There's little to say about Billy Joe Shaver that hasn't already been said. But it might be worth noting this, from Mountain Stage host Larry Groce: "Billy Joe Shaver has actually lived the life that many in modern country music only sing about."
Our World Cafe: Next artist this week, Cleopatra Degher, released her first full-length album, Pacific, earlier this month. Degher joins a rich lineage of folk musicians from the Golden State, but her spot in that history came with a long detour: Though born in San Diego, she grew up in Sweden and didn't return to California until she was 18.
Still, Degher's open, breezy arrangements speak fluent Californian. It's as if she never left.
There's something heartwarming about a family making music together. I'm especially sentimental when I see a father with a son, because my son and I made music in contra dance bands and Irish sessions as he grew up.
Years ago, while interviewing Jeff Tweedy before a Wilco concert, I asked him if he'd made music with his kids. He told me about going to his son Spencer's preschool class and writing a tune with all the kids; "Monkey Mess" was their final creation.
Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 11:39 am
Jazz pianist Jason Moran's new album All Rise began in 2011, when he staged a dance-party salute to pianist Fats Waller in Harlem, featuring singer Meshell Ndegeocello. Now that party has become a touring project, and a new album. Fresh Air jazz critic Kevin Whitehead admits to mixed feelings.
Music has always provided catharsis, relief and healing. But few artists tap directly into that power the way Tim Showalter has: His Strand Of Oaks project goes so far as to name its most recent album Heal. Like pages from a diary, the Philly songwriter's lyrics delve into moments of crisis, frustration and, ultimately, inspiration that couldn't be more true to life. These are, after all, Showalter's own stories — basically "comic-book origin stories," as he says in his insightful interview with Morning Show's John Richards.
Somewhere between the folk-based black metal of Ulver's Bergtatt and the weightless shoegaze of Cocteau Twins lies Myrkur. In recent years, that combination isn't a new one — if anything, it's overdone. But something stands out here, and it's not just that Myrkur's sole member is Amalie Bruun, a Danish model who co-leads the Brooklyn indie-pop band Ex-Cops.
On Sunday, Sept. 14, 20 years and one day after Biggie Smalls' debut album, Ready to Die, was released, Microphone Check gathered four of the musician's friends in Brooklyn to recall the man they knew.