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World Cafe

Weeknights 7-9 p.m.

World Cafe launched in 1991. Distributed by NPR to more than 200 U.S. radio stations and heard by nearly 600,000 listeners each week, World Cafe is known by artists, appreciative audiences, and the radio and music industries as an influential source for music discovery.

The two-hour daily program features a mix of artist interviews with in-studio performances by both established and emerging artists. The music selection encompasses singer-songwriters, classic rock, indie rock, Americana, alt-country, blues, world music, R&B and soul. As the nation’s most listened-to public radio music program, its impact on the careers and audience awareness of thousands of artists is immeasurable.

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February's edition of Heavy Rotation, chosen by NPR member stations, features music from Amythyst Kiah, Sofia Valdes, The Weather Station and more.

"I think it was the first time I heard Brook Benton's 'Rainy Night In Georgia,'" Dan Auerbach says during a call from his Nashville studio about discovering Tony Joe White. "I'd heard the song a bunch already, and I just figured it was a Ray Charles song or something. But then I heard Tony Joe's version and everything about it just blew my mind."

Sofía Valdés has had a remarkable journey during the first 20 years of her life. She was born in Panama to a musical family; her great-grandfather was legendary Cuban musician Miguelito Valdés and her great-grandmother Silvia De Grasse was a singer who performed with Louis Armstrong. It didn't take her long to follow in those footsteps. At age 8 she was playing guitar, and by 13 she was writing her own songs.

Much of what distinguishes New Orleans today from other American cities can be traced back to French and African influences from Haiti. The cultural ties go back more than 200 years, when 10,000 free and enslaved people left what was then the French colony of Saint Domingue during the country's revolution. NOLA's multi-cultural DNA is its calling card, and it's reflected in the food, architecture, art, and most notably, music.

January's edition of Heavy Rotation, chosen by NPR member stations, features music from The Avalanches, Chet Faker, Igwe Aka, Madlib, Run the Jewels and more.

UPDATED Friday, 4:30 p.m. ET

Editors Note: This interview was pre-recorded in November 2020. BENEE's former manager, Paul McKessar, who is named in the interview, no longer works with her, CRS Management or her producer Josh Fountain.

We catch up with TJ and John Osborne, aka The Brothers Osborne, who have carved an unusual path in country music. Theirs encompasses lots of interesting flavors, including blues, rock and bluegrass, which informs what they do, to create something still within the realm of country, but with a personal twist.

You might know Matt Berninger as the lead singer of The National, a band that I've often described as "sounding like an overcast day." I mean that in a good way, but the point is, his music, along with his distinctive baritone voice, has a melancholy quality to it. But Berninger himself?

Right from the start of Kendall Morgan's "Rescue Me," the first thing you notice is her confident, powerful voice. It welcomes you in with a warm embrace. The Nashville-based singer-songwriter draws on a soulful blend of Americana and R&B with flourishes of gospel. Her EP, produced by J. LBS and due out early this year, includes "Rescue Me" and "Okay," two songs you'll see her perform in this exclusive mini concert for World Cafe.

Congratulations! You made it to 2021! This year, more than any other in recent memory, maybe you're excited for a fresh start — and certainly hopeful that this year might be better than the last. While we can't know what the future holds, this day may well feel like you've made it to the other side of something, like you've crossed a bridge over troubled water. To kick off the new year, here's a playlist that's all about new beginnings. Enjoy.

The presents are under the tree, the cookies are out of the oven, the eggnog has been dusted with a fine layer of nutmeg, and joining me by the roaring World Cafe fire is Andrew Bird. He's here to play songs from his new Christmas album, Hark!

What are the best songs of the year? That's kind of a trick question, given the subjectivity of music. But anyone can still have favorites, and that's what you're about to hear — a collection of some of 2020's best songs, as chosen by the World Cafe staff.

There are only a couple of weeks left in 2020 and a lot has happened. So, it's understandable if you maybe didn't hear all of the great music that came out – there was a lot of it. In this episode, World Cafe's Nashville correspondent and NPR pop critic Ann Powers is bringing you some of the artists from the Music City that you might have missed this year.

To celebrate the end of this godforsaken year, we are publishing a special edition of Heavy Rotation — our popular, monthly series that features songs public radio can't stop playing. This list of songs is ranked by total plays across various NPR Member stations across the country. Even in a pandemic, public radio endures: Here are the most popular 30 songs from 2020.

Owen Pallett is someone whose creativity can seem... sort of unfathomable.

When the 63rd annual Grammy Awards ceremony airs on Sunday, Jan, 31, the show will probably be unlike any Grammys we've seen before. The pandemic has changed the music industry in all sorts of ways, and that includes its "biggest night" — but there's still a ton of great music to celebrate, and many of this year's nominated artists are World Cafe alumni.

It's a busy time for music critics as they prepare for the annual tradition of identifying the year's best albums and songs in listicle form. World Cafe Nashville correspondent Ann Powers took a break from her NPR deliberatons to share one more roundup of new songs coming out of the Music City.

The Avett Brothers' sound has grown in size and scope in the last decade — something you could really hear on Closer Than Together, their adventurous 2019 release. But on their new album, The Third Gleam, Scott and Seth Avett take a different turn and bring things back to their roots. No big band, no synths, no electric guitar.

World Cafe's Latin Roots series began in 2012, celebrating the sounds of traditional and new alternative Latin music through radio, online features and live events.

Nashville's Namir Blade seemed to emerge out of nowhere with the fully formed vision of Aphelion's Traveling Circus, a concept album with an elaborate sci-fi narrative, witty, theatrical skits and prismatic musicality released on the respected indie hip-hop label Mello Music Group in late September.

There's been a lot of talking recently. A lot of words. A lot of people talking, arguing, debating, shouting slogans at you. So today we present a giant playlist of songs with no words: 100 instrumental jams to clear your head. You can groove, you can surf, you can even "East St Louis Toodle-Oo."

October's edition of Heavy Rotation, chosen by NPR member stations, features music from Nilüfer Yanya, Sierra Ferrell, Sharon Van Etten, Ani DiFranco and more.

All of this month's picks are available to stream on the Heavy Rotation Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page. As always, you can discover fantastic music programming happening across the country by clicking the links to each station's website, included below.

They'll Never Keep Us Down is the title of a forthcoming EP from Nashville singer-songwriter Kelsey Waldon. The EP takes its title from the Hazel Dickens song and serves as a statement of allyship for social justice reform. The EP includes covers of protest and empowerment songs by Kris Kristofferson ("The Law Is For The Protection Of The People"), John Prine ("Sam Stone"), "Ohio" by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free," popularized by Nina Simone, and others.

Many bands have struggled making sense of life amid COVID-19, but for Algiers, social distancing between bandmates is something they've been dealing with for years. Algiers was founded originally in Atlanta in the late aughts, but since then its members have lived in different cities, states, and even continents.

Margo Price is new Nashville royalty, a crown princess that has carved out a lofty perch by being true to herself.

There's something intriguing about how much drama can go into great albums. Sometimes it ends partnerships, sometimes it fuels them. For Nick Sanborn and Amelia Meath of Sylvan Esso, the friction is essential to what makes their creative collaboration tick.

I want to chill like Billy Strings is chilling. Sitting in front of a tapestry on his couch at his home in Nashville, the bluegrass all-star has a truly down-to-earth attitude about things. He tells me about restoring his old Chevrolet Chevelle, the silence and solitude of his favorite fishing spot, and his bluegrass-can-be-anything attitude.

Sometimes bass guitar can be an overlooked instrument. Sometimes it gets relegated to the background. But today, it's a 62-song playlist that's all about that bass. We asked our social followers "What is the greatest bass riff of all time?" and they delivered.

Fall is upon us and World Cafe's Nashville correspondent, Ann Powers of NPR Music, is back to give you a rundown of her favorite end of summer releases to come out of the Music City this month.

September's edition of Heavy Rotation, chosen by NPR member stations, features music from Janelle Monáe, Labrinth, SAULT, Omar Apollo, New Order and more.

All of this month's picks are available to stream on the Heavy Rotation Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page. As always, you can discover fantastic music programming happening across the country by clicking the links to each station's website, included below.

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