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There's something nearly unhinged about Weaves' music. Some of that is in the frenetic guitar of Morgan Waters and the way it contrasts with the swaying-in-the-breeze feel of singer Jasmyn Burke. But then it can all turn upside-down in a hurry — the guitar becomes almost lyrical as Burke sings:

A portion of popcorn that's popping and shopping for fresh hands

Distortion is motion that's ridden forbidden

Don't you dare, don't you dare

You're so coo coo I'm so coo coo

The Thistle & Shamrock: Songs Of The Times

Jun 9, 2016

Old ballads offer fascinating glimpses into the past, but what do today's songwriters say about our contemporary concerns? Hear timely songs by Karan Casey, the Paul McKenna Band, Karine Polwart and more.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop visited NPR's offices on what may well be 2016's most beautiful day so far: perfectly warm and sunny, uncharacteristically dry, and perfect for lounging happily on the roof deck just around the corner from the Tiny Desk. Hoop and Beam did just that, hanging out amiably for hours after their show ended, as part of one of the most comfortable and relaxing days in the history of NPR Music.

Barry Douglas knows a few things about handing down traditions. In this Tiny Desk performance, he passes along the musical heritage of his Irish homeland in the form of old Celtic songs he's arranged for solo piano.

It's been a joy to hear the music of Andrew Bird shift and change. Bird's early music, from the late '90s, was steeped in hot jazz and blues music from the early days of the phonograph, then later shifted to new technologies using loop pedals to layer voice, whistling and violin. His lyrics often have a calculated quality, filled with abundant wordplay and observations.

Carrie Rodriguez has been many things: a classically trained violinist turned American fiddler, a duet partner to veteran songwriter Chip Taylor, a successful and popular solo artist in her own right. On occasion, those roles have allowed her Mexican-American roots to bubble to the surface — perhaps in a line sung in Spanish, or through a reference to a classic mariachi song.

Join The Thistle & Shamrock host Fiona Ritchie at the Swannanoa Gathering in the North Carolina mountains for more highlights from her many musical encounters at Traditional Song Week.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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