This Week on Conversations from the World Cafe
Enjoy engaging discussions with some of today's most important artists hosted by David Dye of the World Cafe.
Listen to a continuous stream of the three most recent
Conversations From the World Cafe (program description below).
Tune in every Wednesday at 10pm on WXPN 88.5FM, or XPN.org/listen.
April 4, 2012 - James Mercer
James Mercer of The Shins joins host David Dye in the studio. James Mercer started The Shins in New Mexico, but like many other musicians he felt a calling to relocate to Portland, Oregon. The band’s first album, Oh, Inverted World, was released on Sub Pop in 2001 and they received a huge boost from the 2004 film Garden State, which featured their music. The Shins have just put out a new disc, Port Of Morrow, five years after their album. James Mercer talks about it and looks back on their earlier work, including their Garden State experience.
Plus, Colin Meloy of The Decemberists and producer Tucker Martine. Both give their take on the music scene in Portland with interviews recorded as a part of our new Sense of Place series.
March 28, 2012 - Nick LoweThis week Nick Lowe joins host David Dye in the studio in our encore performance from on last November. Lowe began his music career in the mid-60s with his friend, Brinsley Schwarz, who later became the namesake for their band. During that time he wrote “(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding," which Elvis Costello later had a hit with in 1979 and “Cruel To Be Kind” which Lowe had a solo hit with (also in 1979). Besides his talents as a songwriter and musician, Lowe is also a gifted producer. In the 70s he was in-house producer for the punk label, Stiff, and there he helped craft classic discs for The Damned, Elvis Costello, and Wreckless Eric. Recently he released a new album The Old Magic. He shares some songs from it, as well as some stories from his earlier days, in particular how he met a young up and coming Elvis Costello and came to produce his first five records. Plus, St Vincent. Multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Annie Clark recently put out her third disc, Strange Mercy - she discusses why she decided to isolate herself during the songwriting process and compares the album to the previous two St Vincent discs, 2007’s Marry Me and 2009’s Actor.
March 21, 2012 - Grace WoodroofeGrace Woodroofe joins host David Dye in the studio. Australian singer Grace Woodroofe recently released her debut Always Want. How she got there is an unusual story. After creating a demo for a radio competition at home in Perth, the young musician was discovered by actor Heath Ledger, who feel in love with what he heard. Ledger flew Woodroofe to Los Angeles, where he introduced her to Ben Harper, who would become her producer, and the Relentless7, Harper’s backing band, who would record with her. Woodroofe discusses what it was like to be signed by Ledger, and how she was affected by his death, including the song she wrote for him. And Girls- the San Francisco-based band received rave reviews for their 2009 debut and a lot of press about songwriter Christopher Owens upbringing in the Children of God cult. Girls return with their second full length called Father, Son, Holy Ghost.
March 14, 2012 - Betty WrightBetty Wright joins host David Dye in the studio. Betty Wright had a Top 40 hit in 1968 with “Girls Can’t Do What the Guys Do”, one of the songs off her debut My First Time Around. In the 70s she continued to have a strong showing on the charts, particularly with the release of her signature song “Clean Up Woman”. While she has taken on many different roles in the music business in the last few decades, with her new disc Betty Wright: The Movie, she returns to center stage as an artist. She talks about making the new album with The Roots and reflects on some of her many career highlights. And Kathyrn Calder. The New Pornographers singer discusses her solo work: both the album that she made while her mother battled terminal illness and her new disc Bright and Vivid. Plus, the Swell Season’s Marketa Irglova on Anar, her first album without her former romantic and creative partner Glen Hansard.
March 7, 2012 - Nils LofgrenNils Lofgren joins host David Dye in the studio. Very early on in his career the musical talents of Nils Lofgren were nurtured by fellow rocker Neil Young. Lofgren was just becoming known for his high school band Grin when he befriended Young, leading Young to ask the up and coming musician to play with him and Crazy Horse in the studio. After years of working with Young and Crazy Horse, and crafting his own songs with Grin, Nils went solo. Then in 1984, Bruce Springsteen asked Lofgren to join the E Street Band just as the group was setting out on the legendary Born in the USA tour. Lofgren continues to play alongside Springsteen, and he joins us to talk about it, and his earlier experiences with Young. In addition he shares his latest release Old School, his first album of original material in 6 years. Nils Lofgren and his many adventures in the music business are the focus, this week on Conversations from the World Cafe!
February 29 - Kathleen EdwardsWith her 2003 debut Failer and the two albums that followed, Kathleen Edwards embraced an alt country sound. Recently the Canadian songwriter put out Voyageur, a record that sees her moving to a mainstream rock aesthetic. But that is not the only change that you will find with the new disc. It also marks her first since her divorce from collaborator Colin Cripps. She has forged a new romantic and musical partnership with Best New Artist Grammy winner Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. She’ll talk about all the changes of the last few years and how they have come out in her music. Plus, the Alabama Shakes. The up and coming band has created quite the buzz despite their debut Boys & Girls not being set for release until April. Lead singer Brittany Howard has a voice that cannot be ignored. Hear what they have to say about their brief but already meteoric career.
February 22 - Snow PatrolSnow Patrol join host David Dye in the studio. In 2006, after 4 albums together, Snow Patrol had a worldwide hit with their song “Chasing Cars.” And the band’s new disc, Fallen Empires, proves that lead singer Gary Lightbody has lost none of his songwriting charm. But the stellar record was not easy to come by - Lightbody battled writer’s block during the creation of the new album. He talks about it, and how he overcame the problem.
Plus, the French duo Air. Their debut was 1998’s Moon Safari and for their latest they return to outer space, writing an album to Georges Méliès groundbreaking 1902 film, Le Voyage Dans La Lune. They’ll share what it was like to collaborate on the iconic masterpiece.
February 15 - Tori AmosTori Amos gives us a great performance in the World Cafe studio this week. Starting with her stark 1992 debut Little Earthquakes, the scarlet haired singer has continually enraptured audiences with her piano prowess and emotive lyrics. With each of her subsequent albums her fan base grew, as did her penchant for musical experimentation. For her latest disc Night of Hunters, Amos has taken on her greatest creative challenge yet: drawing from the work of famed classical composers like Schubert, Chopin, and Bach, she has crafted a 21st century song cycle. Tori joins the Cafe's Michaela Majoun to delve into the story behind the new record and to share how her husband and daughter both played an integral role in its creation.
Plus Ani DiFranco. The folkie feminist icon recently released her first new disc in 4 years, Which Side Are You On? She discusses how the album evolved in the time she took to make it, and how changes in her personal life have affected her music career and plays live.
February 8 - The Grammy AwardsDavid Dye is joined by a few prominent Grammy nominees. The 54th annual Grammy Awards will air on Sunday February 12. Among the prominent contenders are Adele and fellow Londoners Mumford & Sons. They are competing against each other in the top categories of Record of the Year and Song of Year- Adele for “Rolling in the Deep” and Mumford & Sons for “The Cave.” Among her many nominations Adele is also up for Album of the Year for her 2nd album 21; her debut 19 earned her two Grammy Awards in 2008. She’ll sing her Grammy nominated song, and talk about what went into her highly successful sophomore disc. For Mumford & Sons, we’ll go back to a 2009 interview, recorded a few months for the band released their debut in the US; hear what Marcus Mumford and company had to say about the creation of their unique sound. Plus, perennial favorite Coldplay, who have three chances to take home a golden gramophone statue; they will reflect on their 5 albums and decade together and play their nominated single “Paradise.”
February 1 - Bon Iver (original air date 9/16/11)Bon Iver joins host David Dye at the Rare Book Room studio in Brooklyn. Wisconsin native Justin Vernon recently released his second album as Bon Iver. His first, For Emma, Forever Ago, was recorded in a remote cabin in his home state and was widely lauded by critics, and soon Vernon found himself an indie rock superstar. For his second disc he returned to Wisconsin to record - he talks about making the self titled album and shares how the small town he grew up in has influenced his music. He is up for three major Grammy Awards on February 12th: Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Song of the Year, plus he is also being considered for Best Alternative Music Album. And, newcomer Anna Calvi. She was nominated for the coveted Mercury Prize this year with her self-titled debut and shares how she conjures her intense performances. Finally, Joseph Arthur. The accomplished visual artist and musician looks at his beginnings, back when he dreamed of becoming a bass virtuoso, and shares stories from his latest disc, The Graduation Ceremony.
January 25 - The Black KeysThe Black Keys join host David Dye. The duo put out their debut in 2002 but their career really took off as the decade came to a close. 2010’s Brothers earned Grammy kudos including Best Alternative Music Album, appeared on multiple year-end Best of lists, and brought the band to the center of music fans collective consciousness. Recently they released the highly anticipated follow up to that disc, El Camino. Guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney share what it was like to experience their sudden fame explosion, and discuss what they really think about while performing live. And Gary Numan. The New Wave pioneer had a hit in 1980 with “Cars”; his use of synths and dark image paved the way for musicians like Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. He talks about bucking trends back in 1979, and what he thinks of the music business today.
January 18 - Lisa HanniganLisa Hannigan settles into the studio. In 2003 music fans received a haunting introduction to Lisa Hannigan’s voice, thanks to her work with compatriot Damien Rice. His blockbuster debut O would not have been the same without her. She parted ways with Rice after his 2006 album 9, but has more than impressed listeners since striking out on her own. Hannigan’s 2009 solo debut Sea Sew was shortlisted for the highly sought after Mercury Prize and her latest album Passenger has just been announced as a candidate for her homeland’s Choice Music Prize. The Cafe’s Michaela Majoun joins the Dublin native to discuss the creation of the new disc, including the time she spent in New York City while writing the album. Plus Paul Brady. The elder statesman of Irish singer songwriters talks about his latest record Hooba Dooba and the many songs that other artists, including Bonnie Raitt, have borrowed from his catalogue as well as his childhood growing up on the border of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
January 11 - Paul SimonIn the mid 60s Paul Simon rose to prominence for his mellifluous harmonizing with partner Art Garfunkel, creating hits like "The Sound of Silence." In 1970 the duo parted ways, and Simon went on to a highly successful solo career. One his most well known albums, Graceland, just celebrated the 25th anniversary of its release; that record is known for the way in which Simon incorporated the music of South Africa into his sound. The disc became a political statement in the face of Apartheid and was a fore-runner of Western artists reaching out to musicians from other places around the globe. Simon’s most recent disc is called So Beautiful or So What and it has proven to be one of his most successful in the last two decades - highly praised by music critics, the new album debuted at number four on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart. Simon joins us to talk about both those records, and to reflect on how he sees songwriting now at 70. And Ben Folds. He recently released a retrospective box set called The Best Imitation of Myself. The famed pianist talks about returning to the material he wrote in the 90s with the Ben Folds Five and why he hadn’t wanted to embrace that part of his catalogue earlier in his solo career. Plus he also shares some insights into a cappella from his perspective as a judge on the NBC TV show The Sing-Off.
January 4 - Tony BennettFrank Sinatra named Tony Bennett his favorite singer early on in the crooner’s career, and generations of musicians have come to agree. In the 50s he had a series of hits on his own and worked with Count Basie, indulging his love of jazz. In 1962 Bennett released what would become his signature song "I Left My Heart in San Francisco". Today Bennett lives in New York, painting as well as continuing to perform. He recently released Duets II, an album that follows the very successful 2006 Duets record where he sang with Paul McCartney, Sting, and KD Lang among others. The new disc sees a return to KD Lang, as well as newer stars like Lady Gaga and the late Amy Winehouse. Bennett talks about recording with Winehouse before her death and how her passing affected him, and he looks back on his own younger years and the start of his career. Plus, Bruce Warren, author of the music site Some Velvet Blog and the Executive Producer of the World Cafe. He looks into 2012 to highlight a few of his favorite soon-to-be-released discs.
December 28 - Aimee MannAimee Mann joins host David Dye in the studio to celebrate the holidays. Aimee Mann's skills as a songwriter have earned her many fans over the years; first as a member of 'Til Tuesday in the 80s ("Voices Carry"), in her solo work (with her first modest hit- "That's Just What You Are" in 1994), and in her career break through with the music she wrote for the 1999 film Magnolia (the song "Save Me" was nominated for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and a Grammy). Almost 15 years into her solo career, Mann released One More Drifter in the Snow in 2006- a collection of seasonal covers. She joins us to talk about the album, what it was like to take a break from writing, and share some of her holiday memories. And, the master of bad taste, John Waters. The filmmaker who brought us Hairspray and Pecker talks about his 2004 compilation of not-so-traditional Christmas songs.
December 21 - Jeff Bridges (original air date 9/24/2011)Jeff Bridges, the highly respected and revered performer won a Best Actor Oscar last year for his portrayal of the alcoholic singer songwriter Bad Blake in the film Crazy Heart. But many fans still associate him with “The Dude”, the lead in the Coen brothers’ 1998 movie The Big Lebowski. A multi-talented man, Bridges released his debut album Be Here Soon in 2000 and has finally put out the self-titled follow-up. Bridges talks about working with producer T Bone Burnett on the new disc; long time friends, Burnett had also lent his talents to music for both The Big Lebowski and Crazy Heart. Plus, an interview with Burnett on one of his other career-defining projects, the Coen brothers’ O Brother, Where Art Thou?; recently a 10th anniversary edition of the soundtrack was released. The highly success project reignited interest in what had become a niche genre- folk and Americana music of the 1930s. Hear Burnett’s reflections on the phenomena a decade on.
Plus, another actor turned musician, Tim Robbins. The outspoken liberal decided to take the stories he wants to tell from film to music; he shares why he decided to release his debut with the Rogues Gallery Band now.
December 14 - The Zombies60s sensation The Zombies join host David Dye in the studio. The British band was only together from 1962 to 1967, but their influence has lasted decades beyond that. Hits like 1964’s “She’s Not There” and 1965’s “Tell Her No”, made them musical leaders, thanks to the combination of Colin Blunstone’s unique voice, and the writing of classically-influenced pianist Rod Argent and guitarist Chris White. The group split as the finishing touches were being put on their masterpiece album, Odessey and Oracle, seemingly convinced that their popularity was on a downward slide; it was a surprise then when in 1969 they had their highest US charting single, “Time of the Season”, from that last record together. Over the last few years the band has begun playing together again and recently they created a new disc, Breathe Out, Breathe In. The Zombies join us to talk about the new record and look back on their hits (and play them) as they share stories from the exciting early days of their career.
Plus, Mayer Hawthorne. He had never really been a singer before his first album, A Strange Arrangement. But the multi-instrumentalist so impressed the Stones Throw Record label head Peanut Butter Wolf that Wolf signed Hawthorne after only hearing two songs. With his second disc, How Do You Do, Hawthorne has moved on to a major label, and a slightly updated sound. But don’t worry- you can still hear the great 60s and 70s R&B influences that made his 2009 disc so popular.
December 7 - Mick JaggerThis week on Conversations from the World Cafe, it’s Mick Jagger – talking about both the past and present of his enviable career. First, the past: recently the Rolling Stones reissued the 1978 album Some Girls with 12 new tracks. Some Girls was a watershed moment for the band. It was their first disc with guitarist Ronnie Wood as a full member of the group rather than a visiting player. The record was driven by the Stones reaction to the music that surround them in the late 70s- punk and disco. And the album was not without controversy, thanks to the title track. Mick Jagger will discuss it all with host David Dye, and the Cafe’s Michaela Majoun will get guitarist Keith Richards’ perspective on that time period as well. And, for the new Mick Jagger project, it’s the incredibly diverse and incredibly talented supergroup Superheavy. The band has an all star line up- Jagger shares vocal duty with Joss Stone and Damien Marley, and they are joined by Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics and composer A.R. Rahman, who did the score for the award winning film Slumdog Millionaire. We’ll hear from both Jagger and Stewart on producing the group’s eclectic debut.
November 30 - Joe HenryJoe Henry joins host David Dye in the studio this week. Joe Henry released his first album over two decades ago, and since that time has created 12 engaging discs; the latest is called Reverie. Over the years he has balanced his own creative output with a hectic career as a producer. His 2002 Grammy winning album Don’t Give Up on Me with Solomon Burke revived the veteran soul singer’s career, and he has also helped legendary folkie Ramblin Jack Elliot and relative newcomers the Carolina Chocolate Drops win Grammys as well. This year, Lisa Hannigan, Allen Toussaint, and House actor Hugh Laurie have all put out stellar Joe Henry-helmed projects. Henry shares what he has learned helping others create and what inspires his own musical output.
Plus, Preston Lauterbach, author of The Chitlin Circuit And The Road To Rock N' Roll. He gives the fascinating history behind the Chitlin’ Circuit - from the club owners and con men to the music and a mysterious murder, all of it led up to early rock and roll.
November 23 - Ryan AdamsRyan Adams was at the forefront of the alt-country movement in 90s with his then-band Whiskeytown. In 2000 he launched his solo career with Heartbreaker, an album he created with the help of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. And through the rest of the decade he put out records at a blistering speed, often joined by his more recent group, The Cardinals. His latest disc, Ashes & Fire, comes after a several year recording hiatus- Adams discusses why he took a break from the studio and why he decided to return.
Plus, one of the most influential indie rock stars of the 90s, Stephen Malkmus. He talks about reuniting with Pavement and his latest album with The Jicks, Mirror Traffic. That and more, this week on Conversations from the World Cafe!
November 16 - Peter GabrielPeter Gabriel joins host David Dye in the studio this week. Peter Gabriel has carved a noteworthy path with his many musical ventures over the last four decades. First as the lead singer in Genesis, and later in his solo work, crafting hits like “Sledgehammer” and “Big Time”, he made a name for himself as an inventive performer. Equally ambitious with video as he was making music, Gabriel pushed the limits of technology with his art. He has also embraced music from around the world with his Real World record label and recording studio. After turning to orchestral arrangements to cover some of his favorite songs on last year’s Scratch My Back, he has re-imagined his own past work on his latest disc New Blood. Today Peter Gabriel talks about the new project and looks back on his ground breaking career.
Plus, Beirut. Leader Zach Condon discusses the new album The Rip Tide and shares how working in a movie theater first inspired him to make music. That and more, this week on Conversations from the World Cafe!
November 9 - Nick LoweNick Lowe joins host David Dye in the studio. Lowe began his music career in the mid-60s with his friend, Brinsley Schwarz, who later became the namesake for their band. During that time he wrote “(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding," which Elvis Costello later had a hit with in 1979 and “Cruel To Be Kind” which Lowe had a solo hit with (also in 1979). Besides his talents as a songwriter and musician, Lowe is also a gifted producer. In the 70s he was in-house producer for the punk label, Stiff, and there he helped craft classic discs for The Damned, Elvis Costello, and Wreckless Eric. Recently he released a new album The Old Magic. He shares some songs from it, as well as some stories from his earlier days, in particular how he met a young up and coming Elvis Costello and came to produce his first five records.
Plus, St Vincent. Multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Annie Clark just put out her third disc, Strange Mercy - she discusses why she decided to isolate herself during the songwriting process and compares the album to the previous two St Vincent discs, 2007’s Marry Me and 2009’s Actor.
November 2 - ColdplayDavid Dye wraps up the Cafe’s 20th anniversary celebration with Coldplay. Coldplay have won 7 Grammys, 6 Brit Awards (including Best British Group three times), and sold over 50 million records since Parachutes, their debut in 2000. To begin the hour, we have a brand new interview with lead singer Chris Martin and the band about their just-released disc ylo Xyloto. The foursome discuss what went into making the new record (including what it was like to work with producer Brian Eno for the second time) and how they came up with the album’s very unusual name. We’ll also revisit the group’s 2008 and 2001 visits to the Cafe - Chris shares how criticism of the band has affected him as a songwriter and discusses some of the quartet’s biggest moments, like writing their first hit “Yellow” and deciding to do the iTunes commercial with "Viva la Vida.” Don’t miss all that on a very special edition of Conversations from the World Cafe!
October 26 - Folk Music in the UKThis week on Conversations from the World Cafe, the Cafe’s 20th anniversary celebration continues as David Dye delves into the past and present of folk music in the UK. While we have been spending some time in the archives recently, and we will do that again today, we also have a brand new interview with Laura Marling. Marling is one of the young artists at the forefront of the new British folk movement. At only 21 years old, she won the Best British Female Solo Artist at this year's BRIT awards and she has already been nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize twice in the past. Recently she released her third album, A Creature I Don’t Know; she discusses her musical growth over the past four years. Plus, we listen back to clips from the Brits involved with the last folk movement of the 60s and early 70s: our 2010 interview with founding member of Pentangle Bert Jansch (who passed away October 5th); Richard Thompson on the early days of Fairport Convention; the man they called the “English Bob Dylan”, Donovan, on his alleged rivalry with Bob; the late John Martyn in his 1994 interview with the Cafe’s Michaela Majoun as they discuss his revered song “May You Never”. That’s all this week on a very special edition of Conversations from the World Cafe!
October 19, 2011 - The BeatlesThis week on Conversations from the World Cafe, the Cafe’s 20th anniversary celebration continues as David Dye is joined by (most of) The Beatles - interviews from Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Martin, and Pete Best. First, we’ll revisit an interview with George Martin, producer of The Beatles between 1962 and ‘69, who talks about his early impressions of the band. Next, Paul McCartney shares his fondest memories of working on Sgt. Pepper's and how he first began writing music. Wrapping up, we’ll turn to The Beatles’ original drummer, Pete Best, and Ringo Starr, who discusses life before and after The Beatles.
October 12, 2011 - Rosanne CashHost David Dye looks back on the best of our interviews with Rosanne Cash. The daughter of country star Johnny Cash, Rosanne was never eager to let his reputation carry her music career. But his influence was hard to miss. Roseanne’s 2006 disc Black Cadillac was recorded after the passing of her father, her step-mom June Carter Cash, and her mother, Johnny Cash’s first wife, Vivian Liberto. All three died within two years of one another. And the resulting sorting through of emotions can be heard in every song on Black Cadillac. That disc and Johnny also led Rosanne to the 2009 album The List. For that record Rosanne picked 12 from a list of 100 essential country songs Johnny had given her as teen just as she was starting out in the music business. Hear interviews and music from both those deeply personal albums this week on a very special edition of Conversations from the World Cafe!
October 5, 2011 - 90s Singer Songwriters
This week on Conversations from the World Cafe, we begin our month long celebration of the Cafe’s 20th anniversary. Host David Dye takes us on a journey through the 90s singer songwriter movement with the artists that were at the center of the World Cafe when the program started. This genre of intelligent literary rock was not well served by radio in the earliest days of the Cafe. But audiences were eager to hear this music, and in the 90s it really took off. We hear from Suzanne Vega, who is seen by many as the quintessential example of this moment in music- she stopped by the studio in 1993 after her biggest hit. And we revisit our first interview with Aimee Mann around the same time when she had just put out her solo debut; we also get a second glimpse of her from when she returned to the Cafe at the end of the decade after her much lauded contributions to the film Magnolia. Plus stars Sting and Sheryl Crow, and the very first interview we ever aired, featuring Bruce Cockburn.
September 28, 2011 - Jeff Bridges
Jeff Bridges joins host David Dye in the studio this week. The highly respected and revered performer won a Best Actor Oscar last year for his portrayal of the alcoholic singer songwriter Bad Blake in the film Crazy Heart. But many fans still associate him with “The Dude,” the lead in the Coen brothers’ 1998 movie The Big Lebowski. A multi-talented man, Bridges released his debut album Be Here Soon in 2000 and has finally put out the self-titled follow-up. Bridges talks about working with producer T Bone Burnett on the new disc; long time friends, Burnett had also lent his talents to music for both The Big Lebowski and Crazy Heart. Plus, an interview with Burnett on one of his other career-defining projects, the Coen brothers’ O Brother, Where Art Thou?; recently a 10th anniversary edition of the soundtrack was released. The highly success project reignited interest in what had become a niche genre - folk and Americana music of the 1930s. Hear Burnett’s reflections on the phenomena a decade on.
Plus, another actor turned musician, Tim Robbins. The outspoken liberal decided to take the stories he wants to tell from film to music; he shares why he decided to release his debut with the Rogues Gallery Band now.
September 21, 2011 - Bon Iver
This week on Conversations from the World Cafe,Bon Iver joins host David Dye at the Rare Book Room studio in Brooklyn. Wisconsin native Justin Vernon recently released his second album as Bon Iver. His first, For Emma, Forever Ago, was recorded in a remote cabin in his home state after the breakup of his previous, not as well known band, DeYarmond Edison. The Bon Iver debut was widely lauded by critics, and soon Vernon found himself an indie rock superstar. For his second disc he returned to Wisconsin to record - he talks about making the self titled album and shares how the small town he grew up in has influenced his music.
Plus, newcomer Anna Calvi. She was nominated for the coveted Mercury Prize this year with her self-titled debut; she shares how she conjures her intense performances. And, Joseph Arthur. The accomplished visual artist and musician looks at his beginnings, back when he dreamed of becoming a bass virtuoso, and shares stories from his latest disc, The Graduation Ceremony. That’s this week on Conversations from the World Cafe!
September 14, 2011 - Roger Waters and David Gilmour of Pink Floyd
This week on Conversations from the World Cafe, it’s Roger Waters and David Gilmour of Pink Floyd! As a founding member of Pink Floyd, Roger Waters was creative leader of the band from the late 60s until the early 80s; the talented bassist wrote much of The Wall with some help from guitarist David Gilmour. Pink Floyd broke up in the early 80s due to increasing tensions between Waters and Gilmour, but Gilmour re-formed Pink Floyd a few years later without Waters. This led to a longtime feud between the pair. They only made peace in 2005 when they came together for London’s Live 8 benefit concert. Roger Waters recently decided to revisit The Wall - since the Fall of 2010 he has been playing album’s music in its entirety live with an incredibly expensive stage show. He sits down with the Cafe’s Michaela Majoun to talk about it and share some stories behind Pink Floyd’s classic 1979 album. Plus, David Gilmour from an interview that first aired in 2006, shortly after the release of his first solo album in over a decade, On an Island. He shares his perspective on the early days of the band. That’s this week on Conversations from the World Cafe!
September 7, 2011 - Kate Bush
A detailed, literary songwriter with a remarkable voice, Kate Bush released her debut in 1978 when she was only 19 year old. “Wuthering Heights,” the single from that first album, kept her at the top of the British charts for weeks. And from there her fame only grew, both at home in the UK and here in the US. Her 1989 album The Sensual World was especially popular here, and 1993’s The Red Shoes debuted in the Top 30, the first time one of her albums had ever charted that high in the US. For her latest album, Director’s Cut, she goes back to those two beloved discs to re-imagine a selection of the songs. She joins us for a very rare interview to discuss it.
And Johnny Clegg. He’s been called “The White Zulu” for crossing the race divide during Apartheid with his music. His first band Juluka was a collaboration with Zulu musician Sipho Mchunu; they released their debut album in 1979, breaking down barriers and creating much controversy at home in South Africa. After that group broke up in 1985, Clegg went on to create another multi-racial band, called Savuka, which was even more commercially successful. Clegg also helped inspire Paul Simon on his famed Graceland album. Hear what Clegg has to say looking back on his role as a cultural ambassador.
August 31, 2011 - k.d. langk.d. lang released her first album over twenty-five years ago, and since that time has mastered several genres and won numerous awards both here and at home in her native Canada. Her song “Constant Craving” from 1992’s Ingénue was a big hit, making the record one of her best selling and most famous, and pushing lang into stardom. The extremely talented vocalist recently released a new disc called Sing It Loud with a new band the Siss Boom Bang. She joins us to talk about it and share what blocked her from writing more new material over the last decade.
And, Those Darlins’. The country-punk foursome from Tennessee discuss their second album Screws Get Loose, and look at how the Southern Girls Rock and Roll Camp helped bring them together and what they try to pass on to the kids they teach there.
August 24, 2011 - My Morning JacketMy Morning Jacket caught the attention of music lovers with their 2003 major label debut It Still Moves, and since that time the popularity of the Louisville, Kentucky, band has only grown. Each successive album has had greater chart success, and their latest, Circuital went to number 5 in its first week of sales. For that disc the band returned to their hometown to record in a church gym. Leader Jim James shares what that was like and talks about how the band has tried to navigate the tricky music business environment.
And, Okkervil River. The Austin, Texas, group recently released their 6th album, I Am Very Far. Unlike previous discs, the record is not built around one unifying concept - singer Will Sheff explains what made the songwriting different this time around.
August 17, 2011 - Doobie BrothersThe Doobie Brothers had a string of hits in the albums that followed their 1971 debut, songs like “Listen to the Music,” “Long Train Runnin,” “Black Water,” “Sweet Feelin’,” and “Real Love”. Thanks to stellar vocal harmonies and catchy riffs, the group continued to gain fame through an ever changing line up; even after breaking up and later reforming in the 80s, their popularity remained high. A decade after their last studio album, the late 70s incarnation of the band has released World Gone Crazy. They join us to look back on their first #1 song and share the story behind the tune they co-wrote with a fan for the new disc.
Plus, Dennis Coffey. The Detroit native shaped the sound of Motown in the 70s with his innovative guitar contributions, in particular with the work he did on the Temptations hits “Ball of Confusion” and “Cloud Nine,” and through his instrumental smash “Scorpio.” He looks back on his career with the release of his first new solo CD in two decades. Hear that and more this week on Conversations from the World Cafe!
August 10, 2011 - Beady EyeThis week on Conversations from the World Cafe, Beady Eye join host David Dye in the studio. Beady Eye recently released their debut album, Different Gear Still Speeding, but you already know the band- all the members used to be in the English rock group Oasis. That band, formed in 1991, had a rocky road, with frequent fights between the brothers who led the group- guitarist and principal songwriter Noel and lead singer Liam. But despite the turbulence they also produced some great songs, hits like “Wonderwall” and “Don’t Look Back in Anger.” In 2009 Noel left Oasis suddenly, saying on the band’s website that he “simply could not go on working with Liam a day longer”- he is now set to release a new album in October. Liam has carried on without him, joined by former Oasis members Gem Archer, Andy Bell and Chris Sharrock, to form Beady Eye. The band shares some of their new songs, and talks about the end of Oasis and what it has been like as a new group.
Plus, Diego Garcia. While he made rather raucous indie rock with his band Elephant over the last decade, his solo debut Laura opts for more meditative acoustic pop. He discusses the inspiration for the new disc- a break up with his then-girlfriend Laura led to the songs and a period of personal growth, with the end result that Laura returned and the pair are now married. Tune in for those stories and more this week on Conversations from the World Cafe!
August 3, 2011 - Jason Isbell and the 400 UnitJason Isbell and the 400 Unit join host David Dye in the studio. Jason Isbell has always had a way with capturing the spirit of the South in his music. He first received praise as one of the songwriters and guitarists in the band Drive By Truckers; he has released 3 discs since leaving that group in 2007. Joined by his new band the 400 Unit, his latest is called Here We Rest. Isbell talks about the break from touring that led to the new material and what inspired him as he spent more time at home in Alabama.
Plus the Canadian band, Rural Alberta Advantage. With their 2009 debut the trio explored what it meant to be from the province of Alberta- lead singer Nils Eldenloff had found a deeper appreciation for his roots after moving to Toronto and those feelings translated into the songs. Their new album Departing picks up where the last record left off. The band discusses both discs and why the pull of Alberta became so strong only after leaving. That and more, this week on Conversations from the World Cafe!
July 27, 2011 - Jack WhiteDavid Dye spends some time with Jack White and the stars of two of his highest profile projects as producer, country legend Loretta Lynn and rockabilly pioneer Wanda Jackson. Jack White launched his music career with The White Stripes, playing guitar and singing alongside drummer Meg White. The duo released their self titled debut in 1999 and came to widespread attention in 2001 with their third album White Blood Cells - that disc earned them a major label contract. Their popularity continued to build throughout the 2000s, but in February this year the pair decided to call it quits after seven albums together. We’ll go back in our archives to 2003, for an interview with Jack White recorded shortly after the release of The White Stripes’ Elephant and shortly before the release of country star Loretta Lynn’s 2004 album with White, Van Lear Rose. That disc was declared some of Lynn’s best work in her forty year recording career and earned her the second and third Grammys Awards ever, including Best Country Album. We’ll hear Loretta Lynn talk about Van Lear Rose and working with White from an interview that first aired in 2004.
Plus, one of the first female rockers, Wanda Jackson, and her new White-produced album The Party Ain't Over. Jackson talks about being ahead of her time as touring female musician, working alongside Elvis, and of course, her new disc with White. Join us for a very exciting show this week on Conversations from the World Cafe!
July 20, 2011 - Robbie RobertsonRobbie Robertson joined fellow sidemen Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, and Richard Manuel in The Hawks in the late ‘50s. The group backed up rockabilly star Ronnie Hawkins until 1963, when they started working on their own. Their next gig was playing alongside the newly electric Bob Dylan on his now-legendary ‘65-‘66 world tour. Renaming themselves simply The Band, they released their debut Music from Big Pink in 1968 and another self-titled masterpiece the following year. The group broke up in 1976, after filming the Martin Scorsese concert movie The Last Waltz. Following the end of The Band, Robbie Robertson wrote music for films and began putting out solo albums. On Robertson’s latest disc, How to Become Clairvoyant, he reflects back on early memories from his career. We talk about both the new music and his legendary past, including whether he was, indeed, responsible for breaking up The Band.
Plus, from our archives, Band drummer and vocalist Levon Helm. He shares his perspective on the group’s time together, and talks about his 2007 Grammy Award winning disc Dirt Farmer. It was Helm’s first solo record since regaining his voice after a battle with throat cancer.
July 13, 2011 - James BlakeBritish dub step artist James Blake joins host David Dye in the studio. James Blake landed the #2 slot in a BBC poll of music critics and industry figures about who they saw as the most promising new talent this year. He put out his self titled debut at home in the UK in February, and recently a US release followed. Blake’s enchanting dub step cover of indie rocker Feist’s song “Limit to Your Love” has won over fans on both sides of the Atlantic. He’ll talk about and play that song, as well as impart some knowledge about dub step, a genre of electronic dance music that originated near his home in south London, and a style that he wholeheartedly embraces in his writing.
Plus, Foster the People. The LA-based band also recently put out their debut album. Leader Mark Foster shares songs from that disc, Torches; in particular, we hear the story behind the controversial hit single “Pumped Up Kicks” which is written from the perspective of a gun-toting school kid.
July 6, 2011 - Steve MillerSteve Miller took over rock radio in the 70s with hits like “The Joker” and “Fly Like an Eagle”. In fact, he was so successful with his album sales and touring, that he set himself up financially for decades to come. Until last summer Miller hadn’t put out a disc of new material in 17 years. Bingo! and the brand new Let Your Hair Down are the records that ended that period away from recording. They both take Miller back to his blues roots, and provide the perfect opportunity to delve into part of his past you may not know about. Miller’s guitar skills were encouraged by the great Les Paul and his love of the blues was fostered by the pioneering T Bone Walker, both family friends and direct influences in Miller’s childhood. Today he shares stories from his earliest days to his enormous 70s fame and on to his latest work. Plus Steve Miller plays some of his biggest hits live. Don’t miss this one!
June 29, 2011 - Buddy Miller and the Majestic Silver StringsBuddy Miller and the Majestic Silver Strings join host David Dye. Currently touring with Robert Plant’s Band of Joy, Buddy Miller released an equally exciting project, the Majestic Silver Strings album, when Plant and company took a break from the road in March. The new project includes an extremely talented line up of guitarists- Bill Frisell, who has made his mark with jazz, Marc Ribot, who has done amazing work with Tom Waits among others, and Greg Leisz, the pedal steel master who is a sought after sideman for everyone from Matthew Sweet and The Smashing Pumpkins to Ray Lamontagne and Joni Mitchell. The Majestic Silver Strings record features remarkable reinterpretations of country classics, and when the group join us on the show, each guitarist will share what first drew him to the instrument.
Plus, we hear live performances from the band's one and only concert together. And, Over the Rhine. The husband and wife duo Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist are celebrating 20 years together as a band. They discuss what has helped them survive in a tough industry environment and the unique way they financed their new disc, The Long Surrender.
June 22, 2011 - ?uestlove of The RootsPhiladelphia natives The Roots have long been respected in their hometown and among adventurous hip hop fans everywhere for their unique combo of rap and live instrumentation. But when the group became the house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in 2009 they broadened their fan base even further. The Roots have always been interested in pushing the limits of their primary genre, and for their latest project, the band definitely took things to the next level. Drummer and founding member ?uestlove talks about the new piece he wrote with indie singer Keren Ann for the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts. It draws its inspiration from classical music of the early 20th century.
Plus, another fascinating collaboration, American producer-musician Danger Mouse and Italian composer-arranger Daniele Luppi. The pair recently released Rome, an album that draws its inspiration from Italian film soundtracks of the 1960s and 70s. The duo discusses what drew them to work with one another, and how they ended up getting Jack White and Norah Jones to be the voices for the new disc. That and more this week on Conversations from the World Cafe!
June 15, 2011 - Steve EarleSteve Earle released his debut 25 years ago, and since that time he has built a reputation as a gifted songwriter, talented actor, and outspoken liberal activist. Recently he added novelist to that list when I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive was published in May. At the end of April, Earle also released a new album by the same name. He talks about juggling his busy creative life, including a role on HBO’s popular TV series Treme, with life at home with wife Allison Moorer and their first child together, 1 year old son John Henry. And Hayes Carll. He won over many new fans with his last album, 2008’s Trouble In Mind, and the song “She Left Me For Jesus.” His new disc is called KMAG YOYO. He’ll share stories from throughout his career, including how “She Left Me For Jesus” earned him an unlikely fan.
June 8, 2011 - Rodney CrowellRodney Crowell has been making music for four decades. He first made a name for himself playing guitar and writing songs for Emmylou Harris in the 70s; later that decade he released his debut album Ain’t Living Long Like This. Through the years his reputation has grown not only as a musician and songwriter, but also for his work as producer for artists like his ex wife, Rosanne Cash. But his newest project is in a totally different direction- he recently released a memoir of his childhood called Chinaberry Sidewalks. In the book he details what is was like for him growing up in the 50s and 60s in the tough working class neighborhood of East Houston. When he joins us he’ll share those stories, and some songs, as he’s traces the roots of his desire to make music.
Plus, Abigail Washburn. The Illinois native fell in love with China after a trip there in her late teens, and after discovering her affinity for old time banjo upon her return to the United States, she has been making music that brings together those disparate influences. For her third disc, City of Refuge, she is joined by a new collaborator who has an indie pop sensibility. She’ll talk about her travels and what made her want to change the sound of the new disc.
June 1, 2011 - Alison Krauss and Union StationAlison Krauss and Union Station join host David Dye in the studio. Singer Alison Krauss has won more Grammy Awards than any other female vocalist, 26 to be exact. With her last album, 2007’s Raising Sand, she added 6 to her collection, thanks to the powerful collaboration with singer Robert Plant and producer T Bone Burnett. For her new disc, she returns to working with her extremely talented band Union Station, whom she last joined forces with in 2004 for the triple Grammy winning Lonely Runs Both Ways. She shares what she learned from her work with Plant and discusses what draws her to the material she chooses to sing now.
Plus, two new duos - The Civil Wars and Tennis. Both make very intimate music, but only one is romantically involved. Hear each of their unusual origin stories (from how two solo musicians formed a partnership at a time they were least looking for it to the high seas adventures that made two former music major return to songwriting).
May 25, 2011 - Elton John and Leon RussellElton John and Leon Russell talk about their new album together, The Union on this episode of Conversations from the World Cafe. Elton John and Leon Russell first met 4 decades ago, as Elton John was playing his first concerts in the United States. Although Russell admired the budding star, John idolized the more established singer songwriter and session pianist who had already worked with Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones. Despite those credits, Russell’s famed contribution to Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs & Englishmen, and a few successful songs on his own, Elton John’s fame soon surpassed Leon Russell’s. Thanks to songs like “Bennie and the Jets”, “Philadelphia Freedom” and “Daniel”, Elton John became one of the biggest stars of the 70s and he continued to find success in the decades that followed. Now, with The Union, John has fulfilled his mission to bring some of the spotlight back to the musician he so admired. In an interview with the Cafe’s Michaela Majoun, the pair discuss what it was like to work together on the new disc and share the story of what drew them back together 38 years after they last spoke.
Plus we delve into our archives for an interview with T Bone Burnett. He produced The Union, but it’s just one of many discs he has helmed. In an interview from 2006, he’ll share his philosophy on creating albums and discuss how he gets the best from the artists he works with. That’s this week on Conversations from the World Cafe!
May 18, 2011- Bruce Cockburn
Bruce Cockburn, the politically outspoken songwriter is incredibly popular at home in Canada.Over his four decade long career he has put out 31 albums, won 13 Juno awards (the Canadian version of the Grammys), received the Order of Canada, and was inducted into both the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Broadcast Hall of Fame. Here in the United States he has maintained a smaller following despite hits like 1979’s “Wondering Where the Lions Are” and 1984’s “If I Had a Rocket Launcher.” Recently Bruce Cockburn released a new disc called Small Source of Comfort, his first new studio work in 5 years. He’ll talk about it, play “Rocket Launcher” live, and share how he came to be holding a rocket launcher in Afghanistan recently.
Plus, Susan Werner. She’ll discuss how a musical pilgrimage to the South inspired her new Rodney Crowell-produced album Kicking the Beehive. That’s this week on Conversations from the World Cafe!
May 11, 2011 - Iron & WineIron & Wine join host David Dye in the studio. Songwriter Sam Beam released his debut as Iron & Wine back in 2002. Nearly a decade later, he has recently put out his fourth disc on his own, Kiss Each Other Clean. Also a talented visual artist, he creates the cover for each Iron & Wine album. He’ll talk about how he brings together both the visual and the aural in his songs.
Plus, Ana Tijoux - the Latin rapper released an album in the United States for the first time last year - her second solo disc, 1977. The CD has been making quite an impression, widening her popularity in both the Latin music world and beyond, and earning her a Grammy nomination. She shares her fascinating personal history - she grew up in both France and Chile thanks to her French mother and Chilean father (who lived in France when a political exile during Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship)- and she discusses how that experience has influenced her music.
May 4, 2011 - Jack WhiteHost David Dye spends some time with Jack White and the stars of two of his highest profile projects as producer, country legend Loretta Lynn and rockabilly pioneer Wanda Jackson. Jack White launched his music career with The White Stripes, playing guitar and singing alongside drummer Meg White. The duo released their self titled debut in 1999 and came to widespread attention in 2001 with their third album White Blood Cells - that disc earned them a major label contract. Their popularity continued to build throughout the 2000s, but in February this year the pair decided to call it quits after seven albums together. We’ll go back in our archives to 2003, for an interview with Jack White recorded shortly after the release of The White Stripes’ Elephant and shortly before the release of country star Loretta Lynn’s 2004 album with White, Van Lear Rose. That disc was declared some of Lynn’s best work in her forty year recording career and earned her the second and third Grammys Awards ever, including Best Country Album. We’ll hear Loretta Lynn talk about Van Lear Rose. and working with White from an interview that first aired in 2004.
Plus, one of the first female rockers, Wanda Jackson, and her new White-produced album The Party Ain't Over. Jackson talks about being ahead of her time as touring female musician, working alongside Elvis, and of course, her new disc with White.
April 27 - Roger Waters and David Gilmour of Pink Floyd!As a founding member of Pink Floyd, Roger Waters was creative leader of the band from the late 60s until the early 80s; the talented bassist wrote much of The Wall with some help from guitarist David Gilmour. Pink Floyd broke up in the early 80s due to increasing tensions between Waters and Gilmour, but Gilmour re-formed Pink Floyd a few years later without Waters. This led to a longtime feud between the pair. They only made peace in 2005 when they came together for London’s Live 8 benefit concert. Roger Waters recently decided to revisit The Wall - since the Fall of 2010 he has been playing album’s music in its entirety live with an incredibly expensive stage show and recently he embarked on the European leg of the tour. He sits down with the Cafe’s Michaela Majoun to talk about it and share some stories behind Pink Floyd’s classic 1979 album.
Plus, David Gilmour from an interview that first aired in 2006, shortly after the release of his first solo album in over a decade, On an Island. He shares his perspective on the early days of the band.
April 20, 2011 - AdeleThe incredibly talented singer Adele joins host David Dye in the studio. In 2009, she won Grammy Awards for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, thanks to her debut album 19 and the single “Chasing Pavements”. Like her debut, her sophomore album, 21,was named after the age at which she wrote the material. It has proved even more popular than her first disc - 21 just returned to the top of the Billboard Charts and over a million copies of the record have been sold this year. The London-based vocalist sings songs from the new disc, including the single “Rolling in the Deep.” and discusses the relationship that inspired much of the material.
Plus, Eliza Doolittle. Only 3 weeks older than Adele and also from London, the singer is set to release her self-titled debut on April 19 in the United States. The album has already sold over 300 thousand copies at home in the UK. She’ll talk about how her parents have influenced her music.
April 13- Mumford and SonsMumford and Sons released their debut Sigh No More at home in the UK at the end of October 2009 and last February the four piece shared the record with American audiences. After spending over four months in the Top 40 of the Top 200 Albums chart, the album popped up on year end Best Of lists everywhere and the band was nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy. We’ll hear an interview with the group recorded before they even released their debut. And Laura Marling. She was discovered in 2007 when she was 17 years old thanks to her Myspace page. Twice she has been nominated for Britain’s most prestigious music award, the Mercury Prize- for her debut Alas I Cannot Swim and for her latest, her second album, I Speak Because I Can. She talks about the question she tries to avoid when discussing her sophomore disc. Don’t miss that and more from the new British folk scene, this week on Conversations from the World Cafe!
April 6, 2011 - Alexi Murdoch and Jake Shimabukuro on his UkuleleAlexi Murdoch joins host David Dye in the studio. The globetrotting Scottish singer songwriter was highly buzzed about in 2003 and 2004 after releasing his debut EP Four Songs. His song “Orange Sky” was widely licensed in TV and film, including Fox’s hit TV show The O.C. But Murdoch struggled with his full length debut, Time Without Consequence. The highly anticipated record was not released until 2006. Murdoch’s new disc Towards the Sun went far easier- he’ll join us to discuss it and his recent move to a remote coastal town in Scotland.
Plus, Jake Shimabukuro. He reflects on being one of the first videos to go viral after the start of YouTube with his ukulele cover of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Since then he has been invited to play with instrumental masters like cellist Yo-Yo Ma and banjo player Bela Fleck. Jake Shimabukuro’s latest disc is called Peace Love Ukulele. Join us this week on Conversations from the World Cafe!
March 30, 2011 - Badly Drawn Boy Dublin’s James Vincent McMorrowIn 2000 Badly Drawn Boy made quite the splash when he released his debut, The Hour of the Bewilderbeast. The album won the UK’s highly sought after Mercury Prize and drew the interest of writer Nick Hornby. Hornby then asked Badly Drawn Boy to do the soundtrack for the film adaptation of his book, About a Boy, a move that only increased the Manchester-based musician’s profile. Unable to keep up with such an amazing start to his career, Badly Drawn Boy suffered a crisis of confidence while still putting out several more records. But with his new album, Photographing Snowflakes, and another film soundtrack under his belt, he returns to equilibrium. He’ll talk about it all with us.
Plus, two newcomers from around the same region - Dublin’s James Vincent McMorrow and Oxford’s Stornoway. They join us with their debut albums. That’s week on Conversations from the World Cafe!
March 23, 2011 - Jim Lauderdale and Justin Townes EarleIn addition to releasing his own records for the past two decades, Jim Lauderdale has written for countless country stars - George Strait, Patty Loveless, and the Dixie Chicks among them. Last year he put his 2nd collaboration with Grateful Dead lyricists Robert Hunter, an album called Patchwork River, and later this year the pair will release another disc together, a bluegrass record called Reason & Rhyme. He joins us to talk about both, and discuss his first musical love - bluegrass - and why it took so long for him to make his own bluegrass album (1999’s I Feel Like Singing Today with Ralph Stanley).
And, Justin Townes Earle. Earle's most recent disc, Harlem River Blues, is his 3rd album in 3 years. The extremely prolific songwriter made headlines a few days after its release when he was arrested for battery, public drunkenness and resisting arrest. He went to rehab shortly after. Justin Townes Earle will discuss his struggle with addiction and following in the footsteps of his father, outspoken musician Steve Earle, in more ways than one. Plus, we’ll go back in our archives to our 2009 interview with Steve Earle, where he talks about his Grammy Award winning album, Townes. The disc was a tribute to his late mentor Townes Van Zandt, the hard living but extremely talented country/folk songwriter who is also his son’s namesake.
March 16, 2011 - Fistful of Mercy and Teddy ThompsonFistful of Mercy released their debut album As I Call You Down late last year. The group is led by a trio of talented musicians - Ben Harper, Joseph Arthur, and Dhani Harrison. Harper you may know by his hit “Steal My Kisses,” and by his many albums with his band the Innocent Criminals, or his newer work with his group the Relentless7. Joseph Arthur, both a talented musician and visual artist, first starting gaining attention a decade ago, and since then has been quite prolific releasing EPs and albums. Dhani Harrison is the son of late Beatle George Harrison and has been active preserving his father’s legacy; he has also released one disc with his own band, thenewno2. The trio share how they came together to form Fistful of Mercy and what it was like writing together.
Plus, Teddy Thompson. He explains how his famed parents (British folk singers Linda and Richard Thompson) influenced his music, and talks about what it was like working with legendary producer Danny Kahne on his new disc Bella. That and more this week on Conversations from the World Cafe!
March 9, 2011 - Chuck Brown and Aloe BlaccThe Godfather of Go-Go, Chuck Brown, joins host David Dye in the studio. Chuck Brown paved the way for a brand new style of music in the 1970s. Performing around Washington DC, he drew on his experience playing Latin grooves and his love of jazz, particularly saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr., to create a subgenre of funk that people simply couldn’t resist dancing to. The new music, crowned go-go, earned him a hit in 1979 with the song “Bustin’ Loose”. Although he never really achieved the nationwide popularity that many expected after that, Chuck Brown and his band have continued to be stars in their home city. Recently they released a new album, We Got This. Chuck Brown joins us to discuss the history of the music he loves and to share some live tracks from We Got This.
Plus, Aloe Blacc. His song “I Need a Dollar” became the theme for HBO’s “How to Make It in America”. He’ll talk about that, and his new album Good Things.
March 2, 2011 - Kurt Elling and Charlie MusselwhiteJazz singer Kurt Elling joins host David Dye. Starting with his 1995 debut, each of Kurt Elling’s albums have received a Jazz Vocal Grammy nomination. But it took until last year for Elling to finally win, with his 8th album, Dedicated To You: Kurt Elling Sings The Music of Coltrane and Hartman. On February 8th Elling released the follow up to that disc, The Gate, which draws from a variety of styles. He joins us to discuss how he reinterprets disparate genres into his own jazz style, and to reflect on how his career in the music business began as he dropped out of divinity school in Chicago.
And, Charlie Musselwhite. The 67 year old blues harmonica player looks at his own Chicago start, which began on the South Side with greats like Muddy Waters. Musselwhite’s new record The Well is his most autobiographical yet- he’ll also share how his mother’s murder resulted in the song “Sad and Beautiful World” and how Grammy winning gospel singer Mavis Staples came to sing it. That and more this week on Conversations from the World Cafe!
February 23, 2011 - Peter Frampton and David BowieGuitarist Peter Frampton joins host David Dye in the studio. Peter Frampton had record breaking sales with his 1976 album Frampton Comes Alive!. Thirty years later his Grammy win for the instrumental disc Fingerprints re-inspired the already hard working musician. Recently he released the follow-up to Fingerprints. The new record, Thank You Mr Churchill, was partially inspired by his childhood in Bromley, England. Peter Frampton will talk about it and the new album, as well as play his 70s hits “Show Me the Way” and “Baby I Love Your Way”.
Plus, Frampton’s childhood friend and collaborator, David Bowie (who also hails from Bromley). We go back in to our archives to our 2002 interview with Bowie, shortly after the release of his Heathen album. That record saw Bowie renewing his collaboration with producer Tony Visconti, who had joined him on his career-defining 70s work- albums like Space Oddity, Young Americans, and Low. David Bowie will discuss his work with Visconti and share how his musical life has changed as he has gotten older. That’s this week on Conversations from the World Cafe!
February 16, 2011 - The Decemberists and GirlsFor the first time, The Decemberists have hit #1 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart, thanks to the release of their new CD The King is Dead. The Portland-based group’s popularity has been steadily climbing since 2005’s Picaresque though. That disc led to their major label record deal and 2006’s The Crane Wife, an album loosely based on a Japanese folk tale. For the CD that followed, 2009’s Hazards of Love, songwriter Colin Meloy crafted a folk rock opera, taking his love of the concept album even further. For their new record the group has moved away from that, instead looking to REM for inspiration. REM guitarist Peter Buck even joined the band to record. Colin Meloy will talk about all that, and how the band decided to make the album in barn with heat or running water.
Plus, Girls. The San Francisco based duo’s first album, called Album, was named among Spin, Rolling Stone, and Pitchfork’s Top 10 Albums of 2009. Recently Girls released the follow up to that disc, Broken Dreams Club. Songwriter Christopher Owen will discuss the latest record, as well as detail his unusual personal story. Raised in the Children of God religious cult, he left as a teen, eventually moving to San Francisco to become painter, where he met up with collaborator JR White and decided to devote himself to music. Hear about that and more this week on Conversations from the World Cafe!