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.

There are 10 films nominated for Best Picture at this Sunday's Academy Awards. Only one is a musical — and it has a good chance of winning. If La La Land does take home the honors, Justin Hurwitz, who wrote the music that is so central to the film, will probably take to the stage alongside director Damien Chazelle, his friend since their college days at Harvard. (Hurwitz is also nominated for three Oscars himself: for Best Original Score and twice for Best Original Song.)

When an earnest, hungry-hearted John Cusack as Lloyd Dobler stood outside his love's window in Say Anything... and raised a boombox over his head, he etched Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" into the memory of pop culture forever.

Almost a month ago, President Trump's immigration ban pushed words with long histories back into the foreground of the public conversation; one was "refugee." Since then, much analysis and inflated rhetoric has attached itself to that word, but not that many Americans have had (or have taken) the chance to interact directly with those to whom it applies. Music has long provided one way for outsiders to connect with refugees' hopes and fears. A recent encounter in Nashville reminded me of the revelations it bears.

Little Bandit is a group devoted to the songs of Alex Caress, who's making classic country music with a sassy and subtly political twist. Caress first impressed Nashville audiences as part of the dream-pop band Ponychase, which was led by his sister, Jordan. More recently, he's played keyboards in breakout punk-blues star Adia Victoria's band.

Danish songwriter Agnes Obel's session might give you the shivers for more than one reason. Her latest album, Citizen Of Glass, was named for a pretty eerie concept. "I got the idea from the German term gläserner mensch, which is the term you use when an individual in a state has lost all his or her privacy," she says.

The Infamous Stringdusters' newest album, Laws Of Gravity, admirably demonstrates how these stellar bluegrass players are pushing the music forward.

Note: The audio version of this interview touches on sensitive topics, including Steve Jones' experiences of drug addiction and sexual abuse.

First, Jesse Hale Moore sucks you in with the emotional intensity of his falsetto; next, you realize the strength of his subtle songwriting. The soulful Philadelphian's forthcoming debut album, Green End, represents a period of growth aided by a collaboration with fellow Philadelphian Dave Hartley of The War On Drugs and Nightlands.

Hear two of Moore's new songs and download the full segment in the player above.

Latin Roots: La Yegros

Feb 16, 2017

Argentine singer-songwriter La Yegros' 2016 record Magnetismo combines tropical pop, hip-hop, dancehall, North African folk and Latin rhythms — plus the accent of electronic and the underpinnings of familiar beats like cumbia and chamamé, the traditional northern Argentine rhythmic style rooted in dance.

Nikki Lane On World Cafe

Feb 16, 2017

Nikki Lane's new album, Highway Queen, showcases her husky voice, soaring country twang and killer attitude. She grew up in South Carolina and now calls Nashville home. But it was by no means a direct trip to Music City; Lane's interest in fashion took her to Los Angeles and New York before her music career took over.

Think back to your college days and you can probably name at least one band that got together in its members' dorm rooms and played a couple of sweaty late nights at the local campus dive bar, but didn't make it past graduation. If that's the college-bar-band rule, Arkells is the exception. The band formed more than a decade ago in the dorms at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and last week it returned to that same city to headline its first sold-out arena show. It was a full-circle moment for a band that's earned its fans one bead of sweat at a time.

Relationships are hard work. Music is hard work. And somehow, these magical musical couples manage to make both work at the same time. It's beautiful, it's enviable and it deserves celebrating. So happy Valentine's Day from World Cafe to these 10 past guests: lovebirds who are also bandmates.

Hear the Valentine's Day special in the player above and stream the complete sessions from the World Cafe archives below.


Rubblebucket's new EP, If U C My Enemies, is especially significant for bandleaders Alex Toth and Kalmia Traver. The two have been a couple since meeting in the music program at the University of Vermont and forming the band, which released its first album as Rubblebucket Orchestra in 2008.

Melbourne, Australia's The Outdoor Type is the project of songwriter Zack Buchanan. His music draws on his love of some '80s bands who just happen to be Australian as well — bands like The Church, The Go-Betweens and Australian icon Paul Kelly. Those influences are translated into something new on Buchanan's forthcoming album, The Outdoor Type, which follows a great EP released in 2016. Hear two tracks in this segment.

Chuck Prophet has lived the rock 'n' roll lifestyle almost from conception. Originally from Southern California, he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area as a teenager and recorded eight revered albums with Green On Red before he was 20 years old. Since then he has recorded over a dozen solo albums that just keep getting better.

There are many interests World Cafe doesn't have in common with this Sunday's Grammy Awards -- golden gramophones, red-carpet couture and sappy speeches among them. But there's one interest we do share: We're always on the hunt for the "best new artist."

Mickey Melchiondo, a.k.a. Dean Ween, met Aaron Freeman, a.k.a. Gene Ween, in junior high. Together they created the band Ween, earning a reputation for musical eclecticism — and more than a little silliness — as well as a rabid cult following. Freeman left the group in 2012, and Melchiondo has since created the Dean Ween Group. The band's debut album, The Deaner Album, is out now.

Ron Gallo On World Cafe

Feb 7, 2017

Ron Gallo, who fronts the garage-rock band RG3, is from Nashville — sort of. Gallo moved to Music City in 2014, shortly after his Philadelphia band, Toy Soldiers, ended an eight-year run. Attracted by the emerging rock scene in Nashville, he picked up and moved south.

Gabriel Garzón-Montano was born in New York City to French and Colombian parents. His music is gorgeous: woozy, psychedelic and soulful. His debut EP, Bishouné: Alma Del Huila, was released on a small label — but the right people heard it.

LP On World Cafe

Feb 6, 2017

LP has experienced every side of the music business. The Long Island native has been a successful songwriter for pop stars such as Christina Aguilera and the Backstreet Boys. But as a performer, she signed with major labels like Def Jam and Warner Brothers only to have her work go unheard.

North Carolina singer-songwriter Tift Merritt arrived at our session with her new daughter, Jean, in tow. Jean's one of at least three new things in her life: She also has a new album, Stitch Of The World, and a new partner in pedal-steel guitarist Eric Heywood.

For Throwback Thursday, venture back to 2012 and The Milk Carton Kids' first visit to World Cafe. Singer-guitarists Joey Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale each had their own solo careers going before teaming up as a duo, but they couldn't deny the magic in their intertwined voices and guitar lines.

The married singer-songwriters Alejandro Rivas and María Laura Bustamante met in college but didn't start making music together as Alejandro y María Laura until five years later, in 2009. Their different interests — Rivas was in a Led Zeppelin cover band and Bustamante studied theatre — somehow combined into the sophisticated soft-pop of their 2011 debut, Paracaídas. The album went top-10 in Peru, their home country, but Rivas says that might not have been on the strength of their music alone.

Break out the tissues, because Aurora says, "I have always enjoyed watching my songs make people cry."

In a very short amount of time, 21-year-old singer-songwriter Tash Sultana has gone from busking in her hometown of Melbourne, Australia, to selling out concert venues worldwide. But the bigger challenge has been extracting herself from addiction and drug-induced psychosis, which threatened her mental well-being and her life. She credits doing only what made her happy for her recovery. That meant it was out of school and onto Melbourne's sidewalks, where she used a looping pedal to construct her own backing for her powerful songs.

By the time he was a teenager, Chris Thile was already a bluegrass prodigy on mandolin; he's since evolved into a MacArthur Grant-winning, genre-defying musical genius. Jazz pianist Brad Mehldau is equally revered, as his inventive playing has both the critical establishment and packed concert halls singing his praises.

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