All Songs Considered's Robin Hilton explores the love songs that inspired a "long line of sentimental types" in his family. "But of all the things we find evocative — a handwritten letter, a cork from a particular bottle of wine or an old photo — few if any resonate with the past quite like a song." The love songs that resonate with me change with the seasons. As spring approaches, and I think about all that's soon to be in bloom, this one comes to mind.
Neil Young has long been a staple in my own musical collection, and it would be appropriate to name Young as one of the first artists that really launched me into my passion for music. I was introduced to Neil Young at a young age, and I quickly took note of the intimacy and productivity of Young as an artist.
It's been a long time since 1989's stellar Doolittle, and the Pixies have changed quite a bit as a band. Still, the remaining members carry the name with gusto, as evidenced by their recent performance at NPR's Tiny Desk.
82-year-old jazz guitar legend Kenny Burrell is a rare musician for his generation, acquiring his bachelor's degree in music theory and composition. "When I was at Wayne State University in the '50s, it was a problem studying jazz, even talking about it in some cases," he says. "So I decided if I had a chance, I would teach jazz." Sean J. O'Connell of NPR Jazz talks with Burrell about his career in music and academia.
Detroit rapper Danny Brown is nigh impossible to summarize; whether it be his penchant for rapping about club drugs, his (rather unexpected) appearance in Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone" video, or Brown's surprising ability to wring real and disturbing pathos from tales of street life, the gap-toothed MC has always shown a knack for shape-shifting.
For all the Twitter buzz, the Macklemore/Kendrick Lamar Grammy debacle seems like a story that could only be from 2014; this is isn't exactly the case, however, as the events draw striking parallels to 1954, when jazz musician Dave Brubeck made the cover of Time magazine. It was a distinction that many—including Brubeck—believed should have gone to Duke Ellington, and it mirrors the uncomfortable position in which Macklemore finds himself today.
President Obama pays tribute to folk singer and activist Pete Seeger, who has died following a short illness at the age of 94. "Over the years, Pete used his voice - and his hammer - to strike blows for worker's rights and civil rights; world peace and environmental conservation. And he always invited us to sing along."
I stumbled across a post about Norway's Ice Music Festival on Studio 360's Facebook page. The festival celebrates music and nature, using naturally harvested ice and snow - and features the world's first ice music orchestra. Scroll through the images...check out the cello made of ice!
Featured as a favorite on VideoWest - check out this excerpt from the documentary Alive Inside (opening at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival). It features Henry, a 94-year-old man who lives in a nursing home in Brooklyn.
From their inception, synthesized drum machines have always had supporters and detractors on both sides of the fence; some claim the machines drain the soul from a song's percussion, while others posit that the technology allows for previously unheard-of developments in rhythmic arrangement.
Afro Blue is a nine-member a cappella troupe from Howard University in Washington, D.C. The students stopped by NPR's Tiny Desk for a powerful performance (set list: Swing Low, Sweet Chariot; Motherless Child; Ain-a That Good News!).
Despite his status as a veritable institution within American music, Bruce Springsteen's allure has often stemmed from an aura of relatability, the indescribable sensation of "I could have a beer with this guy". Springsteen is casual, smart and funny—when compared to Picasso, he's quick to refer instead to the likes of Abbot and Costello—and these qualities emerge in spades as part of a recent interview with NPR's Ann Powers.
Sharon Jones and her band, The Dap-Kings, are making a comeback after Jones was diagnosed with stage-two pancreatic cancer. Jones talks with NPR's Arun Rath about wrapping up chemotherapy (without headphones) and hitting the road for a demanding tour schedule.
Got some free time? ...A lot of free time? Good, because All Song's Considered's Bob Boilen has compiled a year-end list that is, frankly, kind of insane. Boilen has ranked his 116 favorite concerts of 2013—and no, that's not a typo; it really is one hundred and sixteen.
Lose weight, be more productive, smile more; new year's resolutions are a bit of a tired concept at this point, but what about applying that idea—a decision to change habits for the better with the coming of a new year—to your approach to music? Over at All Songs Considered, NPR's Robin Hilton examines the potential of the new years resolution to change a person's musical horizons.
The Afro-Peruvian collective Novalima recently visited KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic for a live session, during which its members paid tribute to South African icon Nelson Mandela with their song "Liberta."
Phil Everly's work as half of The Everly Brothers—often providing the high harmonies that lent an alluring depth to the vocals of his brother Don—helped forever change the landscape of popular music in America. Phil passed away at the age of 74 on Friday, as a result of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Sam H. Sanders offers remembrance of a legend lost for NPR's The Record.
Gregory Porter's 2010 album Water helped solidify his status as one of jazz's most interesting new voices; the singer recently spoke with NPR's Song Travels, describing the influence of gospel and Nat King Cole on his work, and performing a few songs from his most recent offering, Liquid Spirit.