Jenny Lewis's new album, The Voyager, comes out today and we are lucky to have her as our guest playing live with her band.
From child actor to co-head of Rilo Kiley and thru some spectacular solo albums (Rabbit Fur Coat and Acid Tongue) plus working with Ben Gibbard in The Postal Service, we already know Jenny is a trooper. This weekend her story was chronicled in a profile in The New York Times Magazine.
The late musician Jack Clement's nickname, "Cowboy," came from a radio show he was part of in the early 1960s. It had nothing to do with horses or boots, but it happened to fit his maverick approach to work.
Just off the train from the Newport Folk Festival, Bob Boilen jumps at the chance to share a song by The Oh Hellos, his favorite discovery of the weekend. On "The Valley," the Texas band thunders and strums its way to a glorious sing-along chorus. Robin Hilton follows that with a premiere from Frazey Ford, whose soulful voice reinforces the celebratory mood of "September Fields."
One of the many instruments you may hear Saintseneca play — beyond the banjo, baglama, bulbul, balalaika, bowed banjo, baritone ukulele, bass and bouzouki — is a stomp box. Basically, it's a roughly 2'x2' plywood floorboard meant for pounding the beat. At a show just before this Tiny Desk Concert, craftily bearded singer Zac Little put his boot right through that floorboard.
NPR Music photographer Adam Kissick was busier than a line chef at a Newport seafood stand last weekend at the town's world famous Folk Festival. Over three days, he shot more than 50 different bands — from Anais Mitchell to Valerie June — while constantly running back and forth between stages.
Summertime bodes well for reggae music. The genre's biggest crossover moves — from Sean Paul to I Wayne — have been made during the balmier months, when Americans relax enough to stretch the geographical limits of our soundtracks. This year's case in point: Chronixx, Jamaica's current it-artist, steadily making strides on international shores.
How do you know you are in East Nashville? Follow the beards, a current joker might say. If you do, you'll find yourself in an area tucked in between Nashville's neat downtown and the city's eastern edge, separated from each by the twisting Cumberland River. To the west, tourists flock to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Ryman Auditorium — the "Mother Church of Country Music." The Opryland complex — the venerable stage and radio show's comfortably suburban home since 1974 — is to the east, where the city sprawls into malls, hotels and tourists attractions.
There aren't a whole lot of failures on the resume of Jeff Tweedy, who co-piloted the groundbreaking alt-country band Uncle Tupelo in the '80s and early '90s, then multiplied its popularity as the leader of Wilco. In that band, Tweedy's refusal to compromise his vision led to his greatest commercial success, vaulting idiosyncratic records like Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost Is Born into the canon.
Far removed from his days as a white-knuckled teenage prodigy in Bright Eyes, Conor Oberst has settled into his 30s as a wise and wizened elder statesman. He's come to channel his youthful intensity into real showmanship, especially onstage, while continuing to mine powerful emotions and a sort of fearless poignancy in his songwriting.