It takes a bit longer than a full minute before Berkeley, California-based artist Dan Casey's song "Empty City" builds to its gorgeous swirl of vocal harmonies, drum machines and hook-laden guitar riffs, but the sonic pay off is worth every second. At the heart of the song lies a unique mix of bright guitar lines intertwining with up-tempo electronic production that illustrates Casey's mastery at layering the sounds from his head.
Some of the finest Celtic music recorded since it was so labeled has sprung from a few influential musical families. Hear the Brennans, the O'Domhnaills , the Cunninghams, the Fishers, and the Lunnys. Together and individually, they have helped shape the genre.
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Robin Thicke exudes a kind of oily charm that is, with the right material, by no means off-putting. A prime example is the single "Blurred Lines," which gives you the complete Robin Thicke Experience. The song is a come-on, because basically all Thicke does in his music is try to put the make on women. What prevents him from being too creepy is that he's also genial, even gentlemanly and debonair, when the object of his lust shoots him down.
Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 11:27 am
When The National came through the Morning Becomes Eclectic studios, the band was in the midst of a sizable tour, including two sold-out shows in Los Angeles. Drummer Bryan Devendorf opted out of the morning session to nurse a bad back, so we ended up with a pared-down and intimate performance, with Matt Berninger's emotive voice guiding the way. The result was a chance to hear songs like "I Should Live In Salt" through different angles — a must for any fan.
"I think he was looking for good musicians, and he knew quite a few. He sees the heart of a person."
That's how Cynthia Robinson, founding member of Sly & The Family Stone, characterizes the charismatic frontman's choice of backing players. The band, which pioneered a blend of funk, soul, jazz and pop, began in 1960s San Francisco as a kind of blended family: black and white, men and women.
Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 7:22 am
Singer-songwriter Stephen Kellogg is one of the nicest guys ever to play Mountain Stage. Mere seconds before his performance began, a heavy writing desk that was anchored to the backstage wall came lose, and Stephen was there to catch it – and hold it, with his guitar in the other hand – until a pair of stagehands relieved him.
Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 5:18 pm
Sarah Lee Guthrie is the granddaughter of Woody Guthrie, while Johnny Irion is the grand-nephew of author John Steinbeck. Since marrying in 1999, Guthrie and Irion have released five albums together, including this year's Wassaic Way.
The duo recorded its latest LP with help from Wilco's Jeff Tweedy and Pat Sansone in the band's loft. In this edition of World Cafe, Guthrie and Irion perform songs from Wassaic Way and chat with host David Dye about Wilco's many connections to the Guthrie family.
Originally published on Sat August 24, 2013 5:51 pm
Jazz musicians strive for an individual voice. If a listener can tell right away who's playing, that's an achievement. The same is true of composers — and after only a few measures of music, you know it's Marian McPartland. The pianist and host of Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz died Tuesday night at her home in Long Island, N.Y. She was 95.
On Philadelphia pianist Orrin Evans' trio version of Ornette Coleman's "Blues Connotation," drummer Donald Edwards and bassist Eric Revis set a New Orleans second-line groove tinged with vintage hip-hop. A beat like that is catnip to Evans, who gets right down and rolls in it.