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.

Swedish singer-songwriter Jens Lekman's new record is called Life Will See You Now. It feels sort of like going to a tropical roller disco with your therapist — and it comes after a period of colossal frustration that led Lekman to dump an entire truckload of his records in a landfill. As he tells it: "I felt like ... I need to find my way back to finding how to take something bad and make something beautiful, how to pour manure into a espresso machine and have a cappuccino come out."

In this session, we bring you a performance from Tame Impala's touring bassist, Cameron Avery. His debut solo record sounds nothing like what you're used to hearing from him with the band. Instead, picture Dean Martin swooping down to light a cigarette in the back alley behind some lover-laced boudoir, and you've sort of got the idea.

In this session, we're shining a spotlight on two elements that never seem to take center stage: backing musicians and music without words. But trust me, they deserve the limelight. Steelism is a Nashville duo made up of ace guitarist Jeremy Fetzer and pedal-steel player Spencer Cullum Jr.

A couple years ago, rock veteran Alejandro Escovedo and his new wife, Nancy, were on their honeymoon on the coast of Mexico when disaster struck and they were sure they were going to die. It was so bad that they even called their family to say goodbye.

Felony Blues is the name of the new record by Jaime Wyatt. That title is neither a metaphor nor a gimmick — it's lived experience. Wyatt was charged with a felony for robbing a drug dealer and served a sentence in the Los Angeles County Jail. When she got out, she wrote an album based on her own true story — from her crime to doing time and the addiction, depression and shame she had to overcome to even turn her experience into song.

When Sting set out to write his latest record, 57th & 9th, he says he had to "play tricks on [himself] to get the creative juices flowing." He'd step out on to the terrace of his New York apartment in the freezing cold and tell his wife, Trudie Styler, "Don't let me back in until I've finished a lyric." He calls this self-imposed, cold quest "hunting" for the muse, and the fruitful bounty he collected is on full display on 57th & 9th.

While preparing for my departure from World Cafe as full-time host, I've been looking back on the last 25 years of the show.

David Dye, Signing Off

Mar 31, 2017

Editor's note: Friday marks David Dye's last day as full-time host of World Cafe, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

"I pulled out Diamonds And Dirt, that record, and I looked at the album cover and there I had on a pair of silver-toe-tipped boots and a wife-beater with a bolo tie hanging around myself and a mullet hairdo. And I turned to my wife and I said 'Look at this poser.' "

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