WUNC Music

Here & Now‘s Peter O’Dowd sits down with Seth and Scott Avett of The Avett Brothers to talk about a new film about the making of the band’s Grammy-nominated album, “True Sadness.”

That film, “May It Last,” comes out today and is in theaters for one night only.

A picture of Michael Rank at a keyboard.
Missy Malouff

Michael Rank is a singer-songwriter based in Chatham County.  His last few records sounded very rootsy, with fiddle and other acoustic instrumentation. Drum machines and electric wah-wah guitar reign in the gritty soul record, Another Love. Rank's new music is being compared to D'Angelo, Prince and Curtis Mayfield.

Going The Distance

Sep 7, 2017

I first stumbled onto a music festival-sponsored 5K race by accident. On a humid June morning in 2013 at Manchester, Tenn.'s Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, I went out for a run, rounded a corner and came upon a group of festival goers safety-pinning paper race numbers to their clothes, very possibly hungover or sleep-deprived , but nonetheless motivated enough to rouse themselves from sleep and run 3.1 miles at 9 am, several hours before the day's first performances were scheduled to start. Glad to have found company, I slipped into the herd just before someone shouted, "Go!"

Tori Amos is the kind of artist you might describe as a seeker. Since she started recording in the 1990s, Amos has used her songs to ask big questions about the world she observes. Time has made her powers of observation more acute, and on her new album, Native Invader, Amos takes stock of the present moment.

Don't look for Walter Becker on those endless (ridiculous) listicles ranking the "Guitar Gods of the 1970s." He's rarely mentioned in the same breath as major dudes like Eric Clapton, or Jimmy Page, or Duane Allman, or Carlos Santana, or Billy Gibbons, or Frank Zappa.

If the producer and DJ Matthew Dear soundtracked our comedown earlier this summer with the goth-pop jewel "Modafinil Blues," he now returns to make sense of the season's revelry.

The Be Loud! event poster,
Be Loud! Sophie Foundation

The Be Loud! Sophie Foundation is holding its annual celebration at the Cat's Cradle this weekend in Carrboro.

There are far fewer fingertips smudged and squeaky with newsprint ink today than there were even an armful of years ago. Now, there are soon to be tens of thousands a week less, as The Village Voice ends an epoch, removing newsstands that for 62 years contained the lean and mien of an unparalleled city.

Tift Merritt's latest album cover
Alexandra Valenti

Tift Merritt is throwing a party Saturday night at the North Carolina Museum of Art. M.C. Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger, Eric Slick of Dr. Dog, and Alexandra Sauser-Monnig from Mountain Man will be there. So will someone who calls himself the Suitcase Junket.

Many a singer has sung of mustering the strength to overcome hardship; it's the stuff of blustery power ballads, irrepressible empowerment anthems and aggressively aggrieved rock sing-alongs. But it's a simpler thing to narrate that act through lyrics than it is to embody that experience through a vivid performance.

Sometimes, all you have to hear is a few notes, and you know that a voice has been lived in; you can hear a long life of ups and downs, a rich and weathered sound.

More Tunes And Tales From Vegas: American Songster Radio Episode 14

Aug 13, 2017
Gus Canonn, jug and banjo, Ashley Thompson, guitar, and Noah Lewis harmonica (Gus Cannon's Jug Stompers around 1928)
Public Domain/ WUNC

When Dom Flemons first came across the story of African American songster Gus Cannon, one fact took him by surprise.  "[Gus Cannon] was a blackface performer, but he was a black man," Flemons says, recalling his initial reaction.  "How can this be?  That you can have an African American man be a part of a type of entertainment that, when I’d read about it in books, they would say that it was demeaning to black people?"  

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

What do Salt-N-Pepa, Amy Winehouse, Oasis and the theme song to the animated TV show "Futurama" have in common - these six seconds.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE WINSTONS' "AMEN, BROTHER")

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

NOTE: Each day this week we'll be rolling out a series of videos from Sylvan Esso that comprise the duo's upcoming visual EP, Echo Mountain Sessions. Today's installment is a performance of the song "The Glow." You can see other videos in the series here.

NOTE: Each day this week we'll be rolling out a series of videos from Sylvan Esso that comprise the duo's upcoming visual EP, Echo Mountain Sessions. Today's installment is a performance of the song "Slack Jaw." You can see other videos in the series here.

NOTE: Each day this week we'll be rolling out a series of videos from Sylvan Esso that comprise the duo's upcoming visual EP, Echo Mountain Sessions. Today's installment is a performance of the song "Die Young." You can see other videos in the series here.

NOTE: Each day this week we'll be rolling out a series of videos from Sylvan Esso that comprise the duo's upcoming visual EP, Echo Mountain Sessions.

A picture of Jenn Wasner
Courtesy of Paley Fairman

Jenn Wasner is best known as half of the Baltimore-based band Wye Oak. But for the past few years, she's been quietly working away at her own music under the banner Flock of Dimes

When Josh Ritter began to write new songs, he felt an absolute impending storm. And this singer, songwriter, painter and author, with almost twenty years of songwriting behind him, began looking for a new way to approach his muse.

On this edition of All Songs Considered, hear Josh Ritter talk about the creative process for his soon-to-be-released album Gathering, along with a premiere of his new song "Showboat," or read his essay below. — Bob Boilen

From the sounds of things on the phone, Lizz Wright is going about the business of her daily life while she gives thoughtful responses to her interviewer's questions. There's the ding of a bell as a shop door closes behind her, a whispered "Hi" and, later, the electronic chiming that reminds you to fasten a car's seatbelt.

Reese McHenry's got a voice like a preacher turning a standard sermon into a cathartic epiphany. Sometimes her croon has a country twang; at other times, she melds bluesy growl with smooth melodic hums. Whatever mode she's in, her voice is always an attention-grabber.

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