I'm convinced that I will write about Jack Rose for the rest of my life. Truly, few things in music could make me happier. In his 38 years on earth, Rose ignited not only a small revolution in acoustic guitar, but also a holistic way of thinking about sound, and what it means to move forward with decades of tradition at your callused fingers.
There's something strangely hypnotic and charming about "New Century," an immensely infectious bummer from Neighbors, which consists of a guy named Noah Stitelman and anyone else who happens to be around to help. For all of Stitelman's fretful miserablism — "I wanna lie down and hide in the dark 'til I don't have to figure it out," he sings early on — Neighbors' music is steeped in smoothly pleasing brightness. If anyone out there remembers the D.C.
Singer-songwriter Willie Nelson was born April 30, 1933, in the small farming community of Abbott, Texas. His early interest in music came about through singing in church, and he wrote his first song at age 7. By age 9, he'd begun playing in a local band; after high school, Nelson served briefly in the Air Force and studied at Baylor University. In the mid-'50s, he worked as a disc jockey in Texas and Washington state, played in honky-tonks and continued to write songs.
Beth Orton has recently released 'Sugaring Season,' her first album in six years and her Anti- Records debut. Recorded in Portland, Oregon, with producer Tucker Martine (My Morning Jacket, The Decemberists), the album bears the fruits of a period of introspection & renewal: deeply lyrical songwriting, a newfound expression of voice, and, more than ever before, a daring synthesis of her broad musical influences into a powerfully individual artistic vision. "I stretched myself as a singer on this record and used voices I never have before as a writer," she explains.
Stephen Colbert loves music and loves to sing. That's why Fresh Air's Terry Gross asked him to bring a few songs that mean a lot to him and tell her why. For example, as a kid, Colbert discovered his first lesson about character acting through "King Herod's Song" from Jesus Christ Superstar, even though he thought the words were scandalous at first: "Oh, so you are the Christ? You're the great Jesus Christ. Prove to me that you're no fool. Walk across my swimming pool."
Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 10:19 am
Low makes its first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live in Grand Marais, Minn., in partnership with the North House Folk School. Led by the husband-and-wife team of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker, Low's ethereal, understated rock sound grew out of a reaction to the grunge music that was in vogue when the band formed; in the early days, Low would turn its amplifiers down to goad audiences into listening.
Each fall, hundreds of little-known bands descend on New York City for the annual CMJ Music Marathon. As festivals go, it's one of the best for surprises, since so many of the acts are new and emerging. For the artists, it's a chance to be seen and heard and, hopefully, loved. For the rabid music fan or journalist, it's an overwhelming flood of musical discoveries.