Xylouris White are an odd couple that works. Xylouris is George Xylouris - he comes from a famed family of musicians based in a mountain shepherding village on the Greek island of Crete and he has been a professional musician since he was 12. White is Jim White – an Australian post-punk drummer with a deft touch that can go from thunderous to tender on a dime. Jim held it down in the instrumental trio Dirty Three, and has also backed Cat Power and PJ Harvey. Jim and George met and started playing together more than 25 years ago in Melbourne Australia. But they formalized the duo as Xylouris White in 2014, with their debut album Goats. Xylouris White has a new album coming out next month January called Mother. But they came and visited us at the Cafe recently to perform songs from their 2016 album Black Peak – enjoy this performance only session!
Psychedelic, trippy and downright freaky, Combo Chimbita use Cumbia as a building block to create what they call tropical futurism. They embrace an inventive combination of rhythms and sounds from Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America. A quartet of first generation New Yorkers whose backgrounds are Colombian & who grew up loving heavy metal, psychedelic funk & soul, the band's debut release is a concept album called Abya Yala. It came out this summer and with this music only episode you get a chance to hear a taste of it live.
With her 7-piece band in tow, Bette Smith delivers a performance as big as her ambitions. Bette always wanted to be a singer, but her dad – a church choir director - disapproved of singing secular music. After he died, Bette decided to go for it and took every opportunity she could to sing. Bette found fans in Ray Charles shortly before he died, and in Jimbo Mathus of Squirrel Nut Zippers who produced her debut album Jetlagger.
Bootsy's rolodex is full of funky friends, including Victor Wooten, Musiq Soulchild, Stanley Clarke and the late Bernie Worrell who all play on Bootsy's new record, World Wide Funk. We'll hear music from Bootsy's new record and stories about laying down funky bass lines in bands backing up George Clinton and James Brown who introduced Bootsy to a thing called The One.
Things were pretty rocky around the time the band Luna broke up in 2005. Since then, lead singer Dean Wareham has written a tell-all rock and roll memoir, including some details about what went wrong. He and the band's bassist Britta Phillips also got married. Luna reunited a couple years ago and have recently released two new records - a full length album of covers called A Sentimental Education, and an instrumental EP called A Place Of Greater Safety. The band performs live music, and Dean and Britta explain what made Luna's reunion possible after all this time and complicated history.
The son of The Beatles' George Harrison, Dhani has just released his complex and artful debut solo album IN///PARALLEL. The record is inspired by memories from Dhani's past, including the terrifying night someone tried to murder his parents. Dhani shares that story, and some happy memories like the time he found a bunch of funny (or not so funny) "dad jokes" his father George had faxed back and forth with friends. Dhani co-produced George Harrison's posthumous 2002 album Brainwashed, and has previously released records with his band thenewno2 and Fistful of Mercy, which includes bandmate Ben Harper. Dhani performs live music with his band in this World Cafe session.
London-based singer songwriter Jade Bird traveled to upstate New York to record her new EP called Something American. It was produced by Simone Felice of the Felice Brothers. Bird is just 20 years old, but there is great depth and maturity to her music which draws inspiration from folks like Neil Young, Son House and Bob Dylan. She talks with the World Cafe's David Dye and performs her songs and a Johnny Cash cover.
According to Beck, listening to his new album Colors may feel like "Jogging in a glass box while there is a blizzard outside and you are wearing a form fitting body suit." Unpredictable and a little wacky? Yep, but that's Beck. Ever since his 1993 song "Loser" brought rap, sitar, slide guitar and a little Spanish together in what became an unexpected hit, Beck has continued to surprise his fans. We'll talk about what many fans are finding surprising on Colors – including its bright, shiny pop accessibility. Plus, we'll dig back into some of the early experiences that shaped Beck's approach – including how the helicopters and hecklers of the East LA childhood worked their way into 2005's Guero.
First as a founding member of Old Crow Medicine Show and now in his own solo career, Willie Watson brings folk-based roots music alive for new listeners in the 21st century. He makes songs like "John Henry" or "Gallows Pole" — that have been played so often by so many, they seem to have no more tread – stick to the road and carry him somewhere new. Watson recently released his second solo disc called Folk Singer, Volume 2. The eleven-song collection was produced by friend and fellow Nashville resident David Rawlings. Willie Watson plays live and talks with the Cafe's Ann Powers about the early days of Old Crow Medicine Show, how he makes cover songs personal and what he loves so much about working with Rawlings.
Nashville-based Los Colognes took their time recording their latest album, their third, called The Wave. While the record isn't a concept disc, water comes up again and again. The band talks to the Cafe's David Dye about writing the new material and about moving as an entire group from Chicago to Nashville almost 8 years ago. The switch from the Windy City to Music City helped them find a solid creative community. Hear that and more, including two live songs!