In country music, Ashley Monroe is still a new kid on the block â€” but the 27-year-old artist has already worked with the likes of Wanda Jackson, Jack White and Miranda Lambert, and has also found success writing for other artists, including Carrie Underwood. The singer says her tastes are eclectic, but country has always had an especially tight hold on her.
In the last few years, Ashley Monroe has cobbled together an impressive country-music pedigree by working alongside both upstarts (Pistol Annies with Miranda Lambert and Angaleena Presley) and longtime Nashville veterans (Vince Gill produced Monroe's solo album Like a Rose), and even collaborating with Jack White every now
SIMON: It may sound like Savion Glover tapping, or some kind of tin pan Buddy Rich, but this is digital music in the true sense. You're hearing the fingers and hands of Darren Drouin snapping and slapping out a percussive freestyle in a YouTube video that he uploaded this week.
Pianist Carli MuÃ±oz's musical journey has taken him from Puerto Rico to the studios and clubs of Los Angeles and back to the island of his birth. His musical career has followed a similar trajectory. He left jazz to perform with big names in pop such as The Beach Boys and Rickie Lee Jones, then returned to his first love, filling the role of a jazz-club owner.
Jonathan Rundman makes his first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minn. A native of the Finnish-American towns that dot Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Rundman moved to Chicago and began touring the country when he was 18.
Dead Man Winter makes its first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minn. The band is more than just a side project for Trampled by Turtles frontman Dave Simonett; for the lead singer and guitarist, it also represents a return to the roots of electric rock and country.
Originally published on Sun November 3, 2013 10:21 am
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the 500 pounds of generic Circus Peanuts we intend to melt down for home insulation is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives â€” and, this week, a request for a unifying theory of concert length.
Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 11:11 am
Now that Bob Dylan's no longer talking about it not being the guitar he played when he famously went electric at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, a sunburst Fender Stratocaster is to be auctioned by Christie's on Dec. 6.
There's no denying the alluring musical presence of 23-year-old Laura Marling. The U.K. singer-songwriter has already released four great albums â€” three of which were eventually nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize, a British music award.
Nicole Mitchell grew up in California, but Chicago is where she became the original artist she is today. From her mid-20s into her 40s, she played and taught there, and composed and presented complete works for creative spirits like science-fiction novelist Octavia Butler (Xenogenesis Suite) and musician Alice Coltrane (Where the Paths Meet the Sea).
Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 1:44 pm
Somebody does something a little different â€” they briefly step off the curb â€” and plenty of folks are ready to dub them a "self-made man" or "self-made woman." But what Lonnie Holley does, and what he has made of himself, demands a whole new term. He truly is his own invention.
Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 12:29 pm
James Vincent McMorrow first popped on our radar back in 2010, when he released his breathtakingly beautiful debut Early In The Morning, a collection of acoustic folk notable, in part, for McMorrow's remarkable voice. But it turns out McMorrow never really wanted to be a folk singer. His latest album, Post-Tropical, is a sultry, slinky R&B album, with drum machines and soul-inspired harmonies. Now comes a dark, sometimes unnerving new video for the album's first single, "Cavalier."
The Colorado band Elephant Revival has made a few records that mix jam, bluegrass and folk music. But its latest, These Changing Skies, finds what seems to be its sweet spot. With banjo, bass, guitar, fiddle and washboard balancing the many disparate influences, songs like "Birds and Stars" capture the mystery and intrigue of everything from nature to love â€” those places where all of life's most important formative elements intersect.
"3 Seconds to Cross," a new song by Luscious Jackson, begins somewhere in New York City. The narrator lies awake longing to be in California, though it becomes apparent a New Yorker like her really wouldn't fit in: "It only takes just a little to get yourself lost."
California, we're told, is a land unfriendly to pedestrians, where an L.A. traffic light might give you three seconds to cross the street.
The Pines' members make their second appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minn. Led by Iowa natives Benson Ramsey and David Huckfelt, the band plays washy, dark, melodic sounds that evoke the stark side of folk-rock. Now based out of the Twin Cities, the group actually found its roots in Arizona, where Ramsey and Huckfelt met while living in a Mexican barrio. The musicians discovered an overlap in their musical tastes and soon began writing original material together.
In this session, World Cafe welcomes back the Austin blues-funk band Black Joe Lewis, which recently released a new album called Electric Slave. It's a different animal than the group's first two albums, 2009's Tell 'Em What Your Name Is and 2011's Scandalous: It's fiercer, it's more rock-driven, and it moves away from the soul-revival sound of the earlier discs.
Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 3:18 pm
What does the concert-ticket buyer want? If we're accepting that the market for albums â€” physical and digital â€” won't ever rebound, that digital singles will never make up for the loss in revenue and that streaming can't be profitable under current licensing laws, professional musicians (and the labels that love them) need to figure this out. Rap music, with its younger audience, has been more flexible in this regard than other genres: Rap acts now run the multi-genre summer festival gamut after infiltrating smaller cities' club circuits long ago.