Sessions From 10 Grammy-Nominated World Cafe Guests : World Cafe Listen back to sessions from ten nominees who have come through our doors this year.
NPR logo Sessions From 10 Grammy-Nominated World Cafe Guests

Sessions From 10 Grammy-Nominated World Cafe Guests

Father John Misty (left), Sylvan Esso (top right), and The War On Drugs (bottom right) are 3 of the man World Cafe guests that are nominated for a Grammy Award this year. WXPN hide caption

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WXPN

Father John Misty (left), Sylvan Esso (top right), and The War On Drugs (bottom right) are 3 of the man World Cafe guests that are nominated for a Grammy Award this year.

WXPN

With the nominees recently announced, the 60th Annual Grammy Awards return to New York City, taking place at Madison Square Garden on January 28. Over the years, World Cafe has had numerous visits from those nominated and those who've won.

This year in particular, in addition to the sessions you can listen to below, we had visits from several of this year's nominees: Aimee Mann, Offa Rex, and The Secret Sisters (all are in the running for best folk album). We also had a conversation with La La Land composer Justin Hurwitz (nominated for best compilation soundtrack for visual media), and Portugal the Man, who were nominated for best pop duo/group performance for "Feel It Still."

While we're still waiting to hear back on our invitations to Bob Dylan and Kendrick Lamar to be on the show, have a listen to our sessions from War On Drugs, Sylvan Esso, Father John Misty, Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm, and others from this past year. Congrats to all the nominees.

The Sessions

  • The War on Drugs On World Cafe

    The War On Drugs in side the World Cafe Performance Studio at WXPN. Galea McGregor/WXPN hide caption

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    Galea McGregor/WXPN

    The War On Drugs in side the World Cafe Performance Studio at WXPN.

    Galea McGregor/WXPN

    A Deeper Understanding - Nominated for Best Rock Album

    The War on Drugs' A Deeper Understanding is epic. Ambitious. Huge. Case in point: the first single they released, "Thinking of a Place," clocked in at over 11 minutes. But make no mistake, this isn't the work of a noodley jam band. Every sound is deliberate, every dynamic is thoughtful, the builds brilliant. That's thanks in large part to the way lead singer and songwriter Adam Granduciel works. (Read More)

    War On Drugs On World Cafe

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  • Sylvan Esso On World Cafe

    Sylvan Esso performs at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia for World Cafe's 25th anniversary show. Joe Del Tufo/WXPN hide caption

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    Joe Del Tufo/WXPN

    Sylvan Esso performs at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia for World Cafe's 25th anniversary show.

    Joe Del Tufo/WXPN

    What Now - Nominated for Best Dance/Electronic Album

    Sure, the incredibly intuitive duo Sylvan Esso is releasing its second album, What Now, on April 28, but here's something even better — a chance to hear the new songs before the record's out. Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn — on voice and electronics, respectively — performed a selection live in concert at World Cafe's recent 25th anniversary celebration. (Read More)

    Sylvan Esso On World Cafe

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  • Gorillaz On World Cafe

    Damon Albarn joins World Cafe to talk about the new Gorillaz album, Humanz. J.C. Hewlett/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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    J.C. Hewlett/Courtesy of the artist

    Damon Albarn joins World Cafe to talk about the new Gorillaz album, Humanz.

    J.C. Hewlett/Courtesy of the artist

    Humanz - Nominated for Best Alternative Music Album

    The musical mastermind and human frontman of Gorillaz, Damon Albarn, started writing Humanz more than a year ago, before Donald Trump was the Republican nominee for President. He says the album started with one clear premise: "I imagined him winning the election and sort of set the album a year ahead, on the night Donald Trump won. And how would I feel? How would we spend that night?" Albarn calls the concept a "dark fantasy" and talks about how the meaning of Humanz has changed now that it's a political reality. (Read More)

    Gorillaz On World Cafe

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  • Father John Misty On World Cafe

    Father John Misty inside the World Cafe performance studio. Galea McGregor/WXPN hide caption

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    Galea McGregor/WXPN

    Father John Misty inside the World Cafe performance studio.

    Galea McGregor/WXPN

    Pure Comedy - Nominated for Best Alternative Music Album

    Josh Tillman, a.k.a. Father John Misty, joins World Cafe to chat and to perform songs from his new album, Pure Comedy. In this session we talk about Tillman's childhood, spent at a Pentecostal school, where he was regularly told there were demons inside of him that needed to be exorcised. It was a process Tillman says is strangely relaxing. (Read More)

    Father John Misty on World Cafe

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  • Alison Krauss On World Cafe

    Alison Krauss' new album is called Windy City. Randee St. Nicholas/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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    Randee St. Nicholas/Courtesy of the artist

    Alison Krauss' new album is called Windy City.

    Randee St. Nicholas/Courtesy of the artist

    "Tin Man" - Nominated for Best Country Solo Performance.

    "I Never Cared For You" - Nominated for Best American Roots Performance

    Alison Krauss has been a musician her whole life, and a major star for the past 30 years. A vocalist known for her remarkable grace and purity of tone, Krauss is also a dazzling fiddler and an accomplished record producer. She began her career in bluegrass as a teenager, playing with the band Union Station, with which she still collaborates. She's also recorded several solo albums, made beloved contributions to film soundtracks (most notably, O Brother Where Art Thou) and worked with a wide array of artists, including a memorable partnership with Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant on Raising Sand. (Read More)

    World Cafe Nashville: Alison Krauss

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  • David Rawlings On World Cafe

    David Rawlings Alysse Gafkjen/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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    Alysse Gafkjen/Courtesy of the artist

    David Rawlings

    Alysse Gafkjen/Courtesy of the artist

    "Cumberland Gap" - Nominated for Best American Roots Song

    In this session, David Rawlings performs songs from his new album. Well, a new-old album. It's called Poor David's Almanack and, in writing it, Rawlings set out to craft new folk songs that evoke old folk traditions. Joining him in that effort, and in studio today is his longtime partner in music and in life, Gillian Welch. Since their seminal 1996 album Revival, their collaboratively written albums have largely been released under Gillian's name (technically). Poor David's Almanack features some of the first songs written solo by David. (Read More)

    World Cafe Nashville: David Rawlings

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  • Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit On World Cafe

    Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit's new album is The Nashville Sound. Danny Clinch/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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    Danny Clinch/Courtesy of the artist

    Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit's new album is The Nashville Sound.

    Danny Clinch/Courtesy of the artist

    The Nashville Sound - Nominated for Best Americana Album

    "If We Were Vampires" - Nominated for Best American Roots Song

    Recorded in Music City at RCA's legendary Studio A, Jason Isbell's latest album, The Nashville Sound, tackles issues like race and privilege, anxiety, sobriety, hope and family. (Isbell is married to Amanda Shires, a talented fiddle player and singer-songwriter who is also a member of Isbell's band, The 400 Unit.) (Read More)

    Jason Isbell On World Cafe

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  • Iron & Wine On World Cafe

    Iron & Wine Kim Black/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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    Kim Black/Courtesy of the artist

    Iron & Wine

    Kim Black/Courtesy of the artist

    Beast Epic - Nominated for Best Americana Album

    Iron & Wine, the nom de plume of songwriter Sam Beam, returned to World Cafe for a solo set in front of a live audience. His latest abum, Beast Epic, was recorded at the Wilco Loft in Chicago. (Read More)

    Iron & Wine On World Cafe

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  • Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm On World Cafe

    Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm, with Steve Jordan on drums, perform live at WXPN's 2017 Non-COMMvention in Philadelphia, Pa. John Vettese /WXPN hide caption

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    John Vettese /WXPN

    Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm, with Steve Jordan on drums, perform live at WXPN's 2017 Non-COMMvention in Philadelphia, Pa.

    John Vettese /WXPN

    Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm - Nominated for Best Contemporary Blues Album

    Even if you've never heard of Memphis' Royal Studios, you probably know some of the records made there. Royal was the home studio of Hi Records and producer Willie Mitchell in the '70s; it's the birthplace of countless Al Green hits, including "Tired Of Being Alone" and "Let's Stay Together," as well as records by Ann Peebles, Syl Johnson and others. (Read More)

    Robert Cray and Steve Jordan On World Cafe

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  • Laura Marling On World Cafe

    Laura Marling Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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    Courtesy of the artist

    Laura Marling

    Courtesy of the artist

    Semper Femina - Nominated for Best Folk Album

    Last time Laura Marling visited World Cafe, the city sounds of Los Angeles had begun to drone their way into her English folk-based music. Almost two years later, her new album, Semper Femina, features winding vines of sound that are darker, smokier and utterly tantalizing. It's the sixth full-length studio record she's released in nine years. The title is Latin for "always a woman," and the album itself is an exploration of what that means, what it doesn't and where it all blurs together. (Read More)

    Laura Marling On World Cafe

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