And now we continue our summer song series. We're talking to Gwen Thompkins, host of the program "Music Inside Out," which is heard on member station WWNO in New Orleans. She's introducing us to a handful of contemporary artists who've offered a new take on some old classics. Allen Toussaint has been writing songs and shaping the New Orleans rhythm and blues and rock sound since he was a teenager. Now he's in his 70s and he's experimenting with jazz. And Gwen Thompkins is back with us. Hi, Gwen.
Originally published on Sat August 10, 2013 8:12 am
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the heavily taped packages that can't be opened without the aid of a utility knife and a blowtorch is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives. This week: an array of tips for anyone hoping to launch and sustain a career in music journalism.
Originally published on Fri August 16, 2013 2:55 pm
In a sense, Alela Diane's new album About Farewell represents both a new beginning and a return to form. The Portland, Ore., singer-songwriter's fourth record is a candid collection that finds her adopting a contemplative tone, especially compared to the meatier full-band sounds of 2011's Alela Diane & Wild Divine.
The new record contains the most personal songs Diane has written, and with good reason: Her recent divorce from Wild Divine bandmate Tom Bevitori serves as a constant inspiration, though not always in a direct way.
Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 12:46 pm
We forget to listen closer, look closer. As a big-picture kind of guy, I do that myself, and that means missing details that make day-to-day life more vivid. Listening to High Aura'd, it's apparent that creator John Kolodij hears life with great clarity. Last year's Sanguine Features was a personal favorite of mine: a dark and buzzing LP that, when turned up loud, felt like a dark hallway with treasures tucked away in the corners.