The Down Hill Strugglers' members make their first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded in partnership with the Birthplace of Country Music in Bristol, Tenn./Va. The location was appropriate: In many ways, the band's music wouldn't have sounded out of place in the 1927 Bristol Sessions that Ralph Peer engineered.
Formerly known as The Dust Busters, the Brooklyn trio became The Down Hill Strugglers after a recent lineup change. The group's music encompasses a wide range of traditional string-band styles, from fiddle tunes to Scots-Irish ballads to African music.
Opera audiences are well acquainted with all manners of intrigue — whether political, romantic or psychological. The exciting American composer Nico Muhly is updating that paradigm to the 21st century with his opera Two Boys.
Earlier this year, the clarinetist and composer Ben Goldberg released two remarkable albums with two almost entirely different bands. Goldberg has left a mark in many modern improvising contexts, including the New Klezmer Trio he co-founded and the Tin Hat chamber ensemble.
We love mothers for all the Hallmark reasons: for their compassion and patience, not to mention giving birth. But some moms aren't exactly greeting card friendly — and none less so than those who live in the opera house.
This is opera, after all, so we expect the outrageous. But operatic moms seem to be disproportionately portrayed as murderers, harpies or generally women on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Your Normas, Medeas, Butterflies, Queens of the Night and Clytemnestras.
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the ironic promotional cassingles is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, how a regretful fan of vinyl records can re-create her discarded collection.
Kirsten Elbourne Mathieson writes: "I'm big-time regretting getting rid of all of my record albums years ago. Any advice for someone starting from scratch with vinyl after all these years? What albums must be heard on vinyl rather than CD/digital?"
Now we turn to a segment we call In Your Ear. Sometimes, after we've asked our guest about their work, we ask them about the music they listen to while they relax or play. Today, we hear from Ambassador Ron Kirk. He recently stepped down as United States Trade representative. But we caught up with him shortly before he left his post, and here's what he had to say about the music that kept him moving.
RON KIRK: Right now on now I'm enjoying "Once In A Lifetime" by Smokie Norful.
If you've ever been poolside on a hot day, you know what it's like to have your senses bombarded with leisure; to feel the sun radiating and shimmering off everything around you. Watch the first few moments of this Field Recording, with its bobbing inner tubes and lounging vacationers, and you can practically smell the spots where chlorine meets concrete. We filmed the band late one morning at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs — a setting that also produced an eager dancer, assorted rubberneckers and one particularly agreeable dog.