World Cafe

Weeknights at 7pm
  • Hosted by David Dye

The premier public radio showcase for contemporary music serving up an eclectic blend that includes blues, rock, world, folk, and alternative country. 

In this session, we slip into the world of Emily Haines and The Soft Skeleton. Haines is the lead singer of the electro-tinged rock and roll band Metric, but in her solo work you won't find any wailing guitars or radical synths — the spotlight shines right on her voice and the work of art that is her songwriting.

Hear Emily Haines, solo on the piano, in the player above.

When Rory Graham was 19 or 20 years old, he sang in public for the first time. And he didn't really think there was anything special about his voice. Turns out, the world disagrees.

In this session we welcome JD McPherson, the Oklahoman who made retro rock sound modern with "North Side Gal." There's a reason his new album Undivided Heart & Soul sounds different. McPherson uprooted his family from Oklahoma to Nashville, Tenn., and ended up making the new album at the historic RCA Studio B — whose walls have soaked up music from major country acts for decades. Elvis, Charley Pride, Floyd Cramer: They all recorded there. In fact, the studio is a museum in the daytime.

Kyle Jahnke and Andy Baxter, collectively known as Penny & Sparrow, are pin-drop performers, the kind which silence rooms with impeccable songs and storytelling that unfolds like a dream. The duo has amassed a devoted following in six years, and traveled from Austin, Texas to Muscle Shoals, Ala., now splitting its time between the two musical centers.

Ever hear a song that you know you've heard performed by another artist and wonder: Who did it first? Well, we are tackling that question in an ongoing series, "Me and My Shadows," where we pair original songs with covers that might just blow your musical mind.

Some covers bring together artists from completely different sonic worlds, like The English Beat's ska take on Smokey Robinson and The Miracles' Motown classic "Tears of a Clown." Other covers make you hear a song you've heard many times before in a totally new way — see Aurora's take on David Bowie's "Life on Mars."

What do you get when you cross an Australian post-punk drummer with a lute player who is the descendant of Greek musical royalty? Easy: Today's guests Xylouris White!

Xylouris is George Xylouris, from a famed family of musicians based in a mountain shepherding village on the Greek island of Crete. George has been a professional musician since he was 12.

White is Jim White, an Australian post-punk drummer with a deft touch, able to go from thunderous to tender on a dime. Jim held it down in the instrumental trio Dirty Three, and has also backed Cat Power and PJ Harvey.

In this session, you've got front-row seats to a mini concert by Combo Chimbita, who absolutely lit up the World Cafe with what they call "tropical futurism." What does that mean? You're about to hear it in action. But, just so you know what you're in for, Combo Chimbita uses cumbia as a building block but they get psychedelic, trippy and downright freaky, with an inventive combination of rhythms and sounds from Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America.

Bette Smith grew up in a rough neighborhood in Brooklyn: Bedford–Stuyvesant, pre-Mayor Giuliani. Her father was a church choir director who once had to protect his kids by running out of the house waving a two-by-four. He taught Bette to sing. He also taught her that a career in music outside the church was wrong, and it wasn't until after he died that Bette really pursued music. She'll tell the story of coming to that decision, and what she imagines her late parents might think of what's she's doing now.

In this session, we've got Bootsy in the house, baby! Bootsy Collins has a new album, his first in six years, called World Wide Funk. Bootsy grew up in Ohio and turned to the bass as his instrument because his older brother Catfish grabbed the guitar first. The two had a group together, and later became James Brown's backing band, The J.B.'s.

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