Brett Dennen appears on this episode of Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Cultural Center Theater in Charleston, W.V. Capable of cranking out big, beautiful pop songs complete with splashy keyboards, catchy hooks and danceable beats, Dennen can strip the same songs down to just his voice and a guitar with equally captivating results.
When NPR Music started inviting musicians to perform at Bob Boilen's desk back in 2008, we never could have expected that we'd one day host The Dismemberment Plan. For one, the D.C.-area group had long since disbanded; for another, its fleshed-out and periodically funky sound wouldn't seem to lend itself to vastly stripped-down arrangements.
You might remember Jimmie "J.J." Walker from his starring role on the legendary sitcom Good Times. But there's more to him than his signature tagline. For Tell Me More's "In Your Ear" series, he talks about some of the songs that mean something to him.
Sergei Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 3 — "Rach 3," as fans fondly call it — is one of the most famously difficult pieces of music there is. The sheet music goes on and on, with notes so dense the pages start to look like modern art. The piece is so challenging that some noted pianists have declined to perform it — but Yuja Wang has recorded it for her newest album.
Most music fans will recognize the title of Ben Allison's new album, The Stars Look Very Different Today, as a reference to the song "Space Oddity," itself a reference to the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Pianist Jonathan Batiste was born and raised in New Orleans as part of the Batiste jazz family dynasty there. He was playing with the family band by age 8. Eventually he took his talents to Julliard, and that's where he met the rest of Stay Human: Joe Saylor on the drums, Ibanda Ruhumbika on tuba and Eddie Barbash on alto sax.
The man who painted the Mona Lisa, and was the first to sketch out the helicopter and the submarine, also dabbled in music. So here's the question: What musical instrument did Leonardo da Vinci design?
One of the big winners in last week's New Zealand Music Awards was the singer Aaradhna. She took home three "Tuis" awards — Album Of The Year for Treble and Reverb, Best Female Solo Artist and Best Urban/Hip Hop Album. Treble and Reverb was released in the U.S. in October.