Robin Hilton

Robin Hilton is the producer and co-host for the popular NPR Music show All Songs Considered.

In addition to his work on All Songs, Hilton curates NPR Music's First Listen series, a weekly showcase of select albums you can read about and hear in their entirety before they're officially released.

Prior to joining NPR in 2000, Hilton co-founded Small Good Thing Productions, a non-profit production company for independent film, radio and music in Athens, GA.

Hilton lived and worked in Japan as an interpreter for the government, and taught English as a second language to junior high school students.

From 1989 to 1996, Hilton worked for NPR member stations KANU and WUGA as a senior producer and assistant news director and was a long-time contributing reporter to NPR's daily news programs All Things Considered and Morning Edition.

Hilton is also a multi-instrumentalist and composer. His original scores have appeared in work from National Geographic, Center Stage and in films, including the documentary Open Secret. Hilton also arranged and performed the theme for NPR's Weekend All Things Considered. You can hear more of his music here.

Along the way, Hilton worked as an emergency room orderly, a blackjack dealer and a fruitcake factory assembly lineman.

Vermont folksinger Sam Amidon says he intentionally borrowed lines from older songs for his new mountain ballad "As I Roved Out." The result is an erratic narrative, played out brilliantly in an absorbing (and comical) new video about a

Singer and violinist Emily Wells was one of our favorite discoveries at last year's South by Southwest music festival. Her 2012 album Mama was a surprising and beautiful mix of hip-hop beats and strings, with folk-flavored pop arrangements. Now Wells is back with a re-imagined, all-acoustic version of Mama, with the songs stripped bare and her voice more fragile than ever.

Guitarist and singer Chris Porterfield has done a lot of soul searching since his previous band, DeYarmond Edison, broke up in 2006. Other guys in the group went on to start their own projects — Justin Vernon formed Bon Iver, while some of the other members formed Megafaun. Porterfield, meanwhile, hung back in his native Milwaukee and took a job as a student union administrator at Marquette Univeristy.

Veteran producer Joe Boyd says he'd long resisted putting together some sort of tribute album for his late friend, the legendary folksinger Nick Drake. But he finally decided to make one when Boyd realized that the recordings could be captured in a live concert. "In my opinion, the only way to make a tribute record work is to get everyone together in the same place so there's a unity of sound and spirit," he tells us in an email.

The latest tease from this fall's upcoming collection of remixed Philip Glass tunes comes from Beck. The 20-minute song, "NYC: 73-78," includes snippets from more than 20 Glass songs, which Beck cut together and re-imagined.

My favorite new artist seems to change week to week, or sometimes even day to day. It turns out there's a lot of great music being made. But for now, my new favorite is Dana Falconberry. She's been putting out records for a few years, but only popped up on my radar this week. She's got a fantastic new record coming out soon called Leelanau, which includes this meticulously crafted little gem, "Crooked River."

NPR Music will hit the road later this month and head north to Newport, R.I., where we'll live broadcast and webcast two weekends of concerts from the Newport Folk and Newport Jazz festivals. Our folk coverage begins with a live webcast of Wilco on Friday night, Jul. 27.

The story of English folk singer Bill Fay is both heartbreaking and inspiring. A gifted songwriter with a profoundly affecting voice, Fay released a couple of albums in the early '70s. But they didn't sell very well, he was dropped by his label and largely disappeared.

I haven't been able to listen to Vic Chesnutt's music much since he took his own life on Christmas Day, 2009. It's just been too heartbreaking. But on a recent, chilly Spring night in D.C. I had my iPod on random and Vic's song "Aunt Avis" came up. It was one of those seemingly innocuous moments when you're off in your own little world and something hits you out of the blue.