Singer-songwriter Tift Merritt makes her fourth appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks. Unlike many country-influenced songwriters, Merritt made a conscious decision to eschew Nashville for New York City — which might come as surprise upon hearing the honeyed twang in her speaking voice.
Shemekia Copeland says she didn't really find her singing voice until her teen years, when her father, the late blues guitarist Johnny Copeland, began suffering from health issues. On her new album, 33 1/3, she finds a different kind of voice — one that's eager to participate in a national dialogue.
Over the past decade, Swiss musician Gregoire Maret has redefined the role of the harmonica in modern jazz. After cutting his teeth as a sideman for some the biggest names in jazz, he's now taken center stage as a bandleader.
Here, Maret talks with NPR's Neal Conan about recording his self-titled debut album, building a following for the jazz harmonica and making the transition from sideman to headliner.
It's been a while for The Helio Sequence. The Portland, Ore., duo returned in September with its first album in nearly five years, and Negotiations finds the band's tight, inventively spacey rock sound in fine form. Brandon Summers and Benjamin Weikel recently played a set of songs from the new record, including the lead single, "October," for our in-studio audience.
Multi-instrumentalist David Lindley makes his sixth appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks. Lindley was first heard by a wide audience while he worked as an accompanist for Jackson Browne, playing lap steel in the classic "Running on Empty."
Known for its huge performances, the British band Muse has twice sold out London's Wembley Stadium — the second largest stadium in Europe. Muse has sold more than 15 million records worldwide to date, and was even chosen to write the official song for the 2012 London Olympics, called "Survival." The track is featured on Muse's new album, The 2nd Law, which is out now.
Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 10:51 am
Here's a pretty incredible night of music: Flying Lotus, Death Grips and (we're happy to announce) Buke & Gase, all on one stage at (Le) Poisson Rouge in NYC. It's also your chance to meet us. NPR Music is coming together with WNYC's Soundcheck during the CMJ Music Marathon for this show on Wednesday, Oct.
Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 8:46 am
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The annual CMJ Music Marathon is exactly that — a marathon, not a sprint. As hundreds of bands from all over the world descend on New York City in the middle of October, it's easy to feel like you have to see as many of them as quickly as you possibly can.
For Tell Me More's occasional series "In Your Ear," guests of the program talk about songs that have particular meaning for them. South African musician Sipho "Hotstix" Mabuse went back to school at the age of 60. He shares the songs that have inspired him over the years.
Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 11:03 am
(For our week dedicated to Robert Schumann, pianist Jonathan Biss defends this misunderstood composer in the first of three essays. Click the audio link above to hear him play Schumann and discuss the composer with Performance Today host Fred Child.)