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Hozier is an artist who can create musical moments big enough to galvanize every molecule of air around them into action and tiny enough that they can burrow themselves in the hidden corners of your own heart. His ability to do both on the same album — and sometimes, even on the same song — is what makes him so special.

Settle into the season by tuning into some fresh new music recently arrived at The Thistle & Shamrock offices in the U.S. and Scotland. Fiona Ritchie features new releases from Cherish the Ladies, Keith Murphy and Brass Lassie.

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Jeff Tweedy, frontman for Chicago's beloved Wilco, has released his first solo album of original music. WARM, out now, is a stripped-down version of Tweedy's signature alt-rock sound.

Today, a Cinderella story, but with a glass cowboy boot for a slipper. It's about Lori McKenna, a songwriter from a small town outside Boston, who made a massive name for herself in Nashville, won her first Grammy in 2016 and became the first woman to win Songwriter of the Year by the Academy of Country Music in 2017.

There's one obvious thing to get out of the way up front. Yes, The Nude Party actually played without clothes during the band's formative years at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. During their college years, the members hadn't picked a name for the band and because of their lack of wardrobe, the locals dubbed the group "The Naked Party Band."

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Balms' "Candle" unleashes an atmospheric bummer — the kind that billows ominously, only to reveal a dark scene once the shroud has dissipated. The San Francisco trio alternates chunky riffs and a plodding rhythm section with dreamy melodies, sudden screams and a voice that coos, "I want your soul." The forbidding effect is something like early Red House Painters' pretty moans set to the downcast punk seething of ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead.

What constitutes bluegrass music? Does it need to be all acoustic? Can it ever be electric? Does it always include a banjo, a mandolin, a dobro and fiddles? If it ventures into jam band territory, is it still bluegrass?

The bluegrass question is one that the immensely talented Kalamazoo, Mich. band Greensky Bluegrass has been grappling with and answering since the members started 18 years ago.

The Thistle & Shamrock: Family Gathering

Nov 28, 2018

A treasure trove of music is the legacy some families pass along across the generations. Join Fiona Ritchie and Mary Ann Kennedy to hear one family's songs of work, worship, land, sea and love.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Watching Joseph Arthur and Peter Buck of R.E.M. onstage together as Arthur Buck shows an obvious dynamic in energy. Arthur's a firecracker; a ball of energy. He sings with all his heart and his body. For three minutes and thirty seconds, Arthur explores the stage while shouting out to the heavens.

Some days, you can hear a go-go band revving up the party or a pianist busting the keys wide open, luring NPR staff to the Tiny Desk. But in the hushed performances, your ears need to lean into the sound so that your entire being can take in every fingerpick of string and each hummed melody.

Winter can bear the heart of darkness, as it ushers in daylight saving's premature sunsets, brutal drops in temperature or, as Brooklyn-based quartet Bethlehem Steel bluntly puts it in a press release: "Post-tour depression, seasonal depression, depression depression."

So much of the music of the last few years has been influenced by the sounds of the 1980's. The revolutionary (and affordable) gear made it's way into musicians hands and people continue to go back to those sounds and textures. However, for this generation of young adults making music, there's another decade to explore ripe with it's own stylistic quirks — the 1990's. Hatchie is one of those artists.

Gobble gobble! Our Thanksgiving weekend edition of New Music Friday includes the warped and wild pop sounds of My Brightest Diamond, stunning instrumental records from Ed Harcourt and Jacco Gardner, punk with heart and humor from Art Brut and more. Host Robin Hilton is joined this week by NPR Music's Stephen Thompson as they do a quick sprint through the essential albums dropping on Nov. 23.

Featured Albums:

  1. My Brightest Diamond: A Million And One
    Featured Song: "It's Me On The Dance Floor"

I couldn't make it through Ruston Kelly's full-length debut in one stretch the first time I tried. Between the mortal question — "How the hell do I return to normal / If I'm always ending up flat on my back?" — he poses on the opening track and the heart-wrenching harmonica on the next tune, by the time the vocoder washed over the image Kelly as the "son of a highway daughter, born in gasoline" on Track 3, I had to take a welled-up walk away from my desk.

Keeping with Morning Edition's longstanding Thanksgiving Day tradition, classical music commentator Miles Hoffman stops by to give listeners a sample of music that speak to the themes of the holiday. This year's music selection serves as a lesson on famous references to musical fowl throughout history.

The Thistle & Shamrock: Bass Rock

Nov 21, 2018

This week, hear some stunning acoustic and electric bass players, including Riccardo Del Fra and Alain Genty.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Kacey Musgraves is magnetic — there are no two ways about it. It's not just that she can sing like a bird and write like a bard. It's the calm charisma that a person who knows exactly who she is and wishes the same for others can't help but exude.

Bill Baird's video for "Facial Disc" creates a world of patterns and scenes as abstract as the noise he makes on guitar and synthesizers. Baird describes the video as "me getting 'swallowed by the internet,' trapped inside a multi-dimensional cube, and transformed into an owl and then an 'owl priest.'"

Guest DJ: boygenius

Nov 19, 2018

Ten years ago, my guest introduced himself to me as a lanky, biracial kid from suburban Chicago who graduated from Harvard with a Kenyan diplomat for a dad. Nope, I wasn't interviewing Barack Obama. It was Tom Morello. If he had dropped Neo-Marxist into his introduction, the jig would have been up.

This week's list of essential new albums includes one of the year's most anticipated releases – Anderson .Paak's Oxnard, plus Mariah Carey's Caution, a lost Glen Campbell record he made for Elvis, a career-spanning retrospective on the late singer Chris Cornell (Soundgarden, Audioslave), The Good, The Bad And The Queen's first new album in more than a decade and more. All Songs Considered's Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Rodney Carmichael, Lars Gotrich and Stephen Thompson as they run through the best releases out on Nov. 16.

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