With this session, the band Loamlands — which hails from North Carolina and has singer and songwriter Kym Register at its center — makes its World Cafe debut. The band's debut album, Sweet High Rise, represents two very important changes for Register's songwriting. First, Loamlands' music has evolved from its folk-punk beginnings toward a classic-rock sound as Register realized they actually loved the kinds of music that most punks might scorn.
Bobby Rush is one of the last living blues legends of his generation. He toured the South and the chitlin' circuit in the '50s and was often forced to perform music behind a curtain for white audiences. Shortly before the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Rush heard through fellow Chicago bluesman J.B.
David Crosby's been inducted into in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, with The Byrds and with Crosby, Stills and Nash. He has one of the most revered voices of our time — and at 75, even with his legendary lifestyle, it sounds as good as it ever has.
Shirley Collins' recent World Cafe session is a perfect jumping-off point for exploring the world of British folk and folk-rock in the 1960s. Bands like Fairport Convention and artists like Richard Thompson got their start as "British Byrds" with electrified folk tunes.
The British folk-rock band The Levellers was DIY before anyone called it that. It formed in Brighton in 1988, when its members were still squatters, and built a career that, by 1994, had landed the band a gig on the main stage at Glastonbury and a U.S. contract with Elektra Records.
Shirley Collins has been a servant of folk songs — mostly from the U.K., some collected in her native Sussex — throughout her life. Born in 1935, she made some of the most important recordings in British folk and folk-rock through the '60s and '70s. She recorded on her own, with her sister Dolly and then with her second husband, Ashley Hutchings, in The Albion Dance Band.
The singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega was born and raised in New York City and is known for wonderfully articulate work like the breakthrough song "Luka," which earned her several Grammy nominations in 1987. Vega has a forthcoming play called Lover, Beloved: An Evening With Carson McCullers,based off an earlier play that she wrote and starred in. Her new album is Lover, Beloved: Songs From An Evening With Carson McCullers.
Now that the new year's well under way, World Cafe hosts David Dye and Talia Schlanger share their most anticipated upcoming releases of 2017. Their picks include new music from Sampha, who served as the secret sauce on some of the best R&B tracks of the past year, and from instrumental geniuses Chris Thile and Brad Mehldau, who've melded minds for a double album that comes out later this month.
Robbie Robertson is a gifted storyteller who's best known as the guitarist and chief songwriter of The Band. His career started at age 16, when Arkansas R&B and rockabilly roadmaster Ronnie Hawkins drafted the Torontonian into his band, The Hawks.