metropolitan Opera's new production of Verdi's Otello tonight, opera fans will quickly notice what's not there. For the first time since the opera was first staged at the Met in 1891, a white singer performing the title role will not be wearing makeup to darken his complexion to play the Moor at the center of the tragedy.

Julia Holter wants to be known as a good storyteller, not just someone who makes pretty music. She grew up studying classical music and listening to pop, though her songs don't easily fall into either category. Holter recently sat down with NPR's Ari Shapiro to discuss two characters on her new album, Have You In My Wilderness, that showcase her storytelling acumen.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



After the release of The Mynabirds' 2012 album Generals, principal songwriter Laura Burhenn accompanied The Postal Service on a world reunion tour — and then spent another year making The Mynabirds' latest album, Lovers Know, while zig-zagging all over the place.

Songs We Love: Bassh, 'Body'

Sep 21, 2015

Bassh is a new project launched by Bill Reynolds of Band of Horses, plus Jimmy Brown and CJ Hardee of Matrimony, and "Body" is the first taste of the trio's work together. While it will be Reynolds' name recognition and the popularity of his primary band that is bound to provide Bassh with some spotlight, the acoustic string-playing Hardee and the Belfast-born guitarist/vocalist Brown are more than up to the task.

World Cafe Next: Promised Land Sound

Sep 21, 2015

NPR Music's Ann Powers turned World Cafe on to the Nashville band Promised Land Sound last year, just in time for the Americana Music Festival. At that time, the trio could have been labeled country-rock, but on its new album, For Use And Delight, it leans more toward the "rock" side of the equation.

Note: NPR's Audio for First Listens comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

Review: Chvrches, 'Every Open Eye'

Sep 20, 2015

Note: NPR's Audio for First Listens comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

As an album title, Introducing Darlene Love sounds like a throwback, in the spirit of Here's Little Richard or Meet the Beatles. In fact, it's something closer to a joke: The woman behind these songs has been making music for 50 years, and it only took a few decades for people to learn her name.

So much history is contained in the intertwined harmonies of The Fairfield Four and The McCrary Sisters. Together, these groups form a link to one of America's greatest singing traditions — that of the gospel quartet, which flourished at the center of sacred music in the early to mid-20th century and inspired early rock 'n' rollers from doo-wop groups to Elvis Presley.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



RandB songs tend to be on the emotional side - wronged lovers, sordid affairs, unrequited desire. It's personal stuff. And that's definitely the case on Steven A. Clark's new album, "The Lonely Roller."


Ten albums in, Patty Griffin isn't slowing down. Her new album tackles love and humanity with a sound straight out of the juke joint and a passion that surges from each song. It also marks a milestone in the artist's personal life: She began writing it just as she was staring down her 50th birthday.

The Blues Finds A Home In A South Central Garage

Sep 19, 2015

One sun-baked residential street in South Central Los Angeles is regularly bombarded by the chorus of jets cruising toward Los Angeles International Airport. Unless you're in Franklin Bell's garage, where the walls soak up the raw, earthy chords of L.A. blues.

Gary Clark Jr. On World Cafe

Sep 18, 2015

Austin bluesman Gary Clark Jr.'s long-awaited new album, The Story Of Sonny Boy Slim, came out last week. It's Clark's first album since his debut, 2012's Blak & Blu, which spawned many festival appearances in the last few years.

Keith Richards On World Cafe

Sep 18, 2015

It's a good day when you get a chance to talk with Keith Richards and hear that gruff laugh live. On this episode of World Cafe, Richards discusses Crosseyed Heart, his first new solo album in more than 20 years.

Field Report On Mountain Stage

Sep 18, 2015

Field Report makes its first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live at Charleston, W.Va.'s Culture Center Theater. Bandleader Chris Porterfield began his career alongside fellow Wisconsin natives Justin Vernon and Megafaun in the group DeYarmond Edison.

Keith Richards: The 'Fresh Air' Interview

Sep 18, 2015
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



Sharon Isbin On Song Travels

Sep 18, 2015

Renowned classical guitarist Sharon Isbin has released more than 25 albums, toured worldwide and premiered some of the finest new guitar works of the last century. Trained by the legendary Andrés Segovia, Isbin is the first and only female guitarist to win a classical Grammy. She's also the founder and director of the guitar department at the Juilliard School of Music.

On this episode of Song Travels, Isbin's mastery is on display as she shares notable recordings of her work and performs from her classical repertoire.

Gala event tribute speeches are often so much fluff—in the right hands, however, they ascend to the level of the poetic. On Wednesday night in Nashville, Robyn Hitchcock's paean to his longtime friends and collaborators Gillian Welch and David Rawlings hit that high mark. Handing them a Lifetime Achievement prize at the Americana Honors and Awards, Hitchcock wove a tale that was also a dream history of American roots music itself. It was so good we decided to publish it. Do they give awards for awards show speeches? The man in the polka-dot shirt deserves one.

Ian Chang is a gigantically talented drummer. You may have seen him recently in a Tiny Desk performance with the band Son Lux, but he's also known for his work with the bands Landlady and Body Language.