WRUR 88.5 Different Radio

World Cafe

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

In addition to being widely recognized as one of the great American guitarists, Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo is also a published writer, poet and visual artist. His latest solo album, Electric Trim, features Sharon Van Etten, Nels Cline of Wilco, Kid Millions and more.

The first time I saw Lo Moon perform live was a year ago. I remember being knocked out by the band's dynamics. They can let a song simmer and build and take its time. And that approach to songs is exactly how Lo Moon is approaching their career: simmer, build, time.

The NPR Slingshot band released their first single, "Loveless," in September of 2016 and are finally set to release their self-titled debut on February 23.

Last Sunday, Philadelphia's own The War on Drugs won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Album. We consider that a sign. Sure as the National Chicken Council's prediction Americans will consume 1.35 billion chicken wings this weekend, the birds (aka Philadelphia Eagles) are going to take the bowl.

It's that time of year: The New England Patriots take their annual trip to the Super Bowl against – let's see, who's this year's opponent? Oh, yes, the Philadelphia Eagles, that team in green – and we've been challenged to a Boston song list by the folks in Philly. We can do that. It's a piece of cake or, maybe, a piece of Boston cream pie.

We'll start with the Boston-centric songs, mostly by Boston area artists proclaiming some sort of fondness or pride for (or attitude about) the city and then we'll just drop a load of great songs from Boston bands over the decades.

As a part of our Sense of Place, South Africa trip, we traveled to Cape Town and recorded the band Freshlyground on their home turf.

The group is led by the energetic and powerful singer Zolani Mahola, and includes members from Mozambique and Zimbabwe as well as South Africa, where Mahola grew up. Mahola talked about what it was like for her to realize how Apartheid impacted her father's life as well as her own, and shared the funny reason she got kicked out of a ska band before joining Freshlyground.

For this Sense Of Place session, we spent some time in South Africa with guitarist and songwriter Johnny Clegg. The visionary musician was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer three years ago, and spent the latter part of 2017 on a world tour he called "The Final Journey." It was a productive three months that also included a new solo album, King of Time. But rather than feature that new material, Clegg performed four of his most beloved songs from yesteryear.

Any artist who's in it for the long haul is bound to weather changes and collect experiences over time. And when enough history builds up behind them, they may feel the irresistible tug of nostalgia and find ways to revisit the past — with songs idealizing the "old home place," albums of time-tested standards, lavishly packaged reissues or anniversary tours. Those reflections on the bygone days tend to be reverent affairs.

But for Wade Bowen, conjuring the musical melting pot of a youth and young adulthood spent in Texas has yielded the most wild-eyed work of his career.

Lee Ann Womack could choose to sing anything in the world. She could sing the periodic table or the label on a can of baked beans or an essay about the various ways paint dries and it would sound thrilling.

Slowdive On World Cafe

Jan 30, 2018

Sometimes fans of bands that initially missed or were too young for the first breakthrough are lucky enough to get a second chance. Interest builds and when a group reunites there is a new and old fan base waiting. That's the way the long tail of the internet works.

"If you're into Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Dr. John or Louis Armstrong and play almost any instrument under the sun, let's jam!"

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