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The Valdons at The Current's studios in St. Paul, Minn. Nate Ryan/The Current hide caption

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Favorite Sessions

The Valdons: After Decades, A Funky Soul Reunion

The Current

The Twin Cities were home to a vibrant funk and soul scene in the 1960s and '70s. One of that scene's bands, The Valdons, recently got back together for a special performance in The Current's studios.

Lyle Lovett performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Nov. 13, 2012. Ryan Smith/NPR hide caption

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Tiny Desk

Lyle Lovett

Lovett gives a loose, engaging performance that feels like both an introduction and a victory lap. With a fresh-faced accompanist in fiddler and backup singer Luke Bulla, Lovett digs way back into his early archives here: All three of these songs are from his beginnings in the late '80s.

Daniel Bachman performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Nov. 16, 2012. Ryan Smith/NPR hide caption

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Tiny Desk

Daniel Bachman

Once Bachman zeroes in on the center of a song, it's easy to get lost in it yourself. From a foot-stomping reel to the reflective and tumultuous title track from Seven Pines.

Anais Mitchell performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Oct. 23, 2012. Lauren Rock/NPR hide caption

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Tiny Desk

Anaïs Mitchell

Singing and playing alongside guitarist and longtime collaborator Michael Chorney, the Vermont singer-songwriter performs three of Young Man in America's most bracingly beautiful songs with clear-eyed directness that requires no adornment.

Laetitia Sadier performs on KCRW. KCRW hide caption

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Favorite Sessions

KCRW Presents: Laetitia Sadier

KCRW

The former Stereolab singer has one of the most enchanting voices around. Watch her perform "Find Me the Pulse of the Universe," from the album Silencio, live on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic.

Metz performs live on KEXP in Seattle. Dave Lichterman/KEXP hide caption

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Favorite Sessions

Metz: A Royal 'Headache'

KEXP

In 2012, the Toronto punk trio has made some of the loudest noise in music. Watch the band visit KEXP in Seattle to perform "Headache," one of the best songs on Metz's self-titled debut album.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Tiny Desk Concert Lauren Rock/NPR hide caption

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Tiny Desk

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

The Seattle duo literally shakes the dust off the ceiling tiles in this performance at the NPR Music offices. In the span of about 15 minutes, the pair works through a moving message song ("Same Love"), a hilarious goof-off ("Thrift Shop") and a rousingly inspirational closer ("Can't Hold Us").

Graham Dechter performs at the Jazz24 studios in Seattle. Justin Steyer/Jazz24 hide caption

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Favorite Sessions

Graham Dechter: Youth, Steeped In Tradition

Jazz24

The 26-year-old jazz guitarist has been making a name for himself ever since he joined the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. Watch him perform the title tune from his album Takin' It There.

Taken by Trees performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Oct. 12, 2012. Lauren Rock/NPR hide caption

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Tiny Desk

Taken By Trees

Victoria Bergsman's songs seem to come from a place somewhere between a dream state and waking life. There's restraint to the way Taken by Trees' players approach this music, almost as if they're trying not to wake the baby in the other room.

Ray Chen performs at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City Tuesday, Feb. 7. Mito Habe-Evans/NPR hide caption

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Front Row

Ray Chen

Ray Chen might be the finest current violinist you don't yet know — but you soon will. See this stellar artist perform works by Sarasate and Saint-Saëns in a performance recorded live in New York.