Popular Music

Nik Carman (right) records "Wagon Wheel" at Studio Anatomy, accompanied by his brother, Andrew, on guitar.

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LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Jeanne Galice's music reflects her global roots. She was born in France, but her father's job in the oil industry meant she and her family moved around a lot: to Dubai when Galice was 9, then to the Republic of the Congo, to Abu Dhabi and back to France. Now, the worldly pop singer — who goes by Jain when she's onstage — is on her first U.S. tour, for her album Zanaka.

In the mid-1960s, Michael Nesmith was writing songs and working the Los Angeles club scene when someone showed him an ad: A new TV show was looking for people to audition. He did — and the next thing he knew, he was a Monkee.

Since the conclusion of 2016's competition last May, the Eurovision Song Contest has been mired in controversies both practical and political — but mostly a combination of the two.

In the middle of the Texas Hill Country, where barbecue brisket is king, a dinner crowd is throwing back crabcakes, fried oysters, flounder and stuffed shrimp.

Onstage is the establishment's owner, a 68-year-old Greek-American bluesman who's been performing for half a century. He is Johnny Nicholas and this is his Hilltop Cafe.

"Well, I spent all my money on a real fine automobile," he croons. "It's a custom ride, got a pearl-handled steering wheel."

It's hard to imagine listening to Led Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven" without remembering the classic "No 'Stairway' — denied!" scene in Wayne's World. Once voted the No.

The period of anticipation preceding the release of Kendrick Lamar's fourth album, DAMN., was intense, brief but methodically built.

Nnenna Freelon On Piano Jazz

Apr 14, 2017

Internationally hailed as one of the greatest vocalists to come along in decades, Nnenna Freelon exudes both class and sophistication. Her soulful style consists of fresh interpretations of classic standards. A six-time Grammy nominee, she also starred in the critically acclaimed 2014 show Georgia On My Mind: Celebrating The Music Of Ray Charles in Las Vegas.

I didn't know much about Gracie and Rachel on first hearing "Only A Child." There's a terrific tension in the sound, an underpinning of mystery set against a baroque, but modern, pop foreground. Then I discovered that Gracie Coates and Rachel Ruggles seemingly embody the schism I heard in their song — Rachel's dark, classic violin is set against Gracie's more upbeat pop piano.

Tell me if you've heard this one before: Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie walk into a studio... and actually make a record together. Fleetwood Mac's drama-filled history is the stuff of a "great play," to say the least.

All too often, "fusion" is a rightfully dread-inducing term to describe music that tries to occupy several spheres at once, usually unsuccessfully. So let's not use that label on the brilliant, wide-ranging music of Ljova and the Kontraband, a group that embraces Western classical, jazz and an array of international styles including tango and Eastern European and Balkan folk music. These top-flight musicians, who hail from Russia, Lithuania, the U.S.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Not much in contemporary music rivals standing under a roof with Chris Stapleton and his band as they raise it in honor of American music. Stapleton ascended to stardom after sweeping the 2016 CMA Awards for his powerful debut album Traveller, but by then the 38-year-old Kentuckian Nashville mainstay had spent a young lifetime in the slipstreams of Southern sound, and already understood how commitment, craft and love can make listeners' preconceptions about what's cool or current fall away.

The wait is over. Kendrick Lamar unleashed DAMN., his fourth studio album, on streaming services shortly after midnight on the east coast Friday, hours after it leaked online and about an hour after pre-orders popped up on his fans' phones.

DAMN. follows To Pimp A Butterfly (2015) and good kid, m.A.A.d. city (2012), both pieces so ambitious and varied, richly envisioned and perfectly executed that Lamar could have retired a legend based on them alone. Expectations are justifiably high. Oh, and... U2? (Yes, U2.)

The fond joke is an underrated art form, especially in this time of hashtag brutalism and Louis C.K.-style existential wandering. In country music, humor with heart has long offered a way for songwriters to consider the foibles of the music's fan base — and to confront deeper issues, too, from alcoholism to bigotry to economic hardship. Stars like Tom T.

That bopping beat, that thick and wobbly synth bass, those voices — it's like I'm back at a middle school dance in the Atlanta suburbs, not knowing what to do with my hands.

Clyde and Gracie Lawrence are not your typical brother-and-sister pair. For one thing, they're in a band together: As Lawrence, they've toured across the country performing soulful pop songs. Though the two have been playing music together since they were toddlers, they say it was their more recent experience on the road that made them appreciate their relationship to home.

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