Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 9:28 pm
Erin McKeown's new album, Manifestra, is a self-released, fan-funded vehicle for some of her personal and political folk-rock songs. She collaborated with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow for "Baghdad to the Bayou" — Maddow wrote the words, which McKeown then fashioned into a song — while "In God We Trust," "The Politician" and "The Jailer" find the singer speaking out about the death penalty, foreign policy and income inequality.
Guitarist and singer Chris Porterfield has done a lot of soul searching since his previous band, DeYarmond Edison, broke up in 2006. Other guys in the group went on to start their own projects — Justin Vernon formed Bon Iver, while some of the other members formed Megafaun. Porterfield, meanwhile, hung back in his native Milwaukee and took a job as a student union administrator at Marquette Univeristy.
LGBT rights advocate Andy Marra has a knack for writing. When she needs the right vibe, she turns to musical group Bon Iver. For Tell Me More's 'In Your Ear' series, Marra shares why the song 'Holocene' is perfect to write to.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, Aristotle and Dante are the names of two important philosophers from history, but they're also the names of the principle characters in an award-winning new young adult novel about two Mexican-American boys and their journey of self-discovery. We'll hear from the author of "Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe." That is just ahead.
Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 9:24 pm
NPR Music will present and webcast a "First Listen Live" concert from Josh Ritter and the Royal City Band on Monday, March 4, beginning at 8 p.m. ET in the intimate New York City venue (Le) Poisson Rouge. Josh Ritter and his band will play most of his new album, The Beast in Its Tracks.
Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 3:48 pm
Paul Thorn is perhaps the "second most famous singer from Tupelo, Mississippi," as he likes to say (a man named Elvis is first). Thorn writes about his Southern upbringing on his autobiographical ninth album, Pimps & Preachers. On the album, he sings about lessons learned from his mentors, including his Pentecostal minister father and his uncle, who pursued more licentious means of employment.
To stand out as an acoustic-guitar-wielding folk-rock singer-songwriter, you'd better have an awful lot of charisma at your disposal — and it helps if, like Josh Ritter, you're able to infuse your songs with a sense that stakes are high and words ring true. A prolific singer-songwriter who's appropriately delved into a side career as a novelist, Ritter crafts his words carefully, but never loses sight of what makes them relate to the experiences of those who hear him.
Watching Jose James perform live was one of the most remarkable experiences we've had at our intimate in-studio sessions.
The soulful jazz singer blends his powerful vocals with hip-hop beats, smooth R&B choruses and an equally talented backing band. You'll never hear James' songs the same way again after hearing them live.
Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 7:09 pm
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At a show one night in Washington, D.C., Brendan Canty — a legendary and active local drummer, Fugazi alumnus, filmmaker and music fan — handed me a home-burned CD. The disc was just silver, with no writing or markings on it and music by his new band Deathfix, in which he performs with his friend and former Bob Mould bandmate and producer, Rich Morel.