Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 6:20 pm
I'm a sucker for a stuttered guitar sound. It's a sound I came to love listening to Fela Kuti and other African greats in the '70s and '80s. American rockers often tend to crank their gritty guitars to 10 — they get loud and gritty about two and a half minutes into the tune. But it's that sweeter, stuttered sound that grabs me right away; you can hear it these days in bands like Fool's Gold or Vampire Weekend.
Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 8:57 am
Whitney Houston's 1992 Bodyguard soundtrack was a huge hit. Huge! It sold more than 45 million copies worldwide. Remember "I Will Always Love You"? It's from that record. But according to last week's poll, a staggering 90 percent of you either don't like it or haven't heard it.
Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 7:42 pm
The Brooklyn band We Are Augustines wouldn't seem to lend itself to windblown acoustic sing-alongs: The songs on 2011's Rise Ye Sunken Ships songs bellow and soar in the electric, anthemic spirit of, say, Titus Andronicus.
Originally published on Wed October 3, 2012 5:00 am
Folk-rock singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge has been making music since she first picked up a guitar at the age of 8. Playing in country groups throughout her teens in her home state of Kansas, Etheridge went on to a hugely successful and decorated 25-year solo career — and won two Grammy Awards and an Oscar along the way.
Easily one of the hardest working bands in show biz, today’s Little Feat is a six-member powerhouse that ably carries on the group’s tradition of deftly blending Rock, R&B and blues to create a jammin’ blend of Americana that has earned accolades from critics, fellow musicians and fans alike for over four decades. Their new album, Rooster Rag features 10 brand new original songs including four co-writes with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter plus two blues classics, one from Mississippi John Hurt and one from Willie Dixon.
Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 12:49 pm
Sometimes you just know that a band isn't going to have to wait long before it reaches the stardom you think it deserves. Earlier this year, a friend sent me the new album from Shovels & Rope before it had been released. I'd requested it after seeing a video for "Birmingham," which shows the duo's members — Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent — playing the song as their dog runs around. I had to watch the video again just to confirm that the song was as great at I thought it might be. The second time confirmed it, and I immediately started playing it on my show.
Recently, I was listening to a new tribute album covering the songs of Fleetwood Mac, and thought once again how dreadful most tribute albums are: They don't add much to the legacy of the artists being saluted, while inadvertently freezing vital old music in an amber of sentimentality. Then I turned to When I'm President, an album of new songs by Ian Hunter.
Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 10:18 am
Paul Simon's 1986 album Graceland marked an unprecedented intersection of music, culture and politics. In a conversation with World Cafe's David Dye — presented here in four parts — Simon speaks candidly about his legendary collaborations with South African musicians such as Joseph Shabalala and his vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo.