Music

Music

Rayland Baxter On World Cafe

Sep 3, 2015

Rayland Baxter grew up in Nashville; he's the son of steel player Bucky Baxter, whose career included a lengthy stint with Bob Dylan. The younger Baxter spent his formative years hanging with another kid whose dad was on the road a lot: Justin Townes Earle, son of Steve Earle.

Rayland Baxter's songwriting has evolved on his new second album Imaginary Man. He brings his full band in to perform live in the World Cafe studio — they even cover a song from Neil Young's classic album On The Beach.

Kowloon Walled City's bummer jams are bona fide: Just hit play and proceed to heave your body in sadness. But on its third album, Grievances, the San Francisco noise-rock band isn't always obvious in how it chooses to be heavy.

The songs on Tobias Jesso Jr.'s debut album were written in his native Vancouver, but they reflect on the turbulent time he spent in L.A. Jesso recently brought a full band to KCRW's studio to play a handful of gut-wrenchingly beautiful and powerful piano ballads, including "Leaving Los Angeles."

SET LIST

  • "Leaving Los Angeles"

Sleep. It's both an oasis where our physical and mental batteries get recharged and a playground for the subconscious. It's also the subject of Max Richter's latest project, SLEEP, which inspired this video by Yulia Mahr.

Trouble Sleeping? A Composer Wants To Help

Sep 3, 2015

British composer Max Richter spent about two years writing and recording a piece of music which, if it's successful, few people will hear in full. It's a composition called Sleep and it runs eight hours long — the perfect length for a good night's rest. The full version of the piece will be released as a digital album Friday.

There was a clear path laid out for Gary Clark Jr. If he'd wanted, he could have allowed himself to be crowned the young, African-American savior of 21st-century blues guitar.

It's too soon to tell whether Outskirts Of Love is the end of a trilogy or simply the next chapter in an ongoing saga. All we know for sure is that it's the third album to find Shemekia Copeland extending her definition of modern blues to include a sort of pan-Americana approach. Her first few records hewed closer to contemporary blues, but since 2009's portentously titled Never Going Back, the daughter of the late Texas blues-guitar titan Johnny Clyde Copeland has been moving in a wider world.

Yannick Ilunga, the South African musician who records under the name Petite Noir, was born to a Congolese father and an Angolan mother; as a young child, he was relocated to Cape Town by his parents when the situation in Democratic Republic of Congo deteriorated. But listen to "Freedom," from Ilunga's vigorous debut, La Vie Est Belle, and African music doesn't spring to mind.

In the wake of Ben Folds Five's dissolution in 2000, Ben Folds embarked on an assortment of new projects: He's released solo albums and composed for film and TV; he's collaborated with Nick Hornby and William Shatner; he's even served as a judge on TV's The Sing Off, which led to an a cappella record.

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