Old Crow Medicine Show didn't count on the runaway success of its 2004 song "Wagon Wheel." In fact, say members Ketch Secor and Critter Fuqua, the Nashville band was just trying to finish a job Bob Dylan had started.
On July 20, 1958, at Tanglewood — the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra — pianist Leon Fleisher played an electrifying Brahms First Piano Concerto with the orchestra under its former music director, Pierre Monteux. This remarkable teaming has not been heard since then.
Los Angeles-based Mariachi El Bronx started out as a punk band called The Bronx, but that was before its members discovered a collective love for Mexican folk music. The group fell hard for mariachi, and when faced with playing an acoustic punk rock set for a TV show, they decided to fully embrace that new direction and start a Mexican-flavored side project.
For its 16th annual music and camping event, All Good Festival will find a new home in Thornville, OH. July 19-22 nearly 50 bands and hundreds of music lovers will gather for a weekend for a diverse blend of rock, bluegrass, funk, electronica, hip-hop and unforgettable memories.
Bob Dylan in April 1965, just as he was going electric.
Credit Tom McNamara / AP
History Detectives' Elyse Luray (left) and Wes Cowan (right), with Dawn Peterson and the guitar Bob Dylan may or may not have played in '65. Peterson says her father came into possession of the famous instrument.
The summer of 2012 marks the centennial of the birth of American folk icon Woody Guthrie, on July 14, 1912. A poet of the people, Guthrie wrote some of America's most important songs, including "This Land Is Your Land." He penned ballads that captured the heart of hard economic times and war.
While Guthrie left a lasting mark on music, culture and politics, he struggled with family poverty, tragedies and personal demons.
Lucero — bright star in Spanish — has been creating quality punk-inflected country since the late '90s. Hailing from Memphis, frontman Ben Nichols gives the act a gruff Southern twang with both his voice and his guitar. Since the release of 2001's eponymous debut, Lucero has recorded five more studio albums and plays an impressive 200 shows a year in the U.S. and Canada.
The transporting music of Exitmusic is so grandiose, so romantically rich, it could easily envelop a concert hall or cavernous church. It's a beautifully buzzing mix of distorted guitars, synth pads and sparse electronic beats, all of which intermingle around Aleksa Palladino's alluring, heartsick voice like a swarm of bees in your chest.
"We had two shows that night," says Bobby Womack, recounting a recent concert in Houston. "It was a small theater, about 5- or 6,000 people. The second show, I was just out of it; they had to take me to the hospital."
It was a serious scare for the 68-year-old singer-songwriter — who has also lived through drug addiction and the deaths of two sons — and it didn't end that night.
Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 2:23 pm
NPR Music Director and Executive Producer Anya Grundmann was profiled last week as part of Fast Company's "Innovation Agents" series, which showcases the personalities behind "the ideas that shake up business as usual":
Together nearly 30 years, the reggae band Third World is one Jamaica's most popular and decorated musical acts, with listeners around the world and 10 Grammy nominations to its name. Partly responsible for mainstreaming reggae music, the group formed in 1973 and built a solid following playing the Kingston reggae scene, making its debut at Jamaica's Independence Day celebration.
There's never just one theme running through the music of a given year, but through the first half of 2012, it's been hard to ignore the varieties of ecstasy referenced, performed and endorsed by the musicians behind many of our favorite songs.
Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 6:19 pm
There's no clear formula for why a new song catches fire at one of our partner radio stations. Sometimes it's a hook you can't get out of your head, and sometimes it's a tune's ability to distill a station's overall vibe into three sublime minutes.
We asked five stations to select a song currently blowing up on their airwaves and tell us why. For a limited time, you can download their answers — the results include new music from the smart Canadian pop band Metric, U.K. singer Lianne La Havas, folk newbie John Fullbright, funk collective Brownout and British pop group alt-J.