NPR Music

Sponsored by the Americana Music Association, the 19th annual Americana Music Festival & Conference features a broad range of music showcases from diverse musicians in alt-country, roots-rock, bluegrass, R&B, blues, folk and singer-songwriters, as well as dozens of day time industry panels.

Sponsored by the Americana Music Association, the 19th annual Americana Music Festival & Conference features a broad range of music showcases from diverse musicians in alt-country, roots-rock, bluegrass, R&B, blues, folk and singer-songwriters, as well as dozens of day time industry panels.

Sonny Landreth On Mountain Stage

Sep 7, 2018

Raised in Lafayette, La. renowned guitarist Sonny Landreth was inspired in his late teens by seeing three influential musicians; B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix, and Clifton Chenier. This would shape the inventive nature of his slide-guitar playing, using his signature techniques to gain expansive sounds that are as much fun to see as they are to hear.

Ry Cooder On World Cafe

Sep 7, 2018

For Ry Cooder, records were not only a first love, but an escape. As a boy growing up in Santa Monica, Calif. in the 1950's, listening to records was a lens into a wider world. He says the first albums that caught his imagination were from traveling blues and gospel musicians.

The Mountain Goats have surprise-released an EP today called Hex of Infinite Binding. "I used to release a whole bunch of EPs," singer John Darnielle says in a press release about the four new songs. "I miss the general spiritual realm of the EP and am hereby centering an intention to spend more time thereat. These songs represent, in part, the first salvo of my resolve."

The Americana Music Festival gets underway in Nashville on Tuesday, Sept. 11 and runs through Sunday, Sept. 16. Sponsored by the Americana Music Association, the 19th annual Americana Music Festival & Conference features a broad range of music showcases from diverse musicians in alt-country, roots-rock, bluegrass, R&B, blues, folk and singer-songwriters, as well as dozens of day time industry panels.

Paul Simon says he's ready to stop touring and retire from music. But first, he's going back through his discography to do a little tinkering.

This week's essential new releases includes Paul McCartney's best album in 20 years, the funk and disco of St. Paul & The Broken Bones, dark and twisted sounds from the rap duo $UICIDEBOY$ and more. All Songs Considered's Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Ann Powers, Lars Gotrich, Marissa Lorusso, Stephen Thompson and Rodney Carmichael.

Featured Albums:

  1. St. Paul & The Broken Bones: Young Sick Camellia
    Featured Song: "Got It Bad"

This week, join host Fiona Ritchie for more new recordings that have arrived through the summer months, just waiting for an hour of your time. Some of the featured artists included are Low Lily, The Tannahill Weavers, the Yves Lambert Trio, and Open the Door for Three.

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

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.


Low began in 1993 as an exercise in restraint, with songs that rang out softly, clearly and, above all, slowly. Giving each isolated note space to reverberate, Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker wrung intense drama from songs that could be unsettlingly spare, lyrically vague and, at times, almost unnervingly pretty.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

On the coffee table of his cozy East Nashville apartment, Aaron Lee Tasjan has a notebook open to autobiographical scrawling — it's a kind of cheat sheet to his musical past, which he prepared, with his mother's help, just in case he forgot anything during his interview with NPR. To be fair, it isn't all that simple to retrace his weaving, winding musical path. The singer-songwriter tried out a variety of musical niches, cities and scenes before landing in Nashville.

Wayne Kramer has seen some things. He saw the Detroit Riots of 1967 firsthand when a tank rolled up to the house he was staying at. He oversaw a career in crime and therefore got a good, long look at the inside of prison cell. And, most notably, he survived decades of addiction.

At 76, Paul Simon has been writing music for more than 60 years. And all that's about to come to an end.

Leave it to Matt Mays to infuse a daytime studio visit with the spirit of a super sweaty, late night at your favorite dive bar. Mays performs big rock songs from his latest album Once Upon a Hell of a Time featuring the sound of three simultaneous guitars and one heck of a growl. Mays credits Melissa Cross' "The Zen of Screaming" with saving his vocal life.

For the last 25 years, WXPN in Philadelphia, where we produce World Cafe, has been presenting a three-day music event, the XPoNential Music Festival. This year, over the weekend of July 27, 28 and 29, more than 30 bands performed.

Meg Myers makes explosive, aggressive rock coupled with synthesizers, strings and plenty of distortion. Her music is a bit like Nine Inch Nails got into a fight with Pixies — the latter of whom she's toured with — and threw some incredibly dynamic vocals into the mix.

All Songs Considered's Robin Hilton talks with NPR Music's Ann Powers and Stephen Thompson about the essential new albums out on Aug. 31, including music from Big Red Machine (a new side project of Bon Iver's Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner of The National), the pop paradise of singer Troye Sivan, a tribute to Roger Miller and more.

Featured Albums

  1. Big Red Machine: Big Red Machine
    Featured Song: "Air Stryp"
  2. Troye Sivan: Bloom
    Featured Song: "Seventeen"

They're vulnerable and fearless, filled with love but in pain, thoughtful but prone to cathartic outbursts. IDLES is the best 21st century punk-ish band I've heard. Where most outlandish bands spit out lyrics as one-line headlines, IDLES are tellers of truthful tales.

Laurie Lewis And The Right Hands On Mountain Stage

Aug 30, 2018

A pioneering woman in bluegrass music, Laurie Lewis first fell in love with old-time, folk and bluegrass music at the Berkeley Music Festival in her home state of California. It was there she first saw artists like Doc Watson, Jean Ritchie, Gary Davis and John Hurt. She has released 20 albums since her debut recording in 1986, she's been producer for 14 recordings and has become a passionate educator, teaching at camps and workshops around the country.

"What inspired this song?" That's one of the most basic questions we ask artists when they share new music. Sometimes that question leads to an interesting answer, sometimes it leads to a cryptic answer, but rarely does it lead to a flight across the country to spend a day at the zoo with a remarkable nearly 9-year-old girl and her family.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Bandcamp playlist at the bottom of the page.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

The Thistle & Shamrock: ThistleRadio New

Aug 29, 2018

When the Celtic rhythms go quiet on your radio, you can always stream great songs and tunes through the night and day on ThistleRadio. Hear some of the recently added music from The Unwanted, Luka Bloom and Daygan.

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

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