May 24, 2002 Singer Keely Smith has been called "The Queen of Swing" and "First Lady of Las Vegas." Smith is perhaps best known as the duet partner and wife of Louis Prima. Smith and Prima drew crowds to the lounges of Las Vegas in the 1950s. Their hits include "Jump, Jive, an' Wail," "Just a Gigolo," "I've Got You Under My Skin" and "That Old Black Magic." This interview first aired April 4, 2000.
April 28, 2002 Australian singwriter-musician Paul Kelly talks with Weekend Edition Sunday's Lynn Neary about the craft of songwriting, the search for inspiration, and why he's not too worried about his relative obscurity in the United States.
April 8, 2002 Jean Battey Lewis reports on a singing-dance production that teams some of the greats in choreography, theater, and art, to produce a ballet called Life's Journey. Choreographer Septime Webre of the Washington Ballet collaborated with Aisha Kahlil of the a capella group, Sweet Honey in the Rock, playwright Norman Allen, and visual artist Sam Gilliam, to create the hour-long ballet that evokes heaven and earth.
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February 21, 2002 Meredith Ochs reviews American Roots Music, a four-CD box set of American country, blues, gospel, folk and other genres. (4:30) The compilation is inspired by last year's television documentary series of the same name. Copyright 2001, Palm Pictures. See palmpictures.com.
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January 19, 2002 Jon Kalish reports from Chicago on folk artist-turned-violin-dealer David Bromberg. Bromberg has become an expert in American violins.
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December 21, 2001 NPR's Alex Chadwick talks with James Taylor about how an informal jam in the studio resulted in his new recording of the original version of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas."
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November 29, 2001 Rock critic Ken Tucker reviews three new re-issues from the LA band X.
October 25, 2001 Critic Will Hermes listens to the new Bjork cd titled Vespertine. The music composed on her laptop computer is full of unusual rhythms and textures. (4:45) The cd Vespertine, by Bjork, is on Elektra records.
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September 5, 2001 Rock Historian Ed Ward brings us up to date on soul singer Howard Tate.
August 10, 2001 Melissa Block is joined by singer-songwriters Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, who've just released a new album. Their stripped-down sound is a blend of bluegrass, old-time music and rock-n-roll. Welch and Rawlings sing a tightly entwined harmony. The CD, Time: The Relevator, by Gillian Welch is on ACONY records. See more at: http://www.gillianwelch.com.
July 10, 2001 Meredith Ochs reviews the new CD by Blue Mountain, a band steeped in great American folk tunes. The new release is called Roots. (3:45) Roots by Blue Mountain is on Black Dog Records. For more, go to the Blue Mountain Web site.
June 26, 2001 Oh, Inverted World is the latest album from the Albuquerque pop-quartet The Shins. The band has been recording on independent labels for years before this, their first widespread release. Nick Mirov has a review. (4:00) The Shins' Oh, Inverted World is on Sub-Pop Records 2001, SPCD 550. See www.subpop.com.
June 8, 2001 Music critic Tom Moon reviews Amnesiac, the new CD by Radiohead. The band recently released Kid A, which was hailed as one of the greatest albums of last year by fans and critics alike, and also considered one of the most difficult and unconventional to listen to. While they were recording Kid A, they were also writing and recording other pieces that make up this new CD. Moon says Amnesiac is transfixing, with cinematic soundscapes, full of existential doubt, and pure joy.
May 17, 2001 Scott Simon speaks with country singer/songwriter Laura Cantrell. A native of Nashville, Tennessee, Cantrell now lives in New York City, where she hosts a country music radio show on WFMU. She's recorded her first CD, Not The Tremblin' Kind (Diesel Only records) last year to consistently good reviews. Cantrell's style is simple and harkens back to an earlier, more traditional era in country music.
April 29, 2001 The favored mandolin of Bill Monroe, the father of bluegrass music, was sold this week for more than one million dollars. The instrument's new home is The Bill Monroe Foundation, based in Monroe's hometown of Rosine, Kentucky. Liane speaks with the foundation's executive director, Campbell Mercer.
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