We often joke about how many people we can fit behind Bob Boilen's desk for one of NPR Music's Tiny Desk Concerts. Every month, we seem to push the boundary just a bit farther, as the bands get bigger and louder. But the first real test of our limits came when eight members of Dark Meat showed up to play.
Sam Brooker and Ruby Amanfu are not the likeliest of musical pairings. He's from Wisconsin, and is into guitar. She hails from Ghana, was raised in Nashville and has roots planted firmly in the church. But together, they have discovered the power of collaboration. Host Michel Martin sits down with music duo Sam & Ruby, who recently visited NPR for a live performance chat pegged to the release of their new album.
For those who can't wait to hear songs from Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova's follow-up to Once (titled Strict Joy, out Oct. 27), the pair played six new songs before performing the first-ever Tiny Desk Concert encore: a white-knuckle journey through "When Your Mind's Made Up."
A lot of talented artists pass by Bob Boilen's desk. But this was the first time that NPR Music was serenaded by a trumpet, trombone, French horn, tuba and truncated drum kit playing a Rufus Wainwright cover (and several clever originals) in rich, soulful polyphony.
During this week of learning to love Phish, I wanted some curatorial help from the people who know their music the best. A handful of kind people showed up, bringing with them CDs, books, and stories. I extend to them my thanks and gratitude.
It's a high compliment to suggest that these three Bill Callahan songs may well implant themselves in your brain, lay eggs and sprout horrifically disturbing dreams at that point when you're banging on the snooze alarm in a state of anguished early-morning half-sleep. Hear and watch Callahan perform at the NPR Music offices.
With roots coming from everywhere, it was refreshing to find the same Southern charm and friendliness effused through every member of The Dixie Bee-Liners at Folk Alley's studios. The band performed its sweet mix of bluegrass and roots music in a session.
With all due respect to its terrific albums and kinetic, frenetic live shows, if The Avett Brothers could put on a three-song acoustic concert at every workplace in America, the band would be a world-beating colossus. For proof, listen to this performance in the NPR Music offices.
He's been wowing audiences since he was barely able to walk. But, fed up with the standard jazz career path, Lewis -- or ELEW, as he calls his latest musical identity -- has embraced a new repertoire: rock songs. He performs live at NPR.