The guitar-slinging duo of Pat Donohue and Mary Flower kicked off this Mountain Stage road show, recorded on the shore of Lake Superior in Grand Marais, Minn. As the house guitarist for A Prairie Home Companion, Pat Donohue is one of America's most gifted players, and one of a select few to have a Martin signature model that bears his name. His song "Would You Like to Play the Guitar" is one of the most insightful and funny songs ever written about the life of a working musician.
I rarely feel nervous before in-studio performances, but the June visit to KEXP by Will Oldham, a.k.a. Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, was an exception. Since emerging in his various "Palace" incarnations in the early 1990s, Oldham has been responsible for a dauntingly huge, rich, influential catalog of music. Yet Oldham acted so utterly at-home in our studio that I immediately relaxed and got lost in his playing.
Singer-songwriter and classical guitarist Michael Johnson makes his second appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the shore of Lake Superior in Grand Marais, Minn. During his set, Johnson shares a heartfelt story about how his life was recently changed for the better when he reunited with his adult daughter — a story turned on its head later in the evening by born joker Cheryl Wheeler, creating a running gag that persisted throughout Mountain Stage's stay in Grand Marais.
Los Angeles-based Mariachi El Bronx started out as a punk band called The Bronx, but that was before its members discovered a collective love for Mexican folk music. The group fell hard for mariachi, and when faced with playing an acoustic punk rock set for a TV show, they decided to fully embrace that new direction and start a Mexican-flavored side project.
Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 12:53 pm
Chicago-based music journalist Catalina Maria Johnson curates this 14th installment of World Cafe's "Latin Roots" music series. The bilingual and bicultural journalist is of half-Swedish and half-Mexican descent, and grew up in two different cities with the name St. Louis — one in Missouri, and the other, in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. She writes in Spanish and English for publications such as HOY, RevistaContratiempo, Gozamos and Nat Geo Music.
The music video for Ontario folk-rock singer Kalle Mattson's song 'Water Falls' syncs innovative hypnotic effects with the rhythm of the song and it's lyrics. As the song opens, Mattson sings, "With a quiet nod/Patterns arranged/I saw a lifetime pass you by each day" and the camera slingshots on a journey through the city of San Fransisco.
Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 5:15 pm
A week ago, Oliver Jones — the greatest living jazz musician in Canada — played his hometown Montreal International Jazz Festival, one of the world's largest. "Oliver Jones Plays Oliver Jones," read the bill. It was the first time, he said in a conversation earlier last week, that the pianist, now 77, would be playing strictly his own tunes for an entire set.