Blues

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 . Son Little 's self-titled debut album is nu-soul, not neo-soul, and the distinction is drastic. Little doesn't strive to reproduce his influences; he recombines them into something new. The record opens with "I'm Gone," on which an overdubbed choir of multiple Son Littles delivers an existential message from what sounds like the bottom...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Pg2lt8PmTA Some paths to the past are well-traveled. Textbooks and school lectures draw straight lines between cause and effect, between history and history repeating. Other paths are visible but lesser-known, uncovered by alternate narratives and specific research. And others still are completely invisible, so overgrown with time and lack of attention that they disappear either forever or until stumbled upon. Folk musician and unofficial keeper of stories...

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 . Life would have no dimension if everyone occupied the center of the frame. We need those folks on the side and in the background; the ones who hold up the proceedings while adding clever and often profound asides. For more than 50 years, Donnie Fritts has moved freely in those spaces, creating a rich body of work in collaboration with...

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. For the last decade, 81-year-old Bell has hosted his Blues Workshop every Sunday, as regularly as a church service, in a one-car garage rebuilt to hold about 50 people. The place gets crowded with folks dressed in their Sunday best; for...

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. Here, WFUV's Carmel Holt talks with Clark about playing with The Rolling Stones and the late B.B. King , as well as his early family life, which he describes as "loud" with lots of music involved. Clark also reveals how he got the nicknames "Sonny Boy" and "Slim"...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgbUcJA6ivE 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. The video features Clark's sisters, Shawn and Savannah, appearing as harmony vocalists....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HP1Zf04X1Jc 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." "Music is medicine to me. I don't go to church, but when I was trying to figure out my way as a young man, I was listening to albums," Clark says. "I would...

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. After all, the guy came up in the clubs of Austin, apprenticed under Jimmie Vaughan (brother of Stevie Ray ) and was welcomed as a hero among legends at Eric Clapton 's Crossroads Guitar Festival. But almost as soon as Clark stepped into the national spotlight, he began signaling that, though he knew the rules and...

It's too soon to tell whether Outskirts Of Love is the end of a trilogy or simply the next chapter in an ongoing saga. All we know for sure is that it's the third album to find Shemekia Copeland extending her definition of modern blues to include a sort of pan-Americana approach. Her first few records hewed closer to contemporary blues, but since 2009's portentously titled Never Going Back , the daughter of the late Texas blues-guitar titan Johnny Clyde Copeland has been moving in a wider...

Mike Flanigin has been a working musician for two decades. His first gig was at a Holiday Inn in Dallas, Texas, followed by a stint in the house band at Antone's in Austin. And for eight years he made his Hammond B3 organ growl and purr for the crowds at the Continental Club Gallery. In that time, Flanigin has rubbed elbows with the likes of Kat Edmonson , Jimmy Vaughn, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top and Gary Clark, Jr. , all of whom play on his upcoming debut album, The Drifter. Most of the album...

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