Popular Music

Nik Carman (right) records "Wagon Wheel" at Studio Anatomy, accompanied by his brother, Andrew, on guitar.

Interlochen Public Radio is your source for the arts from northern Michigan. Whether you're looking for new music from northern Michigan artists or NPR's First Listen, you'll find the stories here.

Nigel Chapman is always ... thinking. When you speak to him, it's almost like you can see the wheels spinning in his brain, like he's always on the brink of a new discovery ... about himself, about creativity, about the universe... and about music. And that makes sense, because Chapman, the frontman of the Canadian band Nap Eyes, spent a big chunk of his life working in biochemistry, in science.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm David Bianculli, editor of the website TV Worth Watching, sitting in for Terry Gross. Our guest today is country artist Marty Stuart, who's just been selected for the Country Music Hall of Fame. His induction is scheduled to take place next year. In Rolling Stone, Marty Stuart was described as, quote, "one of the last remaining links to traditional country, roots music and the generation of greats like George Jones and Hank Williams," unquote.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm David Greene.

(SOUNDBITE OF TRAVIS SCOTT'S "SICKO MODE")

In the 1970s, there were few singer-songwriters more beloved than Cat Stevens. A lot has changed since his landmark album Tea for the Tillerman. For one, he's a grandfather. For two, he's not even Cat Stevens anymore: He's gone by Yusuf Islam, or simply Yusuf, since his conversion to the Muslim faith later that decade.

Stanley Crouch, Towering Jazz Critic, Dead At 74

Sep 16, 2020

Stanley Crouch, the lauded and fiery jazz critic, has died. According to an announcement by his wife, Gloria Nixon-Crouch, Stanley Crouch died at the Calvary Hospital in New York on Wednesday, following nearly a decade of serious health issues.

Copyright 2020 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

"My partner tells me that apparently I only sing when I'm happy," says Anjimile Chithambo, who performs and records music mononymously as Anjimile. It's a slightly surprising admission. For one thing, the singer-songwriter's new album, Giver Taker, is full of piercing self-knowledge; it seems like they don't need anyone to explain their musical process to them. For another, the album is the product of some extremely trying situations: Anjimile wrote many of the songs while in treatment for alcoholism and while coming to terms with their identity as a trans and nonbinary person.

Philadelphia lost seven great musicians in the first four months of 2020. As a matter of cultural endowment, the loss represents the equivalent of whole libraries reduced to ash. These elders were the children of auto mechanics, beauticians, restaurant workers, scientists, unionizers and ministers — people who added measurable value to their communities. Each of the departed took the lived experience of Black America and articulated it with an instrument. They nurtured generations of musicians in this calling.

Morning Edition has been reaching out to musicians in recent months to get their take on the COVID-19 era, and asking them to write an original song inspired by this tumultuous time. This week's contributors, veteran folk-rock duo Indigo Girls, have lots of experience writing about social issues in their music. But according to member Amy Ray, they had some serious misgivings at first.

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm David Greene. A few weeks ago, 10-year-old Nandi Bushell challenged Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl to a drum battle. Grohl conceded. Now it's round two. He kicked it off with a song he wrote just for Nandi.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

Copyright 2020 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Hispanic Heritage Month On World Cafe: The Playlist

Sep 14, 2020

World Cafe celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. To celebrate we're taking a musical journey throughout Latin America, through cities in Central America, South America, and Mexico to explore the rising Latinx voices and sounds that sometimes fall under the radar. Discover new music by musicians from Guatemala City, San Salvador, Lima, Costa Rica, Ecuador and more in our playlist below.

If past generations saw their wanderlust reflected in Alice peering down a rabbit hole or Luke Skywalker staring down a sunset, the COVID-era equivalent will almost certainly involve a hero gazing into a screen: With most of the U.S. still advised to stay home as much as possible, televisions and smart devices feel more than ever like flickering portals, promising the addled mind passage to anywhere but our own four walls.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Rachel Martin. Germans are reviving the perfect musical instrument for social distancing - alphorns.

(SOUNDBITE OF ALPHORNS PLAYING)

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

One of the biggest voices in reggae has died.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PRESSURE DROP")

TOOTS AND THE MAYTALS: (Singing) I said pressure drop, oh, pressure, oh, yeah, pressure gonna drop on you.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

A new book and museum exhibition celebrate the work of North Carolina luthier Freeman Vines. His handmade guitars are crafted from found materials and hunks of old wood, including some from a tree once used for a lynching.

"There was something about that wood that was mental, spiritual," Vines says.

It made him uneasy working with the black walnut – acquired from an elderly white man, something that had likely been passed down as a memento.

"Working with that wood was a spiritual thing," he says. "Not good, not bad, and not ugly. But just strange."

Updated at 11:49 a.m. ET

Frederick "Toots" Hibbert, the lead singer and songwriter of Toots and the Maytals and one of reggae's foundational figures, died Friday in Kingston, Jamaica. He was 77.

His death was announced on the band's Facebook and Twitter accounts. "It is with the heaviest of hearts to announce that Frederick Nathaniel 'Toots' Hibbert passed away peacefully tonight, surrounded by his family at the University Hospital of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica," read the statement.

In downtown Namie, a small coastal city in eastern Fukushima prefecture, there was a chorus of construction noise this spring. Truck after truck rolled through, bringing workers to string up power lines and rip down deserted houses, rebuild structures and repave roads.

But at night, all was quiet — except in one small corner of a tiny strip mall. The faint sounds of music, laughter and maybe a hit of tambourine floated on the wind, traveling down empty sidewalks and deserted streets, leading to a karaoke bar in full swing.

After breaking through in 2019 and collaborating with Beyonce in early 2020, Megan Thee Stallion has been riding an even bigger wave of popularity this summer due to the song she's featured in with superstar Cardi B. "WAP" shot to No. 1 on iTunes' songs chart, in spite of controversy over its sexually explicit lyrics. But the rapper is also involved in another recent controversy, which has raised important questions about Black women and violence.

Philadelphia's Best Of The Bass, Part 1 includes WRTI's 8 favorite bebop and hard bop players. Philadelphia's Best Of The Bass, Part 2 features some of the most impactful jazz, rock, funk, and fusion bassists to have come out of Philly. This final installment of the series showcases artists at the crossroads of jazz, pop, hip-hop, and R&B.


Two years ago, Amanda Jones was at a luncheon for the NAACP Image Awards. She was working for a television studio at the time, and wanted to change directions. When she spotted writer/producer Lena Waithe, she walked up to her and told her she wanted to be a full-time film and TV composer.

"I was like, 'Hey, I'm getting ready to take the leap,' " Jones says. "And she was like, 'Oh, cool. Here's my email — let's keep in touch.' "

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