Guitarist Ernest Ranglin is an elder statesman of Jamaican music. A self-styled composer and improviser, he has traveled and collaborated widely during his 80 years. In California last year, he teamed up with three much younger musicians from South Africa, the U.S. and Israel. The four musicians bonded and quickly recorded an album, named for the San Francisco street where they rehearsed: Avila.
Love songs are like the meat and potatoes of most rock and pop music, but sometimes you need something different. For the band Delta Rae from Durham, N.C., inspiration for new material comes from stuff like graveyards and being stuck in the wrong job.
Delta Rae is a six-piece band that includes three siblings: Ian, Eric and Brittany Holljes. Their music is like a kind of modern folklore.
Singer-songwriter Tim Easton makes his third appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks. Originally from Ohio, Easton has traveled extensively since leaving his college-era bands to concentrate on a solo career.
Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 11:38 am
David Wax Museum fuses traditional Mexican and American folk music into what the band calls "Mexo-Americana" — a style that's lively and unique. David Wax and Suz Slezak, the band's core members, met in Boston in 2007. After spending summers working with Quakers in rural Mexico, Wax spent a graduate fellowship year studying the local music of Mexico.
Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 3:37 pm
Pianist Cyrus Chestnut took his time making a name for himself on the jazz scene: For a decade starting in the mid-1980s, he apprenticed as pianist for Jon Hendricks, Betty Carter, Donald Harrison and Wynton Marsalis. But since then, he's toured the world and recorded 15 albums as a bandleader.
In this performance and interview, Cyrus describes his gospel roots and his discovery of jazz, and discusses how he approaches interpreting other composers' music.
Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 9:01 am
Singer-songwriter Iris DeMent was born the youngest child of a large Pentecostal family in rural Arkansas, and later moved to Southern California. DeMent grew up listening to traditional country and gospel music, which influenced her roots-folk sound, though she was 25 when she wrote her first song. It would take another five years for her to release her first album, Infamous Angel.
Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 12:40 pm
The string-laden indie-folk band Horse Feathers makes its second appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks. Centering on the soft vocals and guitar of Justin Ringle, Horse Feathers' "chamber folk" sound is crafted with the assistance of cellist Lauren Vidal, violinist Angie Kuzma, Dustin Dybvig on drums and piano, and Nathan Crockett on violin, mandolin and the musical saw.
For all the plot development in the series' infancy, last Sunday's episode of Treme was unusually saturated in live performances. The second half of the episode, especially, seemed like one concert after another. Here with me to recap the musical goings-on is WBGO's Josh Jackson.
Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 12:07 pm
Most would agree that Vagn Holmboe (1909-1996) was Denmark's greatest symphonist after Carl Nielsen and Rued Langgaard. So it's something of an occasion that the three chamber symphonies from the latter half of his career finally see the light of day on this new release on the Dacapo label.
Without a wasted note, this is rigorously compact, sinewy music that grows on you with each listening. The composer's principle of thematic metamorphosis is evident throughout these world premiere recordings.