Bob Boilen

In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.

Significant listener interest in the music being played on All Things Considered, along with his and NPR's vast music collections, gave Boilen the idea to start All Songs Considered. "It was obvious to me that listeners of NPR were also lovers of music, but what also became obvious by 1999 was that the web was going to be the place to discover new music and that we wanted to be the premiere site for music discovery." The show launched in 2000, with Boilen as its host.

Before coming to NPR, Boilen found many ways to share his passion for music. From 1982 to 1986 he worked for Baltimore's Impossible Theater, where he held many posts, including composer, technician, and recording engineer. Boilen became part of music history in 1983 with the Impossible Theater production Whiz Bang, a History of Sound. In it, Boilen became one of the first composers to use audio sampling — in this case, sounds from nature and the industrial revolution. He was interviewed about Whiz Bang by Susan Stamberg on All Things Considered.

In 1985, the Washington City Paper voted Boilen 'Performance Artist of the Year.' An electronic musician, he received a grant from the Washington D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities to work on electronic music and performance.

After Impossible Theater, Boilen worked as a producer for a television station in Washington, D.C. He produced several projects, including a music video show. In 1997, he started producing an online show called Science Live for the Discovery Channel. He also put out two albums with his psychedelic band, Tiny Desk Unit, during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Boilen still composes and performs music and posts it for free on his website BobBoilen.info. He performs contradance music and has a podcast of contradance music that he produces with his son Julian.

Longtime NPR fans may remember another contribution Boilen made to NPR. He composed the original theme music for NPR's Talk of the Nation.

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All Songs Considered
6:34 pm
Wed November 21, 2012

Five Reasons To Visit Your Local Record Store On Black Friday

For just one day, let's pretend like it's 1967.
Ted Spiegel CORBIS

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 3:38 pm

If you're back in your old neighborhood this weekend or just need an excuse to get out of the house, Record Store Day is a pretty good option. The twice-annual event when independent record stores around the country offer brand new, reissued and limited-edition vinyl has become an opportunity for artists to find a home for that extra song that didn't fit anywhere or to put out that remix that was just plain odd.

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All Songs Considered
12:00 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

First Watch: Ahleuchatistas, 'Lighted Stairs'

Ahleuchatistas
Courtney Chappell Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 12:51 pm

I first saw this guitar and drums duo last month, in their home town of Asheville, N.C. during Moogfest. The festival is often thought of as just an electronic music festival and it does skew in that direction, but it primarily celebrates the creative souls in music and in doing so honors the spirit of electronic music pioneer Robert Moog. The sonic palette of guitarist Shane Perlowin and drummer Ryan Oslance certainly fits that description.

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All Songs Considered
3:04 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Question Of The Week: Who Controls The Music In Your House?

Dad's playing his music again and no one is happy.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 12:58 pm

Got a question you'd like the All Songs gang to consider? Leave it in the comments below or drop us an email: allsongs@npr.org.

Is music part of your Thanksgiving holiday? Will you be battling dad for control of the family speakers? Or is it a war between the siblings?

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All Songs Considered
9:22 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Song Premiere: Erin McKeown, 'The Jailer'

Erin McKeown
Merri Cyr Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 3:14 pm

Erin McKeown's music is a bit hard to describe. It is music and lyrics with meaning so it makes me think, but it's also playful and so it makes me smile. I'll have another chance to hear it soon, since Erin has made a new record, called MANIFESTRA. The album, her seventh, was funded by her fan base via PledgeMusic and will be out on January 15. Today we premiere her song, "Jailer."

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Live in Concert
9:03 am
Fri November 16, 2012

Patrick Watson In Concert

Patrick Watson performs live in concert at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C.
Mito Habe-Evans

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 11:10 am

  • Patrick Watson Live From The 9:30 Club

One of my favorite performers, Patrick Watson is dramatic but understated; deadly serious but unexpectedly candid and funny. And the music feels so warm, with melodies that haunt and enchant. The singer-pianist and his band put out a new record in 2012, Adventures in Your Own Backyard, and it's one of my favorites of the year.

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All Songs Considered
8:24 am
Thu November 15, 2012

First Watch: Night Beds, 'Even If We Try'

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 1:01 pm

This is a languid gem of a song paired with very disturbing video. The music, "Even If We Try," is by Night Beds, the project of Winston Yellen. Yellen is a Colorado Springs musician now making his home in Nashville. In fact the songs on the debut album from Night Beds, Country Sleep, were written and partially recorded in Tennessee at the former Sycamore Homestead in Tennessee of Johnny Cash.

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All Songs Considered
7:02 am
Tue November 13, 2012

First Watch: Bjork, 'Mutual Core (Remix)'

Nick and Warren Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 1:02 pm

Which thing is true?

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All Songs Considered
5:09 pm
Mon November 12, 2012

My Arena Rock Boycott Is Over

In Flight: Pete Townshend of The Who during a concert in 1975.
Evening Standard Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 10:21 am

I've seen thousands of concerts over the years but none of them, since 1978, have been in an arena. I never had that eureka moment, I just stopped going. That means for 34 years, I've passed on major, monster acts. No McCartney, no Springsteen, no U2 and no Led Zeppelin (that one hurts the most).

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All Songs Considered
4:48 am
Thu November 8, 2012

Hear The Rolling Stones' Brand New 'One More Shot'

DAVID J. PHILLIP AP/Press Association Images

From the opening chugging guitar sound, this song could only be The Rolling Stones. For the first time in seven years, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood got together to record two new songs, and you can hear "One More Shot," which was recorded in Paris with Don Was producing, right here.

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All Songs Considered
5:34 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

First Watch: People Get Ready, 'Windy Cindy'

People Get Ready.
Courtesy of the Artist

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 2:11 pm

I saw forty shows during the CMJ Music Marathon this year, and the one by the Brooklyn-based band People Get Ready was by far the most creative. Part of what I love about the band is the way its members think outside the box ... way outside the box. For brevity, I'll describe People Get Ready, led by guitarist, dancer and choreographer Steven Reker, as an indie-rock-performing-art-dance troupe. This is magical musical theater.

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