Rapper Pitbull (Armando Christian Pérez) is the latest in a long list of celebrities lending their star power to the flourishing charter school movement. Alicia Keyes, Denzel Washington, Shakira, Oprah — all support or sponsor charter schools.
When Irish singer-songwriter Foy Vance was a kid, he traveled the American South with his preacher father. On Tuesday's episode of World Cafe, he sits down with host David Dye to discuss how that experience and his father's death have affected his writing.
The importance of John Hartford's musical influence is difficult to overstate: His presence is felt in the various styles that have grown out of traditional Appalachian, country and bluegrass music, and can be found threaded through the works of contemporary artists like Béla Fleck and The Avett Brothers.
Graham Nash first came to the U.S. as part of the British Invasion with his band The Hollies, which got its start at the same time as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, and shared bills with both groups in England.
On this episode of All Songs Considered, NPR Music's Stephen Thompson stops by in his 1984 Dodge Omni to pick up hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton for a trip down Memory Lane, revisiting artists they discovered years ago.
At first blush, Okkervil River is obviously a good rock 'n' roll band, but listen closely — especially to its lyrics — and you'll hear a great rock 'n' roll band. The group has been making sharp, thoughtful music since the late '90s, with the first of its seven albums coming out a dozen years ago.
Sometimes, friends of friends are the best way to discover new music. Or, at the very least, friends of artists you never want to miss live. This was the case with Ryley Walker, a close friend and frequent tour buddy of American Primitive guitarist Daniel Bachman. Walker would accompany Bachman in seriously raucous and psychedelic live sets only a couple years ago, and Bachman would tell me, "Just wait 'til you hear Ryley's stuff." Well, now it's here — and it's not at all what I expected.
It's no exaggeration to call Bill Monroe one of the most influential and important musicians America has ever produced. He's the undisputed father of bluegrass music: The style itself was created by and named for his band, The Blue Grass Boys, in the late '40s.
This is FRESH AIR. Our rock critic Ken Tucker has a review of the new album, "The Blow" by the music and performance are duo called The Blow which was conceived by its singer, Khaela Maricich. Melissa Dyne plays a more behind the scenes role, arranging, mixing and co-producing much of this new collection. The music made by The Blow can be broadly labeled as electro pop, but Ken says it goes further than that.
The Northwest electronic music scene has blown up in recent years, and at its forefront is the Seattle duo Odesza. The two young producers both made names for themselves in the local scene — Harrison Mills as Catacombkid and Clayton Knight as BeachesBeaches — before combining their individual styles for this new project.
Woodstock didn't just bring together some of the most important musical acts of the late 1960s: It showed that a music festival could be a truly historic event.
These days, leave any pasture open long enough and someone will start setting up amps and concession stands. The outdoor music festival is ubiquitous in 2013. But so far, there has been no Woodstock for comedy.
When you think about the geography of hip-hop, chances are you're thinking East Coast, West Coast, probably not north of the American border. That's why you probably haven't heard of Canadian hip-hop star Shad.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
SHADRACH KOBANGO: (Rapping) (unintelligible) Warmest wishes of snow (unintelligible) the show (unintelligible) what I'm spitting. Oh, Michigan snow. Listen, no, I don't put on airs. I'm conditioned to blow...
The band Darkside is made up of two men - two halves really. Dark, scary electronics and a funk, rhythmic guitar line. The electronic half is Nicholas Jaar. He got noticed as a laptop music prodigy when he was a student at Brown University. And up until a year or two ago, he mostly worked alone. Then, the other part of Darkside entered the picture - Dave Harrington, a composer and jazz bassist. Now, they've got this first album out together. It's called "Psychic." Nicholas Jaar explains why he chose a bass player as his guitarist.
Short of seeing her live and in person, this is the best way to encounter Valerie June's heartfelt sound. Her new album Pushin' Against a Stone is terrific, but when I first heard that voice unadorned, I was hooked. The same may happen to you.
As a child, singer Catherine Russell bounced on the knee of Louis Armstrong. Her father, Luis Russell, held the position of musical director for Armstrong, and her mother, Carline Ray, was trained at Juilliard and the Manhattan School of Music. It was only natural that Russell would choose a musical path for her own life.
Singer-songwriter Mark Bates makes his first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.V. A native of Hurricane, W.V., Bates let his musical ambitions lead him to Los Angeles, where he now resides. His second album, Night Songs, was produced by Grammy-winning engineer Eric Liljestrand, who co-produced Lucinda Williams' Blessed and Little Honey.
Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Nicky "Topper" Headon of The Clash recently visited the WXPN studios for a lively conversation to celebrate the release of Sound System, a new 12-disc box set. The collection includes remastered versions of all the albums the original band released, in addition to video and audio rarities.
In a fascinating discussion, the former bandmates talk about the development of The Clash's image, and how the group's style changed throughout its existence.
After five decades of singing, Linda Thompson is still one of the best voices in folk music. Her tone is alluring, sometimes mournful, and always passionate. Her story is unlike anyone else's, beginning in England during the 1960s, and continuing with her marriage to Richard Thompson, when she recorded my favorite British folk albums ever, including 1975's Pour Down Like Silver.
Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 2:54 pm
There's something blurrily manic about cable television at 3 in the morning. Ren & Stimpy reruns feel oddly prescient next to personal-hygiene infomercials, while the swimsuit models on Baywatch and horror B-movies start to bleed together. (Not that I spent four months after college graduation in that "OMG I don't know what to do with my life" catatonic state, flipping channels and making runs to Krystal's.) The production team behind Roomrunner's video for the oddly hooky thrasher "Wojtek" has been there, and makes our all channel-surfing nightmares come true.
Brendan James makes his second appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.V. James wraps his tranquil voice and serene songwriting around his own energetic piano playing, a technique that's proven successful with fans and critics. His first three albums placed in the Top 10 on the iTunes pop charts, and his third earned the top spot on iTunes' singer-songwriter chart.