World Cafe

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Nora Jane Struthers On World Cafe

Apr 16, 2015

Nora Jane Struthers might never have become a professional musician were it not for a moment of euphoria at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Struthers had gone to school to study education — and was actually working as a teacher in Brooklyn — when she turned around to face away from the stage at Telluride. When she saw the crowd and the mountains, she decided to follow her heart and head to Nashville to make music.

Greg Holden On World Cafe

Apr 15, 2015

Greg Holden isn't a name everyone knows — at least not yet — but his work has reached a massive audience. His song "Home" was a massive hit for American Idol winner Phillip Phillips a few years ago.

A U.K. singer-songwriter, Holden put out his own crowd-financed album in 2012, and is now making his major-label debut with Chase The Sun. On this episode of World Cafe, he performs a few songs and tells the story of how he took the money he made from "Home" to finance a backpacking trip to India.

Tobias Jesso Jr. On World Cafe

Apr 14, 2015

Piano-playing singer-songwriter Tobias Jesso Jr. has seen his fortunes in the music business improve dramatically. The singer-songwriter recently put out his first album, Goon, which has received rave reviews and even been tweeted by Adele. But his career didn't take off until after he'd given up: In 2012, while recovering from a breakup in L.A., he was hit by a car, which impaled his hand on its hood ornament. While lying there, he saw a thief abscond with his bike. The next morning, he learned that his mother had been diagnosed with cancer.

World Cafe Next: Hop Along

Apr 14, 2015

This week's World Cafe: Next artist is Philadelphia's Hop Along, a band that evolved from the solo freak-folk recordings singer Frances Quinlan made while still in high school. The music on Painted Shut, Hop Along's first album for a national label, is no one's folk music — it's brash and powerful, led by Frances' intense, almost abrasive vocals.

Laura Marling On World Cafe

Apr 13, 2015

U.K. singer-songwriter Laura Marling has had a packed career since she released her 2008 debut album, Alas I Cannot Swim, while still a teenager. Each subsequent record has been a critically acclaimed worldwide hit; her fifth full-length, Short Movie, came out last month.

Latin Roots: Essential Boleros

Apr 9, 2015

To hear Beat Latino host Catalina Maria Johnson tell it, the bolero is everywhere — and not just in the Spanish-speaking world. The bolero, like so many Latin styles, originated in Cuba, but it's since spread around the world.

For her look at essential boleros, Johnson plays two songs you probably know, but may not know as boleros: the international standard "Besame Mucho" and the English-language ballad "What A Diff'rence A Day Makes" from Dinah Washington.

Will Butler On World Cafe

Apr 9, 2015

Will Butler, the keyboard player and jack-of-all-instruments for Arcade Fire, has been playing smaller stages lately and liking it. Arcade Fire plays sheds and festivals — led by his brother, singer Win Butler — but he's been playing 150-seat clubs as a solo artist who's just released his debut album, Policy.

Matthew E. White On World Cafe

Apr 8, 2015

A few years ago, Matthew E. White and his crew formed a production company and studio in Richmond, Va., and called the enterprise Spacebomb. White and Spacebomb's first album, 2012's Big Inner, was produced primarily as a demo to showcase the group's strengths.

Ibeyi On World Cafe

Apr 7, 2015

Ibeyi is made up of twins Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Diaz, who grew up in France but went home to Cuba every summer. Their father, Anga Diaz, was a percussionist who played with the Buena Vista Social Club.

World Cafe Next: Humming House

Apr 6, 2015

On this week's episode of World Cafe: Next, hear and download two songs by the Nashville band Humming House. The group's third album, Revelries, features the songwriting of Justin Wade Tam with the addition of vocalist Leslie Rodriguez. Throughout the record, Humming House synthesizes influences from the Celtic and bluegrass worlds to create strong folk songs.

Toro Y Moi On World Cafe

Apr 2, 2015

What For? marks a change from the sound of Toro Y Moi's previous album, Anything In Return; the emphasis this time is on guitar rather than on the electronics and keyboards of the last record.

Toro Y Moi's Chaz Bundick made his debut in 2010 with Causers Of This, and soon got lumped in with an assortment of "chillwave" acts — an oversimplification of his versatile sound. Here, Toro Y Moi plays songs from What For? live in the studio.

Andy Kim On World Cafe

Apr 1, 2015

During a 2013 Sense Of Place visit to Toronto, World Cafe talked to Broken Social Scene's Kevin Drew, who said he was working with Andy Kim on a new project. It was hard to know what to think: Kim, a fellow Canadian raised in Montreal, was known for pop hits in the '60s and '70s; he wrote "Sugar, Sugar" for The Archies and had his own No. 1 single, "Rock Me Gently," in 1974. Drew was heavily involved in Broken Social Scene, among other projects, and it turns out that the two have become close; in fact, Kim describes Drew as his best friend.

The Church On World Cafe

Mar 31, 2015

The Australian band The Church, best known in the U.S. for its 1988 hit "Under The Milky Way," has a new album (titled Further/Deeper) and a new guitarist, with Ian Haug replacing founding member Marty Willson-Piper. In this episode of World Cafe, singer, bassist and songwriter Steve Kilby presides over a set of new and old songs.

World Cafe Next: BKO Quintet

Mar 30, 2015

This week's World Cafe: Next artist, BKO Quintet, is from the North African nation of Mali. Its album Bamako Today modernizes traditional Malian tunes and originals.

The band calls its music "Trad Actual Malian Sound." But, as you'll hear, it's also got a contemporary feel. In this segment, you can hear and download a couple of songs, including one in which BKO Quintet is joined by vocalist Piers Faccini singing in English.

Houndmouth On World Cafe

Mar 30, 2015

The rootsy Louisville rock band Houndmouth just released its second album, Little Neon Limelight. Like 2013's From The Hills Below The City, it pairs smart songwriting with huge sing-along choruses that prove hard to resist.

At times, Houndmouth's interplay recalls the perfectly ramshackle sound of The Band. In this session, its members perform a live set in front of an adoring crowd at World Cafe Live.

Brandi Carlile has a deserved reputation for a dynamic voice that she has really learned to work over the years. But it's always in service to the song. Case in point: this version of the new song "The Eye." It's a beautiful, subdued World Cafe performance with The Twins, Tim and Phil Hanseroth.

Brandi Carlile On World Cafe

Mar 19, 2015

Courtney Barnett On World Cafe

Mar 18, 2015

When Courtney Barnett combined her previously released Australian EPs into A Sea of Split Peas in 2013 and put them out in the U.S., we fell in love. She's an amazing writer, with wordplay that manages to capture the stream of consciousness of the everyday without becoming overly clever.

JD McPherson On World Cafe

Mar 17, 2015

To hear JD McPherson say it, he heard Little Richard and there was no turning back. That pioneering hero and the music of Buddy Holly form the basis of the sound of the records McPherson has gone on to make. His song "North Side Gal" caught a lot of attention for his first album, which was made in a bit of a vacuum with nobody having many expectations.

Meet The Bright Light Social Hour, an Austin, Texas band that's just released its second album, Space Is Still the Place. The album is a thoughtful examination of what they call the "Future South," informed by a three-year stint of touring following the 2010 release of their self-titled debut.

Asleep At The Wheel On World Cafe

Mar 16, 2015

Asleep at the Wheel has been together for 45 years. They're the best-known and hardest-working western swing band around. Western swing is a genre of music that developed in Texas and Oklahoma in the 1930's combining country songs with jazz players and arrangements. It was primarily dance music and its king was Bob Wills.

Vintage Cafe: Steve Winwood

Mar 13, 2015

Today's Vintage Cafe looks back to 2003, around the time Steve Winwood made a return to rock with the album About Time. He'd had a string of massive, synth-driven pop hits in the '80s ("Higher Love," et al), but clearly felt more comfortable revisiting his roots in bands like Traffic, Blind Faith and the Spencer Davis Group.

Latin Roots: Jovem Guarda

Mar 12, 2015

A revolutionary Brazilian music and arts movement in 1960s Brazil, Tropicalia gave the world the initial offerings of superstars Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Os Mutantes and others. Today on Latin Roots, Ernesto Lechner discusses another Brazilian movement from the mid-'60s: Jovem Guarda. While Tropicalia drew on Brazilian influences, the artists of Jovem Guarda were more directly influenced by The Beatles and music from abroad.

Hear Lechner's Jovem Guarda Spotify playlist on this page.

JJ Grey & Mofro On World Cafe

Mar 12, 2015

JJ Grey lives in Northern Florida on what used to be his family's pecan farm — a perfect place for a band like Mofro to practice in solitude. It's in the Northern Florida/Georgia sweet spot for soul singers, another way it's ideal for Grey.

New Madrid On World Cafe

Mar 11, 2015

The Athens, Ga., indie-rock band New Madrid has released two albums, including last year's Sunswimmer, since forming in 2012. The group members acquired a space far enough outside town that they could live together and work on their songs in relative privacy. This allows them to get inspired by Athens' music scene and run home to jam and explore new ideas in the middle of the night.

On this episode of World Cafe, the band performs a few of its songs and discusses its name and history.

Kishi Bashi On World Cafe

Mar 10, 2015

Kishi Bashi, a.k.a. multi-instrumentalist K Ishibashi, creates an otherworldly musical experience. On this episode of World Cafe, a string quartet joins Ishibashi to translate arrangements he often plays solo, looping his parts into complex arrangements.

World Cafe Next: Feufollet

Mar 9, 2015

The Lafayette, La., band Feufollet is this week's World Cafe: Next artist. The title of its new album, Two Universes, contains multiple references: the French and English language and culture of Southwest Louisiana, the band's two songwriters (Chris Stafford and Kelli Jones-Savoy), and Feufollet's willingness to straddle the worlds of pop and traditional Cajun music. Hear and download two of its songs on this page.

Steve Earle And The Dukes On World Cafe

Mar 9, 2015

Steve Earle is back on World Cafe, and he has the blues. His new album — titled Terraplane, named for a Robert Johnson song — draws from the genre both musically and lyrically.

Earle is going through a divorce, his seventh, after an eight-year marriage to singer Allison Moorer. But even with that backdrop, these blues songs aren't downers. As Earle says here, Terraplane couldn't have happened without his current cast of backing players in The Dukes, who take it to the crossroads in this session.

Joan Shelley On World Cafe

Mar 5, 2015

Joan Shelley's music takes time to work its magic. Last year, the Louisville folk-pop singer released Electric Ursa, a patient record whose languid beauty builds and unfolds over time. Here, she performs a few of its songs for World Cafe.

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