Bob Boilen

In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.

Significant listener interest in the music being played on All Things Considered, along with his and NPR's vast music collections, gave Boilen the idea to start All Songs Considered. "It was obvious to me that listeners of NPR were also lovers of music, but what also became obvious by 1999 was that the web was going to be the place to discover new music and that we wanted to be the premiere site for music discovery." The show launched in 2000, with Boilen as its host.

Before coming to NPR, Boilen found many ways to share his passion for music. From 1982 to 1986 he worked for Baltimore's Impossible Theater, where he held many posts, including composer, technician, and recording engineer. Boilen became part of music history in 1983 with the Impossible Theater production Whiz Bang, a History of Sound. In it, Boilen became one of the first composers to use audio sampling — in this case, sounds from nature and the industrial revolution. He was interviewed about Whiz Bang by Susan Stamberg on All Things Considered.

In 1985, the Washington City Paper voted Boilen 'Performance Artist of the Year.' An electronic musician, he received a grant from the Washington D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities to work on electronic music and performance.

After Impossible Theater, Boilen worked as a producer for a television station in Washington, D.C. He produced several projects, including a music video show. In 1997, he started producing an online show called Science Live for the Discovery Channel. He also put out two albums with his psychedelic band, Tiny Desk Unit, during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Boilen still composes and performs music and posts it for free on his website BobBoilen.info. He performs contradance music and has a podcast of contradance music that he produces with his son Julian.

Longtime NPR fans may remember another contribution Boilen made to NPR. He composed the original theme music for NPR's Talk of the Nation.

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All Songs Considered Blog
5:03 am
Mon July 9, 2012

Put Down The Camera And Watch The Show ... Really?

Concertgoers at Webster Hall in New York City during a show by M83 on Nov. 22, 2011.
Loren Wohl for NPR

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 7:47 pm

I try and see music as much as I can. I've been going to the 9:30 Club since it opened. In fact, I was in the first band to ever play the club. So when I walked in the front doors of the club to see an M. Ward show recently, I was surprised that I, along with everyone else getting their hand stamped, received the following marching orders: "Tonight, no photography or videos. Including cell phones."

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All Songs Considered Blog
5:01 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

'Big Easy Express': Three Bands, One Train, A Ton Of Music

Bryan Ling

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 7:25 am

Attention fans of Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Mumford & Sons and Old Crow Medicine Show: You are bound for glory! Big Easy Express is a new film featuring all three bands and their whistle-stop journey from Oakland to New Orleans aboard a vintage train.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
4:33 pm
Mon June 25, 2012

Reggie Watts: Tiny Desk Concert

Mito Habe-Evans NPR

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 9:06 am

It's hard to pick a favorite Tiny Desk Concert from the hundreds we've done, but this could be the one. For me, music is best when it surprises, takes chances and makes me smile. Comedian and musician Reggie Watts performed three "songs" at the NPR Music offices, all of them spontaneous improvisations and all of them playful, even magical.

Watts came with a simple setup of loop pedals, delay pedals and a microphone. He laid down the beats and bass, entirely with his voice, and built up layers of sound, melody and rhythm — more like a magician than a musician.

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Live in Concert
4:23 pm
Wed June 13, 2012

The Beach Boys In Concert

TUCSON, AZ - APRIL 24: Musicians Brian Wilson, Al Jardine, Mike Love, David Marks and Bruce Johnston perform during the Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Concert Tour at the Anselmo Valencia Amphitheater on April 24, 2012 in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Mike Moore/Getty Images)
Mike Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 13, 2012 5:18 pm

Back in early May, I went to the Beacon Theatre in New York City to see The Beach Boys' 50th-anniversary tour. I expected a decent show, but it was so much more than that: It was breathtaking.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
8:03 am
Mon June 11, 2012

Daniel Johnston: Tiny Desk Concert

Claire O'Neill NPR

Originally published on Mon June 11, 2012 9:47 am

Daniel Johnston is a troubled soul with a talent for writing honest, disarmingly direct songs. Kurt Cobain famously wore a T-shirt with the title of a Johnston cassette on it, while Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips ranks among his many musical admirers. M.

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