10 Standout World Cafe Sessions Of 2019 (So Far) : World Cafe Some say the glass of 2019 is half empty; others say it's half full. We say, "Wow, we've had some incredible artists perform so far this year."
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Gary Clark Jr. On World Cafe

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The 10 Standout World Cafe Sessions Of 2019 (So Far)

The 10 Standout World Cafe Sessions Of 2019 (So Far)

Clockwise from left: Lizzo, Gary Clark Jr., Maggie Rogers Lizzo (Lissa Alicia/WXPN), Gary Clark Jr. (Frank Maddocks/Courtesy of the artist), Maggie Rogers (Olivia Bee/Courtesy of the artist) hide caption

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Lizzo (Lissa Alicia/WXPN), Gary Clark Jr. (Frank Maddocks/Courtesy of the artist), Maggie Rogers (Olivia Bee/Courtesy of the artist)

Clockwise from left: Lizzo, Gary Clark Jr., Maggie Rogers

Lizzo (Lissa Alicia/WXPN), Gary Clark Jr. (Frank Maddocks/Courtesy of the artist), Maggie Rogers (Olivia Bee/Courtesy of the artist)

Summer's here and the time is right for looking back on some of our favorite World Cafe sessions of the year! Let's just say, it's been an inspiring one so far.

We caught Maggie Rogers and Lizzo in the eye of their respective superstar storms, and were totally knocked out by J.S. Ondara's performance of songs from his debut album. Willie Nelson let us hop on his tour bus to talk about everything from hanging in Amsterdam with Snoop Dogg to making his new album. The members of Cage The Elephant wore their sunglasses indoors to share lessons learned from twisting heartache into rock and roll. Jenny Lewis showed off some of the best songwriting of her career and the members of The Cranberries reflected on finishing the band's final album after losing their beloved lead singer, Dolores O'Riordan.

We hope you enjoy listening back to some standout sessions (in no particular order) and we can't wait to see what the rest of 2019 has to offer.


10 Standout World Cafe Sessions Of 2019... So Far

  • Gary Clark Jr. Shows Impressive Musical Range On 'This Land'

    Gary Clark Jr. Frank Maddocks/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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    Frank Maddocks/Courtesy of the artist

    Gary Clark Jr.

    Frank Maddocks/Courtesy of the artist

    We're thrilled to have Gary Clark Jr. on World Cafe today. Gary is a guitar prodigy from Austin who showed so much promise that the mayor held a ceremony to declare "Gary Clark Jr. Day" when he was still in high school. Since then, Gary's found fans in Eric Clapton and Buddy Guy, and he's managed to do something really impressive for anyone who is gifted on guitar and is often the subject of celebrity comparisons: He's continued to innovate his own sound, rebelling against the possibility of being pinned down to a genre or style. Read more.

    Gary Clark Jr. On World Cafe

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  • The Cranberries' Last Album Celebrates The Life Of Dolores O'Riordan

    Dolores O'Riordan of The Cranberries performs on stage during the Cognac Blues Passion Festival in July 2016. Guillaume Souvant/Getty Images hide caption

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    Guillaume Souvant/Getty Images

    Dolores O'Riordan of The Cranberries performs on stage during the Cognac Blues Passion Festival in July 2016.

    Guillaume Souvant/Getty Images

    The Cranberries were one of the most successful groups to emerge from Ireland. The members, Dolores O'Riordan as lead vocalist, guitarist Noel Hogan, bassist Mike Hogan and drummer Fergal Lawler, were in the studio working on what is now their final studio album when volcalist, O'Riordan died suddenly in January 2018. The band, with the blessing of the O'Riordan family, completed the record as a testament to the work of all members. Read more.

    The Cranberries On World Cafe

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  • Maggie Rogers On Her Own Terms

    Maggie Rogers Olivia Bee/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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    Olivia Bee/Courtesy of the artist

    Maggie Rogers

    Olivia Bee/Courtesy of the artist

    Maggie Rogers is having a moment. Her debut full-length album, Heard It in a Past Life, came out in January. She's been crushing late-night TV performances, including Saturday Night Live and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. And good luck getting tickets to her North American shows: She's sold out all over the place.

    Maggie was thrust into the spotlight unexpectedly a couple years ago after a video of Pharrell praising a song she created went viral. Many of her new songs address the aftermath as she struggled to deal with people's expectations for how happy all this newfound fame was supposed to make her. Read more.

    Maggie Rogers On World Cafe

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  • Lizzo Is In The Eye Of A Superstar Storm

    Lizzo performing live at The TLA in Philadelphia. Lissa Alicia/WXPN hide caption

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    Lissa Alicia/WXPN

    Lizzo performing live at The TLA in Philadelphia.

    Lissa Alicia/WXPN

    The night before Lizzo swooped off a 5 a.m. flight and into World Cafe, her colossal album Cuz I Love You made her the highest streaming artist on Spotify. She had just been nominated for a BET Award in the category of best female hip-hop artist alongside Cardi B and Nicki Minaj. She was right in the eye of a superstar storm, and she wasn't afraid to talk about the challenges that come alongside all the good bits of achieving her dreams. In Lizzo's words, "If I had to be fake during all this press and all of this work, I think that it would eat me alive." Read more.

    Lizzo On World Cafe

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  • Willie Nelson On Cowboys, 'Crazy' and CBD-Infused Coffee

    Willie Nelson's Ride Me Back Home is out today. Pamela Springsteen/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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    Pamela Springsteen/Courtesy of the artist

    Willie Nelson's Ride Me Back Home is out today.

    Pamela Springsteen/Courtesy of the artist

    It's been about a year since World Cafe caught up with Willie Nelson, and he's been busy! Willie just released his latest album called Ride Me Back Home, made with his producer-collaborator Buddy Cannon. In February, Willie won a Grammy Award for his Frank Sinatra tribute album My Way. And he's recently expanded his health-and-wellness brand Willie's Remedy to include new CBD-infused coffee. Read more.

    Willie Nelson On World Cafe

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  • Amanda Palmer's Songs Ring Out With Urgency And Compassion, Fury And Love

    Amanda Palmer inside the World Cafe Performance Studio. Gabriela Barbieri/WXPN hide caption

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    Gabriela Barbieri/WXPN

    Amanda Palmer inside the World Cafe Performance Studio.

    Gabriela Barbieri/WXPN

    Amanda Palmer has made a living out of delivering emotionally sobering strikes. From her early street performing days dressed as an 8-foot bride handing flowers and intense eye contact to passers-by through her current album cover, where she stands completely full frontal naked wielding a sword overhead, Palmer has always demanded we see her and feel something. You don't get to call yourself "Amanda F****** Palmer" for nothing. But Palmer's latest album, There Will Be No Intermission, may be her sharpest blow yet. Read more.

    Amanda Palmer On World Cafe

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  • Carlos Santana Brings Hope, Courage And Joy To A World 'Infected With Fear'

    Carlos Santana Maryanne Bilham/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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    Maryanne Bilham/Courtesy of the artist

    Carlos Santana

    Maryanne Bilham/Courtesy of the artist

    Carlos Santana is arguably one of the most influential guitarists of the last 50 years — from his groundbreaking performance at Woodstock to his millions of albums sold in the '70s to his revival in the late '90s thanks to the album Supernatural and its lead single "Smooth." Santana's latest album is called Africa Speaks, which just came out on June 7. It's produced by Rick Rubin and features the vocals of Spanish singer Buika. He recorded 49 songs in 10 days for the album. Talk about your creative inspiration. Read more.

    Carlos Santana On World Cafe

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  • The Many Characters Of Cage The Elephant's 'Social Cues'

    Cage the Elephant's Matt Shultz inside the World Cafe Performance Studio Gabriela Barbieri/WXPN hide caption

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    Gabriela Barbieri/WXPN

    Cage the Elephant's Matt Shultz inside the World Cafe Performance Studio

    Gabriela Barbieri/WXPN

    Eleven years ago, after a Metallica show, a gentleman named Warren told me "We have this band you have to hear." I jump into his car, he pops the CD in the player, and this blares out: "Oh, there ain't no rest for the wicked / Money don't grow on trees / I got bills to pay, I got mouths to feed / There ain't nothing in this world for free."

    "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" was the first of many successes for Bowling Green, Kentucky's Cage the Elephant. Over the course of five albums, the band has become one of the biggest in rock, not to mention an absolute cannot miss live show. Read more.

    Cage the Elephant On World Cafe

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  • J.S. Ondara's Sound Is Extraordinary And His Story Is Even Better

    J.S. Ondara performs inside the World Cafe Performance Studio Galea McGregor/WXPN hide caption

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    J.S. Ondara performs inside the World Cafe Performance Studio

    Galea McGregor/WXPN

    His name is J.S. Ondara and his sound alone is extraordinary. When he came into the World Cafe Performance Studio, pretty much the whole staff gathered to witness his performance and was mesmerized behind the glass.

    Ondara was born in Nairobi, Kenya where he was madly in love with the American and British rock music he'd hear on the radio. But his family couldn't afford a guitar. He had big dreams to become a musician in the U.S., so about five years ago, he moved to Minneapolis... in the middle of winter. At the time, he didn't even play an instrument. Now, he has a debut full length album called Tales Of America. Read more.

    J.S. Ondara On World Cafe

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  • Jenny Lewis Finds A 'Beautiful, Funky Way To Grieve'

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    Autumn de Wilde/Courtesy of the artist

    Jenny Lewis

    Autumn de Wilde/Courtesy of the artist

    Jenny Lewis' new album On the Line is an amazing feat of songwriting. She paints vivid and memorable pictures, from guardian angels with stethoscopes to a narcoleptic poet, Paxil to poppies. The rewards grow bigger with every listen, and a detail that made you laugh the first time might make you tearful the next. Her hooks are surprising and unforgettable, her vocals are warm and it's all absolutely epic without being overdone. Read more.

    Jenny Lewis On World Cafe

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