UPDATE: The Newport Folk Festival has wrapped up until next year. Follow NPR Music on Facebook and Twitter and you'll be alerted when we publish select sets from the festival this week.
NPR Music went to the Newport Folk Festival this weekend to record sets from Courtney Barnett, Jason Isbell, The Lone Bellow, Lord Huron, Luluc and more. We'll publish the recordings early next week. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for live updates, photos and videos from the grounds.
All Songs Considered has been on a Guest DJ kick over the past few weeks. In two of our most recent sessions with Kate Tempest and SOAK, I noticed how both artists spoke about their producer reverently and at length. On each of their debut albums, they said, a producer helped shape a messy collection of songs into a coherent musical work.
Ethel Smyth was not your typical Victorian lady. She defied her father, a stern army general, to pursue a career in music. She loved women, played sports and played an important role in the women's suffrage movement in Britain in the early 20th century. Along the way she composed chamber and orchestral music, an acclaimed Mass and six operas.
It's been four years since James Elkington and Nathan Salsburg released Avos. The understated acoustic guitar duo record was exceptionally conceived and played, especially given that it was the first time the two met.
Originally published on Fri July 31, 2015 12:14 pm
The Colombian folkloric vocalist Totó la Momposina is considered a living, cultural treasure in that country. Since the 1970s, she has been singing and dancing to the music of the Colombian Caribbean coast on stages around the world.
Cornwall looks like a pointy horn at the bottom of England, with a seaside that juts with geomorphic violence and beauty. Before moving to London, the folk band Red River Dialect called the region home for years. Those Cornish cliffs and raging sea waters are persistent metaphors for loss, freedom and reconciliation on Tender Gold and Gentle Blue, a quiet and desperate record that is always but a squall away from breaking apart.
Originally published on Fri July 31, 2015 12:06 pm
Laura Burhenn is the travelin' kind. If the philosopher Martin Buber was right, that "all journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware," then Burhenn is a proprietor of known unknowns. Lovers Know, her latest LP performing as The Mynabirds, was recorded in Los Angeles, Joshua Tree National Park, Nashville and Auckland, New Zealand.
Originally published on Fri July 31, 2015 12:02 pm
Encounter a staggering voice — be it in concert, on the subway platform or on American Idol — and the adage goes, "she could sing the phone book." That's not quite what London singer Benjamin Clementine does in the opening moments of his debut album, but he performs a similar feat. Twisting an oft-quote line from Prime Minister Winston Churchill: "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few," he repurposes the famous 1940 WWII speech and wrings pathos out of it for the song "Winston Churchill's Boy."
The Lamborghini Countach was one of the most outrageous supercars ever made. It's an ergonomic nightmare, a pain in the ass to get into, has zero tolerance for pedestrian (hell, vehicular) safety and yet ... it's still so awesome. Those defiantly sharp angles, that ludicrous speed, that rip-roaring engine — that's also not a bad way to describe Brooklyn's STATS.