Taj Mahal has a degree in animal husbandry and agronomy, and planned to be a farmer. Music was just something he did.
"No matter what went down, music was always going to be a part of my life," the guitarist and singer says. "What ultimately happened is that, over a period of time, I just kind of looked around and when like, 'Wow! I'm actually making a living doing this.'"
Ana Popovic's fiery technique on her Fender Telecaster has earned her an impressive nickname: "The Serbian Scorcher."
Popovic grew up playing the blues in Belgrade during the turbulent time of the fall of communism and the dissolution of Yugoslavia. Her furious fret work and singing brought her to the attention of blues fans, first in Europe and then the United States. She lives in Memphis today, and has just released her ninth album, Can You Stand the Heat.
Calvin Cooke, Aubrey Ghent and brothers Darrick and Chuck Campbell are The Slide Brothers. The band's self-titled album debut album was produced by Robert Randolph, the spectacular young pedal-steel guitarist who became the first player from the Sacred Steel tradition to break out to a wider audience.
On this installment of World Café, the band plays three songs from its album and tells host David Dye about the difference between performing for the congregation at Church of the Living God and playing on club and concert stages.
Henry Saint Clair Fredericks, a.k.a. Taj Mahal, started performing in his native New England, and developed his roots- and blues-influenced performance style after moving to California and playing in bands with Ry Cooder, among others. He often shared billing with '60s rock acts at the Fillmore West, and grew into a popular attraction at folk, blues and jazz venues around the world.