David Dye

David Dye is a longtime Philadelphia radio personality whose music enthusiasm has captivated listeners of World Cafe® since 1991. World Cafeis produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania.

Dye launched his distinguished broadcasting career as host of a progressive music show on WMMR 93.3 FM, a pioneering progressive rock station in Philadelphia. During his four-year tenure, Dye won accolades for his taste and laid back presentation. After a five-year stint programming radio stations in Maine, he returned to Philadelphia where he gained public radio experience at WHYY before being recruited in 1981 by alternative rock station WIOQ 102.1 FM where he made his mark on the music scene for nearly a decade.

In 1989, Dye took his musical quest to WXPN where he hosted the station's Sleepy Hollow radio program. Two years later, Dye was asked to spearhead research on the viability of a new public radio program. The research revealed an audience need for a new kind of musical format - one that was intelligent, diverse and would give musical guests a showcase for their artistic expression. Based on the findings, Dye went to work to create a unique program of musical discovery where listeners would be introduced to an eclectic blend of contemporary sounds from legendary and up-and-coming artists. World Cafewas born.

Since launching World Cafein 1991, Dye has served as the host of this nationally acclaimed show, now syndicated on more than 250 public radio stations across the United States. Every week, Dye brings out the best in interviews with internationally known artists such as Yo-Yo Ma and Joni Mitchell. He has conducted nearly 4,500 interviews during his 20 years with the program. He introduces a half-million listeners each week to newcomers like Vampire Weekend, Mumford & Sons, PJ Harvey, Sheryl Crow, Beck, LCD Soundsystem and Amos Lee.

World Cafe and Dye have received numerous awards including: two NFCB Gold Reel Awards, Album Network's "Best Triple A Air Talent," five Philadelphia Magazine's "Best of Philly Awards," the Philadelphia Chapter of NARAS "Hero Award," the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award and numerous radio industry trade magazine citations. In 2006, Dye was named the "Triple A Air Personality of the Year" by Radio & Records.

Davy Knowles emerged last decade as a young, hotshot blues guitarist who displayed wisdom beyond his years. Knowles fronted the band Back Door Slam, which took its name from the Robert Cray song. The trio formed on the Isle of Man, off the British coast, and called it quits in 2009 when Knowles began making solo albums. His most recent release is Three Miles From Avalon.

Don't think for a moment that we didn't struggle as we compiled our list of the best World Cafe interviews and performances of 2016. We had to choose from over 200 sessions we recorded this year in our studio, onstage at World Cafe Live and on our "Sense of Place" travel adventures.

Happy holidays, my friends! Here's a gift from World Cafe to you: The Oh Hellos' annual Christmas Extravaganza. The Oh Hellos are a family band hailing from San Marcus, Texas. Brother and sister Tyler and Maggie Heath have been recording together since 2012 and released their first Christmas album in 2013.

Doyle Bramhall II has been playing guitar all his life. At 18, he became the rhythm guitarist in Jimmie Vaughan's band, The Fabulous Thunderbirds. Bramhall's father, the first Doyle Bramhall, was a drummer. The younger Bramhall was headed in that direction, too, until he picked up the guitar (left-handed, strung upside down) and taught himself in the style of his idol Albert King.

Chrissie Hynde has been seeking inspiration ever since she left her hometown of Akron, Ohio, in the '70s for London, where she ended up founding The Pretenders. The band's 1980 debut was cutting-edge, sexually direct and a major hit.

Thirty years ago, the beloved Texas guitarist Eric Johnson made his general-release debut, Tones. Since then, he's made platinum albums and won a Grammy award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. In this session, he tells us why he does it: "I just like to try to have it have substance or quality or give some kind of emotion to people ... Really, it's more about that than it is the gymnastics or the 'look at me' effect."

Blue Rodeo On World Cafe

Dec 12, 2016

It's been more than 30 years since the Canadian songwriters Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor formed Blue Rodeo. Back then, Blue Rodeo's music was described as country-rock, though today we might call it "North Americana." The band hit its stride in the early '90s with albums like Casino and Five Days In July.

Founded in 1983, Southern Culture On The Skids has been touting the virtues of dirt-track racing, Little Debbie pastries and kudzu for over 30 years. The North Carolina band — made up of Rick Miller, Dave Hartman and Mary Huff — plays music that amalgamates rock, funky old soul and country, presented with tongue firmly in cheek.

The Marcus King Band joins World Cafe's Dan Reed for an interview and performance recorded onstage at World Cafe Live. King, a 20-year-old guitarist who hails from South Carolina, released his self-titled second album earlier this year on ATO Records. The record was produced by another guitarist from the Carolinas, Warren Haynes, whom King says he's always admired as a songwriter.

I'll bet that all of us can remember what we were doing and thinking on this past Election Day. The members of Drive-By Truckers were at World Cafe Live, performing and discussing their new album, American Band. The timing couldn't have been better — American Band may be the most political record of Drive-By Truckers' career, though the band has been writing songs about being from the South since its 2001 debut.

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.

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.

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.

Bob Weir On World Cafe

Nov 4, 2016

Bob Weir, songwriter, singer and rhythm guitarist of the Grateful Dead, used to be a cowboy. As a teenager, he had a job on a ranch in Wyoming and now, many years later, he's written an album about the experience called Blue Mountain.

The New York City duo The Shacks is made up of Shannon Wise and Max Shrager, who are 18 and 20 years old, respectively. The band's new, self-titled EP includes its first single, "Strange Boy," and some similarly atmospheric songs. Wise's voice belies her age, and with Shrager's production, this sounds like the early work of a force to be reckoned with. Hear two songs in the audio segment.

Adia Victoria has traveled a long way since she dropped out of high school in South Carolina. She impulsively hopped to London and Paris, to New York City and back to the American South. In Atlanta, she learned guitar and steeped herself in the blues, which she says represented "the first time in my life that I felt connected to my blackness and to my Southernness." Finally, it was on to Nashville.

Heart Like A Levee, the new album from Hiss Golden Messenger, soulfully weaves together all the musical styles we have come to expect from the North Carolina band. Led by M.C. Taylor, the band marries airy country, Van Morrison-style soul and dusty rock 'n' roll with lyrics that feel both universal and surprisingly personal.

This week, World Cafe rebroadcast a 2011 session with The Civil Wars. When we recorded that session, Joy Williams and John Paul White had just released their album Barton Hollow; they'd go on to win four Grammy awards, achieve a gold record and play sold-out concerts. But the duo's success wasn't enough to sustain their partnership, which fell apart in 2014.

Here are 10 more great duos that, unfortunately, weren't built to last.

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