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The streaming music service Spotify has garnered some 2 million users in the U.S. since its introduction a little over a year ago. The service includes many big acts like Katy Perry, but many musicians have mixed feelings about it. Some, like Adele and Coldplay, resisted putting new albums on Spotify, citing the service's low royalty payments to musicians. Others, like the Black Keys, won't allow full albums on the service at all.

Singer Andy Williams, best known for his rendition of Moon River, his Christmas TV specials and his long-running show in Branson, Mo., has died.

He was 84.

Williams' publicist, Paul Shefrin, says in a statement sent to reporters that the singer "passed away last night (Tuesday) at home in Branson, Mo, following a year long battle with bladder cancer. ... Williams, 84, who also had a residence in La Quinta, Calif., is survived by his wife Debbie and his three children, Robert, Noelle and Christian."

The Mix: Songs For Oktoberfest

Sep 25, 2012

Germany's Oktoberfest — that annual celebration of all things lager — kicked off on Sept. 22 in Munich, the festival's birthplace. In honor of the 200-year tradition, NPR Music and opbmusic.org in Portland (America's microbrew capital) team up to present a limited-time music channel devoted entirely to songs about beer.

By now, everyone's heard of Kickstarter, the website that lets people with an idea or project ask other people to contribute toward realizing it. It's called crowd funding, and this summer's big success story was musician Amanda Palmer. She raised more than $1 million to produce her new album. But crowd funding doesn't work for every musician every time.

Photo taken by Ciara Kinzig

Mike Rosenberg, also known by his stage name Passenger, met with Maggie and I in Studio A last Monday. While I listened in on his interview, this Brighton, England native poured out the story behind his new album All the Little Lights. Rosenberg was notably one of my first personal encounters with a British artist, let alone a folksy one who "busks."

Fall Music Preview

Sep 20, 2012
Jim McKelvey / http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=6975096

Catch Mark Erelli and Lori McKenna playing together Live in Studio A.

Mark Erelli is currently touring with Lori McKenna opening for and playing with her. Both will be performing that night at the Shedd Theatre at the Columbus Performing Arts Center.

Presented by Six Strings Concerts

The Phillip Fox Band will showcase a few new tunes during the Global Village in the 2PM hour! 

Ron Pope
last.fm

Born in Atlanta, and based in New York, Ron Pope,  former frontman for the band The District will perform some of his material. 

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For a band with a firm grasp on pristine, precise production and immaculate vocal

harmonies, Grizzly Bear can be inscrutable at times: Its members have been known to use their formidable studio chops in the pursuit of what can sound like puzzles waiting to be solved.

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Wave bye-bye to summer. It's gone. Everybody's all hard-eyed on the sidewalks these days, facing down the fall.

The members of Sauti Sol rehearse in a cramped recording studio above a chapati restaurant off a noisy highway in Nairobi. Bien-Aime Baraza, Delvin Mudigi and Willis Chimano — the founding members, all 25 — have been friends since they sang together as part of a gospel ensemble in high school. When they graduated in 2005, they didn't want to stop singing, so they formed Sauti Sol. Sauti is Swahili for voice, while sol is Spanish for sun. "Voices of light."

Requiem For A Monster Hit

Sep 5, 2012

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.

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.

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Despers USA practices on a big parking lot off Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, N.Y. Band members start wandering in around 6 or 7 p.m. and slowly take their places behind racks of steel drums. Like a symphony orchestra, they're organized by section — the thin tenors ringed around the outside; the big, deep, oil-drum basses toward the center; the midrange "guitars," as they're called, nearby.

Their section leader counts them in. He stops them, and then stops them again, saying the opening needs to be stronger. Eventually, they get it.

First Listen: Astro, 'Astro'

Sep 3, 2012

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The new quartet album by alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón and pianist Laurent Coq is called Rayuela, which means "hopscotch." It's named for Julio Cortázar's novel, the fragmented tale of a wandering bohemian and his social circles in Parisian exile, as well as back home in Buenos Aires.

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The musician known as Cat Power has a penchant for goofing around. That might come as a surprise to those familiar with her music, which is always at least a little bit mournful.

Every Tuesday night at the 5 Spot, some 200 people show up the East Nashville bar for Two Dollar Tuesdays: a $2 coverage charge, $2 beers and five musical guests. It's hosted by Derek Hoke, an unassuming, laid-back guy with the cowboy hat and retro-vintage eyeglasses.

"I call it a speed showcase," Hoke says. "Everybody plays five songs, and I tell them to play the 'best of' — you know, get up there, kill and get off. There's somebody coming up right after you, and we have to plow through this thing."

Annoying Music For Labor Day

Aug 31, 2012

Monday is Labor Day, which means it's a good time to turn to the hardest-working man in the annoying-music business: Jim Nayder, a man with whom every conversation is a labor of love. In a recent interview with Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon, Nayder -- host of The Annoying Music Show! produced at Chicago Public Radio -- describes a passel of tunes with which to wind down the summer.

"Shine on Harvest Moon," Singin' Sisters of Syracuse

"Juanita Banana," J.R. Corvington

"Oscar Mayer Anthem," Evolution Control Committee

Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars
http://holdmyticket.com

Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars will perform Live From Studio A on September 7, 2012 during the Global Village. 

Family Band On World Cafe

Aug 30, 2012

The Brooklyn-based ambient-folk duo Family Band is a collaboration between visual artist turned frontwoman Kim Krans and her husband, former heavy-metal guitarist Jonny Ollsin. Together, they craft beautifully dark, folk-influenced songs, which they fittingly describe as "heavy mellow."

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Chan Marshall, the creative force behind Cat Power, has long been indie rock's standard-bearer for melancholy navel gazing. In a career spanning nearly two decades, she's produced a large catalog of mostly moody confessionals, mixing blues, folk and arty punk with a swoon-inducing, transcendent voice. She could sing random figures from her tax returns and convey more heartache and angst than many other artists could match in their deepest moments.

It may come as a surprise that the photographer who shot these country stars — and their fans — is from Massachusetts. But, Henry Horenstein explains, country music "was a rural music, not necessarily a Southern music."

As a young photographer, Horenstein spent a good part of the 1970s and early '80s at bluegrass festivals, Nashville's Grand Ole Opry, New England honky-tonks and elsewhere, documenting what he believed was an "era that was going to go away."

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