The Philadelphia Folk Festival just celebrated it's 57th go-round of concerts, workshops, camping and folkie camaraderie on The Olde Poole Farm outside of Philadelphia this past August. For the last 11 years our Host Emeritus, David Dye, has presented live music on the festival's campground stage, a special gathering on Thursday night that, in the past, has featured Sturgill Simpson, Amanda Shires, Deer Tick, Joan Shelley and others. This year, David Dye presents three special performances from Chicago bluesman Toronzo Cannon, Scottish folk group Talisk, and singer-songwriter Gina Chavez. It's a special Philly Folk Festival edition of the World Cafe.
"Who are you and why are you calling me?" According to Dawn Landes, that's what Country Music Hall of Famer Fred Foster said when she rang him up out of the blue and asked Foster to produce her new album. Foster founded Monument Records, he signed Dolly Parton, and he produced most of Roy Orbison's hits in the 1960s. These days, he's in his late eighties and mostly retired. Landes explains how she won Foster over and performs live songs from the album they made together, called Meet Me at the River.
You may know Wayne Kramer for his time playing guitar for the radical rock group MC5, who broke up in 1972. It's been 50 years since the release of their legendary album Kick Out the Jams, and to celebrate, Wayne will be joining host Stephen Kallao to talk about what that album title means to him. He'll also discuss the rise of MC5 and how their success came with accusations of "selling out," and will share a bit about his new memoir, called "The Hard Stuff: Dope, Crime, the MC5, and My Life of Impossibilities". Hear all about his story, on the next World Cafe.
If this is your first Matt Mays concert, you're in for a treat. Mays recreates the sweaty, late-night spirit of his live shows in a studio performance of songs from his latest album Once Upon a Hell of a Time and strips it down for an acoustic version of one of the song "Ola Volo" inspired by a visual artist whose work he became fascinated with. In his almost two decades on the road, Mays has learned to make time for "culture walks" to absorb the cities he visits. He's also a surfer and a synesthete, which as he explains means seeing sound as color.
Amos Lee struggled to find his sense of purpose as an artist until he had a career-changing encounter with fans who were grieving the loss of their child and found solace in his music. Since then, Lee has drawn inspiration from connecting in meaningful ways with the people he meets. In this special episode, we travel to Seattle to meet "Mighty Maya" who inspired Lee to write the song "Little Light" for his new album My New Moon. Lee met Maya when she was 7 years old, shortly after she was diagnosed with kidney cancer and sent her songs to cheer her up. In turn, Amos Lee found continued meaning on his artistic path. We sit down with Maya, her family and Lee to reminisce about their special friendship and listen to the music it led to.
On his latest album American Utopia, Byrne zooms in on the mind of a dog, the forgotten regions of the brain and a chicken's idea of heaven. We talk about finding magic in the mundane, the evolution of Byrne's voice since Talking Heads days, and why his current show ends with a cover of a Janelle Monae song that pays tribute to black Americans who have been killed by police and vigilantes. We also talk about the remarkable staging of Byrne's current tour where all the members of his band dance around the stage holding their instruments, and why you might see Byrne himself leading a line of bicycling bandmates around your city before the show.
Damon Albarn is one of the most dynamic minds in music, weaving between genres and with collaborators of all stripes, and it's no better on display then in Gorillaz. On the new album, The Now Now, Albarn created an introspective and delicate record, one that fights against the cacophony of Gorillaz last record, Humanz. Albarn will talk about recording the album on the road in the United States, questionable interview translations, and offer up the best laugh you'll hear in 2018.
Glen Hansard is a fan. Taylor Swift put one of his songs on her Spotify playlist. Kanye West's go-to guy produced his latest EP. And he made me cry in a church once. Emotive Irish singer Dermot Kennedy performs live and shares how cold calling promoters, pursuing your musical heroes, and getting your start in Ireland all played a part in getting his voice out there.
Rayland Baxter's first single off his new album, Wide Awake, is about a dysfunctional relationship. However, when you realize the woman's name is Sallie Mae, you realize he's not speaking about a jilted lover, but the giant student loan corporation, that you get closer to the heart of this Nashville singer/songwriter. On his new album Wide Awake (produced by Butch Walker) Baxter presents a slick mix of power pop, rock, indie and folk. Rayland talks to us about his journey to Nashville, and learning to play guitar, thanks in part to his dad, Bucky Baxter.
Working with the likes of Rhiannon Giddens, Elton John, the Dixie Chicks, John Mayer and more, engineer Vanessa Parr has had to grapple with questions like - What do you do when musicians get frustrated in studio? How do you hold it together and work when you're standing next to your heroes? How do you help an artist when they get creatively stuck? Vanessa talks us through some memorable sessions from her very cool career and tells you what to listen for in some of her favorite recordings.