Guy Clark, Joe Ely, John Hiatt, and Lyle Lovett are four singer-songwriters who straddle folk and country music. On this program, they share some of their favorite new songs and old standards, slipping in a few tributes to the city of Los Angeles, home to the Disney Concert Hall.
A gifted singer/songwriter with a deft touch on the guitar, mandolin, piano and banjo, McKeown calls herself a mix between Django Reinhardt and G. Love. But even that description only scratches the surface of her music's sly lyrics and rip-roaring swing.
Erin McKeown in concert on XPN Live Fridays - 10/26/2007
The Los Angeles Philharmonic performs J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, music which is featured in a wide range of Hollywood film scores including A Bridge Too Far and Romy and Michele's High School Reunion.
Led by Megan Hickey and her '40s lap-steel guitar, the band addresses themes of heartbreak, joy and alienation. With a sweet, strong singing voice — she's been compared to Beth Orton, Gillian Welch and Mazzy Star's Hope Sandoval — Hickey delves into personal material on Wire Waltz.
The Last Town Chorus in concert on XPN Live Fridays - 10/19/2007
A Toronto-based singer-songwriter with an international following, Ron Sexsmith has seen his songs covered by everyone from Rod Stewart to Nick Lowe. Though far from a household name, Sexsmith has won over countless famous musicians, including Paul McCartney, Elton John, and Elvis Costello.
Ron Sexsmith in concert on XPN Live Fridays - 10/12/2007
Born in Sao Paulo in 1971, Mônica Salmaso has surfaced as one of the best young voices in Brazil. At the Disney Concert Hall, she gives a dazzling performance of sensual, rhythmically-inflected Brazilian popular songs, including a Beatles favorite and an "Ave Maria" with a Brazilian twist.
Emily Haines makes ethereal, piano-driven songs that are dark and gloomy, but utterly infectious. Haines visits Washington, D.C.'s 9:30 Club with her backing band The Soft Skeleton for a night of music originally webcast live on NPR.org Jan. 10.
Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell gives an intimate and passionate recital of Romantic and Twentieth Century music with former NPR artist in residence, pianist Jeremy Denk. Highlights include the Beethoven Fifth Violin Sonata, Bartok's Rhapsody No. 1 for Violin and Piano and Prokofiev's Five Melodies.
Performing at the Kansas City Repertory Theater, Allyson and her band radiate down-to-earth Midwesternness in this command performance. Allyson's CD, Footprints, topped the jazz radio charts for seven weeks this past summer.
Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra rings in the new year at Tonic in New York. The MTO re-imagines 1920s Midwestern-style territory charts and giddily wails into 2007. A recent profile of Bernstein on Morning Edition sums it up: "There's magic in mixing the strange and the familiar."
NPR and WBGO's "Toast of the Nation" features a never-aired show from alto saxophonist Bobby Watson's Kansas City Jump Band at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York. Also on the bill: a tribute to pianist Jay "Hootie" McShann (1916-2006), the last of the great Kansas City players.
Sing, stomp and shout with tuba player Kendrick Oliver and the New Life Jazz Orchestra at Berklee College of Music in Boston — they swing like a young Count Basie Band gone to church. Produced by WGBH in Boston, and hosted by WGBH's Eric Jackson, it's part of the Toast of the Nation New Year's concerts.
Co-produced by NPR and WBGO, Toast of the Nation presents McCoy Tyner with saxophonist Joe Lovano at Yoshi's in Oakland, California. The quartet includes Christian McBride on bass and Jeff "Tain" Watts on drums.
The Disco Biscuits' members call their sound "trance-fusion" — a mixture of jam-band and electronic music with bits of Frank Zappa, rock, techno, jazz, soul, blues and classical. It's no surprise that the band writes its music for live shows and then records it, instead of the other way around.
Disco Biscuits in concert on XPN Live Fridays - 12/29/2006