World Cafe

Weeknights 7-9PM

Hosted by radio veteran and music enthusiast David Dye, 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.

Bobby Rush is one of the last living blues legends of his generation. He toured the South and the chitlin' circuit in the '50s and was often forced to perform music behind a curtain for white audiences. Shortly before the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Rush heard through fellow Chicago bluesman J.B.

David Crosby's been inducted into in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, with The Byrds and with Crosby, Stills and Nash. He has one of the most revered voices of our time — and at 75, even with his legendary lifestyle, it sounds as good as it ever has.

Shirley Collins' recent World Cafe session is a perfect jumping-off point for exploring the world of British folk and folk-rock in the 1960s. Bands like Fairport Convention and artists like Richard Thompson got their start as "British Byrds" with electrified folk tunes.

The British folk-rock band The Levellers was DIY before anyone called it that. It formed in Brighton in 1988, when its members were still squatters, and built a career that, by 1994, had landed the band a gig on the main stage at Glastonbury and a U.S. contract with Elektra Records.

Shirley Collins has been a servant of folk songs — mostly from the U.K., some collected in her native Sussex — throughout her life. Born in 1935, she made some of the most important recordings in British folk and folk-rock through the '60s and '70s. She recorded on her own, with her sister Dolly and then with her second husband, Ashley Hutchings, in The Albion Dance Band.

The singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega was born and raised in New York City and is known for wonderfully articulate work like the breakthrough song "Luka," which earned her several Grammy nominations in 1987. Vega has a forthcoming play called Lover, Beloved: An Evening With Carson McCullers, based off an earlier play that she wrote and starred in. Her new album is Lover, Beloved: Songs From An Evening With Carson McCullers.

World Cafe Next: New Year, New Music

Jan 9, 2017

Now that the new year's well under way, World Cafe hosts David Dye and Talia Schlanger share their most anticipated upcoming releases of 2017. Their picks include new music from Sampha, who served as the secret sauce on some of the best R&B tracks of the past year, and from instrumental geniuses Chris Thile and Brad Mehldau, who've melded minds for a double album that comes out later this month.

When Tyler Randall and Rob Keenan of Dawg Yawp were discovered by their manager and producer, fellow Cincinnati musician Rob Fetters, they were performing seated on the floor at their local creperie.

Robbie Robertson is a gifted storyteller who's best known as the guitarist and chief songwriter of The Band. His career started at age 16, when Arkansas R&B and rockabilly roadmaster Ronnie Hawkins drafted the Torontonian into his band, The Hawks.

Helado Negro (yes, that translates to "Black Ice Cream") is the alias of electro-pop musician Roberto Lange. Lange grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and made frequent trips to his parents' home country of Ecuador. He'd gotten used to living among mostly Spanish-speaking people; southern Florida is "like the capital of Latin America," he says. But from Fort Lauderdale, he moved to Savannah, Ga., where he attended art school; then to Miami; and finally to Brooklyn, where he began performing as Helado Negro.

Davy Knowles emerged last decade as a young, hotshot blues guitarist who displayed wisdom beyond his years. Knowles fronted the band Back Door Slam, which took its name from the Robert Cray song. The trio formed on the Isle of Man, off the British coast, and called it quits in 2009 when Knowles began making solo albums. His most recent release is Three Miles From Avalon.

In 2014, Angel Olsen reportedly told her publicist that she didn't want to do any more photo shoots in front of trees. That was the year she released her breakout record Burn Your Fire For No Witness, a melancholy heartbreaker that, in some cases, got her pigeonholed as a sad country singer. And lonely photos in front of trees weren't helping.

Don't think for a moment that we didn't struggle as we compiled our list of the best World Cafe interviews and performances of 2016. We had to choose from over 200 sessions we recorded this year in our studio, onstage at World Cafe Live and on our "Sense of Place" travel adventures.

Happy holidays, my friends! Here's a gift from World Cafe to you: The Oh Hellos' annual Christmas Extravaganza. The Oh Hellos are a family band hailing from San Marcus, Texas. Brother and sister Tyler and Maggie Heath have been recording together since 2012 and released their first Christmas album in 2013.

Gillian Welch and David Rawlings got a rare chance to look back at their old music with the release of Boots No. 1: The Official Revival Bootleg, a double-disc album of material from the period when Welch was recording her 1996 debut, Revival.

'Tis right around Christmas and wherever you go
It's "Run Rudolph Run," "Jingle Bells," "Let It Snow"

And while classics are great, and you love them no doubt
You may feel a little bit jingle belled out

But don't fret, for musical Santa is here!
With a playlist that brings you hip holiday cheer!

Hey Rosetta! delights with a sweet, heartfelt jam
Plus Sufjan Stevens with some holiday Ham...mond

Doyle Bramhall II has been playing guitar all his life. At 18, he became the rhythm guitarist in Jimmie Vaughan's band, The Fabulous Thunderbirds. Bramhall's father, the first Doyle Bramhall, was a drummer. The younger Bramhall was headed in that direction, too, until he picked up the guitar (left-handed, strung upside down) and taught himself in the style of his idol Albert King.

There's a bit of magic in everything Regina Spektor touches. In her early days, she captivated New York's East Village crowd by tapping a bench with a drumstick with one hand and exercising her classical piano training with the other — all while speak-singing and belting her way from indie darling to icon.

When we hosted the Pretenders on World Cafe this week to celebrate the release of Chrissie Hynde and company's new album, Alone, we were reminded that the band's self-titled debut came out in 1980 — the same year as more than a handful of other classic and influential records.

Chrissie Hynde has been seeking inspiration ever since she left her hometown of Akron, Ohio, in the '70s for London, where she ended up founding The Pretenders. The band's 1980 debut was cutting-edge, sexually direct and a major hit.

Prolific guitarist Ryley Walker says his musical aim is "to freak [his] audience out ... in a nice way". He was schooled in what he calls the "weirdo scene" — in Chicago's experimental independent clubs, where the name of the game is improvisation and every song is simply a jumping-off point for endless exploration. Walker's latest record, Golden Sings That Have Been Sung, is his third in three years and a stunning follow-up to his 2015 instrumental release, Primrose Green.

Latin Roots: iLe

Dec 14, 2016

Puerto Rico's Ileana Cabra is a bona fide rising star on the Latin scene, and a recent Grammy nominee. For the last decade, she has cut her teeth singing and rapping with her older brothers in Calle 13. Now, she goes by iLe and has released her first solo record, iLevitable.

Thirty years ago, the beloved Texas guitarist Eric Johnson made his general-release debut, Tones. Since then, he's made platinum albums and won a Grammy award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. In this session, he tells us why he does it: "I just like to try to have it have substance or quality or give some kind of emotion to people ... Really, it's more about that than it is the gymnastics or the 'look at me' effect."

Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker have been making an impact on the British folk world over the last couple of years. They won the award for Best Duo at the 2015 BBC Folk Awards and released their first LP for Rough Trade Records, Overnight, this fall.

Blue Rodeo On World Cafe

Dec 12, 2016

It's been more than 30 years since the Canadian songwriters Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor formed Blue Rodeo. Back then, Blue Rodeo's music was described as country-rock, though today we might call it "North Americana." The band hit its stride in the early '90s with albums like Casino and Five Days In July.

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