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.
Listen to Bobby McFerrin — onstage, warming up with his band — and it's like you're listening to an entire orchestra bubbling up through one man's body. He becomes a flute, a violin, a muted trumpet, a percussion instrument, a bird, you name it.
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.
Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale have contributed to roots music to an immeasurable degree throughout their careers. As songwriters and players, both solo and together, they've led bands, worked as sidemen and written great songs.
For our Sense of Place: Nashville week, we just had to showcase Luella and the Sun, which has made major fans out of Grimey's Records' Doyle Davis, other bands like Moon Taxi and NPR Music's Ann Powers.
When Kail Baxley was a kid growing up in Williston, S.C., James Brown used to challenge him to dance-offs. Baxley didn't win so much. He did better as an amateur boxer — his key to getting out of the small town and traveling to Europe and Africa.