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Bob Boilen

This month marks 60 years since the very first Newport Folk Festival. NPR has been covering the event since its rebirth in 2008. Jay Sweet, now the executive producer, was mostly responsible for the festival's revival, booking unexpected bands and reinvigorating the spirit of the annual gathering. It's long been a place where musicians would collaborate and make music often steeped in social justice.

I'm all alone in the studio.

I had so many new songs to share; I didn't want to split the show with a co-host.

For the past year, NPR has been taking a deep look at American anthems and all the forms they can take. These are the songs that unite us, inspire us or say something about what it means to be an American — songs as traditional as Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land," or as defiant as Public Enemy's "Fight the Power."

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Lucy Dacus is conflicted about America.

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This just in: The Muppets have arrived at NPR!

The news has stopped!

Count von Count and the NPR kids count us down: 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1!

This year, I was blown away by the Tiny Desk Contest entries I saw. We received over 6,000 entries from all across the country. We saw tiny desks up on rooftops and down on a subway platform; tucked into treetops, pickup trucks and laundromats. We heard songs about the situations that make life difficult and the people that make life worth living.

Kevin Morby's new album is unlike anything he's done before. Gone is the guitar (for the most part) from his earlier recordings. In its place are more droning instruments — sounds more suited for church than the concert hall, including a recurring, small choir. The subject for the album is God and our culture's relationship with God, from deep introspection to the trivial, everyday use of that ever-present expression "oh my God."

Here's some of the most uplifting music I've heard in a long while. Ahmed Gallab, best known as Sinkane, has new music we're proud to premiere. The song is called "Everybody" which will be the lead-off track to his next record, Dépaysé.

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There's new music from Big Thief: a song, released today, called "UFOF," and the band's third album, coming May 3, titled

Editor's note: This page has been updated to include more of the conversation between Bob Boilen and Ezra Koenig.

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Andrew Hozier-Byrne has a new album coming in March. His second album, called Wasteland, Baby!, is his first full-length record in four-and-a-half years.

There are songwriters and then there are storytellers, and Steve Earle is very much the latter. His songs, such as "The Devil's Right Hand," "Copperhead Road" and "Guitar Town," have been sung by Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings, Vince Gill, Patty Loveless and many, many more.

Fifty years ago, just before the holidays in 1968, The Beatles put out not just a new album, but a double album, something relatively unheard of at the time.

AMERICANAFEST just ended and we're back from Nashville with 10 thrilling tunes for you. The artists are, for the most part, emerging musicians who tackle this diverse genre from all angles.

Defining Americana isn't easy. At the festival, there were musicians from all around the world. Some were rooted in blues, jazz, boogie rock, bluegrass, soul, gospel, comedy, country, Tejano and much more.

At 76, Paul Simon has been writing music for more than 60 years. And all that's about to come to an end.

Today, The Band's Robbie Robertson is going to take us back 50 years, to a basement just outside of Woodstock, New York and the formation of a sound and an album that all these years later still shapes the musical landscape.

It's the most wonderful time of the year! At least it is for avid music fans like us and anyone else attending the South By Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. The annual endurance challenge gets underway this week, with thousands of bands from around the world — and many more fans — converging on the city for a seemingly endless bender of live performances — shows both big and small that last all day, every day, into the wee hours of the morning, with music pouring out of every club, restaurant, street corner and alleyway for miles.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

We're one week into the 2018 contest and love what we're seeing. Submissions have already come in from all over the country featuring music and desks ofall varieties. With that, we'd like to take a moment to celebrate the first entry we received: Ian Bamberger's "A Privateer's Eyes."

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It's time to crank up the amps, warm up the drum machines, dust off the sax (or whatever your instrument of choice is) and enter the Tiny Desk

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

In March of 2016, just a handful of months after her debut album Sprained Ankle was released, Julien Baker came and played a quiet, thoughtful Tiny Desk concert that went on to become one of our most popular and certainly one of the most-talked-about Tiny Desk Concerts of the year. (It's now approaching two million views on YouTube alone.)

The Weather Station's fourth (and self-titled) album was a constant companion for me in 2017, in no small part for the song that opens the band's Tiny Desk performance. It's called "Thirty" and in less than four minutes and nearly 400 words, singer Tamara Lindeman paints images of joy intertwined with the awaking jolt of turning thirty.

Despite the flood of new music in 2017, there were songs I came back to over and over again. I still star-rate my downloaded songs in iTunes (the main reason I don't care to migrate to Spotify), so when the end of the year arrived I sorted my songs by star ratings and went back over the best of the bunch, then narrowed things down to a list of my 50 favorite songs of 2017, eliminating duplicates from the same record.

Effortless storytelling is at the heart of This Is The Kit. And the stories the band's only permanent member, Kate Stables, weaves are profound but sweet with a tone that quietly reels you in.

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