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Bob Dylan has won the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature. The prolific musician is the first Nobel winner to have forged a career primarily as a singer-songwriter. What's more, he's also the first American to have won the prize in more than two decades. Not since novelist Toni Morrison won in 1993 has an American claimed the prize.

The Luck Mansion sessions was one of the coolest things at AmericanaFest 2016. In the parlor of an old mansion in East Nashville, the label Third Man Records and the mansion's hosts, the organization Luck Reunion, paired musicians together to record a song. But it was more social and way more laid-back than just that, with time and space for musicians to hang out, jam, talk, drink and eat together while figuring out what they would commit to tape. Some of the pairs, like John Paul White and Rodney Crowell, wrote an original tune.

Turnpike Troubadours
David McClister / All Eyes Media

The Turnpike Troubadours came roaring out of Oklahoma ten years ago with a sound that has been described as a synthesis of Woody Guthrie and Walyon Jennings with the guitars turned way up. Their fourth release is self-titled, and it swings from melancholy ballads, to out-and-out rockers fiddle not withstanding. Turnpike Troubadours play in Raleigh tomorrow night at the Lincoln Theatre.

Michael Rank (right) with Heather McEntire
Andy Tennille

Michael Rank has released his sixth record in about four years. Being that prolific can lead to self-indulgence, but not this time. Red Hand contains nine taut songs of what has been called outlaw folk, damaged country and backwoods Americana. Whatever you call it, it comes with duet vocals from Mount Moriah's Heather McEntire on every song.

Regina Spektor's family — Russian Jews from Moscow — left the former Soviet Union for the U.S. in 1989, when Spektor was 9. They settled in the Bronx, where her dad, despite their financial struggles, managed to secure his daughter a piano teacher so she could keep playing her favorite instrument.

Mandolin Orange
Scott McCormick / Sacks & Co.

Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz are back with a new Mandolin Orange recording. It's called Blindfaller.  The duo recorded its fifth album in their hometown of Chapel Hill during a week off between tour dates.  The record builds on a mix of folk, country and bluegrass while always keeping the spotlight on their captivating vocal harmonies.

Remarkable falsetto singing, accompanied mainly (and sometimes solely) by acoustic guitar, was the calling card for Justin Vernon's breakout as Bon Iver. Since his widely praised debut, For Emma, Forever Ago, he's sung with pop superstars, produced for other artists and greatly expanded the sound of his own band. This week — after a five-year break — he takes another step away from his beginnings with Bon Iver's third album, 22, A Million.

This past week I was at the 17th annual Americana Music Festival & Conference in Nashville, listening to and having conversations with musicians. One songwriter and singer I've admired from the world of Americana during this decade is John Paul White, whom you may know as a former member of the duo The Civil Wars.

When Conor Oberst started releasing music more than 20 years ago, first as a solo artist and later as Bright Eyes, he was just a teenager from Nebraska. Everyone marveled at how a kid could write and record at such a breathlessly prolific pace, producing inspired, sonically adventurous songs with a wisdom and world view beyond his years. Now just in his mid-30s, he's already a veteran, with dozens of albums and EPs behind him.

Like Sam Cooke, Donny Hathaway and Marvin Gaye, Anthony Hamilton began his path to soul stardom in the front of a church. Before his gold and platinum albums, before songs like "Charlene" and "The Point of it All" and this year's "Amen," Hamilton first sang in the choir of Charlotte, N.C.'s New Shiloh Baptist Church.

Over the last year, Chapel Hill-based songwriter and producer Chris Stamey has been working on a narrative song cycle set in Manhattan in the early 1960s. Called Occasional Shivers, it centers around a circle of jazz theater performers and their experiences.

For the past 25 years I've had this notion that on every successive Leonard Cohen record his voice would get deeper and deeper until one day he'd put out an album so subsonic that you'd just feel it, not hear it. Well, we're close. On this day, Leonard Cohen's 82nd birthday, he's given us a gift: It's dark, it's beautiful and it's deep. "You Want It Darker" is the title track to his soon-to-be-released album, his 14th studio album in his 49-year recording career. The album of nine songs, out Oct. 21, is produced by his son, musician Adam Cohen.

Margo Price has had an incredible year, but there's a long story to be told leading up to Midwest Farmer's Daughter. The country singer-songwriter will join NPR Music's Ann Powers during AmericanaFest, along with friends and collaborators who have made East Nashville such a thriving hub of roots music. Everyone will share songs and stories in-the-round, with a live webcast on this page on Sept. 21, starting at 12:30 p.m. ET.

It's been six years since Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae released her second album, The Sea, so this Tiny Desk concert feels like both a re-introduction and a welcome back.

Dwight Yoakam definitely doesn't need to pad his resume. He's recorded more than 22 albums — and sold over 25 million. He's received 21 Grammy nominations. He's worked with everyone from Johnny Cash and Buck Owens to Kid Rock and Jack White.

On one of those late summer New York City evenings when a thunderstorm left a double rainbow hanging over Manhattan, the downtown club City Winery provided the perfect setting for a lucky crowd of a few hundred to experience a performance by The Head and the Heart.

Carrboro Album Cover
Stan Lewis / Blood Shot Records

You may know Dex Romweber from his recent work with his sister in the Dex Romweber Duo. Maybe you first heard Dex in his early band the psycho-surf-rockabilly-garage-punk combo Flat Duo Jets. Or maybe you've heard Jack White, Neko Case, and Cat Power pay tribute to his music. 

Whatever the context, the Chapel Hill native continues to record and tour with his own brand of rock-n-roll mayhem. And, occasionally he records a solo album. The latest is called Carrboro.

When you think of an orchestra, you're probably picturing refined woodwinds, brass, and strings. But one ensemble I recently met is made up mostly of kids who play instruments made out of literal trash. This is the Recycled Orchestra from Cateura, Paraguay, and their group is the subject of a new documentary film.

Teenage Fanclub
Courtesy of Donald Milne

After a six year hiatus, Scottish alt-rock favorite Teenage Fanclub is out with a new album called Here. It's safe to say that the gaps between some of the band's records can be as long as some musicians' careers. Since the late-1980s, Teenage Fanclub has sustained a die-hard fan base with songs built around chiming guitars, harmony-laden vocals and a democratic approach to songwriting.

When we invited William Bell to the Tiny Desk, we looked forward to witnessing part of a veteran soul hitmaker's journey back to the spotlight. Bell is known for writing and performing several of the R&B classics that emerged from Memphis' Stax Records in the 1960s, "You Don't Miss Your Water" and "Everybody Loves A Winner" among them.

Chatham County Line
Patrick Shanahan / Yep Roc Music Group

Chatham County Line is back with its seventh studio recording.  It's called Autumn and features eleven original songs recorded in Kernersville. Dave Wilson is the lead vocalist, songwriter and guitarist. John Teer plays fiddle, mandolin and also sings.

The power of Big Thief lies in the stunning voice of Adrianne Lenker — as well as the band's intense rhythms, the guitar playing of Buck Meek and, right, the lyrics. Come to think of it, everything this band does serves the muscular warmth of these brilliant songs, which are not only memorable, but meaningful.

Courtesy of Bryan Kremkau

The English Beat is among the bands playing tonight at the Cat's Cradle in Carrboro for Be Loud! '16, an event that supports programs for young and adult cancer patients and their families. 

singer and songwriter BJ Barham embarks on a tour to promote his solo-recording "Rockingham."
Courtesy of All Eyes Media / http://alleyesmedia.com/clients/bj-barham/

Fans of Raleigh-based American Aquarium are in for a treat as lead singer and songwriter BJ Barham embarks on a tour to promote his solo-recording "Rockingham."

John Paul White
Allister Ann / Sacks and Co.

John Paul White was one half of the four-time Grammy winning duo The Civil Wars.  Since finishing with that band, he has founded a record label, built a studio and collaborated with artists including Jason Isbell, Roseanne Cash and Emmylou Harris. 

When he paused long enough to write some songs, his new solo recording Beulah was born.

After listening to Yarn's Americana music, one might assume the band hails from the South, but the group actually got its start in Brooklyn, NY. Yet it has stayed true to Southern aesthetics heard in the music of country icons like Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings.

Even though half of the quartet now lives in Raleigh, the band continues to tour the country and record albums. Yarn's latest album is called "This Is The Year."

North Carolina Public Radio has launched a new radio station. WUNC Music can now be found online and on your phone at wuncmusic.org and on HD2 in the Triangle area.  

Morning Edition Host Eric Hodge spoke with WUNC Program Director David Brower about the new station.

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