When Jason Isbell was part of Drive-By Truckers, his guitar contributed to the band's sometimes magnificent squall of noise, while his songwriting contributed to the eloquence that raised the band high in the Southern rock pantheon. But the group was led by two other first-rate songwriters, Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley.
Among the vestment racks, satchel purveyors and art galleries of New York's SoHo neighborhood lies a small merchant unlike its neighbors. It's called The Evolution Store, and it peddles, um, natural-history collectibles. You know, preserved insects, taxidermy, skulls and bones, remnants of marine creatures. It's as if a museum ran out of space and started putting its sloths and tarantulas in the gift shop.
Naturally, our video producers saw it and thought: Obviously, we need to record there.
The U.S. considers jazz a national treasure. But its core audience has been gradually shrinking — and aging.
Grammy-winning bassist Christian McBride has been trying to stem that tide by looking at the form in a different way. He tells Tell Me More guest host Celeste Headlee where he thinks jazz should go to reach its audience, and offers his personal insight with regard to how artists should take it from here.
Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 10:57 am
This month on Heavy Rotation — the series in which public-radio hosts and DJs share their favorite new songs — we have music from all over the map. Hip-hop, punk, EDM, folk, pop: It's all here. Meet this month's panel of pickers:
David Dye, host of NPR's World Cafe
Rita Houston, program director of WFUV in New York City
David Brown, host of Texas Music Matters for KUTX in Austin
Jessi Whitten, music director at Colorado Public Radio's OpenAir indie station
Miranda Lambert performing in April at the Academy of Country Music Awards, where she won best song, best record and best female vocalist for the fourth year in a row. The Lambert Effect has opened doors for many of the new hopefuls blending hard country sounds with feminist-aware attitudes.
Credit Kevin Winter/ACMA2013 / Getty Images for ACM
Three for a Song is a performing trio with a love for the 1930s, during which some of the greatest songwriters who ever lived wrote music that would enter the canon of American popular song. But the group has recently added a quirk to its repertoire: performing songs that were never popular.
"You will always hear Burton Lane's 'How Are Things in Glocca Morra?' " says the trio's pianist, Alex Hassan, who is also a pop-music archivist. "But you will not hear an incredible torch song that he wrote for a 1935 MGM flick that never got made."
Chinese pianist Fei-Fei Dong, 22, performs at the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas. The Juilliard School graduate student is among six musicians chosen for the final round.
Six finalists for the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition were announced last night in Fort Worth, Texas. For the first time since its inception more than 50 years ago, the contest is taking place without its namesake. Cliburn died in February of cancer, and the competition is dealing with his loss and other changes as well.
Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 5:13 pm
Nonchalant raw riffage and perfect off-the-cuff lyrics are what attracted me to Light Up Gold, the second full-length album from the Brooklyn indie-rock band Parquet Courts.
On this edition of World Cafe, we were lucky enough to hear three new songs that were written after the release of Light Up Gold. We can't say what will become of them, but "Dear Ramona," in particular, is extraordinary.