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.
In a review for his last album, NME magazine described British singer-songwriter Frank Turner as "the people's prince of punk poetry." But Turner's lyrics can be quite personal as well. He's got a new album, released this spring, called Tape Deck Heart — and the lead single, "Recovery," is about as confessional as they come.
Daughn Gibson is kind of the heir to the Johnny Cash throne: a deep-voiced country singer whose songs are filled with characters of questionable morality — or just pure evil. He worked as a long-haul truck driver, a cashier in an "adult book store," a drummer in a metal band, and all sorts of other odd jobs before he became a bit of an indie music darling last year. NPR's Jacki Lyden spoke with Gibson about his new album, Me Moan; click the audio link to hear their conversation.
In a scene from the film Violeta Went to Heaven, the Chilean singer Violeta Parra (played by Francisca Gavilán) walks through the countryside with her son Angel in search of a woman whose songs she wants to learn and record. Her son asks her, "What if we can't find this lady? Isn't she old?"
Frank Turner writes folk songs that harness the fury of punk and the majesty of Springsteenian rock 'n' roll. But more than anything else, his music is playful: There's conversational wit and bite to Turner's music, even as he's bellowing to the back rows. His songs lose little when you strip away electric instruments and leave the entertainment value to a single skinny, tattooed guy with an acoustic guitar.
It's a hot summer afternoon and the recital hall at Purchase College is abuzz with excitement and nervous energy. One hundred and twenty teenagers, from 42 states, are about to embark on an extraordinary musical and personal journey.
Clive Gillinson, executive director of Carnegie Hall, steps up to the podium to greet them. "Welcome to all of you," he says. "It's wonderful to welcome you here to the first-ever National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America!"