NPR Music

First Listen: Rodney Crowell, 'Close Ties'

Mar 22, 2017

Americana has had a banner few years, to put it mildly, and the roots of its current incarnation can be traced back to Rodney Crowell. The Texas-born songwriter has collaborated with everyone from Emmylou Harris to Waylon Jennings, all while maintaining a solo career that's netted him two Grammys and an induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

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Musicians from all over the world are settling back at home, recovering from last week's South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. Hundreds of musicians played throughout the week, for crowds big and small.

Leave it to Run the Jewels to find the connection between psychedelic drugs and systemic disorder. The new video for "Legend Has It," the first from the duo's third LP RTJ3, finds Killer Mike and El-P tripping on acid in a police lineup alongside a rotating cast of unusual suspects: a nun, an "innocent" little girl, a fireman, even a clown-faced police officer.

Jesca Hoop On World Cafe

Mar 22, 2017

Rarely have we heard a more cogent description of the creative process of a true artist than from singer-songwriter Jesca Hoop. "A great artist is not someone who is fully confident, but someone who carries self doubt," she says. "And it's that doubt that carries you into your stronger ideas."

Phoebe Bridgers was one of our top discoveries going into SXSW, a quiet and powerful voice in the loud din of the festival. After she performed at Central Presbyterian Church, a favorite venue among our staff, Bridgers and percussionist Marshall Vore came to Bob Boilen's hotel room just before midnight to play the striking "Smoke Signals."

"We're gonna play a whole bunch of new songs for you," said Amelia Meath as she introduced her electro-pop duo Sylvan Esso, adding, "because we're tired of playing the old ones."

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