It's true: Bill Frisell wears glasses, dresses casually and is modest and soft-spoken in person. But instead of stepping into a phone booth to put on a cape, he straps on his trusty Fender Telecaster and strides onstage at the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater with his trio.
Back in 2000, James Maddock — then the lead singer of the band Wood — looked like he was on the verge of worldwide fame. The group's debut album, Songs From Stamford Hill, was showcased on popular TV dramas such as Dawson's Creek. Now, at the end of the decade, Maddock is back as a solo artist. Hear the singer-songwriter perform live in concert from WXPN in Philadelphia.
Since forming in San Francisco in 1994, Train has had an undeniable impact on contemporary music, selling millions and touring with acts such as Barenaked Ladies and Counting Crows. Along the way, the group has released five studio albums and won a Grammy for its ubiquitous pop hit "Drops of Jupiter." Hear Train perform live in concert from WXPN in Philadelphia.
After leading the frenetically inventive band Soul Coughing throughout the '90s, Doughty embarked on a solo career. Though doing so meant making a huge shift from eclectic big-band alt-rock to sparse acoustic sets, he found remarkable success during a long cross-country tour. Hear Doughty perform live in concert from WXPN and World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.
Ambrose Akinmusire says, "A lot of people think I'm an over-achiever, but I don't believe there's such a thing." With a warm yet assertive tone, the trumpeter leads a quintet at the KC Jazz Club in a concert recorded by JazzSet.
One of Bob Boilen's favorite discoveries of the year, Watson makes imaginative pop with a cinematic bent. So NPR Music jumped at the opportunity to record his concert at The Mercury Lounge in New York City Thursday, performed as part of the CMJ Music Festival.
Wielding many instruments and a remarkable whistling ability, Bird has developed an offbeat marriage of classical and pop music over the course of his decade-long career. The musical polymath has never been one to limit his sound, incorporating traditional folk, swing, zydeco, rock, electronica and indie-pop into his work. Hear Bird perform live in concert from WXPN in Philadelphia.
Nascimento's miraculous voice is one gift. Brazilian music is another — passionate and in an innately beautiful language. It's his birthday on Oct. 26, so we celebrate with last year's celebration at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, with Newark's Portuguese-speaking community understanding every word, the world-renowned Nascimento celebrates bossa nova pioneer Antonio Carlos Jobim.
If there are ghosts in the music, Ran Blake finds them and stretches their abstract melodies into an unknown ether. The 74-year-old pianist crosses streams of music, film and life in what he calls "recompositions," which amount to long strands of improvisation from multiple, original compositions. In his only concert of 2009, a small audience witnessed his recompositions unfold.
Ran Blake In Concert On Eric In The Evening 3/18/09
Though it often gets pegged as an alt-country band of one stripe or another, Lucero prides itself on fusing together a broad enough assortment of influences to sound like nothing else. Naturally, though, influences like Bruce Springsteen inevitably shine through. Hear Lucero perform live in concert from WXPN in Philadelphia.