"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.
Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 1:22 pm
When Daniel Hope was a boy, the only thing he loved as much as his violin was his telescope. Gazing into the night sky, he pondered the vastness of space. Now a grown man, Hope still has a penchant for wonder and discovery — especially when it comes to music.
Marian McPartland, who gave the world an intimate, insider's perspective on one of the most elusive topics in music — jazz improvisation — died of natural causes Tuesday night at her home in Long Island, N.Y. She was 95.
Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 5:20 pm
When Venezuelan producer Andres Ponce met Honduran singer Sofy Encanto in Miami, musical sparks flew. What began as a recording project became a full-fledged band that draws from a range of influences, including tropical, funk, electronic and hip-hop.
Real, the group's first album, has it all, with songs in both English and Spanish. After playing around Miami for a couple of years, Elastic Bond signed with the influential Nacional label, which put out the band's debut earlier this summer.
Amanda Shires makes her second appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.V. A gifted fiddler and singer-songwriter, Shires got her start in Texas, where as a teenager she performed with the Texas Playboys, the backing band for the legendary Bob Wills. Shires eventually relocated to Nashville, where she found herself backing Americana heavyweights Todd Snider, Justin Townes Earle and, perhaps most notably, Jason Isbell.
Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 8:42 pm
Windhand is one of those body-rattling bands whose decibels clobber the smoke-filled air. This is especially true in a live setting, in which masses of people are drawn to the riffs like moths. The Richmond stoner-metal band gets close to that desperately heavy live vibe on its second album, Soma, especially in "Orchard."