Blues

"Blues with a punk attitude" is the tagline on Fantastic Negrito's website, and it's not an empty slogan. The Bay Area singer-songwriter, a.k.a. Xavier Dphrepaulezz, infuses Last Days Of Oakland with slide guitar drenched in overdrive, not to mention a hard-bitten perspective on life, love, art, commerce, class and society. It's an outlook he's earned.

Songhoy Blues On World Cafe

May 25, 2016

Songhoy Blues started when, displaced from their homes in the north of Mali, members Garba Touré, Oumar Touré and Aliou Touré fled Timbuktu in 2012 and traveled to Bamako, where they decided to form a band to play for fellow refugees. Songhoy Blues' instrumentation — two guitars, bass and drums —represents a younger person's take on more traditional desert-blues bands.

On Saturday night, Beyoncé shook the music world with an hourlong feature on HBO, and then a surprise album — Lemonade.

Beyoncé couldn't have produced a body of work this defiant, or blunt, two years ago. Lemonade has been made possible by the cultural, social and political upheaval we're in the midst of, triggered by the deaths of boys and fathers and women, who will never be forgotten.

The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival kicks off its 47th iteration today, April 22. To celebrate its patron saint, we take a listen back to a particularly fierce live version of Professor Longhair's take on "Mess Around."

SIMO On World Cafe

Mar 1, 2016

Nashville blues trio SIMO sounds as if it comes to us straight from 1968. Its leader, guitarist J.D. Simo, grew up listening to the classic blues music released by Chicago's Chess Records. By the time he was 18, he was already leading bands.

SIMO's new album, Let Love Show, came out in January. Hear the trio perform songs from the record in today's session.

The way recording engineer Michael Reilly tells it in the liner notes of Panola County Spirit, Raymond Walker, the eightysomething patriarch of the Walker Family of Como, Mississippi, was always a singer of some renown. In fact, he was once the leader of a locally legendary (though never recorded) gospel vocal group called The Longtime Travelers.

Shemekia Copeland On World Cafe

Jan 28, 2016

Shemekia Copeland, daughter of the late bluesman Johnny Clyde Copeland, got her start when she first took the stage with him at age 8; she released her first album 10 years later. In this session, she explains that she's always had a powerful voice, but had to learn the subtleties of singing.

In this episode, Copeland performs at WXPN's Free At Noon concert, where she sings songs from her latest album, Outskirts Of Love.

On "Ain't No Grave," a track from his new solo album, the singer-guitarist Luther Dickinson stares death right in the face, quite literally.

Shawn Amos had a Los Angeles childhood that was equal parts grit and glamor. He went to private schools and lived in a nice house, but it wasn't exactly in Mr. Rogers' neighborhood.

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