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World Cafe

The premier public radio showcase for contemporary music serving up an eclectic blend that includes blues, rock, world, folk, and alternative country.

Beck On World Cafe

20 hours ago

According to Beck, listening to his new album Colors may feel like "jogging in a glass box while there is a blizzard outside and you are wearing a form-fitting body suit ... maybe there are some wolves trying to get in or something." Unpredictable and a little wacky? Yep, but that's Beck. Ever since his 1993 song "Loser" brought rap, sitar, steel guitar and a little Spanish together in what became a surprise hit, he's continued to surprise his fans.

You may have seen him standing on stage, signature headscarf resting low just above the eyebrows, sharing a microphone with The Boss as a member of The E Street Band; or portraying Silvio Dante on The Sopranos; or Frank "The Fixer" Tagliano in Lillyhammer.

Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn's new album is called Echo In The Valley. Both artists have built lives on squeezing more sound, story and emotion out of the banjo than you may have thought possible — she in the clawhammer style of her hero Doc Watson, and he from the three-finger school of Earl Scruggs.

I'm so happy to share our latest session with David Crosby. He made me howl with laughter, he's got so much heart, and he was truly generous in sharing his stories. Crosby is here to talk about his new album, Sky Trails, which features some of his contemporary collaborators — Becca Stevens, Michelle Willis, Mai Agan, and Michael League of Snarky Puppy. But we covered a lot of ground on Crosby's formative cronies, too, including The Byrds, Crosby Stills & Nash, Miles Davis, Jackson Browne and Joni Mitchell.

Willie Watson feels his way through America's musical history by sliding an old bottleneck against the strings of his acoustic guitar. He finds it in the grain of his own voice, cultivated over 20 years of singing old songs his own way. First as a founding member of Old Crow Medicine Show and now in his own solo career, Watson has brought folk-based roots music alive for new listeners in the 21st century.

We're in South Louisiana — somewhere between Arnaudville and Leonville — in the backyard of Louis Michot, looking out at his pond. In 1999, Louis and his brother Andre co-founded the band Lost Bayou Ramblers. And the sounds we hear in their backyard in the bayou actually appear on their latest album, Kalenda. So does music, of course; the band isn't here to play the cricket or the frog — more like Louis on the fiddle and vocals and Andre on accordion and lap steel guitar. But the music really does take you to a real place.

Los Colognes sound like they hail from some exotic European locale, but actually, they're from Nashville — where they relocated 7 1/2 years ago from Chicago. They fit well into the psychedelic jam band world, and recently released a third album, The Wave. Like the title, the whole record is filled with many water images and references.

The band kicks off the session with a performance of the song "Flying Apart." That and more can be heard in the player above.

It was my pleasure to talk music with Steve Winwood, one of the creative architects of prog rock. His career includes groundbreaking work with Traffic and Blind Faith; a solo career in the '80s; and writing standards like "Gimme Some Lovin'" and "I'm A Man" when he was still a teenager.

In this session, we hear songs from Steve's new double album Winwood: Greatest Hits Live, and we use that as a jumping-off point to talk about Traffic, Eric Clapton and more. Listen in the player above.

The Memphis gospel-soul man Don Bryant may not like rain, but he's sure dreaming about snow this holiday season.

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