Blues

Marcia Ball On Piano Jazz

Jun 22, 2018

Pianist, vocalist and songwriter Marcia Ball brings together Texas blues with Louisiana flavors, melding boogie-woogie, zydeco and Swamp Rock. Influenced by artists of the region, such as Janis Joplin, Ball first came to the blues as a child by listening to Etta James and learned the piano through a mix of formal and informal lessons.

Described by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys as the "greatest soul singer alive," Robert Finley joined us for a live session. His story is a quintessential American one of perseverance. He's loved music and performing his whole life, and now finally released his first album in his early 60s.

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.


From the beginning of his career as a recording artist, Ry Cooder has treated the music of the past as a resource, turning to old (and very, very old) songs for guidance, mentorship, life lessons, spiritual advice.

Sometimes at a concert, an artist's encore can feel more like a premeditated given than an earned celebration. But if you've ever seen the captivating Anderson East live (high jumps, sheer vocal prowess and all), you might agree that he earns every single encore he plays. And so, it feels just fine that East has called his latest album Encore.

With three solo albums to her credit, Nashville-based singer-songwriter Lera Lynn is returning with a new release that more than speaks to the power of collaboration. She's collaborated before on songwriting with T-Bone Burnett and Rosanne Cash, and on her new album, Plays Well With Others, Lynn has taken the collaboration to the nth degree.

In 2013, roots musician Ben Harper teamed up with legendary harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite for a blues record called Get Up! The album went on to win a Grammy for best blues album — not a bad way to start a partnership.

When you hear John Moreland's sweet voice, it's hard to believe he spent years singing in punk, metal-core and hardcore bands. You can still hear that passion in his music, only now it's punctuated by his acoustic guitar.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe's electric gospel sound was crucial in paving the way for rock and roll, and the late singer and guitarist is finally getting her day at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. She joins this a class of inductees that includes big-name rock bands like Bon Jovi, Dire Straits and The Cars.

Liz Brasher is on the move big time. The raven-haired Memphis singer is currently on tour with Red Wanting Blue and raves are abounding. Brasher brought her band to WMOT Roots Radio on Feb. 28, where we filmed four songs in advance of her new EP Outcast, which is available April 27.

SET LIST

Many artists wait for the day they can stop working as servers and make a full-time living as musicians. Today's guest, Nathaniel Rateliff, is a platinum-selling artist whose generosity onstage makes the music business seem like the service industry. Nathaniel pushes his vocal cords to their very brink, rips open his rib cage to share his heart and leads his seven bandmates with absolute passion – all in service of making sure his audience has a good time and feels something.

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