WRUR 88.5 Different Radio

Different Radio Music

Join host Fiona Ritchie and guests as they explore selections from the American Folklife Center's collection of about half a million sound recordings, including songs from Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and Carrie Grover.

As we have shown in so many previous episodes of Alt.Latino, the cultural interchange between the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean has been going on practically since there were people in these parts of the world.

Portland, Ore.'s The Decemberists and British singer-songwriter Olivia Chaney have teamed up to cover traditional English (and Irish and Scottish) folk songs under the name Offa Rex.

At first glance, Devonté Hynes and Philip Glass might appear like musical opposites. Hynes, the 31-year-old British producer and songwriter who performs under the name Blood Orange, makes hit records with Solange and Carly Rae Jepsen.

Since the beginning, Corbin — formerly known as Spooky Black — has, in his languid and gurgling and romance-afflicted music, foregrounded the landscapes of his home state, Minnesota. Flicking through the search results of his early videos, there's always a forest visible.

One look at (and listen to) the cross-dressing, Asian rock band SsingSsing and you would hardly think they're singing music inspired by traditional Korean folk. But SsingSsing isn't like any other band I've ever seen or heard.

It's one thing to be a Hollywood actor who can respectably warble your way through a karaoke scene now and then. It's another to be able to perform the lead in a Broadway production of a Stephen Sondheim musical. Sondheim's melodies are complicated, the vocal ranges they require are considerable, and the surprises buried in them are startling. They require not only a lot of sound, but a belly full of feeling.

Like many singer-songwriters, Jessica Lea Mayfield depends on vocal demeanor to bring out the emotional nuances in her writing. She's got quite a range: She can sound spacey and serene, or distant and suspicious, or fiercely sure of herself. Her raw fourth album, Sorry Is Gone, has a series of songs about escape from damaging relationships, and each is conveyed through its own weather system. There are outbreaks of snarling bitterness followed by moments of calm, and times when inner turmoil is masked under a coating of honeyed pop exuberance.

"You know, I really wasn't kidding," laughs David Crosby, referencing our 2016 conversation about his then-new album, Lighthouse, during which he'd described experiencing an unprecedented, elongated bout of creativity. The imminent arrival of Lighthouse's follow-up, Sky Trails, less than a year later, lends Crosby's claim credibility. Crosby has released six solo albums since 1971, but three of them have arrived since 2014.

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