Coming up through the Greenwich Village folk scene, John Hammond collected the work of some of the greatest blues artists of all time. On his latest album, that music is presented as bare-bones and honestly as possible: just him, his guitar, his harmonica and a deeply appreciative audience.
The new year is a time of new beginnings, new resolutions, new projects and new directions. So it's a perfectly appropriate time of year for Leo Welch, at the age of 81, to put out his very first album.
In this session, World Cafe welcomes back the Austin blues-funk band Black Joe Lewis, which recently released a new album called Electric Slave. It's a different animal than the group's first two albums, 2009's Tell 'Em What Your Name Is and 2011's Scandalous: It's fiercer, it's more rock-driven, and it moves away from the soul-revival sound of the earlier discs.
Most people think of the steel guitar as an instrument associated with country music — from country rock and pop to alt-country. But there's another style of steel playing that dates back to African-American Pentecostal churches of the 1930s, when a handful of congregations began using steel guitars in place of organs.
Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 3:47 pm
Two of the best roots rock musicians of their generation make an appearance on a special episode of World Cafe, which is hosted in NPR's Studio A at the organization's headquarters in Washington, D.C. Singer Susan Tedeschi and her husband, guitarist Derek Trucks, joined forces in 2010 and formed the Tedeschi Trucks Band.
Short of seeing her live and in person, this is the best way to encounter Valerie June's heartfelt sound. Her new album Pushin' Against a Stone is terrific, but when I first heard that voice unadorned, I was hooked. The same may happen to you.
Blues and R&B musician Shuggie Otis is back with a new album for the first time in almost 40 years. For the reclusive Otis, the release of Wings of Love is major news. Its release is paired with his 1974 masterpiece Inspiration Information, which drew attention to Otis when it was first reissued by the Luaka Bop label in 2001.