News of the classical, jazz, and XPoNential worlds

Shovels & Rope On Mountain Stage

Nov 23, 2016

Shovels & Rope makes its third appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. That's not to be confused with Charleston, S.C., the place where Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst began playing roots-flavored garage rock almost a half-decade ago.

Bob Boilen and I, along with the rest of the NPR Music team, have been prepping for our year-end coverage by listening to hundreds of songs and albums in one big shared playlist. Along the way, we've all discovered stuff we hadn't heard before — and even fallen in love with some of it.

Formerly a member of the Water Liars, Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster delivers a more Southern sound with his new solo endeavor, Constant Stranger, which he recorded entirely on his own in Mississippi. Listen to two songs and download the full segment in the player above.

BADBADNOTGOOD knows its name is a little strange. The jazz group's bassist, Chester Hansen, says it invites jokes from nearly everyone the band meets. "It's probably the most punned name I have ever heard," he says.

Listen for the next All This Jazz, beginning at 9pm on Saturday the 19th, right here on Public Radio 89.5 KWGS-FM...and online by way of our "Listen Live" stream at ATJ delivers three hours of modern jazz -- across a range of styles -- each and every Saturday night, from 9 o'clock till midnight. (We also offer a 7pm re-airing of ATJ on Sunday evenings, on Jazz 89.5-2, which is Public Radio Tulsa's all-jazz HD Radio channel.)

Nellie Lutcher On Piano Jazz

Nov 18, 2016

Nellie Lutcher (1912 — 2007) started out playing piano at 15, but soon transitioned to singing. She built a career as a prominent jazz vocalist in the 1940s and 1950s with hits like "Fine Brown Frame."

Lutcher joined Marian McPartland for Piano Jazz in 1986. She performs two of her most popular compositions, "Hurry On Down" and "Real Gone Guy." McPartland solos on "Love Is The Sweetest Thing," and the two combine their talents on "I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues."

Classical music observers say we're living in a golden age of string quartets. It's hard to disagree when you hear the vibrant young players in New York's Attacca Quartet.

Appalachian old-time, folk and string-band music has too often been heard as the crude, naturalistic output of unstudied musicians who operate primarily on instinct. No duo has more profoundly recast those expectations over the last two decades than Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings, who've mainly performed under her name.

Foy Vance On Mountain Stage

Nov 16, 2016

Northern Irish singer-songwriter Foy Vance makes his first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live at Charleston, W.Va.'s Clay Center.

Julie Byrne's music was once the kind that suggested enclosed spaces, whether dusky lofts or deep-sea caverns. If you couldn't guess by the title, the New York-born songwriter's 2014 album Rooms With Walls And Windows (which compiled her self-titled cassette and You Would Love It Here) cataloged the domestic intimacies she experienced, first while residing in a Chicago show house, and later living alone in a small apartment with no cell phone or landline.

Wikimedia Commons, edited by Public Radio Tulsa Staff

Folk Salad will devote the entire show to the music of Leon Russell and Leonard Cohen, two music icons who died in the past few days.  Mark your calendar for this Sunday, November 20, 2016 for 7:00 p.m. to listen to Public Radio 89.5. 

Listen LIVE here

At 75, Chick Corea Still Has That Magic Touch

Nov 13, 2016

Here's hoping you can catch the next All This Jazz, beginning at 9pm on Saturday the 12th, right here on Public Radio 89.5 KWGS-FM...and online via live stream at Our program delivers three hours of recent and classic jazz, across a range of styles, each and every Saturday night -- from 9 o'clock till midnight. (We also offer a 7pm re-airing of ATJ on Sunday evenings, on Jazz 89.5-2, which is Public Radio Tulsa's all-jazz HD Radio channel.)

Richard Sudhalter On Piano Jazz

Nov 11, 2016

Richard Sudhalter (1938 — 2008) was a true Renaissance man of jazz. A top cornetist, he was also a respected critic, author, recording artist and featured guest at major jazz festivals. He co-wrote Bix: Man And Legend, which was nominated for a National Book Award, and in 1983 won a Grammy for his liner notes for Bunny Berigan: Giants Of Jazz.

Dan Tyminski and Ronnie Bowman perform on Mountain Stage, recorded live in Elkins, W.Va. Tyminski and Bowman are already two of the most beloved vocalists in bluegrass; when they appear on the same stage, it counts as a bona fide destination event for fans of roots music.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

In 2013, the Grammy-winning producer Ian Brennan and his wife, filmmaker Marilena Delli, traveled to the African country Malawi to record the music of inmates at the maximum-security Zomba Central Prison. They came back with a stunning collection of song-stories that made up the Grammy-nominated record I Have No Everything Here.

How Shirley Collins Got Her Voice Back

Nov 5, 2016

Joyce DiDonato is one of the most acclaimed opera singers of her generation; this year, she won the Grammy for Best Classical Vocal Solo. Her latest album, In War and Peace: Harmony Through Music, is a collection of baroque arias from the 17th and 18th centuries divided into two sections — one addressing war, the other, peace.

Imagine being a singer — in this case, a singer of traditional British folk songs and murder ballads, songs of love, hate, revenge, redemption and tragedy. And as the singer of these songs, you get pretty well known in the circles of folk music in the 1960s and 1970s.

Now, imagine a broken heart robs you of your ability to sing. For 38 years, your voice — once beautiful — falls silent.

This is the story of the great Shirley Collins.

Sir Roland Hanna On Piano Jazz

Nov 4, 2016

This 2003 Piano Jazz session with guest Sir Roland Hanna (1932 – 2002) was recorded before a live audience at the 2002 Tanglewood Jazz Festival. A subtle and insightful pianist, Hanna was a superb two-piano partner, as evidenced by his and Marian McPartland's performances of "I Get A Kick Out Of You" and "Blues In The Closet." In this session, Hanna uses his solid sense of rhythm as a springboard into exciting explorations of melody and harmony.

The Italian pianist and composer Ludovico Einaudi brought in a full band for a stunning live performance. He has a giant global following — and for good reason, as demonstrated by this rendition of his piece "Petricor."


  • "Petricor"

Photo: Larry Hirshowitz/KCRW. Watch Ludovico Einaudi's full Morning Becomes Eclectic set at

The Lush Life Of Billy Strayhorn

Nov 3, 2016

The fruitful collaboration between Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington is widely known to have brought us such classics as "Take The 'A' Train," "Chelsea Bridge" and "Isfahan." But behind the music, Strayhorn's life and identity were complex.

Patrick Jarenwattananon has been the backbone of our jazz coverage almost since NPR Music started in 2007. Patrick came to us as a 22-year-old intern and shortly after began covering legendary and rising jazz luminaries like a veteran journalist. His writing for A Blog Supreme captured the spirit of the jazz community and was a rich resource for thoughtful coverage on this living American musical culture.