Mary Lou Williams was the guest on the the very first Piano Jazz session ever, recorded in 1978 with Williams and bassist Ronnie Boykins. Host Marian McPartland is initially nervous interviewing her longtime friend and idol, and the cagey Williams still stands as a tough nut to crack.
The Vieuxtemps Guarneri is a violin that is older than the United States of America — 273 years old, to be exact. It recently became the most expensive violin in the world, selling for an estimated $16 million. Its new owner anonymously donated the historic instrument to violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, on loan for the rest of her life.
The band Drive-By Truckers are in their third decade playing alternative country music tinged with Southern pride. Critic Robert Christgau says they put out a great album in 2008 then hit a lull. But he says their latest album, out this week, is a true comeback.
The two vagabonds behind distorted doom unit Jucifer have been peddling their decimating decibels across the globe since 1993. Famed for their towering wall of amplifiers and incendiary live performances, guitarist and vocalist Gazelle Amber Valentine and her partner in music and in life, drummer Edgar Livengood, are always on the move. The married couple live in an RV with a scattering of dogs and musical equipment and transverse the country 24/7.
Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 12:08 pm
Surely listening to Pharrell Williams' Oscar nominee "Happy" makes you bounce with joy. Nirvana still makes you want to wail. And old Beatles songs make you feel like everything's going to be all right. But maybe you don't feel anything at all.
Pharrell Williams, who frequently goes by just his first name, is the sort of pop star whom many people would like to view as a friend. Emerging from hip-hop, he makes charming recordings that suggest a deep appreciation of pop, soul and R&B music extending at least as far back as the 1960s. To hear Pharrell on his new album G I R L, you'd think his world consisted of grooving on catchy beats and flirting with women. It's a lightweight image that draws gravitas from his prolific work ethic and a shrewd deployment of those influences.
It's hard to convey the sound of two people in love, but Lowland Hum does that effortlessly. Daniel Levi Goans and Lauren Plank are now Daniel and Lauren Goans; they met a few years ago and spent much of their first married year on the road, singing together on small stages and at house concerts across the country. Daniel was a folksinger in North Carolina, while Lauren had aspirations to sing but mostly did it privately. She has a passion for making things with paper, and you'll see that in the little black book of lyrics she hands out at shows.
When it's time to buckle down and focus, plenty of office workers will put on headphones to help them drown out distractions and be more productive. But can music also help dairy cows get down to business?
The members of KINS come from different parts of Australia and the U.K., but now call Brighton home. They each bring different influences to the table, and clearly relish the idea of crafting a unique sound that defies categorization, much like their fellow Brits in Alt-J. KINS' members strive to explore new sonic boundaries, and they succeed mightily in their song "Mockasin's."