There's not much about Ben Sollee's career that could be described as conventional. The singer-songwriter's primary instrument is the cello, and his work ranges from traditional classical music to Asian folk tunes. Even his preferred method of transportation on tour deviates from the norm; he's been known to travel from one show to the next on a bicycle with his cello strapped to the back.
Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 11:40 am
David Dye has been hosting WXPN's World Cafe for more than 20 years. With new artists performing in the show's studios every day, Dye gets to witness firsthand the best music each year has to offer. Here are his 10 favorite songs of 2012:
Originally published on Mon December 31, 2012 3:11 pm
Alabama Shakes, a soulful rock 'n' roll quartet, is riding a well-deserved wave to fame. Since the release of its self-titled debut in 2011, the band has entranced listeners with its diverse and energetic songs. Alabama Shakes' style is marked by lead singer Brittany Howard's powerful voice and the group's irresistible energy. Together, they enthusiastically blend rock with soul, country, blues and roots.
Originally published on Mon December 31, 2012 10:36 am
A band's sound is only as big as its members, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros' music is huge. The 10 members are a whirl of roving horns, as well as whistles, claps, shouts, strummed string instruments and percussion involving drums, hands and anything else they can find. The group's communal folk sound blew up in 2009 with the heart-pounding, foot-stomping single "Home"; with its universal sentiment, the song includes a back-and-forth between frontman Alex Ebert and bandmate Jade Castrinos.
This week's Vintage Cafe goes back to 2012, when good things were starting to happen for a trio of musicians from Denver. The Lumineers' original members, Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites, were high-school friends who moved to Denver thinking they'd have a better shot at getting noticed than they had in Brooklyn — plus, it was affordable. There, they met their third member, cellist Neyla Pekarek, through a Craigslist ad.
Our Vintage Cafe today is from 2012, the year the Melbourne, Australia-based artist Gotye's world-wide smash "Somebody That I Used To Know" was everywhere. The single has sold more than 30 million copies.
Becoming a rock star has major implications — just ask John Mayer. The singer-songwriter's personal history and relationships are all public knowledge, thanks to the enormous media attention that the 34-year-old attracts. The attention in turn attracts trouble, but Mayer, who has just released his fifth solo studio album, tries to take it all in stride.
Bonnie Raitt is a blues-rock legend with nine Grammys and five platinum albums under her belt. Her rootsy and passionate take on everything blues — combined with her intimate understanding of composition, deft slide-guitar skills and soulful vocals — helped Raitt become an icon.
Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 5:46 pm
In this edition of World Cafe, Beat Latino host Catalina Maria Johnson sits down with host David Dye to discuss the Christmas music traditions of Latin America. One thing that sets Central America's music apart from that of North America, she says, is the fact that a lot of it is made for dancing.