James King is a musician with a sterling bluegrass pedigree. He was born and raised in the cradle of country music, southern Virginia's Carroll County. His father and uncle were both bluegrass musicians, and had a band called The Country Cousins. King also performed alongside one of the all-time greats, Ralph Stanley.
We've saved the best (and weirdest ... and loudest) for last. It's been a couple of years since we last had NPR Music producer Lars Gotrich on the show to highlight the year in metal and what he sometimes calls "outer sound," a nebulous grouping of experimental music. It was time to bring his weird sonic world back.
Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 4:18 pm
Cassettes have been a medium of choice since I bought my first car outfitted with a tape deck in college (RIP Maude). They force a full listening experience, their dimensions inspire designers in ways that a square doesn't and, for the most part, are cheap. Yes, you can find a $12 cassette, and unless it's a beautiful monstrosity encased in broken glass, it's a rip-off. But in a year when budgetary priorities fell more in the direction of a six-month engagement and wedding, cassettes were the way I connected with music.
Each December, NPR Music draws up a tribute to some of the great musicians, composers, producers and other visionaries who died during the course of the year. Inevitably, the list is incomplete, but it provides a sense of how much talent and vision has been lost in the past 12 months.
The two members of Blessed Feathers started off as an unlikely pair. Donivan Berube moved to West Bend, Wis., and got a job at a pizzeria; that's where he met Jacquelyn Beaupre. Both singers and songwriters, the two were brought together by music — first as friends, then as musical partners, then as a romantic couple.