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.

It's a pop-culture phenomenon that's both surprising and enduring: The people of Mexico love Morrissey. A lot. The mopey rock star from Manchester who was the lead singer of The Smiths is basically a god, both in Mexico and among Latinos living in southern California.

Our guest for this Nashville Session is the breakthrough alt-country artist Margo Price, recorded live onstage at the Country Music Hall of Fame during AmericanaFest 2016. Just two weeks after Price's wonderful debut, Midwest Farmer's Daughter, was released in March, she was already performing on Saturday Night Live. And in September, when this session was recorded, she was named the Americana Music Honors & Awards' Emerging Artist of the Year.

On the cover of Aaron Lee Tasjan's new record Silver Tears, he almost looks the perfect picture of an Americana star. He's wearing a cowboy hat, he's got a brooding expression and he's walking thoughtfully under a cloudy sky. And then there's the Bonanza-meets-disco-ball suit. Bejeweled with hand-glued pieces of mirror, it's a fitting outfit for an artist whose avant-garde and often irreverent approach reflects Americana back at itself.

Genre-defying. Label-splitting. Immediately comforting, but still mysterious. All this describes what you'll hear with just a quick listen to Kadhja Bonet's new EP, The Visitor. Gorgeous string arrangements point to the classical training in Bonet's background; beyond that, her music amalgamates folk, jazz and soul in a strikingly original manner.

The Visitor — which is being released by two labels, Fresh Selects and Fat Possum — is simply beautiful. Hear it for yourself in the downloadable segment above.

There has almost always been a certain amount of heartbreak in Rachael Yamagata's music. But on her new album, Tightrope Walker, she's made room for a corresponding amount of optimism. Yamagata uses these songs' birthplace — the front porch of her new house in Woodstock, N.Y. — as a metaphor for the songs' outward focus. She is now writing songs not so much to soothe her own aching heart, but to help other people.

Before there was Dark Side Of The MoonPink Floyd's magnum opus, which stayed on the charts for years and years and has come to define progressive rock — there were years of albums and experimentation for the band. That included ballets, film scores and even live accompaniment to the moon landing. All this material, which also includes outtakes, BBC recordings and more, has been gathered into a 27-disc box set of music and video called The Early Years 1965-1972.

Big Thief On World Cafe

Nov 23, 2016

Singer and guitarist Adrianne Lenker is the main songwriter in the Brooklyn band Big Thief. Originally from Minneapolis, she found a songwriting partner in Texas artist Buck Meek. After making two EPs together, they decided to form Big Thief and worked up the songs that have become the debut album Masterpiece, whose title is certainly a little tongue-in-cheek. The band, now a four-piece, recorded the album in upstate New York, bonding over meals as they worked long hours.

You could call him the King of the Chitlin' Circuit. You could call him the Godfather of Folk-Funk. You could call him the last of his kind, a blues legend who played alongside Muddy Waters and earned the respect of B.B. King, cutting his teeth with the greatest of the great in 1950s and '60s Chicago. He calls himself Bobby Rush — never just Bobby.

Today on World Cafe, we pay tribute to Dr. John, the American music legend who turns 76 years old Nov. 21. Malcolm John "Mac" Rebennack was born and raised in New Orleans, where he still lives. A chance meeting as a teenager with pianist Professor Longhair set Dr. John down a musical path that combined R&B, New Orleans funk, psychedelia, blues and jazz. The gritty, growly Rock and Roll Hall of Famer boasts a lengthy career.

Water Liars member Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster delivers a more Southern sound with his new solo endeavor, Constant Stranger, which he recorded entirely on his own in Mississippi. Listen to two songs and download the full segment in the player above.

When singer-songwriter Jonatha Brooke first joined us 25 years ago, she was with Jennifer Kimball, her partner in the folk-rock duo The Story. She's now a sophisticated solo songwriter with a true sense of lyrical elegance that's only grown through her long career. Recently she wrote and performed a one-woman show called My Mother Has 4 Noses, for which she drew from her experiences caring for her terminally ill mother.

When World Cafe traveled to Australia for our Sense of Place series,

Once upon a time, the Sydney-based DJ and programmer Jono Ma needed a vocalist for the psychedelic dance-rock he was creating. He ended up with a partner in guitarist and singer Gabriel Winterfield; their alliance became Jagwar Ma, which released its debut, Howlin', in 2013.

The default terms for any kind of new rock-based band seem to be "indie" or "alternative" rock, which can conjure up anything from R.E.M. to Spoon. I would not use either of those words to describe Gang of Youths. This is a passionate five-piece band already ready for bigger stages.

"You've got to recognize music as the greatest gift of all in some ways," Peter Garrett says. "It can really transport you, yourself as a writer and a singer, and you can take other people with you, and I just wanted to get on that journey as quick as I could and it just happened."

Australian public radio has an amazing popular music service throughout the country called triple j. Almost every time a new artist from Australia visits us on World Cafe, we read something in their bio about triple j radio — and particularly about its Unearthed site, where unsigned bands can upload their music and songs can bubble up organically.

The Sydney three-piece Middle Kids has gotten a lot of mileage out of releasing just two singles. Sure, "Your Love" and "Edge of Town" are hook-laden, entirely delightful songs — but more than anything, it feels like people are looking toward the group's potential, and that's where things get exciting.

A newcomer to the Sydney music scene, Julia Jacklin released her debut album, Don't Let The Kids Win, in October. Her songs reflect the feeling she has in her 20s as she watches younger people experiencing things she just went through. (Mind you, she doesn't feel old yet.)

One of the high points of World Cafe's visit to Sydney, Australia, for our Sense of Place series was the opportunity to sit down with Steve Kilbey, the lead singer of The Church. The Australian band has been releasing psychedelic-rock albums since the late '70s and is best known for its worldwide hit "Under The Milky Way." But on this day in the studio, we got to hear Kilbey perform solo.

As part of our Sense of Place series, we bring you an artist from Sydney, Australia, for this week's World Cafe Next. Out of all the artists we met on World Cafe's recent trip to Sydney, Thelma Plum is the newest, having released only two EPs. (Her latest is 2014's Monsters.) She is working on new music, though, and you'll hear a brand-new song in this session.

This week, World Cafe takes you to Sydney, Australia, with our Sense Of Place series. Our first guest is a band that has made a big impact here in the United States: Boy & Bear. The band, which is centered around the songwriting of David Hosking, released its third album, Limit Of Love, last year.

I had not heard this interview with Leonard Cohen since 1993, the second year of World Cafe's existence, until we revisited it upon hearing of his death this week. I'd traveled to talk with Cohen backstage at a 1,000-seat theater he was playing in the suburbs outside Philadelphia. This was different from the large, triumphant tours he played in his 70s — it was almost workaday, a performance for the gathered faithful. The man who passed away Monday at the age of 82 was spry in his 60s.

In 2013, the Grammy-winning producer Ian Brennan and his wife, filmmaker Marilena Delli, traveled to the African country Malawi to record the music of inmates at the maximum-security Zomba Central Prison. They came back with a stunning collection of song-stories that made up the Grammy-nominated record I Have No Everything Here.

The outstanding Pennsylvania folk band The Stray Birds grew a lot as it recorded its third and most recent album, Magic Fire. As singer and multi-instrumentalist Maya de Vitry says. "It's become a more open, creative collaboration from the beginning of the process.

Jim James On World Cafe

Nov 7, 2016

Jim James, the leader of the Louisville, Ky., band My Morning Jacket, has a new solo album, Eternally Even. It's a political album — not because it is directly about climate change or immigration or this election's other hot-button issues, but because it addresses the mindset that has led to such a divided nation. It's about love and fear.

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