This summer we've brought you musical postcards of street performers from around the country. Our "Music Alfresco" series takes us to our last stop: Berkeley, Calif., where we meet guitarist Phillip Rosheger.
<strong></strong>Singer-songwriter Maryanne Sokol left Houston for New York two years ago, hoping for greater exposure but aware of the increased competition. "I felt like I was going to be like a little piece of algae in a huge ocean," she says.
Credit Jonathan Sokol / Courtesy of the artist
The members of the band Bass Drum of Death, drummer Colin Sneed (left) and singer-guitarist John Barrett, live in their hometown of Oxford, Miss. -- a city of around 19,000 people.
Maryanna Sokol is a 29-year-old singer and songwriter originally from Houston, but she left her hometown for New York almost two years ago.
"New York is just filled with talent everywhere you go," she says.
Even before she left Texas, Sokol began collaborating with New York musicians online. They chatted and emailed, discussing how each song should sound. With limited resources and without the support of a record label, Sokol used this process to produce her own album. But after a while, this long-distance relationship just wasn't cutting it.
For more than a decade, The Raveonettes' members have been making albums filled with fuzz-guitar feedback and tight girl-group harmonies. The duo's latest album, Observator, takes on a different sound, thanks in part to its embrace of a new instrument.
Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 2:56 am
The shaggy-haired Canadian rock band The Sheepdogs released three albums independently before entering Rolling Stone magazine's "Choose the Cover" competition in 2011. The group beat out 15 other competitors to win, and in the process scored a major-label record deal — not to mention an appearance on Project Runway.
For many people, the definitive soundtrack of the mid-1990s was a band out of Virginia with unusual instrumentation and an unmistakable sound. Born and partially raised in South Africa, Dave Matthews was a bartender in the college town of Charlottesville when he founded the Dave Matthews Band in 1991. Two decades on, the group has sold 40 million records and become one of the biggest live acts in the world.
Leonard Cohen is known for distinctive, haunting and provocative songs. His music inspired one artist in the Bay Area with amounts to a vision: that there ought to be a community choir of men singing a cappella exclusively from the Leonard Cohen songbook. Lisa Morehouse spent some time with the group. They call themselves the Conspiracy of Beards.
LISA MOREHOUSE, BYLINE: The Beards, as they're known, don't all have beards, but they do stand out.
Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 5:29 pm
American folk music has a long tradition of songwriting duos who work miracles with just two voices, from Simon & Garfunkel and Ian & Sylvia to the contemporary likes of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, on through the distorted gutter-punk cigar-box-banjo shredding of Hymn for Her. There's always room for more.
The members of Sauti Sol rehearse in a cramped recording studio above a chapati restaurant off a noisy highway in Nairobi. Bien-Aime Baraza, Delvin Mudigi and Willis Chimano — the founding members, all 25 — have been friends since they sang together as part of a gospel ensemble in high school. When they graduated in 2005, they didn't want to stop singing, so they formed Sauti Sol. Sauti is Swahili for voice, while sol is Spanish for sun. "Voices of light."
Piano Jazz celebrates the centennial of the grandfather of the jazz violin: Stephane Grappelli. Born in Paris in 1908, Grappelli grew up very poor — his mother died when he was 4 and he spent time in orphanages and boarding schools (including one run by the famous dancer Isadora Duncan) when his father was called away to WWI. Father and son were reunited after the war.