Blues

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.

Son Little is the embodiment of the truism that most overnight successes take years. Around Philadelphia, the singer/guitarist who goes by his given name Aaron Livingston has been a known entity at least since (his words) "mumbling/freestyling/singing the hook" on The Roots' "Guns Are Drawn," a dubwise track from the group's 2004 album The Tipping Point.

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

Jeffrey Foucault picked up a guitar when he was 17 and just couldn't put it down. Coming of age in Wisconsin, he used every spare moment cooking up new songs and immediately making recordings so he wouldn't forget the details.

Walter Trout has been playing and sometimes living the blues for five decades. The guitarist was with Canned Heat in the early 1980s, shared the stage and recorded with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers and sold millions of albums as a solo artist, but drugs and alcohol almost did him in. He was just days away from death last year when he received a liver transplant, an experience he recounts in a song called "Gonna Live Again."

All of Marisa Anderson's music has travelled thousands of miles. This is literally true — the Portland, Ore. guitarist spent her late teens and twenties walking across the United States — and it's one of her gifts as a musician. She revels in the journey, in the process that of getting from point A to point B.

In the beginning, there was the blues. A while later, there was hip-hop. And then, in the early 1990s, the musical melting pot of G. Love and Special Sauce served up something called hip-hop blues.

Now, 10 albums in, G. Love and Special Sauce are still cooking with help from artists including DJ Logic, Citizen Cope, Ozomatli and David Hidalgo from Los Lobos. The band's new album is called Love Saves The Day, and frontman G. Love joined NPR's Rachel Martin from the studios of WBGH in Boston to talk about it. Hear their conversation at the audio link.

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.

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