10 Standout World Cafe Sessions Of 2018...So Far : World Cafe Some say the glass of 2018 is one-quarter empty; others say it's three-quarters full. We say, "Wow, we've had some incredible artists perform in 2018."
NPR logo 10 Standout World Cafe Sessions Of 2018...So Far

10 Standout World Cafe Sessions Of 2018...So Far

Clockwise from left: Sunny War, Darlingside, Jen Cloher Sunny War (WXPN), Darlingisde (Ashley Gellman/WXPN), Jen Cloher (Ashley Gellman/WXPN)/Courtesy of WXPN hide caption

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Sunny War (WXPN), Darlingisde (Ashley Gellman/WXPN), Jen Cloher (Ashley Gellman/WXPN)/Courtesy of WXPN

Clockwise from left: Sunny War, Darlingside, Jen Cloher

Sunny War (WXPN), Darlingisde (Ashley Gellman/WXPN), Jen Cloher (Ashley Gellman/WXPN)/Courtesy of WXPN

Some say the glass of 2018 is on-quarter empty; others say the glass is three-quarters full. We say, "Wow, we've had some incredible artists perform in 2018 on World Cafe and it's only April!" So cheers to them!

Rifle through this roundup below for any sessions you may have missed or want to revisit from our first quarter of the year. From one of the tastiest live bands to grace our studio courtesy of Lizz Wright, to the time Noel Gallagher swooped in with 10 musicians and his own power generator, to Jen Cloher performing a burner inspired by the debate over Australia's same-sex marriage laws alongside her wife Courtney Barnett.

The Sessions

  • Brandi Carlile On World Cafe

    Brandi Carlile performs a live World Cafe Session at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia. Liz Waldie/WXPN hide caption

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    Liz Waldie/WXPN

    Brandi Carlile performs a live World Cafe Session at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.

    Liz Waldie/WXPN

    Brace your abs for an emotional gut-punch. Brandi Carlile is here with bandmates and co-writers Tim and Phil Hanseroth. Together, they have a new album called By the Way, I Forgive You. It was recorded at Nashville's legendary RCA Studio A, produced by Dave Cobb and Shooter Jennings. And it's filled with emotionally stirring songs — some that are massive and some that are stripped bare. Read More

    Brandi Carlile On World Cafe

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  • Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats On World Cafe

    Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats Brantley Gutierrez/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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    Brantley Gutierrez/Courtesy of the artist

    Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

    Brantley Gutierrez/Courtesy of the artist

    Many artists wait for the day they can stop working as servers and make a full-time living as musicians. Today's guest, Nathaniel Rateliff, is a platinum-selling artist whose generosity onstage makes the music business seem like the service industry. Nathaniel pushes his vocal cords to their very brink, rips open his rib cage to share his heart and leads his seven bandmates with absolute passion – all in service of making sure his audience has a good time and feels something. (Read more)

    Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

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  • Lizz Wright On World Cafe

    Lizz Wright Jesse Kitt/Courtesy of the artists hide caption

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    Jesse Kitt/Courtesy of the artists

    Lizz Wright

    Jesse Kitt/Courtesy of the artists

    We're lucky to have a lot of remarkably talented artists deliver impressive performances here at World Cafe (ok, humblebrag). But our whole team was pretty floored by Lizz Wright. The combination of Wright and her band (Bobby Ray Sparks on organ, Brannen Temple on drums and Chris McQueen on guitar) was effortless and elevated, in a way that's hard to articulate in words, but you can experience in a session here. (Read more)

    Lizz Wright On World Cafe

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  • Darlingside On World Cafe

    Darlingside performing inside the World Cafe Performance Studio. Ashley Gellman/WXPN hide caption

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    Ashley Gellman/WXPN

    Darlingside performing inside the World Cafe Performance Studio.

    Ashley Gellman/WXPN

    Darlingside (a.k.a. the act of killing your darlings) is something the four piece has gotten very good at over the past decade. Some of the songs on its new album, Extralife, have taken years to find their way to a record. With a songwriting process that's very democratic, it's clear that these are the finest versions of the songs. The attention to detail is stunning. (Read more)

    10 Standout World Cafe Sessions Of 2018...So Far

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  • Jen Cloher On World Cafe

    Jen Cloher and her band inside the World Cafe Performance Studio. From left to right: Jen Sholakis, Bones Sloane, Jen Cloher, and Courtney Barnett. Ashley Gellman/WXPN hide caption

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    Ashley Gellman/WXPN

    Jen Cloher and her band inside the World Cafe Performance Studio. From left to right: Jen Sholakis, Bones Sloane, Jen Cloher, and Courtney Barnett.

    Ashley Gellman/WXPN

    Music fans in Melbourne, Australia certainly know of rock and roller, poet and artist advocate Jen Cloher. They've know about her for years, but thanks to her excellent self-titled 2017 record, we're finally getting hip to her on this hemisphere. Jen just wrapped up her first full-band headlining tour of the U.S., and for the most part it was sold out! (Read more)

    Jen Cloher On World Cafe

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  • Margo Price On World Cafe

    Margo Price Danielle Holbert/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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    Danielle Holbert/Courtesy of the artist

    Margo Price

    Danielle Holbert/Courtesy of the artist

    There's a danger, when an artist has as compelling a story as Margo Price has, that the personal will overshadow the musical. So let's just get one thing straight first: Margo Price writes really beautiful songs. And boy-oh-boy can she sing.

    But one of the reasons Margo's story is such a major focus in talking about her music is because they're intertwined. (Read more)

    Margo Price On World Cafe

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  • Glen Hansard On World Cafe

    Glen Hansard Dara Munnis/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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    Dara Munnis/Courtesy of the artist

    Glen Hansard

    Dara Munnis/Courtesy of the artist

    I gotta say I had a bit of a hard time holding it together during this session. Sitting in a room two feet away from Glen Hansard as he plays an acoustic guitar is transcendent. When we were talking, he was this warm, gregarious storyteller, but as soon as he started to sing, Glen summoned so much force and conviction and blood, that I forgot there was anything else in the entire world. And you'll hear that in my reactions. (Read more)

    Glen Hansard On World Cafe

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  • St. Vincent On World Cafe

    St. Vincent Nedda Afsari/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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    Nedda Afsari/Courtesy of the artist

    St. Vincent

    Nedda Afsari/Courtesy of the artist

    The night before St. Vincent came in to World Cafe, she played a show at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia. And when I say she played a show, she really played a show.

    Up on stage, St. Vincent looked like she should be on the cover of Sports Illustrated: Swimsuit Edition meets Guitar World Magazine, 1,000 years in the future. Picture latex bodysuits — one bright pink, one spaceship silver — and thigh high boots. The kind of outfit that on anybody else might look a certain way, on St. Vincent looks like pure power. There were fluorescent colors all around, video projection screens and a different neon guitar for what seemed like every single song. (Read more)

    St. Vincent On World Cafe

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  • Noel Gallagher On World Cafe

    Noel Gallagher Lawrence Watson/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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    Lawrence Watson/Courtesy of the artist

    Noel Gallagher

    Lawrence Watson/Courtesy of the artist

    "I don't want anybody to know who I am. I genuinely have no desire for anybody to ask me how I feel." Noel Gallagher says this about 45 minutes into my attempt to talk to him about who he is and how he feels. He doesn't say it in an accusatory way; he doesn't sound annoyed. He is trying to explain what works for him as a songwriter — that there's a necessary distance between who he is and what he writes. As he sings in one of the newest songs by Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, "Be careful what you wish for / Be careful what you dream / They'll let you sing your songs, son / But they'll never hear you scream." (Read more)

    Noel Gallagher On World Cafe

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  • Sunny War On World Cafe

    Sunny War Florencia P. Marano/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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    Florencia P. Marano/Courtesy of the artist

    There is a lot that's disarming about Sunny War. She has that kind of raw, rare talent of a guitarist that stops you in your tracks. It's difficult to describe, but somewhere between the rooted blues of Robert Johnson, the lightning, plucky folk of Richard Thompson and the dexterous wonder of the massively underrated Jack Roseis a good place to start. (Read more)

    Sunny War On World Cafe

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