It's generally understood that something about MTV was revolutionary. Perhaps it was the music video, perhaps it was the short attention span, perhaps it was The Real World, but something about MTV had enough cultural permanency that it made for a fine oral history from Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum, called I Want My MTV, in late 2011.
If this song had just the tubular bells at the top and then that Motown guitar riff, I'd have been hooked and happy. But then, along comes Sharon Jones, the brilliant, powerful soul singer, and the song explodes. "Retreat!" is the perfect marriage of singer, song and band. A lot has happened to Sharon Jones and Bushwick's brilliantprofessors of soul, the Dap-Kings, in the three years since they last recorded. They played the Apollo, the Hollywood Bowl, Sydney Opera House and SXSW. And they've just gotten stronger and stronger.
The members of London's Treetop Flyers capture the sound of California folk-rock in the '60s on their debut album, The Mountain Moves. They met on the periphery of the London folk scene that gave the world Mumford & Sons and Laura Marling.
You might never tell by her youth or her warm and approachable demeanor, but 26-year-old Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti has already had an extraordinary career. Mentored by Yehudi Menuhin starting at age 10, Benedetti won the BBC Young Musician of the Year Award a decade ago — and, really, that was just a warm-up.
The Handsome Family, the wife and husband duo of Rennie Sparks (vocals, bass and banjo) and Brett Sparks (vocals, guitar and keyboards), love telling stories, and they've been doing it in song for 20 years. A new album, Wilderness, is out May 14, and "Woodpecker," a song from the album, tells a fascinating tale about Mary Sweeney, who, in the 1890's, was known as the Wisconsin Window Smasher.
For its eighth and most recent appearance on Mountain Stage, the iconic Western swing band Asleep at the Wheel traveled to the birthplace of country music in the border town of Bristol, Tenn./Va. Led for more than 40 years by singer-guitarist Ray Benson, the group was conceived in the tiny town of Paw Paw, W.Va., in 1969. Since then, Asleep at the Wheel has become the world's undisputed king of Western swing bands.