One of the best parts of our "jobs" here at the World Cafe is when we discover inspiring new music. Whether it's a singer-songwriter, an indie rock band or an underground rapper, there's so much creativity swirling around in the music ecosystem.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club has that quintessential rock and roll swagger. The band is celebrating its 20th anniversary, but to say that the members celebrate things seems inaccurate. They're fighters. They're defiant, even a bit skeptical. All the pomp and circumstance of a 20th anniversary would be overly indulgent.
Siddhartha Khosla has tiptoed into the tear ducts of millions of Americans. He's done it with such delicate genius that even if you've invited the cast of This Is Us into your living room weekly since the show began, you might not have noticed Siddhartha enter along with them. But to watch the show is to feel his presence and to experience both his heart and his own sense of family.
If you've ever wished you could be a fly on the wall at a recording session with Jimi Hendrix, it doesn't get much closer than this. From a technical standpoint, Eddie Kramer plugged in the wires, pulled the faders and placed the mics in studio with Hendrix. From a spiritual standpoint, he's responsible for capturing the electric genius of one of rock and roll's greatest.
If BØRNS has done his job right, what you see at one of his shows will inspire you to "have a party and get weird." And really, what more could we ask for from someone who uses his stratospheric voice to rip through off-kilter electro-pop?
Caitlyn Smith has a voice that grabs you the first time you hear it. Her high register conjures thoughts of purple mountain majesty. When she drops into a murmur, it feels like she's telling you a secret she's never told anyone before. Considering those pipes, it's surprising that it took Smith 15 years to find her footing in Nashville.
I moved from my hometown of Toronto, Canada to Philadelphia to work at WXPN's World Cafe in October 2016. Remember October 2016? The election cycle had reached fever pitch,so there was a lot of political coverage to keep up with and make sense of. At the time, the NPR Politics Podcast was releasing daily dispatches that became part of my essential audio diet.
The first thing people notice about Marlon Williams is his voice. It's powerful and deep. There are the obvious comparisons to people like Roy Orbison, but it's clear Williams has more to offer than just a sound. His self-titled debut album made people realize, 'Hey, this guy can clearly write some songs.'