Artist to Watch

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The premier guide for new and significant artists in rock, blues, and folk - including NPR-syndicated World Cafe ®

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World Cafe Archives

Join David Dye as he navigates the World Cafe through live performances and interviews with celebrated and emerging artists.

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Folk music radio streaming on the web; Americana, Roots Music, recordings, and stories from folk's best.
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In 1963, renowned chemists Bear Owsley and Nick Sands developed a strain of designer LSD which had a reputation for inducing tribal hallucinations. This strain of acid was called “west indian girl,” hence the name for which the Los Angeles duo of Robert James and Francis Ten have chosen to call their musical collaboration.

Everyone Is Here is Neil and Tim Finn’s first collaborative studio album in eight years. Throughout their careers, the Finn’s have enjoyed global success alone and together. Between their solo careers, Crowded House, and Split Enz, Neil and Tim Finn have written more than their fair share of classic tunes we have come to love over the years. There are too many songs to list, however a handful will remind you of their stature as significant songwriters: “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” “Weather With You,” ”Six Months In A Leaky Boat,” “I Got You,” “Persuasion,” and “She Will Have Her Way.” No fan of pop music can deny the power of these songs over time.

One of XPN’s Artists To Watch for 2004, Charlotte Martin is a remarkable new talent. In 2003 Ms. Martin released an EP called In Parentheses that signaled her engaging arrival. An intense piano-laden collection of confessional songs in which she demonstrated her amazing vocals, it was but a hint of the magic she would ultimately release on her full debut album, On Your Shore.

It’s been two years since the release of Bruce Hornsby’s Big Swing Face and on his debut for a new label, Columbia Records, Hornsby comes out swinging with 11 great songs. On Halcyon Days, Hornsby is in classic form; it’s a 21st century album that recalls some of his best work starting with his debut The Way It Is in 1986 and on 1993’s Harbor Lights.

For her debut on the distinguished Nonesuch label, k.d. lang’s new album is filled with songs that she says are “part of her cultural fabric, my Canadian soundtrack.” On Hymns, lang chose to cover songs written by some of her favorite Canadian singers and songwriters including Neil Young, Bruce Cockburn, Leonard Cohen, Ron Sexsmith, Jane Siberry, and Joni Mitchell.

Coming off their explosive performance at this year’s XPN Singer-Songwriter Weekend, the Old 97’s – fronted by Rhett Miller – return with a fine new collection. It’s their first new collection since 2001’s Satellite Rides and the first since Rhett Miller’s solo debut in 2002, The Instigator.

Singer-songwriter Ben Arnold is no stranger to XPN listeners and members. A staple of the local music scene since the early Nineties Ben is an honest and earnest songwriter of immense talent whether doing a solo gig with an acoustic guitar, as a member of the Philly super-group 4 Way Street or leading his own highly engaging rock band.

A fantastic new artist is emerging from the acoustic music world and she’s one of our Artists To Watch for 2004. Nashville singer-songwriter Adrienne Young’s debut album is a beautiful, well-crafted and passionate collection of songs that brings to mind the work of artists like Gillian Welch, Mindy Smith and Nickel Creek in their musical context and breadth. Like each of those artists Ms. Young is a unique artist with a compelling vision and message. She’s a neo-traditionalist comfortable with old-timey music who spins it out in a modern, contemporary world.

Joining us this year at XPN’s 11th annual Singer Songwriter Weekend on Saturday July 17th will be Michael McDermott, whose new album is a collection of rock and roll – quite simply – at its best. Passionate, committed, great songs, intense playing –it’s all on Michael’s new album, Ashes.

Wilco is a difficult yet intelligent band that demands your love and attention. They can be equally frustrating and exhilarating, and are one of the last remaining artistically challenging and interesting American bands.



For the uninitiated, Wilco was born from the ashes of the alternative-country band Uncle Tupelo when lead singers/songwriter Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy split in 1994. Farrar went on to form Son Volt; Tweedy - Wilco. Uncle Tupelo’s roots were in Hank Williams and punk rock and where Son Volt stayed true to their alt-country leanings, Wilco detoured in to psychedelia, ELO (Electric Light Orchestra) styled power pop and experimental musings.

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Revisit Band of Horses’ acoustic show at The Merriam; get amped for their plugged-in show at...

Back in February, XPoNential Music Festival headliners Band of Horses went unplugged on the stage of the Merriam Theater, which was...Read More

Daniel Rossen mixes new and old in rare solo show at Underground Arts

Singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Daniel Rossen played a solo, seated show at Underground Arts on Monday. Best known for his...Read More

Goodnight Lights throw a house party for four in their “Convinced” video

It’s like the crash after a long night of throwing back Lagers and oily pepperoni pizza and wondering where the rest of your...Read More

A resurrected Veruca Salt will rock the TLA with its original lineup on July 22nd

All four original members of Nineties alternative rock band Veruca Salt have reunited, are releasing two new songs this Saturday on...Read More

Natalie Merchant headlining the TLA with a new album in tow on June 11th

Singer-songwriter Natalie Merchant, who recently recorded a World Cafe session during WXPN’s Big Day Out event, is playing the...Read More