Vintage Cafe: Nels Cline : World Cafe Cline expertly shifts from one genre to another, with an emphasis on melodic improv and minimalism. Hear the guitarist and composer perform songs from 2009's Coward in this archived session from the same year.

Nels Cline On World Cafe

Nels Cline On World Cafe

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Nels Cline. Yuka C. Honda/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Yuka C. Honda/Courtesy of the artist

Nels Cline.

Yuka C. Honda/Courtesy of the artist


  • The Beach Boys, "Surfin' USA," Surfin' USA
  • Jimi Hendrix, "Manic Depression," The Best of Jimi Hendrix
  • The Byrds, "Turn! Turn! Turn!," The Byrds' Greatest Hits
  • The Byrds, "Eight Miles High," The Byrds' Greatest Hits
  • Ravi Shankar, "Kafi-Holi," The Essential Ravi Shankar
  • John Coltrane, "Africa," Africa/Brass
  • Nels Cline, "Cymbidium" (Live)
  • Nels Cline, "Rod Poole's Gradual Ascent Into Heaven," Coward

This segment, from April 15, 2009, is part of our Vintage Cafe series, in which we revisit some of our best studio performances.

With a career starting in the late '70s and more than 100 album collaborations under his belt, Nels Cline is one of the most influential guitarists and composers working today. Expertly shifting from one genre to another, Cline has carved out a diverse recording career that includes work with Willie Nelson, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth and, most recently, Wilco. In addition to the collaborations with big-name artists, Cline works closely with small jazz ensembles, and has released several solo albums.

While his past work focused more on acoustic guitar, he currently works with up to 15 effects pedals in order to achieve a particularly distorted sound. His latest record, Coward, travels through a range of styles, including acoustic, electronic, improv, delicate abstractions and a bit of electro-funk.

In a session with host David Dye, Cline takes us on a tour of the music that made him want to play guitar: The Beach Boys, Jimi Hendrix and The Byrds.

World Cafe Playlist for December 16, 2013