David Dye

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.

Right now, the world's focus is on Rio for the 2016 Olympics. Brazil is on our minds, too, so we've made a weekend playlist filled with international collaborations between Brazilian artists and other musicians from around the globe. These are some extraordinary duets, from bossa nova to tropicalia and beyond. No Olympic competition here — just collaboration!

World Cafe #TBT: 1993

Aug 4, 2016

For Throwback Thursday, we're re-airing a 2011 Liz Phair session on today's episode of World Cafe. Phair's debut album, Exile In Guyville, came out in 1993 and was a huge success, topping Pitchfork's list that year.

John Doe of X was World Cafe's guest earlier this week, as he played live with a rock band that included original X drummer DJ Bonebrake. You can hear it again in the World Cafe archive. Doe also discussed the early days of the L.A. punk scene to which X belonged.

Expanding, questioning, digging, changing every tactic: These are all elements of the creative process that's led to the uplifting music on Local Natives' new album Sunlight Youth.

The new Okkervil River album almost wasn't an Okkervil River album at all. That's how the band's lead singer and songwriter, Will Sheff, explains it. "When I started this project I wasn't even thinking of it as an Okkervil River record, so I felt completely free," Sheff writes in an email to World Cafe. "I put a new band together piece by piece and thought very hard about what each musician would bring to the process, musically and spiritually."

Ray LaMontagne says the shape of his sixth album, Ouroboros, revealed itself to him as a whole in a dream. An easy-to-interpret dream, at that: A colorful puzzle representing the songs assembled itself as a whole picture as he slept.

There was a time when the world of World Cafe and the world of the Grammys only intersected with a few Contemporary Folk nominees. These days, that category doesn't even exist — hello, Americana! — and World Cafe guests like Melbourne's Courtney Barnett are cropping up as nominees across the board.

Hop Along has more friends in the Philadelphia music scene than just about anybody; Waxahatchee's Katie Crutchfield even has a tattoo of the band's first album cover. Singer Frances Quinlan is an exciting, unorthodox performer whose phrasing in "Waitress," from Painted Shut, isn't intuitive. But that makes it all the more powerful.

In 2012, the musicians who formed The Suffers started jamming on ska tunes — the name comes from the 1978 reggae film Rockers/ital — and evolved into the tight, inventive "Gulf Coast soul" band it is today. Kam Franklin is a ball of energy out front, but she's only part of why so many are shouting The Suffers' praises these days. Come join the chorus.

The Philadelphia-based band Hop Along is getting its national breakout moment with Painted Shut (out May 4), its second full-length and first for Saddle Creek Records.

Hop Along's power rests squarely on the talents of lead singer and writer Frances Quinlan. Her voice is huge: urgent, dynamic, sometimes harsh but undeniably intense. Get into it and you'll live and die by her reflective, first-person stories in songs like "Waitress." The words here stem from places of frustration and occasional darkness, but the music is pure, headlong joy.

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.

Kishi Bashi's compositions seem free and effortless, yet they require elaborate attention to detail for the magic to work. Whether he's crafting multilayered, loop-intensive solo arrangements or working with a string quartet (as he does here), it takes chops to make "Philosophize In It! Chemicalize With It!" soar. It works as pop music, but it's so much more.

We made 20 stellar World Cafe in-studio performances available for download during February, but they're all coming down Feb. 28 at midnight. Grab music from Neko Case, Parquet Courts, Jason Isbell and more today, before they're gone tomorrow.

To download each song, click the title in the SoundCloud playlist (the song will begin playing), and then click "download" arrow to the right of the title.

In the second installment of this two-part broadcast interview, the members of Pearl Jam continue their engagingly in-depth discussion with comedy director and producer Judd Apatow.

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