Soundcheck Soundcheck, hosted by John Schaefer, is WNYCs daily talk show about music. Covering all musical genres, Soundcheck celebrates the musical passions of performers, composers, critics, and the public radio audience. Listeners enjoy intimate conversations with and live performances by leading artists from around New York and around the globe.
Soundcheck

Soundcheck

From WNYC Radio

Soundcheck, hosted by John Schaefer, is WNYCs daily talk show about music. Covering all musical genres, Soundcheck celebrates the musical passions of performers, composers, critics, and the public radio audience. Listeners enjoy intimate conversations with and live performances by leading artists from around New York and around the globe.More from Soundcheck »

Most Recent Episodes

Vetted: The Harmonium-Wielding Chicago Soul Singer Zeshan B

Chicago-based soul singer Zeshan B takes on deep cuts from 1960s and 70s soul gems, as well as groovy, bluesy gospel-infused originals, sometimes in English. But, he also sings in Urdu and Punjabi, which is only natural, since Bagewadi's parents are immigrants from India. (Other pertinent facts: he is a trained opera singer, he plays harmonium, and his earliest singing was in a mosque.) Zeshan B's sound is wholly reminiscent of the Stax Records sound, with classic horn arrangements recorded in Memphis, yet updated a bit to include Indian folk music and Bollywood influences, as some songs feature the traditional reed organ, the harmonium. The debut record, Vetted, was produced by the legendary Lester Snell (Isaac Hayes, Al Green, Sam & Dave, Mavis Staples.) The virtuoso soul singer Zeshan B joins us to perform some of his music, live in the studio. Web Extra: Zeshan B - Cryin in the Streets Here's the video (not same performance of Web Extra):

Low Cut Connie Pounds Out Some Bluesy-Garage Rockenroll

Low Cut Connie is a garage rock band that actually recorded its first album in a garage. Led by Adam Weiner and Shondra (Weiner's upright piano, which he brings wherever he goes), the Philly-based band has become known for its wild live sets and for being included on President Barack Obama's summer playlist in 2015. The band memorably posted on Facebook that they were "humbled and honored and confused" by their inclusion. Now the band has a new album, called Dirty Pictures (Part 1); today the band plays some of it live in our studio.

Sam Amidon Experiments with Folk Music

The Vermont-born singer/fiddler/banjoist/guitarist and scion of a family of shape-note singers Sam Amidon has a reputation for having collected, re-imagined, and performed American traditional tunes other folk music, in addition to collaborations with Kronos Quartet and composer Nico Muhly. That said, this spring, Amidon released his first album of original music, which is an experiment in trying out the Appalachian music he loves, as well as "improvisation, beats, Don Cherry, Vermont, London." Sam Amidon joins us live to play songs from that most recent record, The Following Mountain.

Outlaw Master Steve Earle Rolls Into Town & Serves Up Badass & Heart

Watch live on Facebook: Activist, actor, author, and multiple Grammy-winning Americana artist Steve Earle is back in our studio, this time with a scorching and heartfelt new album called So You Wanna Be An Outlaw, done with his band The Dukes. But today, Steve Earle is here to play some of those songs solo. With gritty, nasty, snarling lines like "I'm fixin' to die, and I reckon I'm going to hell," the rebellious country songwriter is back in what NPR Music calls "an outlaw state of mind." Here's the title track:

Mondo Cozmo Sparkles With Sunny Pop

Here is the Facebook Live session: Singer-songwriter Josh Ostrander has led a couple of bands over the years, but these days he records under the name Mondo Cozmo. And for an artist who still hasn't released his debut full-length LP, he's been making some big noise. The single "Shine" hit #1 on Billboard's Adult Alternative chart, the band was a hit at the recent South By Southwest Festival, and now Mondo Cozmo is touring around with Bastille playing big arenas. From little blasts of punk, to happy-jangly uplifting anthems, to dance music for the soul, we'll hear some of the Mondo Cozmo sound here in the studio today.

Bluesman Jake La Botz Taps Into Vintage American Roots

Delta blues-inflected singer, guitar player, and songwriter Jake La Botz plays American traditional music that would be at home in juke joints, blues clubs, and tattoo parlors. It's a little bit twangy, steeped in vintage blues; it's also part busker on a street corner with a love of gospel music & Tom Waits. Ever the renaissance man, Jake La Botz also has made a side career as an actor, in addition to teaching meditation. The Chicago-raised, Nashville-based musician joins us to play songs from his latest, Sunnyside, live in the studio.

Kate Simko & London Electronic Orchestra Build Crystal Structures of Chamber-Dance Music

London-based dance music artist, classically trained pianist/composer, and Chicago native Kate Simko along with the London Electronic Orchestra, combine harp, violin, cello & laptop, live in the studio. Layers of clubby electronics and keyboards support delicate harp, violin and cello melodies. Altogether, the result is a buoyant, airy, and uplifting hybrid dance music - something like a film score for a documentary about a days-long party in Ibiza.

Kate Simko & London Electronic Orchestra Build Crystal Structures of Chamber-Dance Music

Songwriter Ani Difranco's Sharp & Urgent Poetic Observations

Watch the session: Folk rocker Ani DiFranco is more than just another guitar-playing singer/songwriter. Since she founded her Righteous Babe Record label back in 1990 as a DIY pioneer, she has used her music to tackle heartbreak, gender identity, parenthood, and a host of other issues, from feminism to politics, to civil rights, workers' rights, class and race. Her latest (her 20th studio record) is called Binary, and she joins us to play some stripped-down songs from it. Here's "Play God," which is about reproductive rights for women, described by DiFranco as a new civil rights issue:

Thurston Moore's Latest Jangly Shimmering Guitar Bursts

Guitarist & singer Thurston Moore blazed all kinds of musical trails with the band Sonic Youth, but even before the dissolution of the group in 2011, he was doing all kinds of outside projects, ranging from noise, drone and black metal collaborations. His latest is a solo album called Rock 'n'Roll Consciousness, and it brings Thurston Moore here to play a couple of songs for us, one acoustic and one electric.

Guitarist Blick Bassy Shares His Cameroonian Raw Materials

The Cameroonian guitarist, Blick Bassy, now resides in rural France and wields a convincing banjo as well. The tunes on Bassy's magic record, Akö, were intended to be an homage to the Mississippi bluesman Skip James, yet manage to parade between folk and jazz, perhaps stopping to dance with Malian music (think Ali Farka Toure) and Brazilian Tropicalia (Caetano Veloso), along the way. Revel in Bassy's falsetto vocal lines sung in the Cameroonian language of Basaa over elegant and minimal cello and trombone accompaniment. Bassy & his co-conspirators play music from Akö, live in the studio.

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