NPR News

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For every country star and insurgent new sensation, Nashville boasts a dozen musicians who've perfected their art over many years. Tomi Lunsford is one such exceptional, undersung talent. She hails from a prestigious family — her great-uncle was the revered folklorist and songwriter Bascom Lamar Lunsford, and her father, fiddler Jim Lunsford, played with the likes of Roy Acuff and Bob Wills. Tomi herself began singing professionally as a teen with Jim and her harmonizing sisters.

World Cafe Next: The Mystery Lights

Jun 20, 2016

Daptone Records, known for recording blues, R&B and funk artists like Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, has entered into the world of rock music with a new offshoot: Wick Records. Wick's label debut, from Queens-based garage-rock band The Mystery Lights, definitely sets the standard.

There's no explicit narrative threading together Brandy Clark's second album, Big Day In A Small Town. Instead, the 11 interconnected songs map a small collection of streets, landmarks, loves, betrayals and heartbreaks that cohere into a place as particular and as universal as Winesburg or Grover's Corners.

The songwriting supergroup performed their new album, case/lang/veirs, in its entirety at OPB in Portland, Oregon. You can watch the concert, thanks to our friends at VuHaus, public radio's new live performance video platform.

case/lang/veirs is on tour now.

Set List

  • "Atomic Number"
  • "Honey & Smoke"
  • "Song For Judee"
  • "Blue Fires"
  • "Delirium"
  • "Greens of June"

'Hamilton': A Story Of US

Jun 20, 2016

Hamilton's reach spreads beyond Broadway. Since the musical opened in 2015, it's won almost every possible theatre award, including 11 Tonys and the Pulitzer Prize. Its cast recording has gone platinum and hit No. 1 on the rap chart. A large part of Hamilton's appeal is that it takes the story of America's Founding Fathers and recasts it in contemporary terms — the score is an amalgam of hip-hop, R&B and pop, and the cast is multiracial.

Success never shields us from tragedy; it's just a barrier waiting to break down. While on tour in October 2014, vocalist Jeremy Bolm received news that his mother's cancer had finally taken her life. Touché Amoré's new album title, Stage Four, carries a double meaning; this is both the post-hardcore band's fourth album and an emotional autobiography that attempts to make sense of a lifetime with his mother.

It's not every day that an actress has a television show written specifically for her, but that's exactly what happened with Ellie Kemper and the Netflix series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

"I still am not sure what in my face screams 'bunker-cult victim' to [show creators Robert Carlock and Tina Fey], but something did, so they went with that," Kemper jokes to Fresh Air's Ann Marie Baldonado.

When you think about fish, it's probably at dinnertime. Author Jonathan Balcombe, on the other hand, spends a lot of time pondering the emotional lives of fish. Balcombe, who serves as the director of animal sentience for the Humane Society Institute for Science and Policy, tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that humans are closer to understanding fish than ever before.

"Thanks to the breakthroughs in ethology, sociobiology, neurobiology and ecology, we can now better understand what the world looks like to fish," Balcombe says.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

"Specificity is the soul of narrative" is a thing John Hodgman likes to say when he's hearing cases on the smart and funny Judge John Hodgman podcast, and it's applicable to documentary film, too. Documentaries devoted to a topic with heft do better if they can find a particular angle, a particular way into the question.

Cleveland Celebrates NBA Championship Title

Jun 20, 2016
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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

In this age of social media, where nothing is either sacred or secret, author J.K. Rowling wants nothing short of a miracle. She has asked theatergoers who attend previews of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in London not to reveal the plot of the play.

She made her request in a video posted online after previews began.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Politics In The News: Monday Roundup

Jun 20, 2016
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

A Colorado woman managed to fight off a mountain lion that was attacking her 5-year-old son.

During the harrowing rescue Friday evening, she "reached into the animal's mouth and wrested her son's head from its jaws," The Aspen Times reported.

Last week marked the end of an era for the historic Chicago-based Johnson Publishing Co. After a 71-year run as an outlet for the expression of both the highest aspirations and deepest frustrations of African-Americans, the family-owned business has sold its iconic lifestyle magazine — Ebony -- and the now digital-only Jet magazine.

This weekend in Orlando, Fla., families are burying their loved ones — the people gunned down at Pulse nightclub. There are many different ways to grieve death. Sadness, remorse, rage. And then there's pure love.

If such a thing is possible, Daniel Alvear embodies it — in his feelings for his daughter, who died that night in Orlando, and for her killer.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Watch Lucius, Live In Concert

Jun 19, 2016

Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig, the stars of Lucius, are sometimes mistaken for twins. Sure, they dress identically on stage, in the bright colors and zigzagging patterns that befit their vibrant style of pop music. But the single-minded and flawless execution of their performance provides the strongest reason to mistake the pair for siblings.

Set List

  • "Madness"
  • "Tempest"
  • "Nothing Ordinary"
  • "Almost Makes Me Wish For Rain"

Think of Etha Robinson as the Johnny Appleseed of pastry. Her mission, rather than planting apple trees, is to plant the idea of reviving the tea cake, a little cookie that has a lot of historical significance packed into it.

Why My Mom Left Me Out Of Her Book

Jun 19, 2016

Frank and Lucky Get Schooled is a new children's book by author Lynne Rae Perkins. It's about a boy and a dog. And it's based on real life — her son Frank and their dog Lucky.

But there's another person in the family who got left out — her daughter Lucy. And Lucy Perkins happens to be a producer at NPR.

Lucy decided to ask her mom about the new book and why she got left out of the story.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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