Singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen makes his 10th appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown. One of roots music's most beloved and enduring performers, Keen first gained notice for his holiday song "Merry Christmas From the Family." But it was the release of his album Picnic in 1997 that demonstrated his depth as a songwriter — and helped herald the coming of the Americana genre.
The world is catching up with Katie Crutchfield and Waxahatchee, and with good reason. Her shows at SXSW, including an NPR showcase, were greeted rapturously. Her new album, Cerulean Salt, is a sonic leap forward from her debut, American Weekend, which was recorded in a bedroom in Alabama.
With eight accomplished musicians from Argentina and Uruguay, and a sound rooted in tango traditions, Bajofondo lays out a visual and aural feast. Led by Oscar and Grammy winner Gustavo Santaolalla, the group mashes up traditional candombe sounds and other forms with electronica to produce a mix that's hypnotic and danceable.
This is FRESH AIR. We're going to remember the record producer and engineer Phil Ramone who died Saturday at the age of 79. He won 14 Grammys. He started his career as an engineer, recording singers like Lesley Gore, Dusty Springfield and Dionne Warwick. He went on to produce recordings by Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Barbara Streisand, Ray Charles and Tony Bennett as well as the original cast recording of Stephen Sondheim's "Passion."
I love live music. But figuring out who's coming to town and when and where isn't so easy. I could go to every club's website to compile a list of upcoming shows, but that'd be cumbersome. Newspaper listing are often incomplete, don't look ahead and certainly don't filter or highlight who's in town based on my musical tastes.