NPR Music

Tiny Desk Concerts
8:03 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Lucinda Williams: Tiny Desk Concert

Susan Hale Thomas NPR

She came to the Tiny Desk a little unsure, and left singing "West Memphis" with intensity and passion. Lucinda Williams has a voice like no other, and it shines in these intimate moments.

Williams is on a roll with a new double album, Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone, which is filled with fresh and beautiful songs — all this from a songwriter known for working at a deliberate pace. Hearing her perform these new songs with her brilliant band was a rare and exciting treat.

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Music Interviews
4:11 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

In The Still Of The Night, There's A Riot In Garth Brooks

In his early 50s, after a long hiatus, the country singer has a new album and is touring. "Music keeps you eternally young," he says. "It just does."
Daniel Boczarski Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 6:58 pm

There was a long stretch in country music when there was no bigger star than Garth Brooks. He ruled the country charts throughout the '90s, filled stadiums, played 250 to 300 shows a year. In 2001, he called it off. He retired from the road and the studio, and went back home to Oklahoma to be a dad to his three young daughters.

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The Thistle & Shamrock
1:53 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

The Thistle & Shamrock: Alan Reid

Alan Reid.
Courtesy of the artist

Three decades after her journey into national radio started, host Fiona Ritchie meets up with the man who was her very first interview: Alan Reid, known for his long career with the legendary Battlefield Band.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

A Blog Supreme
9:57 am
Fri December 19, 2014

An Upset Either Way: Steve Lehman And Wadada Leo Smith Triumph

Wadada Leo Smith finished second in the NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll, separated by only 12 points from surprise winner Steve Lehman.
Scott Groller Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun December 21, 2014 6:17 pm

Could anyone have predicted that Steve Lehman and Wadada Leo Smith would place first and second in this year's NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll, among a field including previous winners Sonny Rollins, Vijay Iyer and Jason Moran, plus 2011 runner-up (and favorite going in) Ambrose Akinmusire? Not me, and I even had Lehman and Smith on my ballot, along with Rollins and Akinmusire.

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The Record
3:57 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

On 'The Pinkprint,' Nicki Minaj Speaks The Language Of Love

Nicki Minaj, in a still from her video for "Only."
Courtesy of the artist

The Pinkprint is just a record, as far as hip-hop is concerned. Nothing more, nothing less. But for Nicki Minaj, it's a career-defining moment. Even after she weathered a storm of rap critic scolds unhappy with her for completely crossing over the line she once straddled so well, the dance-pop successes of her last album, Roman Reloaded, overshadowed her artistic credibility. How would she bounce back? As Nicki well knows, hip-hop will only take it so far.

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The Record
3:11 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Redman On Music And Marijuana: Now Is The Time For Some Action

Redman onstage at the Best Buy Theater in New York City on November 26th, 2014.
Polina Yamshchikov for NPR

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 3:23 pm

Quick survey: you're going to the Word Wide Rollers Tour, presented by a group of weed connoisseurs called the Smoker's Club. Among the featured performers is a rapper named Berner and a DJ named TreeJay. The tour poster shows a Smokey the Bear type blunting in the woods. What do you pack?

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The Record
11:58 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Listen To 'The Eye,' A New Song By Brandi Carlile

Brandi Carlile's fifth studio album, The Firewatcher's Daughter, will be out on March 3.
David McClister Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 12:45 pm

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Music Articles
2:03 am
Sun December 14, 2014

Charli XCX's Stockholm Scream Led To One Big 'Sucker'

"I just sort of screamed into a microphone for ages," the British pop singer Charli XCX says of the time leading up to Sucker.
Bella Howard Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 2:50 pm

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The Record
10:43 am
Fri December 12, 2014

In 2014, Pop Followed Beyonce's Lead

Beyonce's performance during the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards in August included clips of a speech about feminism by author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Kevin Winter/MTV1415 Getty Images for MTV

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 5:12 pm

2014 was a divisive time in popular music, with no single album or song seeming to capture the year's mood and no trend pointing clearly toward the future. But most music lovers could agree on one thing: Beyoncé was flawless. The 33-year-old powerhouse set every standard by which pop music and celebrity are judged.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:05 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Best Classical Albums Of 2014

The Pulitzer Prize-winning Become Ocean by John Luther Adams is one of NPR Classical's favorite albums of 2014.
Cantaloupe

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 10:59 am

Most years, Tom Huizenga and I spend a lot of time after Thanksgiving and well into December battling over — or, more truthfully, having many friendly but spirited discussions about — which recordings should comprise our 10 favorites of the year. We each come up with a list of 10, and then we start hammering things out in some amount of exquisite music-nerd agony. Some albums we agree upon, some are our individual picks.

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