Jake Shimabukuro has carried the sound of the ukulele from his home in Hawaii to the world's concert stages. He's shared the spotlight with both Bette Milder and Jimmy Buffett, and even played in front of the Queen of England.
There's a statement of intent in the sequence of an album's opening one-two punch. There's Harvey Milk's The Pleaser, a title reversal of set 'em up ("Down") and knock 'em down ("Get It Up & Get It On").
Our panel of public-radio music obsessives has five more favorites to share. KCRW music director Jason Bentley can't get enough of the new Frightened Rabbit album. Alisa Ali, a DJ for New York's The Alternate Side indie-rock channel, picked a great new track by the promising Glasgow act CHVRCHES. Baltimore's Friday-night hip-hop show Strictly Hip Hop highlighted the new jam by Joey Bada$$.
Somewhere along the way, Dave Grohl has become the unofficial Mayor of Rock 'n' Roll: a gregarious ambassador who wins armloads of Grammys and even directs a documentary — Sound City: Real to Reel — about the artistry, technology and magic that goes into making a great studio recording. So it makes sense that Grohl would address the assembled music fans at the SXSW music conference for the year's keynote speech.
The latest Morning Edition "Music Moment" focuses on the band Cloud Cult. The group is known to fans for making music to soothe the soul, as it does on the new album Love.
"This album really looks at all the different aspects of the self that need to be healed up in order to facilitate the process of stepping aside and allowing love to speak for our life rather than our wounds," lead singer Craig Minowa says.
After a nearly 10-year break between recordings, Cody ChesnuTT returned in 2012 with Landing on a Hundred. The album showcases a new songwriting direction, a rich R&B sound and even a string arrangement in the song "Chips Down (In No Landfill)."
ChesnuTT brought that song to life during his recent visit to Portland, Ore. He was joined by pianist Alvin Lee Giles and members of the Portland State University Orchestra for this opbmusic session.