Blues

Jarekus Singleton On Mountain Stage

Oct 14, 2015

Jarekus Singleton makes his first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. If there is indeed a full-on new wave of electric blues music, the 31-year-old may well be at its forefront. Equally rooted in rap, rock and blues, Singleton hails from Mississippi, where he grew up in a family that played and sang gospel music.

Shemekia Copeland has blues in her blood: She is the daughter of the late great Texas blues musician Johnny Clyde Copeland, and a lot of her early music sounded like it. Now, at 36, she's doing things a little differently. Her latest record, Outskirts of Love, carries the weight of her experiences and showcases the growing she's done since she began recording music as a teenager.

Note: NPR's audio for First Listens comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

Note: NPR's audio for First Listens comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

The Blues Finds A Home In A South Central Garage

Sep 19, 2015

One sun-baked residential street in South Central Los Angeles is regularly bombarded by the chorus of jets cruising toward Los Angeles International Airport. Unless you're in Franklin Bell's garage, where the walls soak up the raw, earthy chords of L.A. blues.

Gary Clark Jr. On World Cafe

Sep 18, 2015

Austin bluesman Gary Clark Jr.'s long-awaited new album, The Story Of Sonny Boy Slim, came out last week. It's Clark's first album since his debut, 2012's Blak & Blu, which spawned many festival appearances in the last few years.

Gary Clark Jr.'s latest video, for the song "Church," is a sweet and soulful portrait of a man trying to come to terms with his own missteps and a lifetime of regret. Directed by photographer and filmmaker Danny Clinch, the black and white video is a simple but deeply moving look at the singer as he makes a plea for strength to be the man he knows he can never be.

Gary Clark Jr., the blues-guitar wunderkind from Austin, Texas, who grew up into a solo star, titled his latest LP The Story of Sonny Boy Slim in a nod to his own nickname and whirlwind ascent. But there's a song on the album whose name might better represent its overall tone: "The Healing."

There was a clear path laid out for Gary Clark Jr. If he'd wanted, he could have allowed himself to be crowned the young, African-American savior of 21st-century blues guitar.

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