Blues

The first time I heard Rodrigo y Gabriela, the pair was covering Metallica's "Orion." It's a beautiful composition, but what I couldn't wrap my head around was that this dense, majestic instrumental was being played by only two acoustic guitars.

America, The Playlist

Jul 3, 2019

Happy July Fourth from all of us here at World Cafe! In honor of the holiday, we pulled together an all American-made Independence Day playlist. It includes a handful of literal July Fourth classics by Bruce Springsteen, Aimee Mann, X, James Taylor, and Galaxie 500.

Meeting Ben Dickey is like running into an old friend you haven't seen in a while, but you're thrilled to see them. He was a joy to speak with the roots singer-songwriter while visiting the World Cafe Studio to play songs from his sophomore solo record, A Glimmer On The Outskirts — not just about the album, but also about his potential star-making turn as Blaze Foley in the Ethan Hawke-directed biopic Blaze.

When Warner Bros. heard George Benson's take on "This Masquerade," they didn't realize he was the vocalist. It's one of the many amazing tales Benson shares with us on World Cafe.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify and Apple playlists at the bottom of the page.

On her wonderful new album The Question, Anna Tivel zooms in on the kinds of people who don't usually get the red carpet treatment and makes them the stars of her songs. From the janitor sweeping up garbage at the theater late at night to a mother experiencing homelessness, Tivel's characters are so vivid and nuanced that each song could sustain its own feature film.

Don't see the video above? Click here.

Gary Clark Jr. had good reason to sweat. The blues-rock singer and guitarist opted to play his first-ever Tiny Desk concert — in front of a huge crowd that warmed the room considerably — while clad in a thick knit cap and heavy jacket. Plus, he'd brought his young son on tour with him and had to contend with a traditional parenting dilemma: How do you bring your kid to the office and still get work done?

When blues legend Buddy Guy calls you the real deal, that's no small compliment. Recently, Guy bestowed that honor on Mary Lane. After years of flying under the national radar, Lane has released a new album and is getting a well-deserved burst of recognition.

No ticket required! Nashville's WMOT Roots Radio is once again headed to Austin for SXSW 2019, presenting you with five straight days of live music.

To celebrate the release of his third studio album, Gary Clark Jr. performed music from This Land live on KCRW. A lot has changed in Gary's personal life and political outlook since his last album in 2015 — including marriage, two kids and two presidents — all of which has clearly informed this latest release and makes it his most intimate to date.

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