Blues

When Leon Russell died last November, the 74-year-old star was recuperating from heart surgery and itching to get back out on the road. So it's no surprise that Russell — whose music fused soul, rock, gospel and country — left behind an impressive batch of songs that hadn't yet seen release. On Friday, 10 months after his death, On a Distant Shore continues a recorded legacy that hasn't dimmed.

After hearing the music of Jimi Hendrix as a kid, Selwyn Birchwood was drawn to the blues. Later, he was literally drawn to the blues' doorstep after one of Birchwood's high school friends in Florida introduced him to a neighbor: none other than bluesman Sonny Rhodes.

As The Doors sing: "Summer's almost gone ... the winter's comin' on." Here at the World Cafe, the changing seasons are making us feel all kinds of feelings. Looking ahead to Labor Day Weekend — the unofficial end of the summer –- we hear the sounds of kids going back to school with new clothes and backpacks, and linger on memories of relaxation in the sunshine, vacation time burned and loves that were lost and found.

This Monday, the sun will be completely eclipsed by the moon. For those who choose to watch, a "partial solar eclipse will be visible everywhere in the contiguous United States," NPR's Rebecca Hersher reports, "but to see the total solar eclipse, you'll need to be in a sash of land that cuts from Oregon to South Carolina."

Most of us know Chuck Berry as a pioneer, if not the pioneer, who defined rock 'n' roll. My guest today knew him as dad.

Charles Berry Jr. is here to share memories of growing up watching the elder Berry on TV, joining him on tour in his later years and contributing to what would be his final record, an album called Chuck that was released in June.

As with the best Van Morrison songs, "Transformation" billows out from its oft-repeated refrain. The lead single off Morrison's upcoming Roll With The Punches (out Sept. 22) consists largely of the 71-year-old Irish singer belting "gonna be a transformation" over a triumphant soul progression. But if there's been a transformation in Morrison over his long career, it isn't evident here. This is a soaring bit of classic Morrison roots-soul — and his best outing in recent years.

The moment you get a look at ALA.NI behind the Tiny Desk, you'll notice it in the foreground: The singer asked us to record her set using her vintage RCA Ribbon microphone, which she carries around in a small briefcase between shows. It's a security blanket, a bit of visual branding, a statement of stylistic intent — and, not for nothing, a big reason ALA.NI's voice carries with such warmth and intimacy.

Beginning at noon ET on Sunday, July 30, you can watch Drive-By Truckers, Davy Knowles, The Record Company, Hurray For The Riff Raff, Adia Victoria and more perform live from day three of WXPN's 2017 XPoNential Music Festival.

Beginning at noon ET on Saturday, July 29, you can watch Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, Strand Of Oaks, Rhiannon Giddens, The Suffers, Foxygen, Xenia Rubinos and more perform live form day two WXPN

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