NPR Music

Behind The Scenes With Cafe Tacvba

Oct 25, 2012

It's difficult to overstate Cafe Tacvba's impact on Latin music since the Mexican band first surfaced in the early '90s. So we were thrilled to get the band's own perspective, as members Enrique "Quique" Rangel Arroyo and Emmanuel "Meme" del Real Diaz join us on this week's show.

In their native Australia, Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson are chart-topping country stars. Young, beautiful, talented and married, they seem to live a charmed life. They travel with their baby daughter, Poet, and perform all over the world together. But their new album, Wreck & Ruin, gives fans a peek into some of their darker material.

Thistle And Shamrock: A Case For Guitar

Oct 24, 2012

Virtuoso players in Scotland, Ireland, and Brittany are raising the bar for roots-inspired acoustic guitar music.

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It's been fascinating to watch the creative development of Laura Gibson, the singer-songwriter who, among other things, inspired NPR Music's Tiny Desk Concerts series.

The drummer Jeff Ballard has a band called Fairgrounds. Well, he doesn't have a band as much as he has lots of bands, and knows lots of people to fill them — which might be expected of someone who has been a drummer for Chick Corea, Ray Charles and Brad Mehldau. With the Fairgrounds project, he gets to play a little fantasy baseball, mixing and matching sounds and musicians for his own ends.

Bobby Womack On World Cafe

Oct 24, 2012

Soul legend Bobby Womack was considered a survivor before he'd started work on his long-awaited comeback album The Bravest Man in the Universe. After overcoming hospitalization with pneumonia and successful treatment of colon cancer while in the midst of recording the album, Womack released his finest work in ages over the summer.

Stephen Colbert loves music and loves to sing. That's why Fresh Air's Terry Gross asked him to bring a few songs that mean a lot to him and tell her why. For example, as a kid, Colbert discovered his first lesson about character acting through "King Herod's Song" from Jesus Christ Superstar, even though he thought the words were scandalous at first: "Oh, so you are the Christ? You're the great Jesus Christ. Prove to me that you're no fool. Walk across my swimming pool."

Nina Simone haunts. Meshell Ndegeocello hypnotizes. This difference is as subtle as it is crucial and is on full display in Ndegeocello's latest album, Pour Une Âme Souveraine: A Dedication to Nina Simone, which came out earlier this month. In the past few weeks, she's been performing songs from Simone's vast repertoire during a small and intimate tour.

As the presidential campaign heads into the homestretch, with binders, bayonets and a profusion of political ads, perhaps it's time to step back from the election hubbub.

Low On Mountain Stage

Oct 24, 2012

Low makes its first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live in Grand Marais, Minn., in partnership with the North House Folk School. Led by the husband-and-wife team of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker, Low's ethereal, understated rock sound grew out of a reaction to the grunge music that was in vogue when the band formed; in the early days, Low would turn its amplifiers down to goad audiences into listening.

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