Studio SessionsMusicians perform and discuss their work in the studios of NPR and NPR Music station partners. Live music sessions, interviews, and the best new songs in rock, pop, folk, classical, jazz, blues, urban, and world music. Watch video sessions.
Foster starts out her KUT session by reaching back to her roots with a Sister Rosetta Tharpe song. It sets the mood for a soulful performance and conversation with the modern blues singer and guitarist, who looks beyond the folk tradition for which she's become known.
Long a standout purveyor of rootsy, direct "heartland" rock, Mellencamp is in the midst of a folksy, pessimistic streak on his new album. He speaks to host Terry Gross about the spare sound and dark themes of Life, Death, Love and Freedom.
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. Describing his new album, Noble Beast, as a less electric effort, Bird still finds value in carefully chosen words.
Buffalo native Christopher Ziemba is a young pianist and composer, currently honing his craft at the Eastman School of Music. He took the stage at age 7, and he's already performed at Carnegie Hall. Ziemba makes his Piano Jazz debut here, performing "Dream Dancing" and "The Nearness of You."
Through the '90s, until the group disbanded in 2006, Grandaddy built a loyal audience by making beautifully orchestrated, neo-psychedelic space-pop. Former frontman Jason Lytle returns this year with his debut solo album, Yours Truly, The Commuter. He showcased some of his new songs for this NPR Music video session.
The energetic indie-pop band's members were only 20 when their debut, Be He Me, was released in 2006. For their sophomore album, songwriter Adam Baker has discovered new depth, borrowing from ska, psychedelia and country on the colorful and appropriately named Such Fun.
Many say the Great American Songbook is coming back, but Pizzarelli says it never went away. Right off the bat, he scatted along to his lightning-fast guitar work on "I Got Rhythm," the popular Gershwin tune, in a session from Jazz24.
Over the course of 70 years, more than 60 albums and four Grammys, The Blind Boys of Alabama's members become synonymous with gospel soul. The innovation never ends, however, as they infuse their new album, Down in New Orleans, with Dixieland jazz, funk and R&B.
The Blind Boys of Alabama in Studio on World Cafe 2/27/09
With an exotic fiddle, a viola, a classical guitar and a drum kit, the quartet called QQQ creates something like Appalachian folk music — albeit filtered through Brooklyn experimentalism and rural Norwegian flavor. The band plays a special session in Studio 4A.
For the folk-pop songwriter who borrows his stage name from the 1967 Bob Dylan album, cleverly pointed lyrics and biting humor come as no surprise. As sharp as ever after a five-year hiatus, Harding has released Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead, the result of a new found musical freedom.
John Wesley Harding in Studio on World Cafe 3/18/09
Once a backing band for burlesque shows, DeVotchKa is known for its soundtrack to Little Miss Sunshine. With raucous music that combines Slavic, Russian and Gypsy roots with American punk and folk, the group's four members pick up at least a dozen instruments on their new record, A Mad and Faithful Telling.