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.

In this special episode, we're having a listening party inspired by Turning the Tables, NPR Music's list of 150 Greatest Albums Made By Women. It was spearheaded by Ann Powers, our Nashville correspondent. She joins us — along with Alisa Ali from WFUV in New York City, Andrea Swensson from The Current in Minneapolis, and me, Talia Schlanger — to focus on a couple important records from that list that came out in the '90s.

The Barr Brothers — siblings Brad and Andrew Barr, along with harpist Sarah Pagé – are set to release a new album, Queens Of The Breakers, via Secret City Records on Oct. 13.

Some people float through change; others aggressively swim. Still others find themselves deeply challenged to find ways to follow a current that can carry them to a safe shore. The Lone Bellow, the Brooklyn-born trio of Zach Williams, Kanene Donehy Pipkin and Brian Elmquist, negotiated many changes while making its third album, Walk into a Storm. Babies were born; a close friend of the band committed suicide. One member sought and found a way to deal with alcohol addiction.

Each August for the last 10 years, World Cafe has recorded bands playing the opening concert of the renowned Philadelphia Folk Festival, which celebrated its 56th edition this year.

Live from the Americana Music Festival and Conference, WMOT — in collaboration with World Cafe, VuHaus and NPR Music — brings you a live webcast of the WMOT Roots Radio 89.5 Birthday Bash at the Yee-Haw Tent in downtown Nashville. Watch the live video webcast starting at 11:00 a.m. CST/noon EST on Saturday, Sept. 16 via VuHaus, above.

Live from the Americana Music Festival & Conference in Nashville, Tenn., WMOT — in collaboration with World Cafe, VuHaus and NPR Music — brings you some of the best musicians performing at the festival, including Tyler Childers, Lindi Ortega and Pony Bradshaw. The show will be broadcast live on WMOT 89.5, and video from the Yee-Haw Tent in downtown Nashville will be streaming online.

When MTV launched on Aug. 1, 1981, the very first music video played was "Video Killed The Radio Star" by The Buggles. The song's lyrical message mixes nostalgic sentiments with concerns about how technological advancements will impact the future of music consumption and the musical stars these advancements would create.

The Americana Music Festival & Conference continues today in Nashville, Tenn., and WMOT — in collaboration with World Cafe, VuHaus and NPR Music — is bringing you live performance videos, hosted by WMOT's Jessie Scott, from Tony Joe White, Brent Cobb and Lori McKenna at Thiel Studios. The performances will start at 4:00 p.m. CST/5:00 p.m.

On the coattails of releasing his new album Bone on Bone, the Canadian troubadour Bruce Cockburn joins World Cafe for a performance and interview.

In this session, you've got a front row seat at a Latin Roots concert by Colombian ensemble Tribu Baharú. Of course, you're not gonna need that seat — this isn't exactly a band that inspires sitting down.

Tribu Baharú plays its own version of champeta, a style that originated in African communities on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. It's high octane music in motion — you'll hear what I mean in the band's performance at Nuevofest this past July, which you can hear in the player above.

The event has now ended.

NPR Music critic Ann Powers will kick off NPR Music's coverage of the Americana Music Festival today, Wednesday, Sept. 13, with a performance chat exploring the eclectic sounds and legacies informing Americana music. The conversation will take place at 11:30 a.m. CST/12:30 p.m. EST at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum at the Ford Theatre.

Ride On World Cafe

Sep 12, 2017

Along with contemporaries like My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive, Oxford's Ride was seen as one of the definitive bands in 1990s shoegaze. The band had success in the '90s with a fervent fanbase and music that crept up the UK charts.

Bryant Taylorr eyes the glass of milky-looking kombucha that his sister has placed on the table in front of him in an East Nashville tea shop. "I don't know what this is," he says, before taking a tiny sip, pushing the cup away and wryly expressing his skepticism: "Is it doing something to my soul? Is it cleansing it?"

After hearing the music of Jimi Hendrix as a kid, Selwyn Birchwood was drawn to the blues. Later, he was literally drawn to the blues' doorstep after one of Birchwood's high school friends in Florida introduced him to a neighbor: none other than bluesman Sonny Rhodes.

You might remember the band Alvvays for its hooky song "Archie, Marry Me," the breakout single off its 2014 self-titled debut album. The strength of that song turned the unknown band from Toronto into instant indie darlings.

Alvvays didn't try to change its sound too much with its new, second album. As lead singer Molly Rankin and guitarist Alec O'Hanley told me in our chat, they kept the same spirit of jangly jams with dark lyrical undertones, filtered through a summer's haze.

In this World Cafe Nashville session, we welcome Ashley McBryde. McBryde has one of those voices that might belong to your sister or your best friend – if your sister or your best friend could belt like Loretta Lynn and croon like Reba McEntire.

If you made a list of the most influential guitarists of all time, you'd have to include David Gilmour towards the top of that list. The legendary guitarist and voice of Pink Floyd is our guest for this World Cafe session.

In this session, we welcome Gordi to World Cafe. The Australian singer-songwriter just released her lush full-length debut, which she created while working her way through medical school. In fact, when we spoke in August, she was just a few weeks away from her final exams.

Philadelphia's The Districts is the kind of band you just have to see live — and I'm so happy to share some of the band's explosive energy with you, from a live performance at the World Cafe.

Of course, that's not to say The Districts' recorded music isn't impressive — it is. And the band has been at it for some time: its debut release, Telephone, came out in 2012, when the members were still in high school.

Robyn Hitchcock's latest, self-titled album is slick, surrealist, psychedelic and oh-so-smart. Over the past 40 years, Hitchcock has released more than 20 records between his solo material and his work with The Soft Boys, the psychedelic art-rock band he founded in 1976.

As The Doors sing: "Summer's almost gone ... the winter's comin' on." Here at the World Cafe, the changing seasons are making us feel all kinds of feelings. Looking ahead to Labor Day Weekend — the unofficial end of the summer –- we hear the sounds of kids going back to school with new clothes and backpacks, and linger on memories of relaxation in the sunshine, vacation time burned and loves that were lost and found.

I first saw Tank and the Bangas a few years ago at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on one of the big stages. I wandered in and was knocked out by the band's performance. After returning home, I literally babbled to people about Tank and the Bangas, because I couldn't find a way to properly describe this huge ensemble. There are seven members of the band, but it seemed like 20 that day.

So you wanna be an outlaw?

OK, that's not my challenge to you; it's the title of the new album by Steve Earle. His goal with the album was to channel Waylon Jennings, and he brought in some heavy hitters to help — like Willie Nelson and Miranda Lambert, who both sing on the album.

Latin Roots: Balún

Aug 28, 2017

Our Latin Roots series continues with this mini-concert by Balún. The band's style is so textured and musically diverse that it had to come up with its own genre to describe its sound; the members call it "dreambow." It's where shoegaze-pop meets pan-Caribbean identity, with elements of Puerto Rican music and references to the Jamaican dancehall roots of reggaeton.

If you were anywhere near a radio around 1998-99, there's no way you missed these lyrics: "Closing time / I know who I want to take me home!" Those lyrics were sung by our guest Dan Wilson, frontman and songwriter for the band Semisonic. "Closing Time" was a huge hit and career-maker for that band when it came out in 1998.

Singer and songwriter Jake La Botz plays blues- and roots-drenched music that reflects his time spent playing on the streets, in clubs and even in tattoo parlors. You can also hear the various places La Botz has lived in his music — including his time in Chicago, New Orleans and the Mississippi Delta.

Today we're heading to Nashville to hang with a band that sounds nothing like what you might expect from Nashville: a new-wave-ish party band called Republican Hair. The band draws inspiration from the sounds of the 1980s — in particular from Prince. And as band leader Luke Dick tells us, they're having a pretty great time with it.

In this session, I'm bringing a little bit of my hometown of Toronto to you by way of The Wooden Sky. The band first blew me away at a live show about a decade ago. And then I realized the very tall lead singer looked familiar – hey, that guy was a teaching assistant in my radio production class back at University.

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