The 33-year-old frontman of Robert Randolph & The Family Band has strong roots in gospel music. As a kid, he grew up attending the House of God church in Orange, N.J. That's where he first played the "sacred steel" guitar, a driving force behind the band's soulful new album, Lickety Split.
In the 1920s, African-American Pentecostal churches began using the steel guitar in place of an organ. From there, it became an instrument that helped usher in a new gospel style.
<strong>Touch Me I'm A Local Institution: </strong>Mudhoney plays from more than 500 feet above Seattle, on the roof of the Space Needle, as part of a set celebrating Sub Pop's Silver Jubilee broadcast by KEXP
Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 7:38 am
Last Thursday Mark Arm was on the top of the Space Needle; two days later, he was riding around in a golf car full of trash. Truth in criticism: I never actually saw the Mudhoney singer in the vehicle to which his name was affixed (the sign read: "MR. ARM") scooting around the streets of Georgetown, the Seattle industrial neighborhood where Sub Pop Records held its Silver Jubilee mini-festival on Saturday. But I did see it hauling recyclables and getting stopped by numerous concertgoers snapping phone photos.
Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 10:43 am
Canadian Danny Michel is a veteran songwriter with a lengthy career: The folk-rock musician, whose voice recalls that of Paul Simon, already has nine albums to his name. But his latest record, Blackbirds Are Dancing Over Me, is a little bit different. In 2012, Michel relocated to Belize in order to work with The Garifuna Collective, a group of musicians who carry on soulful traditions surrounding the history of their West African ancestors.
Earlier this week week we asked you to look ahead 20 years from now, and guess what music from today you'll be the most nostalgic about. There were some great suggestions, including Wilco, Outkast and Sufjan Stevens.
There's nothing restrained about an Alice Russell performance: It's emotionally fiery from the start and just gets hotter and grittier — especially when she's singing "To Dust," the title track from her first new solo album in almost five years.
Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 12:28 pm
Singer-songwriters and longtime friends Mary Chapin Carpenter and Shawn Colvin share the stage for a special extended performance. Long regarded as one of country music's best singers and writers, Carpenter emerged via New England's coffeehouse and folk scene rather than the traditional Nashville route. She ended up selling millions of records, many of which have touched on feminist and political themes.
Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 8:59 am
The next album from the Austin, Texas, band Okkervil River will tell the childhood tale of its lead singer and songwriter Will Sheff, a self-described awkward, nearsighted, asthmatic kid growing up the small town of Meriden, N.H. The music on The Silver Gymnasium, out on Sept. 3, is some of Okkervil River's best, and you can hear it all beginning Aug. 26 as part of our First Listen program. For now, here's a first taste: the premiere of the song "Down Down the Deep River."
Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 12:21 pm
Leonard Bernstein, in a New York PhilharmonicYoung People's Concert, once summarized the late 19th century as the "kindergarten period" of American music and proceeded to make fun of George Whitefield Chadwick, Boston's leading composer from that period. But in citing Chadwick's Melpomene Overture, Bernstein stacked the deck.