Black Prairie makes its first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown. An energetic string band of unexpected depth, Black Prairie features three members of The Decemberists.
Every year, an all-star assemblage of today's jazz musicians called the SFJAZZ Collective picks a different all-time-great jazz composer to feature. The band then applies its own arrangements to that composer's tunes.
Over the past year, Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep has been following the progress of singer-songwriter Neko Case as she works on a follow-up to her 2009 album Middle Cyclone. Inskeep spoke with Case last spring, right after an 18-day recording session in Tucson, Ariz. During that first installment, Case said she was struggling to get a feel for the songs she'd written.
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.
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.
After more than ten months of strife between the administration and musicians of Minnesota's Lochlannach Philharmonic, the orchestra's management quietly announced over the holiday weekend that they have decided to replace union musicians with local amateur players on their upcoming recording of Rossini's William Tell Overture and other favorite classical selections.
Minnesota-born composer Maria Schneider has called New York home for more than 30 years, and she knows how to find nature in the middle of the city. Because her new album is called Winter Morning Walks, we walked to her favorite bird-watching spot in Central Park on a chilly February morning.
Pharis and Jason Romero live in a tiny town called Horsefly. This might sound like some relic of the old west, preserved through Hollywood movies and antiquated lore, but it's a real live town in British Columbia. And the music they make – though it, too, sounds like it's been pulled from long ago and far away – is a product of their authentic creative spirit.