Music

Field Recordings
1:58 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Brandee Younger: Taxidermy, Two-Headed Skeletons And Jazz Harp

Brandee Younger performs for an NPR Music Field Recording in January 2013.
NPR

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 8:55 am

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.

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Music
12:45 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Christian McBride Says Music Is About People, Not Grammys

Christian McBride.
Chi Modu Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 5:01 pm

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.

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NPR Music Essentials
8:48 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Heavy Rotation: 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing

Madlib, the voice and producer behind Quasimoto.
Mathew Scott Courtesy of the artist

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
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A Blog Supreme
8:01 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Ben Tucker: Remembering A Bassist And Citywide Icon

Ben Tucker.
Savannah College of Art and Design Courtesy of Savannah Music Festival

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The Record
5:19 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Country Music's Year Of The Woman

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.
Kevin Winter/ACMA2013 Getty Images for ACM

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 6:41 am

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Music Interviews
5:21 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

'The Greatest Songs You've Never Heard,' Rescued From History

Tenor Douglas Bowles (left), pianist Alex Hassan and soprano Karin Paludan perform music from The Greatest Songs You've Never Heard in NPR's Studio 1.
Gabriella Demczuk NPR

Originally published on Fri July 5, 2013 3:19 pm

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."

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Deceptive Cadence
5:16 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

The Cliburn Competition After Van

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.
Ralph Lauer Cliburn Foundation

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 10:26 pm

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.

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World Cafe
5:06 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Parquet Courts On World Cafe

Parquet Courts.
Keven Pedersen Courtesy of the artist

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.

All Songs Considered
3:03 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

First Watch: Grant Olney, 'Not From Body'

A tiny owl tries to find its way in the world, in a new animated video from singer-songwriter Grant Olney.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 9:15 pm

When singer-songwriter Grant Olney started working on his latest album, Hypnosis For Happiness, he never imagined it'd take six years to finish. But after laying down the first tracks in 2006, Olney left for the U.K. and the Netherlands to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics. After finishing a 300-page dissertation on something called "high dimensional geometry," Olney returned to music and found himself reflecting on identity, friendship and what it means to really know someone. It's a knotty mix of emotions and ideas he tackles in a touching new video for the song "Not From Body."

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Favorite Sessions
2:29 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Patty Griffin Sings A Song For Her Father

Patty Griffin performs a live studio session at WFUV in New York City.
Dan Brauer WFUV

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 11:08 am

Patty Griffin is back on the road to support American Kid, her seventh studio album, which she wrote as a tribute to her father. She recorded the album in Memphis, working with Luther and Cody Dickinson from the North Mississippi Allstars. Robert Plant, Griffin's tourmate and significant other, also makes an appearance on the album.

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