The 33-year-old frontman of Robert Randolph & The Family Band has strong roots in gospel music. As a kid, he grew up attending the House of God church in Orange, N.J. That's where he first played the "sacred steel" guitar, a driving force behind the band's soulful new album, Lickety Split.
In the 1920s, African-American Pentecostal churches began using the steel guitar in place of an organ. From there, it became an instrument that helped usher in a new gospel style.
Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 6:38 am
Last Thursday Mark Arm was on the top of the Space Needle; two days later, he was riding around in a golf car full of trash. Truth in criticism: I never actually saw the Mudhoney singer in the vehicle to which his name was affixed (the sign read: "MR. ARM") scooting around the streets of Georgetown, the Seattle industrial neighborhood where Sub Pop Records held its Silver Jubilee mini-festival on Saturday. But I did see it hauling recyclables and getting stopped by numerous concertgoers snapping phone photos.
Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 9:43 am
Canadian Danny Michel is a veteran songwriter with a lengthy career: The folk-rock musician, whose voice recalls that of Paul Simon, already has nine albums to his name. But his latest record, Blackbirds Are Dancing Over Me, is a little bit different. In 2012, Michel relocated to Belize in order to work with The Garifuna Collective, a group of musicians who carry on soulful traditions surrounding the history of their West African ancestors.
For the next year, NPR will take a musical journey across America, which is one of the most religiously diverse countries on earth. We want to discover and celebrate the many ways in which people make spiritual music — individually and collectively, inside and outside houses of worship.
Earlier this week week we asked you to look ahead 20 years from now, and guess what music from today you'll be the most nostalgic about. There were some great suggestions, including Wilco, Outkast and Sufjan Stevens.