Bob Boilen

In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.

Significant listener interest in the music being played on All Things Considered, along with his and NPR's vast music collections, gave Boilen the idea to start All Songs Considered. "It was obvious to me that listeners of NPR were also lovers of music, but what also became obvious by 1999 was that the web was going to be the place to discover new music and that we wanted to be the premiere site for music discovery." The show launched in 2000, with Boilen as its host.

Before coming to NPR, Boilen found many ways to share his passion for music. From 1982 to 1986 he worked for Baltimore's Impossible Theater, where he held many posts, including composer, technician, and recording engineer. Boilen became part of music history in 1983 with the Impossible Theater production Whiz Bang, a History of Sound. In it, Boilen became one of the first composers to use audio sampling — in this case, sounds from nature and the industrial revolution. He was interviewed about Whiz Bang by Susan Stamberg on All Things Considered.

In 1985, the Washington City Paper voted Boilen 'Performance Artist of the Year.' An electronic musician, he received a grant from the Washington D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities to work on electronic music and performance.

After Impossible Theater, Boilen worked as a producer for a television station in Washington, D.C. He produced several projects, including a music video show. In 1997, he started producing an online show called Science Live for the Discovery Channel. He also put out two albums with his psychedelic band, Tiny Desk Unit, during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Boilen still composes and performs music and posts it for free on his website BobBoilen.info. He performs contradance music and has a podcast of contradance music that he produces with his son Julian.

Longtime NPR fans may remember another contribution Boilen made to NPR. He composed the original theme music for NPR's Talk of the Nation.

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All Songs Considered
1:18 pm
Tue July 28, 2015

Guest DJ: Leon Bridges

Erin Margaret Alison Rambo Courtesy of the artist

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All Songs Considered
8:03 am
Mon July 27, 2015

All Songs + 1: Josh Ritter's 'Sermon on the Rocks'

Josh Ritter.
Laura Wilson Courtesy of the artist

I'd never imagined a great song poet writing "Getting Ready to Get Down," but there we have it. It's a hard and humorous look at religion, sex and a "risky" teenager becoming herself despite Bible school intervention. I talked with Josh Ritter about this song, and you can hear that interview and the song here or subscribe to the All Songs Considered podcast.

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All Songs Considered
11:33 am
Sun July 26, 2015

Dreams Do Come True: Sufjan Stevens At Newport Folk

Sufjan Stevens performed Saturday at the 2015 Newport Folk Festival.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Originally published on Sun July 26, 2015 6:22 pm

Sufjan Stevens told the Newport Folk Festival crowd that this was his dream come true. What he never would have imagined in his wildest of dreams was that his performance was to follow a surprise performance from James Taylor. He was humbled to play after "Sweet Baby James," but honestly, his songs carry a power similar to that of Taylor's for a new generation of folk music fans.

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All Songs Considered
10:51 am
Sat July 25, 2015

Newport Folk's Pink Floyd Moment

Connecting the folk tradition to Dark Side of the Moon, Roger Waters closed out the first day of the 2015 Newport Folk Festival.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Originally published on Sun July 26, 2015 12:00 pm

The most puzzling musician on the lineup at the 2015 Newport Folk Festival was easily Pink Floyd's Roger Waters. For me, Pink Floyd represents the antithesis of folk music, with the band's psychedelic pulsating landscapes and big rock drums and guitars. Out there and psychedelic, yeah — down home and folky, nope.

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All Songs Considered
1:38 pm
Tue July 21, 2015

New Music From Wilco, Night Beds, Lianne La Havas, More

Clockwise from upper left: Wilco, Lianne La Havas, Palehound, Night Beds
Courtesy of the artists

We kick off this week's All Songs Considered with new music from Wilco. The band surprised fans by dropping a new album out of the blue late last week. It's called ... wait for it ... Star Wars, and Wilco is letting everyone download it for free from the group's website (for a month). But don't let the playful name fool you. Star Wars is one of Wilco's trippiest, most inventive and surprising releases in 20 years of making music.

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All Songs Considered
2:43 pm
Tue July 14, 2015

Guest DJ: SOAK

SOAK.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue July 14, 2015 3:44 pm

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All Songs Considered
1:16 pm
Thu July 9, 2015

Read The Overwhelming, Tragic Story Of Makeunder's 'Great Headless Blank' EP

Makeunder's Hamilton Ulmer
Courtesy of the artist

One of the most outstanding and challenging new bits of music I've heard this year comes from Makeunder, the project of Hamilton Ulmer, an Oakland-based musician with a penchant for exploration. "Great Headless Blank" was the inspired track we played on All Songs Considered back in April, now it's the title track to Makeunder's latest EP, which we are proudly premiering here, along with track-by-track thoughts from Hamilton Ulmer.

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All Songs Considered
1:44 pm
Thu July 2, 2015

Your Favorite Musical Discoveries Of 2015 (So Far)

Wolf Alice, one of your favorite new artists of 2015.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 3:14 pm

Earlier this week, All Songs Considered shared our favorite music from debut albums released in the first half of 2015. The NPR Music team also got together to make epic lists of albums and songs we already think might make our year-end lists in December.

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All Songs Considered
12:26 pm
Thu July 2, 2015

All Songs At 15: What Our First Webcast Got Right

Thursdays this year we're celebrating All Songs Considered's 15th birthday with personal memories and highlights from the show's decade and a half online and on the air. If you have a personal memory about the show you'd like to share, drop us an email: allsongs@npr.org.

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All Songs Considered
7:43 pm
Wed July 1, 2015

Hear 'Sparks,' A New Song By Beach House

Beach House.
Shawn Brackill Courtesy of the artist

There's a new album coming from Beach House, the dreamy Baltimore-based duo of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally. That album, called Depression Cherry, comes out on Sub Pop on Aug. 28. Today we get to hear a first song from the album, called "Sparks," and I interviewed Beach House about it.

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