Conversations from the World Cafe
Enjoy engaging discussions with some of today's most important artists hosted by David Dye of the World Cafe. Tune in every Wednesday at 10pm on WXPN 88.5FM
May 8, 2013 - Jim James
has led the Louisville based band My Morning Jacket since the late 90s. The group’s reputation as live performers is unparalleled and as writers they have been quite prolific. While James has made small forays into a solo career in the past under the name Yim Yames, it is only now that he has created and toured a more complete work, the new album Regions of Light and Sound of God
. He talks about how a injury at a My Morning Jacket concert led to the new disc, as well as everything from his meditation practice to his demo philosophy. And the Lone Bellow. A trio of Southerners who relocated to Brooklyn, the band has unusually strong harmonies and an equally unusual story about how and why they came together to make music. It starts with something of a medical miracle. They tell the story and sing a song from their self titled debut.
May 1, 2013 - Father John Misty, Lord Huron, Django Django
Songwriter Josh Tillman had his first proper release in 2006 with the album Minor Works
. After half a dozen albums put out as J Tillman and a three year stint as the drummer for the Fleet Foxes, the Baltimore native decided to adopt the moniker Father John Misty
. Fear Fun
is his debut as Father John Misty, and it incorporates the influence of his move to Laurel Canyon, California, with a taste of neo-psychedelia. As the album gained momentum, many commented on the free form dance moves Tillman likes to incorporate in his performances, whether it’s in front of a TV camera or a club audience. He talks about his much discussed stage presence as well as what drove him to take on the Father John Misty persona. Plus, two other engaging debut albums. One from visual artist and songwriter Benji Schneider who drew his inspiration from a trip home to Michigan. He wrote the songs on the shores of Lake Huron, the body of water from which he drew his project’s name, Lord Huron. The other debut travels to us from across the pond, as Scotland’s Django Django share their self titled first effort. It was nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize in 2012.
April 24, 2013 - Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite
Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite
join host David Dye in the studio. Ben Harper made a name for himself with a series of albums in the 90s and Charlie Musselwhite was an integral part of the Chicago blues scene in the 60s. The pair have recently released their first joint effort, an album called Get Up!
For Harper the disc was the chance to work with one of his personal icons - the 43 year old guitarist has long had a great respect for American blues and folk music, and he will make clear why he loves Musselwhite so much, both for his blues harmonica talents and his ability to move beyond color lines. Plus Billy Bragg
. The Englishman recently released Tooth & Nail
, his first new disc in five years. He shares how delving into the Woodie Guthrie archives in the late 90s with Wilco still has an impact on his work today, and why he shouldn’t just be seen as a political songwriter.
April 17, 2013 - The XX
became almost instantly one of the most talked about bands in the UK when their self titled debut won them the Mercury Prize a few years back. Having earned that honor when they were barely out of high school, the band took a small break before focusing on recording their new disc, Coexist. Singers Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim along with multi instrumentalist producer Jamie Smith talk about what they were and weren’t worried about in putting together their sophomore album. Plus Y La Bamba
, the Portland based indie folk band. Their music is beloved by singer Neko Case. Y La Bamba’s leader Luzelena Mendoza shares how Neko found them when they were starting out and discusses how her Catholic and Mexican roots have shaped Y La Bamba’s songs. And Night Beds. Newcomer Winston Yellin reflects on the numerous comparisons people have made between him and famed indie rocker Bon Iver since releasing Night Bed’s debut Country Sleep.
April 10, 2013 - The Avett Brothers
The Avett Brothers
, Scott and Seth Avett, along with bandmate Bob Crawford, had a career high point in 2009 when they released I and Love and You
. While the band had been making music together for a decade, that album, produced by Rick Rubin, was the one that really launched their career. To many on the outside it seemed like overnight success, but inside the group it was the next level on what they had been building for a while. The band's latest disc, the follow up to I and Love and You
, is called The Carpenter
and was again produced by Rick Rubin. In an interview with the Cafe's Michaela Majoun they share what they learned working with Rubin, as well as reflect back on 2009 and how that experience impacted the new disc. Plus, Local Natives
. Three years after their incredible debut Gorilla Manor
the LA based band returns with an album recorded far from LA and with one of their new mentors, Aaron Dessner of The National. They talk about how Dessner's growing family inspired one of the new songs.
April 3, 2013 - Ellie Goulding
found much success with her debut Lights
in 2010. The album topped the UK charts the week it was released and then reappeared in the Top 10 after Goulding was asked to play Prince William and Catherine Middleton's wedding in 2011. Here in the US Goulding’s music was warmly received as well, with the song “Lights” becoming a hit. Though the young star faced a period of writer’s block before creating her second disc Halcyon
, the record has been met with a similarly glowing reaction, particularly the song “Anything Could Happen”. Goulding joins us to talk about how she got her creativity flowing again, being the wedding band for the royal couple, and how she is perceived differently here in the US than she is at home in the UK. Plus two very talented singers with their debuts. Until recently Jessie Ware
made her living as a backup singer but after releasing her debut at home in Britian last year she was nominated for the incredibly competitive Mercury Prize and saw her solo career take off. She discusses what inspired the song “Wildest Moments.” And Trixie Whitley
. The daughter of the late Chris Whitley, she talks about his influence, her work with Daniel Lanois’ Black Dub, and her new album Fourth Corner
March 27, 2013 - Bryan Ferry
launched Roxy Music with Brian in Eno in 1970. Popular almost immediately at home in the United Kingdom, the band didn’t find a mass audience in the US until their fourth disc, at which point Bryan Ferry was the group’s sole leader. Hits like “Love is the Drug” and “Dance Away” followed in the 70s, but it was the band’s 1982 album Avalon
, with the song “More Than This,” that became their best selling record. While Roxy Music was pretty much a solo vehicle for Ferry, he also put out a number of solo albums under his own name. His latest effort is
The Jazz Age
which features an orchestra playing instrumental jazz versions of some of his most prized songs. He’ll talk about why he decided to move in that direction. And Billy Cobham
, one of the most revered jazz fusion drummers. He talks about his work with Miles Davis and his own incredibly influential 1973 solo debut Spectrum
. This year he is marking the 40th anniversary of the disc with a special tour.
March 20, 2013 - Richard Thompson
helped found the British band Fairport Convention in 1967. After 5 albums with them, he launched his solo career where he has continually earned critical praise for his guitar skills and his songwriting wit. Recently he put out his 14th studio album, Electric
. The new disc was produced by Buddy Miller and recorded at Miller’s home studio in Nashville. Richard Thompson plays solo acoustic versions of the songs, and discusses making the present disc as well as his early days playing on other people’s records, like Nick Drake classics Five Leaves Left and Bryter Layter. And Erin McKeown
. Like her 1999 debut, she released her new album Manifestra
on her own label. She talks about some of the unusual ways she raised funds to create the disc and reflects on why the new album is much more politically charged, including the story of how she came to write with MSNBC’s Rachael Maddow.
March 13, 2013 - Bat For Lashes
Bat For Lashes
joins host David Dye in the studio. Since her 2006 debut Fur and Gold
, Natasha Khan has garnered praise for her work as Bat For Lashes. At home in England, the Pakistan-born singer was nominated for a Mercury Prize twice, and her albums have been equally well received by American audiences and critics. She recently returned with her third disc The Haunted Man, which drew attention for both its sound and cover art. Bat For Lashes discusses the cover that has drawn so much attention for its naked, but not sexualized, picture of her. And Beach House
. Instrumentalist Alex Scally discusses how he and singer Victoria Legrand stuck to their singular artistic vision with new disc Bloom
, ignoring the impulse to react to the success of 2010’s Teen Dream.
March 6, 2013 - Wanda Jackson
In 2011 Wanda Jackson
re-entered the spotlight with her Jack White produced disc The Party Ain’t Over
. The album drew attention to the rockabilly pioneer three decades after her last hit song and it was her first record to make it onto the Billboard Top 200 Album chart. British singer Adele requested Jackson to open for her, and cited her as the inspiration for her own hit “Rolling in the Deep,” adding to the praise that finally puts Jackson in her rightful place a trailblazer. Now, with her new disc, Wanda Jackson is joined by another younger producer, Justin Townes Earle, and again the results are compelling. Jackson talks about the resurgence of her fame and what it was like to work with both White and Earle. And we go back into our archives to hear from another venerable star that White helped bring the spotlight back to, Loretta Lynn
. She talks about her 2004 album Van Lear Rose
, plus we hear from the man himself, Jack White, about joining her in creating that disc.
February 28, 2013 - Dwight Yokum
became popular in the 1980s with a sound that harkens back to an earlier era of country music. Five of his albums have topped Billboard’s Country Albums chart and another 14 have appeared in the Top 10. But it has been seven years since Yoakam’s last album of original material. Musician/producer Beck joined him in the studio to help steer the first few recordings for his new one 3 Pears. Yoakam talks about their work together, as well as his love of Buck Owens and the reasons behind his attachment to Appalachia. Plus, Beck
. We go back in our archives to hear Beck from a decade ago, when he was more focused on his own music than production. It’s an interview with the Cafe’s Michaela Majoun from right around the time of his highly praised, but emotionally dark Sea Change album.
February 20, 2013 - Snow Patrol
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 13, 2013 - Music’s Biggest Night
David Dye spends some time with this year’s top Grammy nominees. Nicknamed “Music’s Biggest Night”, the 55th annual Grammy Awards take place Sunday, February 10th. A Grammy is truly a peer honor, not based on record sales, but on the discretion of the members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Goyte, with his unusual sounding hit duet “Somebody That I Used to Know”, is up for three awards including Record of the Year. He talks about creating the song that made him famous. The Black Keys are up for 5 Awards, including both Record and Album of the Year, plus Dan Auerbach has been nominated for his production work. He and drummer Patrick Carney reveal what they really think about on stage. fun are up for a number of awards at this year’s Grammy’s- six in total. The three piece their debut in 2009 and their second album Some Nights in February 2012. They had great success with the single "We Were Young," which featured Janelle Monae. It was nominated for both Record and Song of the Year. The band is also up for Best New Artist and Album of the Year. They discuss “We Are Young” and play a acoustic version live. To close out the Grammy-centric show are two more Best New Artist nominees: The Alabama Shakes and The Lumineers.
February 6, 2013 - Trey Anastasio
Trey Anastasio joins host David Dye in the studio for a rare solo acoustic performance. Trey Anastasio helped found Phish at The University of Vermont in 1983. In addition to his work with the group, Trey has continually pushed his improvisational and compositional boundaries, thanks to both a successful solo career and the Trey Anastasio Band. During the five years Phish was apart from 2004 to 2009, in addition to his new music ventures, Trey tackled the addiction that he has cited as one of the reasons why Phish split. After much touring and fanfare around Phish’s return with Joy, Trey recently made time for a new solo album Traveler. He talks about the new material and tells the story behind his song “Valentine”, one of the first things he wrote after getting sober. And Graham Parker. The British singer seemed on the brink of making it big with his band The Rumor in the late 70s. After three decades apart they reunited and released a new disc Three Chords Good late last year. He discusses what it was like to be featured in the Judd Apatow movie This is 40.
January 30, 2013 - Brian Eno
musician and producer Brian Eno joins host David Dye in the studio. Brian Eno became well known in the early 70s thanks to his role in the seminal glam rock group Roxy Music. Leaving after two albums, Eno went on to push the envelope technologically, working with tape loops with Robert Fripp, and releasing his own solo debut which landed in the UK Top 30. Over the course of the decades that followed Eno produced, played with, and championed bands like The Talking Heads, U2, David Bowie, and Coldplay. He also composed the Microsoft Windows sound. But his most important contribution to the contemporary music landscape was his pioneering work in ambient music. A 1975 car accident left Eno bedridden for several months, and during that time he had a eureka moment, realizing the atmospheric potential of music. He immersed himself fully in the genre with his 1975 instrumental album, Discreet Music. His new disc, Lux, continues on the ambient electronic vein of his work. He discusses how he came up with the genre as well as his new album. And Scott Walker. An American transplant to the UK, Walker became a British Invasion pop star in the 60s with his band The Walker Brothers. Now he devotes himself to a much more experimental sound. He shares his latest disc Bish Bosch and discusses how he didn’t always intend to be a singer.
January 23, 2013 - Lianne La Havas
Lianne La Havas joins host David Dye. Liane La Havas had her her debut Is Your Love Big Enough? named iTunes album of 2012, one of the many accolades that have been given to the British singer over the past 6 months. She joins us to discuss the very personal inspiration of her songs, which were largely drawn from her romantic life. And Susanna Hoffs. The lead singer of The Bangles has returned with her third solo album Someday. Even though her Bangles bandmates and recent collaborator Matthew Sweet didn’t join her in the studio, she still found herself working with others to craft the album- in this case, Nashville unknown Andrew Brassell and famed producer Mitchell Froom. She talks about the new disc and reflects on the days of her “Walk Like an Egyptian” fame with The Bangles.
January 16, 2013 - Ben Folds Five
The Ben Folds Five join host David Dye in the studio. The Ben Folds Five were unlike any other rock band when they came on to the scene in the mid 90s. Led by pianist Ben Folds, the trio stood out from the bevy of popular guitar groups with their unique configuration and witty writing. Their second album 1997’s Whatever and Ever Amen was a breakthrough hit, but after the band’s third disc, the three musicians went their separate ways. A decade later they have come together once again and put out a new album The Sound of the Life of the Mind. They talk about why they decided to pursue solo interests and what made them decide to record as a group again. And John Fullbright. The Oklahoma native shares why religion inspired some of the songs on his debut From the Ground Up.
January 9, 2013 - Josh Ritter
Josh Ritter joins host David Dye at the State Theater in Ithaca, New York. Josh Ritter recorded his debut in 1999 but it was his second record, 2002’s Golden Age of Radio, that caught the attention of a larger audience. With glowing reviews, it led to an offer from Glen Hansard of the Frames to tour Ireland. There his music really took off. Ritter’s single “Me & Jiggs” appeared in the Irish Top 40 and soon he sold out a headlining tour in the singer songwriter-loving country. At home his career built more slowly over the four albums that followed. Most recently Ritter put out his first novel, Bright’s Passage, and in early March he will release a new album The Beast in Its Tracks. He talks about what led him to where he is today, including his neuroscientist parents, and preview the forthcoming disc for us. And Patrick Watson. The Canadian pianist has used his jazz and classical background to craft film friendly music over the course of four discs. He shares the story behind the title track to his latest, Adventures in Your Own Backyard. That’s this week on Conversations from the World Cafe!
January 2, 2013 - Rodriguez
On this special edition of Conversations from the World Cafe, host David Dye chronicles the unique story of Rodriguez. His music didn’t capture the American public when he emerged with two albums in the '70s in Detroit, but across the globe in South Africa, Rodriguez became a household name, up there with Bob Dylan and Elvis Presley. Rumors that the artist had committed suicide were dispelled 25 years after his debut, when Rodriquez was discovered to be working manual labor, completely unaware of his impact and success half a world away. In this episode, we'll hear from the producers of his records, the people who found him, and the director of a documentary about how it all happened, and from Rodriguez himself.