Jay McShann, nicknamed "Hootie," helped define the Kansas City style of jazz, which mixed blues and boogie woogie. In this program from 1980, McShann talks about those early days in Kansas City and meeting a young sax player named Charlie Parker.
Filtering rock and pop through a willfully lo-fi aesthetic, Dr. Dog sounds timeless and immediate. Buoyed by a large and growing following, its new disc delves into what members call "three-part harmonies, the out-of-doors, soya rotis, baking bread and diminished chords."
The Massachusetts-based singer-songwriter crafts emotional, compelling songs on his new CD If the Ocean Gets Rough. Mason got his big break when Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst signed him to his label and released his 2004 debut.
John Butler grew up in a small Australian town, where he learned to play guitar and absorbed musical styles. A subsequent obsession with the acoustic guitar and world music led to his development of an eclectic sound, which he honed as a busking guitarist.
Known as "The Chairman of the Boards" for his work as a keyboardist for the jam-rock band Phish — his improvisational work was integral to the group's renowned live show — McConnell has come into his own as a solo artist after 20 years as a supporting player.
Page McConnell in Studio on World Cafe - 04/20/2007
The prolific duo tinkers with its sound constantly, recording on dated and obsolete tape tracks and in its own basement studio. The pair released its fourth full-length album (Magic Potion) in September, and is collaborating on a disc with Ike Turner for release later this year.
The Black Keys in Studio on World Cafe - 04/18/2007
McKennitt's music has a Celtic feel, though it incorporates influences from all over the planet: She often travels to other countries for research purposes. Her newest album, An Ancient Muse, is as ambitious in scope as its title would suggest.
Loreena McKennitt in Studio on World Cafe - 04/16/2007
Singer, songwriter and pianist Sara Bareilles had a modest childhood growing up a small California town. Self-taught, she soon found herself on a major label with a debut album that's won comparisons to Fiona Apple. Hear an interview and performance from WXPN.
Griffith merges the elegant acoustic folk of her early years with country-rock attitude. Though she often plays cover songs on her records, critics praise her songwriting for its emotional breadth and keen observations. Her newest disc is last year's Ruby's Torch.
Nanci Griffith in Studio on World Cafe - 04/10/2007
The Grammy-winning singer/guitarist has spent his decades-spanning career experimenting with rootsy American music — from Dust Bowl folk to blues, gospel and world music. He's released more than 20 albums, counting his film scores, dating back to the early '70s.