Artist to Watch

WXPN Radio

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

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

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24/7 Musical discovery. A unique mix of emerging and heritage blues, rock, world, folk, and alt-country artists.
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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.

The fact that Keane stand on their own, with songs so gorgeously filled with shimmering pop radiance is the reason, why we’ve chosen the band as one of our Artists To Watch for 2004.

One of our Artists to Watch for 2004 - XPN listeners have had a glimpse of the talented Rachael Yamagata since the release of an EP from which the song “Worn Me Down” has become one of XPN’s most requested songs. Over the last six months Rachael has been putting the finishing touches on her debut album, Happenstance. The album was produced by John Alagia, whose magic touch can be heard on favorite XPN albums from artists including Jason Mraz, Dave Matthews, John Mayer, and O.A.R.

The welcoming phrase that serves as the title to the 18th volume in our Live at the World Cafe series puts you the listener in a very good place indeed. As we move to our new World Café studio these songs will always remind us of what will forever be the “old World Cafe.”

Born in New York, singer-songwriter David Mead spent most of his life in Nashville where he still lives. After spending several years as a member of a couple of Nashville’s most popular local bands, including Joe Mark’s Brother, David left the band and released his solo debut in 1999 with The Luxury Of Time. Mead specializes in sweet, melodic pop songs that often recall Paul Simon’s early solo work, the more romantic side of Paul McCartney and the pop wizardry of Fountains of Wayne.

Welcome to the shape of jazz to come. He is pianist and singer-songwriter Jamie Cullum, currently one of a handful of “twentysomething” “jazz” artists interpreting pop songs old and new, and writing originals on his own unique terms. Cullum’s album Twentysomething, and his charismatic, energetic shows land him in the States as a bonafide UK superstar. Superstardom in the UK rarely assures success in the States (ask the Smiths and Robbie Williams about that), however, early stateside reviews of Cullum’s new album and his sensational stage show are pointing towards something new and interesting coming our way.

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