NPR Music

Barbara Jean On Mountain Stage

Oct 25, 2012

Singer-songwriter Barbara Jean makes her first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live in Grand Marais, Minn., in partnership with the North House Folk School. A resident of Grand Marais, Barbara Jean has worked as the news director at WTIP North Shore Community Radio since 2006. She was also one of the first musicians Mountain Stage encountered when it first traveled to Grand Marais in 2011; she was playing a set at the beloved Gunflint Tavern.

It's been a while since pop-music writers have heaped praise on a blues guitarist as the next big thing. But that's what's happened with Gary Clark Jr., who's just put out his first full-length album on a major label. It's called Blak and Blu.

While the album is new, Clark is not. In fact, he might be the worst-kept, best secret in Austin, Texas. Clark, 28, spent his early teens playing blues clubs in the vibrant 6th Street music scene of downtown Austin, learning from — and impressing — blues legends along the way.

Lewis Nash Quintet, Kurt Elling On JazzSet

Oct 25, 2012

There are three stages at the Newport Jazz Festival. At least two are always running simultaneously. Given the surfeit of options, it's rare to hear a complete set. The question begins to nag: Should be we somewhere else? And away you go, leaving a work in progress to make sure you don't miss one getting underway.

But sometimes if you choose a spot on the lawn and stay put, the juxtaposition of two bands delivers a fine festival experience. Sunday morning, August 5, 2012, on the Quad Stage is such a time.

Lord Huron is a band for just about anyone: The rich harmonies are welcoming, the lyrics relatable and the live performances thrilling. The group started out as a solo project for singer Ben Schneider, but is now a full assortment of terrific musicians, all based in Los Angeles.

The insanely infectious, utterly charming Thao And The Get Down Stay Down is giving fans a taste of the band's forthcoming album with a new cut released today on the band's website. The song, "Holy Roller," is from We the Common, due out Feb. 5.

Chinese dissident and artist Ai Weiwei is pushing authorities' buttons again, this time with a "Gangnam style" video spoof that was quickly blocked from Chinese websites.

Every so often, people at an NPR station discover a song they can't get enough of. On those occasions, we ask them to share their obsession with the nation. Ben Famous is the music director at KCEP Power88 in Las Vegas. He spoke to Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep about a new cut from R&B heavyweight Avant. It's called "You and I," and it features Keke Wyatt. "The first time we played it," says Famous, "the phone lines lit up, and people were like, 'Who was that?' 'What was that?'"

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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