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Who: Margo Price

Where: Outside Nashville, Tenn.

Recommendation: Family time


I have been quarantining with my husband Jeremy and our two children: Judah, age nine, and Ramona, nine-and-a-half months. The four of us are all self-isolating at our home in the middle of nowhere, just outside of Nashville.

John Prine, who died Tuesday from complications of COVID-19, was a foundational figure, guiding light and embodying spirit of Americana music. In recent years his presence at the annual Americana Music Honors and Awards, held every September at Nashville's hallowed Ryman Auditorium, defined that event. Jed Hilly, Executive Director of the Americana Music Association, reflected upon Prine's passing:

When I heard that John Prine was dead, and would never be going to Arnold's Country Kitchen again to nab the last piece of banana cream pie; and that I'd never stand in a packed room full of old hippies and young hipsters and just plain folks and bellow out the words to "In Spite of Ourselves" as he chuckled at all of us; that I'd never meet another young songwriter who'd recently been blessed the wisdom he offered as Nashville's most generous mentor; that old friends like Bonnie Raitt would never grinningly match hi

John Prine, a wry and perceptive writer whose songs often resembled vivid short stories, died Tuesday in Nashville from complications related to COVID-19. His death was confirmed by his publicist, on behalf of his family. He was 73 years old.

The creatively voracious music producer Hal Willner, who for decades selected the music used in "Saturday Night Live" sketches, died Tuesday, one day after his 64th birthday. He had symptoms consistent with those caused by COVID-19.

Along with his work at "SNL" — where he began in 1980 — Willner was a multifaceted presence in the music community, earning fans and drawing critical praise for his work as a live event and record producer.

In this era of social distancing, few celebrities have carved out a social media presence as appealing as those of Emily Blunt and John Krasinski. They're married, so they get to share their isolation — and they've been filling the time with a kindhearted weekly YouTube show they call Some Good News.

Wu Fei and Abigail Washburn, who released a self-titled debut album as a duo on Friday, have lived almost parallel lives. Both women were born in 1977, and both grew up to be accomplished and virtuosic folk musicians, albeit in completely different folk traditions. Wu is a composer and a world-renowned virtuoso on the guzheng, a 2500-year-old string instrument which is a staple of Chinese folk music. Meanwhile, Washburn is a banjo player who has won a Grammy Award for her reinterpretations of traditional Appalachian music.

Our Daily Breather is a series where we ask writers and artists to recommend one thing that's helping them get through the days of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic.

Who: Channy Leaneagh

Where: Minneapolis, Minn.

Recommendation: Doing the next right thing

The Lumineers showed up at the Tiny Desk with family, friends and crew who travel with the tight-knit touring band. One special guest in particular was Lenny, the toddler son of lead singer Wes Schultz. As soon as Bob Boilen met Lenny, Bob searched for every toy he could find on the shelves behind his desk to entertain the restless tyke.

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Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer and songwriter Bill Withers has died. His family says the 81-year-old passed away from heart complications. 

Bill Withers, the sweet-voiced baritone behind such classic songs as "Ain't No Sunshine," "Lean on Me" and "Use Me" has died. Withers was 81 years old. According to a family statement given to the Associated Press, he died Monday in Los Angeles due to heart complications.

Bucky Pizzarelli, a tasteful sage of jazz guitar who spent the first phase of his career as a prolific session player and the last phase as a celebrated patriarch, died on Wednesday in Saddle River, N.J. Guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli, his oldest son and regular musical partner, said the cause was the coronavirus. He was 94.

Jam band superheroes Phish have capped off an incredibly quick album rollout campaign, unexpectedly releasing a new album, Sigma Oasis, Thursday.

The buildup to the release took a grand total of two days: Tuesday night, the band announced, during a break in its "Dinner and a Movie" series, that a new album was on its way. The following night, Phish hosted a listening party via YouTube and Facebook Live, before releasing the album wide on Thursday morning.

Our Daily Breather is a series where we ask writers and artists to recommend one thing that's helping them get through the days of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic.

Who: Ruston Kelly

Where: Nashville, Tenn.

Recommendation: Reading Ralph Waldo Emerson (and consuming art)

It's tempting, when assessing great creative works, to funnel all credit to a lone genius — a writer, a singer, a director, an artist, or a name that sits atop a marquee. It's so much easier to be spared the task of teasing out greatness from an interconnected web of contributors, partners, helpers, teachers and organizers. We can accept a songwriting credit that reads "Lennon-McCartney," but our icons — our geniuses, our auteurs — more often stand alone, lest their stars seem diminished.

Ellis Marsalis, jazz pianist, educator, and patriarch of the Marsalis family, has died at the age of 85. His death was announced in tweets from New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell and Jazz at Lincoln Center, where his son Wynton is managing and artistic director.

He reportedly went into the hospital over the weekend with symptoms of pneumonia. The New York Times reports that his son Branford says the cause of death was complications from COVID-19.

A few weeks ago, as the city of New Orleans was preparing to institute a stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus, Nicholas Payton got to work.

Wallace Roney, a trumpeter and composer who embodied the pugnacious, harmonically restive side of post-bop throughout an illustrious four-decade career, died this morning at St. Joseph's University Medical Center in Paterson, N.J. He was 59.

The cause was complications from COVID-19, according to his fiancée, Dawn Felice Jones. She said Roney had been admitted to the hospital last Wednesday.

"Entirely Different Stars," from Lukas Nelson's newest album, Naked Garden, is a song many people might relate to right about now. It's a fantasy about grabbing that special someone and blasting off to a less troubled planet.

Musician and philanthropist Dolly Parton is launching a weekly series in which she reads a children's book to an online audience at bedtime, drawing books from her popular Imagination Library project. The goal, the nonprofit says, is to give kids and families "a welcome distraction during a time of unrest and also inspire a love of reading and books."

This is the most engaging song by Bob Dylan I've heard in decades. As someone who grew up in the era of President Kennedy's assassination, the portrait Dylan paints in "Murder Most Foul" is extraordinary, and takes me back to those days, to my memories of a nation overwhelmed by grief. There's something eerie about this song coming out at this precise moment.

Our Daily Breather is a series where we ask writers and artists to recommend one thing that's helping them get through the days of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic.

Who: Jason Isbell

Where: Nashville, Tenn.

Recommendation: Happy People: A Year In The Taiga

In an attempt to bring some enjoyment to people stuck at home, musicians around the nation and central Ohio are hosting their own intimate performances for fans.

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.


On Monday March 30, Sophie Allison, aka Soccer Mommy, was to perform a long awaited Tiny Desk concert at my desk. Now the world has changed, and with the coronavirus keeping us at a distance, we're taking a break from filming Tiny Desks at the office for a while.

One of the pioneers of Afro-funk music, the saxophonist Manu Dibango, has died of COVID-19. He was 86 years old, and died in Paris. Internationally, he was best known for his 1972 song "Soul Makossa," though his entire oeuvre could have been the soundtrack to a cooler 1970s than most people lived. But that one, funk-drenched hit, lit by Dibango's burning saxophone, went on to influence the sound of American disco — and its hooky spoken intro helped power songs by Michael Jackson and Rihanna.

YouTube

Conor Oberst has kept busy since the last Bright Eyes rec

Twenty seconds of hand washing. 60 to 90 percent alcohol. Six feet of distance. People worldwide have absorbed these guidelines as the coronavirus pandemic has closed its fist around the world. But humans also need to keep the spirit moving, as did Charles Dickens — who lived through a few epidemics — by taking a daily "breather" in the fresh air. Here we offer recommendations for psychic health from people who go deep into their own hearts and minds: artists and writers. Creative people have been uniquely affected by the onset of the current pandemic.

Late last summer, saxophonist Joshua Redman engaged in some light time travel: For a couple of nights, he reconvened a stellar ensemble he'd led 25 years prior, with Brad Mehldau on piano, Christian McBride on bass and Brian Blade on drums.

Updated Monday, Mar. 30 at 1:37 p.m.

"I just want you to know," Raveena told the NPR office, "that in this space that we're in, you're extremely, extremely loved." I get chills when I think about it now.

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