World Cafe

Weeknights 7-9PM

Hosted by radio veteran and music enthusiast Talia Schlanger , World Cafe presents up to ten hours each week of new and significant music and the artists who create it.

Serving up a blend of blues, rock, world, folk, and alternative country, live performances, and intimate interviews, the two-hour daily program is produced by WXPN-FM in Philadelphia.

Southern California's The Wild Reeds is made up of three singers, each one also a songwriter, who have been combining their voices since they met in college. Each of the women — Kinsey Lee, Sharon Silva and Mackenzie Howe — has a distinctive style, but together they find a way to blend them to create amazing harmonies.

Andy Shauf's latest album, The Party, landed on last year's short list for Canada's prestigious Polaris Music Prize. It's filled with songs that chronicle the awkward moments and juicy encounters that can happen at a house party in a small town: the half-wit spilling his guts after a bottle of wine, the friend making late-night confessions to his crush while her boyfriend stands oblivious and stoned in the corner, what it feels like to be the first person to show up at the party.

Ray Davies On World Cafe

Apr 21, 2017

In this session, we welcome the legendary frontman of The Kinks, Ray Davies, who is backed by The Jayhawks on his new solo album, Americana. One of the themes Davies writes about in this new batch of songs is his relationship with the United States. He says that when The Kinks first came to the U.S.

Charlie Worsham is ready for his close-up. The 31-year-old Mississippi native moved to Nashville 10 years ago after attending Boston's prestigious Berklee College of Music. He's been a favorite of country music insiders ever since. Worsham released his first solo album, Rubber Band, in 2013; now, he's offering his second, Beginning Of Things, out April 21.

Happy April 20, or — in certain circles — 420 day. The history around April 20's unofficial designation as Weed Day around the world is a little hazy. Some say it started with the Grateful Dead. Others say 420 is police code for "pot smoking in progress." Still other stories start with "The Waldos," a group of five friends who say they coined the term 420 in 1971 to refer to a certain hour of the afternoon. There are probably as many stories about 420 day's origins as there are strains of the herb.

In this studio session, Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears showcase the funky, soulful sound of their latest record, Backlash. The band comes stacked with a full horn section and a lead singer who can really shred on the guitar. Here, Lewis talks about the dramatic changes he and his bandmates have seen in their hometown of Austin, Texas, over the past few years, and how those changes have impacted the music scene.

Grammy-winning guitarist and producer Eric Krasno's collaboration credits read like a who's who of the music industry over the past couple decades.

Gabriel Garzón-Montano's latest record, Jardín, is liquid-smooth, intricate and organic. It's the sum of Garzón-Montano's many influences: the slick pop of New York City, the cumbia flair of his Colombian dad and even hanging out with famed minimalist composer Philip Glass when he was 5 years old:

It's hard to imagine listening to Led Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven" without remembering the classic "No 'Stairway' — denied!" scene in Wayne's World. Once voted the No.

This Latin Roots session all started when four guys from Los Angeles showed up at our studio looking like, well, four guys from Los Angeles, in track pants, T-shirts and sneakers. They finished sound check and disappeared for a while — and when they came back, it was like somebody'd hit the 1976 button on the time machine. Those four guys returned sporting matching tuxedos with ruffled collars, their two back-up singers in blinding, sparkly dresses. They had morphed into Chicano Batman.

You wanna talk about stories? Kristin Hersh has stories. You might know Hersh as the frontwoman for the innovative late '80s-early '90s alt-rock band Throwing Muses or the hard-rocking power trio 50 Foot Wave. She's also an author — her 2010 memoir Rat Girl was named No. 8 on Rolling Stone's "25 Greatest Rock Memoirs of All Time" list.

American singer-songwriter and producer Matthew E. White and folky English artist Flo Morrissey teamed up for an album of covers called Gentlewoman, Ruby Man.

Swedish singer-songwriter Jens Lekman's new record is called Life Will See You Now. It feels sort of like going to a tropical roller disco with your therapist — and it comes after a period of colossal frustration that led Lekman to dump an entire truckload of his records in a landfill. As he tells it: "I felt like ... I need to find my way back to finding how to take something bad and make something beautiful, how to pour manure into a espresso machine and have a cappuccino come out."

In this session, we bring you a performance from Tame Impala's touring bassist, Cameron Avery. His debut solo record sounds nothing like what you're used to hearing from him with the band. Instead, picture Dean Martin swooping down to light a cigarette in the back alley behind some lover-laced boudoir, and you've sort of got the idea.

In this session, we're shining a spotlight on two elements that never seem to take center stage: backing musicians and music without words. But trust me, they deserve the limelight. Steelism is a Nashville duo made up of ace guitarist Jeremy Fetzer and pedal-steel player Spencer Cullum Jr.

A couple years ago, rock veteran Alejandro Escovedo and his new wife, Nancy, were on their honeymoon on the coast of Mexico when disaster struck and they were sure they were going to die. It was so bad that they even called their family to say goodbye.

Felony Blues is the name of the new record by Jaime Wyatt. That title is neither a metaphor nor a gimmick — it's lived experience. Wyatt was charged with a felony for robbing a drug dealer and served a sentence in the Los Angeles County Jail. When she got out, she wrote an album based on her own true story — from her crime to doing time and the addiction, depression and shame she had to overcome to even turn her experience into song.

When Sting set out to write his latest record, 57th & 9th, he says he had to "play tricks on [himself] to get the creative juices flowing." He'd step out on to the terrace of his New York apartment in the freezing cold and tell his wife, Trudie Styler, "Don't let me back in until I've finished a lyric." He calls this self-imposed, cold quest "hunting" for the muse, and the fruitful bounty he collected is on full display on 57th & 9th.

While preparing for my departure from World Cafe as full-time host, I've been looking back on the last 25 years of the show.

David Dye, Signing Off

Mar 31, 2017

Editor's note: Friday marks David Dye's last day as full-time host of World Cafe, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

Each month, NPR Music checks in with 10 DJs, music directors and writers from our extended public-radio family to get their latest recommendations — the one song each of them can't let go.

"I pulled out Diamonds And Dirt, that record, and I looked at the album cover and there I had on a pair of silver-toe-tipped boots and a wife-beater with a bolo tie hanging around myself and a mullet hairdo. And I turned to my wife and I said 'Look at this poser.' "

Ryan Adams On World Cafe

Mar 30, 2017

Is Ryan Adams' new album, Prisoner, as heartbreaking as Heartbreaker, his classic 2000 solo debut? In this session, we do talk with Adams about breakup songs, but he says that some of the somber songs on Prisoner came at a different stage in his life. "Strangely, as heavy as the record is for some people, I wrote it when I was very much falling down a rabbit hole of feeling very romantic again in my life," he says.

Sylvan Esso On World Cafe

Mar 29, 2017

Sure, the incredibly intuitive duo Sylvan Esso is releasing its second album, What Now, on April 28, but here's something even better: a chance to hear the new songs before the record's out. Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn — on voice and electronics, respectively — performed a selection live in concert at World Cafe's recent 25th anniversary celebration.

For 30 years, Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips has been pulling musical ideas from his giant hamster ball, guiding his merry band through creative ups and downs.

Rose Cousins has an arresting voice that gets right under your skin. She hails from Canada's eastern coast, near the Atlantic Ocean. Just like that body of water, her music is spacious, expansive and liquid. Her last full-length album, We Have Made A Spark, came out to rave reviews in 2012 and propelled her into a couple years of constant touring. When that period was over, Cousins was burned out.

In July 2015, the music industry moved its formal release day for new records from Tuesdays to Fridays. These days, though, it seems like almost every day is New Music Day. Keeping track of all this new music can be a challenge, but that's why we love being music fans.

We first met Becca Stevens when she sang a show-stopping solo vocal line on a cover of Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock" during a World Cafe session with David Crosby. She was part of Crosby's young, Brooklynite backing band, and we were thrilled to learn that they also write songs together.

If you're out in the clubs in Nashville in 2017, you have a good chance of discovering the powerful, lyrical voice of Kyshona. The South Carolina native came to Nashville after a long stint in Athens, Ga.'s singer-songwriter circles. She soon found her place in the city as part of both the soul and rock scenes and has released two independent albums since then: 2014's Go and 2016's Ride.

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