Timothy Showalter is the band called Strand of Oaks. Originally from Indiana, Showalter now lives in Philadelphia, where he's reimagined himself as a rocker after releasing a couple of quieter albums. This latest phase of his career started with his well-received 2014 album Heal; he recently released the follow-up, Hard Love.
The 1970s was an incredibly diverse decade for recorded music: from hippie folk at the start to disco, punk, the rise of reggae and the very first stirrings of hip-hop. At the beginning of the decade, Frank Sinatra had a song on the charts for 122 weeks. There was soft rock, metal and country. Album sales and progressive radio were huge.
All this is true. That's why it is so fascinating to look at the songs that ended up at the very top of Billboard's pop chart for each year of the decade — they certainly don't always represent all the change that was going on.
What's the best way to become the unchallenged expert on a particular genre of music? Invent it. Enter JD Ryznar, Hunter Stair, David B. Lyons and Steve Huey: coiners of the description "yacht rock," creators of a hilarious web series of the same name and now de facto captains of the genre.
Guitarist Harvey Mandel was on the very short list to replace Mick Taylor in The Rolling Stones, but you've probably never heard of him — or even heard him play. Mandel grew up playing in Chicago blues clubs in the early '60s and made a breakthrough record with Charlie Musselwhite called Stand Back! Here Comes Charley Musselwhite's South Side Band.
Music was a solace for Chris Robinson long before he and his brother Rich formed The Black Crowes. "Being a little weirdo, outsider, dyslexic kid from the Deep South in the early '70s, to me music and art was an oasis away from everybody," he says. When the brothers dissolved their longtime band for good a few years ago, Chris formed the Chris Robinson Brotherhood with guitarist Neal Casal and others.
Cameron Avery may have a day job as the bassist in Tame Impala, but bandmate Kevin Parker, kept encouraging him to make his own album. After relocating from Perth to Los Angeles, he made Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams, an album of romantic songs that's influenced by older favorites like Johnny Hartman and Sarah Vaughan but also nods to Nick Cave and Scott Walker. Producer Jonathan Wilson inspired Avery to explore his baritone voice more, and a sound combining new and old was born.
Jain's debut album, Zanaka, is an irresistible, eclectic pop record with a freshness to its songs. At 25 years old, the French singer has traveled and lived all over the world, including childhood stints in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the Republic of the Congo. Along the way, she discovered African percussion and rhythms, which permeate the tracks on her new album and in this one-woman performance. Watch it in the video below and stream the complete session in the player above.
Here's something that shouldn't be news: We love sharing new music with you on World Cafe. And just in case you miss the show, or feel like diving into some after-hours extracurricular discovery, we've assembled a handy-dandy Spotify playlist with some of our favorite new jams just for you.
We'll be updating the playlist as we dig through the never-ending stacks of CDs that populate our desks, and we hope you enjoy these tunes as much as we do.
Dave Hause comes from the place where punk and classic rock collide. On his new album, Bury Me In Philly, he's found the sweet spot between his hardcore background and his innate love of Led Zeppelin and the Stones.
When you hear that a band is from Detroit, you might expect clever, loose and melodic pop. But Bonny Doon, built around the songwriting duo of Bill Lennox and Bobby Colombo, isn't descended either from The Stooges' hard rock or from Motown. Instead, the band boasts a mix of hazy pop gems that gather strength from Lennox's sharp lyrics. Bonny Doon released some demos as an EP in 2015 and has a self-titled debut LP coming next month. Hear two songs in the downloadable segment above.