Ashley Monroe makes her first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown. A native of Knoxville, Tenn., Monroe moved to Nashville and signed a publishing deal when she was only 20.
Now we take a moment to highlight and salute another artist. Jazz-great Arturo Sandoval received the Presidential Medal of Freedom this week from President Obama. Sandoval was born and raised in Cuba, where he was once jailed just for listening to jazz music. So he packed up his trumpet and moved to the United States. A country he says gave him the freedom to fill the air with his music. Here's what the president said about him at the ceremony.
Grammy Award-winning musician Esperanza Spalding has a problem with using the phrase "protest song" to describe her new recording, "We Are America." The song, along with its accompanying music video, demands congressional action to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay.
" 'Protest' doesn't seem accurate to me," she tells NPR's Celeste Headlee. "We weren't thinking of a 'protest' song, we're thinking of a 'let's get together and do something pro-active, creative and productive' song."
Pianist, composer and author Kenny Werner is known for his 1996 book Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Master Musician Within, which has become a university textbook for improvising musicians and other artists. His album of original compositions, No Beginning No End -- a meditation on loss, death and renewal — was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in 2010.
Madison Square Garden has figured large in hip-hop culture — from Run-D.M.C. packing out shows in the '80s, before rap reached mainstream status, to what we were told was Jay Z's storybook ending ten years ago. And it don't stop: this weekend the arena hosts two nights of Kanye West's Yeezus tour and the final performance of A Tribe Called Quest.
I'm a bit of a cynic when it comes to composer anniversaries but this year, marking 100 years since the birth of Benjamin Britten, has been absolutely fascinating for me. I am now living proof that such centenaries can indeed change the way we look at a composer and provide us with opportunities to explore their breadth and depth. In Britten I have found a new hero, a musically surprising and multi-dimensional citizen of the world.
Now for our occasional series we call In Your Ear. That's where our guest tells us what songs they're jamming out to. And it's Native American Heritage Month so we spoke to Anton Treuer. He wrote the book "Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians But Were Afraid to Ask." And here's his crash course on Native American music.
ANTON TREUER: Hello, this is Anton Treuer and I'm listening to "Buffalo Moon" by Brule.