David Gray, Billie Holiday, Richard Thompson

A life in slow motion from David Gray; solo acoustic work by Richard Thompson; face to face with guitarist Adrian Belew; old world folk by Baltimore's Madagascar; celebrating 90 years with Les Paul; an ultimate collection from Billie Holiday; Neil Young covered by singer Lizz Wright; multi-instrumentalist Erin McKeown; The Sea and Cake frontman Sam Prekop

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David Gray, Billie Holiday, Richard Thompson

Life in Slow Motion

Disappearing World

  • Artist: David Gray
  • Album: Life in Slow Motion
  • Song: Disappearing World

This is a special sneak preview of Gray's latest album, which is due out September 13. After producing much of his work himself at a home studio, Gray turned to producer Marius DeVries for this album.

Hear David Gray, live in concert.

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  • "Disappearing World"
  • Album: Life in Slow Motion
  • Artist: David Gray
  • Label: ATO JV (David Gray)
 
Front Parlour Ballads

Let It Blow

  • Artist: Richard Thompson
  • Album: Front Parlour Ballads
  • Song: Let It Blow

This is Richard Thompson's first new collection of solo acoustic songs in nearly 25 years. He plays all the instruments on the album and recorded it at his home studio in Los Angeles. Thompson says the "The production on this record is the kind of thing the audience actually asks for. They ask for simple; they don't want the frills in the way. They don't want glossy, hi-fi production. They wouldn't know what to do with it."

Hear Richard Thompson in an interview and in-studio performance at NPR's Studio 4A.

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  • "Let It Blow"
  • Album: Front Parlour Ballads
  • Artist: Richard Thompson
  • Label: Cooking Vinyl
 
Side Two

Face to Face

  • Artist: Adrian Belew
  • Album: Side Two
  • Song: Face to Face

Adrian Belew is known mostly for the experimental guitar sounds he played on collaborations with Peter Gabriel, David Bowie, The Talking Heads and other artists. This year Belew is releasing three new solo albums, titled Side One, Side Two, and Side Three. It's his first new solo work in nearly 8 years.

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  • "Face to Face"
  • Album: Side Two
  • Artist: Adrian Belew
  • Label: Sanctuary
 
Forced March

All That Spring You Could See Halley's Comet

  • Artist: Madagascar
  • Album: Forced March
  • Song: All That Spring You Could See Halley's Comet

Madagascar is a new group with an old sound. Based in Baltimore, the four-piece band performs a creaky style of old-world folk on glockenspiel, ukulele, accordion, musical saw and other acoustic instruments. This is their debut album.

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  • "All That Spring You Could See Halley's Comet"
  • Album: Forced March
  • Artist: Madagascar
  • Label: Western Vinyl
 
The Best of the Capitol Masters: 90th Birthday Edition

In the Mood

  • Artist: Les Paul & Mary Ford
  • Album: Best of the Capitol Masters: 90th Birthday Edition
  • Song: In the Mood

Les Paul celebrates his 90th birthday this year with a new collection of greatest hits from Capitol. It includes some of Paul's earliest recordings from the CBS radio program he hosted with his wife Mary Ford in the 1940s and '50s. Later this year Paul will release an album of all-new work featuring collaborations with Sting, Keith Richards, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and others.

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  • "In the Mood"
  • Album: The Best of the Capitol Masters: 90th Birthday Edition
  • Artist: Les Paul
  • Label: Capitol
 
The Ultimate Collection

Tain't Nobody's Business if I Do

  • Artist: Billie Holiday
  • Album: Ultimate Collection
  • Song: Tain't Nobody's Business if I Do

Billie Holiday was born Eleanora Fagan Gough in Baltimore, Maryland in 1915. Through her tumultuous life, Holiday was a drug addict, a prostitute and in and out of jail. She suffered a series of abusive relationships, depression and battled discrimination against not only her race but also her unorthodox singing style. Holiday died at the age of 44 in a hospital bed with policemen posted outside her room. Almost 50 years after her death, Holiday's remarkable body of work, remembered on this new CD and DVD collection, ranks her among the greatest jazz singers of all time.

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  • "Tain't Nobody's Business if I Do"
  • Album: The Ultimate Collection
  • Artist: Billie Holiday
  • Label: Hip-O
 
Dreaming Wide Awake

Old Man

  • Artist: Lizz Wright
  • Album: Dreaming Wide Awake
  • Song: Old Man

When singer Lizz Wright released her debut CD Salt two years ago, she was hailed as one of the most gifted new voices in contemporary jazz. Her new album includes a mix of original songs and cover tunes by artists like Joe Henry and the track featured here by Neil Young. Wright tells NPR, "You strip a song down to just lyrics and the story that's inside the lyrics and the first feeling that that provokes in you, you have something personal, and you build from there."

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  • "Old Man"
  • Album: Dreaming Wide Awake
  • Artist: Lizz Wright
  • Label: Verve
 
We Will Become Like Birds

The Golden Dream

  • Artist: Erin McKeown
  • Album: We Will Become Like Birds
  • Song: The Golden Dream

Erin McKeown is a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Fredricksburg, Virginia who's drawn comparisons to Beth Orton and other new-folk or experimental acoustic artists. For her latest CD, she collaborates with artists like Soul Coughing bassist Sebastian Steinberg and Argentine electronic musician Juana Molina.

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  • "The Golden Dream"
  • Album: We Will Become Like Birds
  • Artist: Erin McKeown
  • Label: Nettwerk
 
Who's Your New Professor

Something

  • Artist: Sam Prekop
  • Album: Who's Your New Professor
  • Song: Something

Sam Prekop is as a major pillar of the Chicago underground music scene. He was the frontman for a band called Shrimp Boat as well as The Sea and Cake and has collaborated with artists like Jim O'Rourke. This is Prekop's second solo album, coming six years after his self-titled debut.

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  • "Something"
  • Album: Who's Your New Professor
  • Artist: Sam Prekop
  • Label: Thrill Jockey
 

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