This past week hasn't been easy. A relentless barrage of stories about sexual assault and harassment in the media industry, including the disclosure of unsettling harassment complaints within NPR's own newsroom, was capped by yet another horrific and senseless mass shooting at a church in rural Texas this past Sunday.
We can't begin to offer answers, explanations or solutions to everything that's happened. But we hope the time you spend with this week's show will give you a chance to pause, take a deep breath and find some solace.
We've got two songs that directly address both the seeming epidemic of harassment and the violence in Texas. The first comes from singer Mary Gauthier, who wrote her upcoming album, Rifles And Rosary Beads, as part of the SongwritingWith:Soldiers project, a non-profit group that pairs combat veterans with musicians to help tell the soldiers' stories. We play the title track to Rifles And Rosary Beads, a song about the collision of weapons, war and religion.
The second song is from Stella Donnelly, an Australian songwriter who confronts victim-blaming with the plaintive and deeply upsetting, "Boys Will Be Boys."
Also on this week's show: Cathartic rock from both the New Jersey-based band Pinegrove and the Canadian duo known as Partner; Glasgow singer-songwriter Siobhan Wilson's dark and brooding "There Are No Saints"; and NPR Music's Anastasia Tsioulcas joins us to talk about some of her favorite artists from this year's WOMEX, the annual global music conference and showcase, held this year in Katowice, Poland.