|For immediate release
August 23, 2000
NPR® Classics Label Releases
NPR Studio Cuts
CD Features Eclectic Array of American Music in Exclusive Performances Recorded by NPR
WASHINGTON, DC- National Public Radio® (NPR®) will release NPR Studio Cuts on the NPR Classics label in September 2000. The CD features performances recorded by NPR over the last two years, most of them from its own Studio 4A in Washington, DC. The 16-track CD contains more than 52 minutes of music, from blues, rock, alt-country and folk to Latin jazz, zydeco, bluegrass, and mariachi.
Each track on NPR Studio Cuts was recorded exclusively for NPR, conveying the intimacy and spontaneity of live radio. Highlights include songs that have never been recorded elsewhere by the artists: jazz stylists Medeski Martin & Wood groove on the New Orleans R&B number Olde Wine; country singer Iris DeMent performs a solo piano take of the Lefty Frizzel hit That's the Way Love Goes; Ron Sexsmith pays tribute to songwriter Harry Nilsson on I Guess the Lord Must be in New York City; and retro-country band BR5-49 reveals their passion for Johnny Horton with "I'm a One Woman Man."
Other artists on NPR Studio Cuts include acoustic bluesman Keb' Mo'; Latin jazz bandleader Poncho Sanchez; bluegrass virtuoso Ricky Skaggs; soulful indie band Lambchop; Texas troubadour Robert Earl Keen; the all-female Mariachi Reyna® de Los Angeles; and intense folk songwriter Richard Buckner. The CD also features the unique music of blues/hip-hop alchemist G. Love; clever pop with a twang from Robbie Fulks; a Creole waltz from zydeco master Geno Delafose; solo folk from songwriter Patty Griffin; and a country-punk manifesto from Chicago's Waco Brothers.
Media are able to obtain a copy of NPR Studio Cuts by contacting Laura Gross at 202-414-2304 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Other recordings on the NPR Classics label include Christmas Around the Country II, featuring holiday music recorded for NPR's Performance Today, Portraits with Marian McPartland, and Sunday Baroque.
Renowned for its journalistic excellence and standard-setting news, information, and cultural programming, NPR reaches a growing audience of nearly 15 million Americans each week via more than 644 public radio stations. NPR also distributes programming to listeners in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa via NPR Worldwidesm, to military installations overseas via American Forces Network and throughout Japan via cable.
NPR Studio Cuts
1. Robbie Fulks I Push Right Over (2:23)
Robbie Fulks helped define the Chicago music movement known as "insurgent country" with his edgy honky-tonk sound and biting wit. He balances those qualities in this song with a masterful pop melody.
2. Keb' Mo' Perpetual Blues Machine (3:45)
Despite his down-home moniker and dead-on Robert Johnson stage persona, Keb' Mo' has never been strictly a bluesman. Many of his own songs, like this one, paint his rock, R & B and gospel music influences onto a blues canvas.
3. Medeski Martin & Wood Olde Wine (4:04)
Medeski Martin & Wood have steeped themselves in the music and rhythms of New Orleans. For their NPR session, they pulled out this rarely-heard gem written by Crescent City drummer James Black, and originally recorded in 1962 by the AFO Executives (led by the legendary Harold Battiste). The tune suits well MMW's jazz-funk explorations.
4. Geno Delafose Bon Soir Moreau (4:06)
Zydeco traditionalist and Creole cowboy Geno Delafose lets dancers catch their breath with this blues-waltz, associated with Creole music pioneers Canray Fontenot and Alphonse "Bois Sec" Ardoin. Bon Soir Moreau depicts a scene in which a notorious regular at a rural southwest Louisiana dancehall is bid goodnight and sent on his way. Geno Delafose is accompanied here by his band French Rockin' Boogie (minus regular rubboard player Steve Nash).
5. Patty Griffin Poor Man's House (4:48)
Some of Patty Griffin's songs tell stories of her girlhood in small-town Maine. This one speaks to her doubts about one tenet of her Catholic upbringing: the notion that poverty is a virtue. The song's title comes from a poem her mother wrote about Patty's father, who thought the day lilies growing wild around their house made it look "like a poor man's house".
6. Ricky Skaggs & Kentuckey Thunder If I Lose (2:12)
Written by Ralph Stanley (Fort Knox Music Co., Inc./Trio Music Co., Inc., BMI)
After years of success in mainstream country music, Ricky Skaggs has returned to his early love - bluegrass. Here he plays a classic Stanley Brothers tune, one that reflects not the duo's gospel side but - as he joked with NPR host Renee Montagne - "the gambling side… the sunny side… of the Stanley Brothers". He and his band Kentucky Thunder also employ the Stanleys' trademark "high lonesome" vocal harmony sound here, but leave room for a cool bass break!
7. Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles El Son De La Mariquita (2:52)
Mariachi Reyna - "The Mariachi Queens of Los Angeles" - bill themselves as America's first all-female mariachi band, one of the few in a male-dominated tradition. While attentive to strict mariachi style - down to their traditional "charro" suits made into skirts -- they also mix contemporary pop and country tunes into their repertoire. This is a song from the Mexican state of Jalisco, about a young man trying to win the attention of a woman, "Mariquita".
8. Robert Earl Keen I Wonder Where My Baby Is Tonight (4:06)
A troubadour from Bandera, Texas, Robert Earl Keen usually works his literary enthusiasms and his broad Lone Star humor into his songs. This one's a bit more introspective - and a sentimental favorite of the NPR Anthem staff, as it was the very first music performance aired on the show.
9. Richard Buckner Ocean Cliff Clearing (2:11)
Richard Buckner has played in rock, folk, and country idioms, and often in spare ensembles like this. He described his songwriting as a subtractive process, cutting away excess until he gets "a lot of space within the song" - leaving it short, sweet, and intense.
10. G. Love Gimme Some Lovin' (2:50)
Philadelphia-based blues and hip-hop alchemist G. Love came to NPR for a solo visit, without his regular bandmates, Special Sauce. When he played this, it was a new and untested composition. He recorded it again for his 1999 CD Philadelphonic.
11. BR5-49 I'm A One Woman Man (2:11)
Band members Gary Bennett and Chuck Mead say that the music of Johnny Horton was one thing that brought BR5-49 together. "He's the father of rock'n'roll, I think," Gary noted about Horton, whose hits included North to Alaska and Honky Tonk Man. When NPR host Rick Karr asked BR5-49 to play a Johnny Horton tune, they had to fight about which one to do…of the twenty or so they know.
12. Lambchop Hey, Where's Your Girl (2:18)
Lambchop: not the sock puppet, but an expansive group of Nashville eccentrics who lovingly blend their hometown's twang with unusual sonic textures and a vintage soul groove. Here Lambchop tackles a tune by the reclusive pop songwriter F.M. Cornog, who records under the name East River Pipe.
13. Ron Sexsmith I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City (2:44)
This pop tunesmith from Toronto has been inspired by a previous generation of songwriters like Brian Wilson, Gordon Lightfoot, and especially Harry Nilsson. Sexsmith introduced this Nilsson number on NPR with a caveat: "We just learned it - so there could be a few sour notes". It made for a very spontaneous performance, with the same lilting feel as Nilsson's own 1969 hit recording.
14. Iris Dement That's The Way Love Goes (3:37)
Arkansas-born Iris DeMent told NPR host Bonnie Grice that she learned this Lefty Frizzell tune off a Merle Haggard record. The song was also a #1 Country hit for Johnny Rodriguez. "I just think it's probably one of the prettiest songs ever written," she said. "For me it's Top 5, easy. In fact, I can't think of the other four at the moment!"
15. Waco Brothers The Death Of Country Music (3:11)
The Wacos are Chicago's favorite country-punk band. They're mostly British ex-pats, led by Welshman Jon Langford, also of the legendary Mekons, and Dean Schlabowske, who was missing from the studio on this occasion. The icons of American country music that "rattle around" this song - Hank Williams, Buck Owens, Patsy Cline - are a frequent source of inspiration and rebellious tribute for the band; NPR host Rick Karr called this their "manifesto song".
16. Poncho Sanchéz Prestame Tu Corazon (4:54)
Los Angeles-based bandleader Poncho Sanchez and his Latin jazz band closed out their NPR session with everybody dancing to this mambo. The Grammy-winning conguero handed over the conga duties and took to the maracas and bell instead. The title of the tune means "Lend Me Your Heart".