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
1:54 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Old Music Tuesday: Paul McCartney's 'Ram'

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 2:31 pm

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Tiny Desk Concerts
10:01 am
Thu May 17, 2012

Arborea: Tiny Desk Concert

Doriane Raiman NPR

I discovered Arborea amid a sea of 1,300 songs that I heard in preparation for South by Southwest. The music stood out for its calm beauty, its rough edges, and the duo's ability to speak eloquently of life's precious moments, about the sea, and about wonder.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
11:52 am
Mon May 14, 2012

Pedro Soler And Gaspar Claus: Tiny Desk Concert

Doriane Raiman NPR

Originally published on Mon May 14, 2012 12:32 pm

Music can be a beautiful conversation — rarely is that more evident than in this Tiny Desk Concert performance with the father-son duo of Pedro Soler and Gaspar Claus. Soler plays a delicate, intimate version of flamenco guitar, while his son turns the cello into an exquisitely expressive voice. Though 45 years separate them, pay attention to how they communicate. Music as a living language, and an invisible emotional exchange, is clearly apparent in these improvisational compositions.

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All Songs Considered Blog
2:35 pm
Fri May 11, 2012

Song Premiere: Neil Young Sets 'Americana' On Fire

Americana's cover art.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat May 12, 2012 4:43 pm

You've never heard "She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain" quite like this. For their first album together in nine years, Neil Young and Crazy Horse have taken classic American folk music and reinvigorated these songs with muscle, radiance and a whole lot of electric guitar. Some songs from the 19th century include "Oh Susanna" (no banjo here) and "Tom Dula" (you may know it better as "Tom Dooley").

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All Songs Considered Blog
9:54 am
Fri May 11, 2012

The Beach Boys: 2062

The Beach Boys on their 50th Anniversary tour. (L-R) Brian Wilson, David Marks, Mike Love and Al Jardine.
Larry Marano Getty Images

Originally published on Sun May 13, 2012 8:47 am

On Wednesday night in New York, I saw The Beach Boys play a concert. Now, if someone back in 1962 told you that the band would be still making music in 2012, you'd think them crazy. But I'm here now to tell you that you'll be able to see The Beach Boys perform in 2062.

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