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.

North Carolina singer-songwriter Tift Merritt arrived at our session with her new daughter, Jean, in tow. Jean's one of at least three new things in her life: She also has a new album, Stitch Of The World, and a new partner in pedal-steel guitarist Eric Heywood.

For Throwback Thursday, venture back to 2012 and The Milk Carton Kids' first visit to World Cafe. Singer-guitarists Joey Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale each had their own solo careers going before teaming up as a duo, but they couldn't deny the magic in their intertwined voices and guitar lines.

The married singer-songwriters Alejandro Rivas and María Laura Bustamante met in college but didn't start making music together as Alejandro y María Laura until five years later, in 2009. Their different interests — Rivas was in a Led Zeppelin cover band and Bustamante studied theatre — somehow combined into the sophisticated soft-pop of their 2011 debut, Paracaídas. The album went top-10 in Peru, their home country, but Rivas says that might not have been on the strength of their music alone.

Break out the tissues, because Aurora says, "I have always enjoyed watching my songs make people cry."

In a very short amount of time, 21-year-old singer-songwriter Tash Sultana has gone from busking in her hometown of Melbourne, Australia, to selling out concert venues worldwide. But the bigger challenge has been extracting herself from addiction and drug-induced psychosis, which threatened her mental well-being and her life. She credits doing only what made her happy for her recovery. That meant it was out of school and onto Melbourne's sidewalks, where she used a looping pedal to construct her own backing for her powerful songs.

By the time he was a teenager, Chris Thile was already a bluegrass prodigy on mandolin; he's since evolved into a MacArthur Grant-winning, genre-defying musical genius. Jazz pianist Brad Mehldau is equally revered, as his inventive playing has both the critical establishment and packed concert halls singing his praises.

Ty Segall is never predictable. He's a rock 'n' roll shape-shifter who has dabbled in experimental garage, British-influenced space rock, fuzzed-out acoustic folk and psych-pop. He has performed entire shows wearing a rubber baby mask, he's dressed as a mad scientist while explaining a concept he calls "emotional mugging" and, just for kicks, he's filmed himself smashing a toilet with producer Steve Albini.

Public radio is a proven and powerful force for music discovery across genres. That's why, every month, we turn to a panel of 10 public-radio DJs and bloggers to see what they've had on repeat recently.

Courtney Barnett has been one of our most beloved recent musical imports from Australia. Both 2013's double EP A Sea Of Split Peas and 2015's Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit were remarkable works of lyrical dexterity. (The latter earned her a Best New Artist Grammy nomination.)

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