Listen

Music News & Reviews

YouTube

Picking one Tiny Desk Contest winner from the thousands of amazing entries we received this year wasn't easy.

Nina Simone introduced me to Ledisi. I've been working on a project devoted to Ms. Simone's music, and from the very beginning my producer has been telling me about Ledisi's tribute album to Simone. It sounded interesting — a powerhouse R&B and jazz singer paying homage to an artist whose music provided her a lifeline in a time of crisis. And then, last month, Ledisi Sings Nina came out.

Charlie Watts, the unshakeable drummer for The Rolling Stones, died this morning. According to a publicist, he died in a hospital in London, surrounded by family. No cause of death was given. He was 80 years old.

Don Everly, half of one of rock and roll's pioneering groups, The Everly Brothers, has died. The musician, known for singing close harmonies with his brother, was 84.

With hits like, "All I Have To Do Is Dream," "Wake Up Little Susie," "Bye Bye Love" and "Cathy's Clown," The Everly Brothers were a sensation in the late 1950s and early '60s as rock and roll became a cultural phenomenon.

Everly's country-influenced vocals, sung alongside his younger brother, Phil, stretched the possibilities of harmonies in early rock and roll.

Don And Moki Cherry's Organic Dreams Made Real

Aug 22, 2021

During their lives, the trumpeter Don Cherry (1936-1995) and his wife, visual artist and designer Moki Cherry (1943-2009), were best known to music fans for their collaborations.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tom T. Hall, the singer-songwriter who composed "Harper Valley P.T.A." and sang about life's simple joys as country music's consummate blue-collar bard, has died. He was 85.

His son, Dean Hall, confirmed the musician's death on Friday at his home in Franklin, Tenn. Known as "The Storyteller" for his unadorned yet incisive lyrics, Hall composed hundreds of songs.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Nanci Griffith died yesterday in Nashville at the age of 68. She was known for her crystalline voice and songs that told stories.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LOVE AT THE FIVE AND DIME")

Updated August 13, 2021 at 7:11 PM ET

Nanci Griffith, a Texas-born singer-songwriter celebrated in folk and country-music circles for her crystalline voice and storytelling skill, died Friday in Nashville at age 68.

The news was confirmed by her management company, Gold Mountain Entertainment.

No cause of death or further information was provided, reportedly at Griffith's behest: "It is Nanci's wish that no statement or press release happen for a week following her passing."

On his newest album, Never Too Late To Call, we find Southern rocker Paul Thorn reflective. Raised in Tupelo, Miss., Thorn worked as a professional boxer and factory worker before becoming a full-time musician in the late 1990s, releasing multiple studio albums since. But his latest record has been seven years in the making.

TOKYO — In equestrian dressage, horses maneuver through complicated, dance-like choreography. The animals pirouette, step high, extend their legs long, and side step to music, signaled by an expert rider.

Olympic teams are turning to special composers to put together music tailored to highlight the best qualities of the horse and the routine.

"The music side of it really brought our sport to life," said Winnie Murphy, a spokesperson for British Equestrian. That's particularly true for spectators who aren't already attuned to the highly technical aspects of equestrian.

Pop music has its expected moves, its reliable strategies to get a musical payoff by making the melody's apex the main event. Torres isn't interested in reserving her intensity for the high notes. She engineered the chorus of "Don't Go Puttin' Wishes In My Head," a muscled-up power-pop song on her ravishing fifth album, Thirstier, so that it has a dramatically shifting center of gravity.

Fifty years ago, on August 1, 1971, the music world descended on Madison Square Garden for an event like no other. It was the first major charity concert of its kind — the Concert for Bangladesh. In that corner of South Asia, civil war, cyclone and floods had created a humanitarian disaster.

"There are six million displaced Bengalis, most of them suffering from malnutrition, cholera and also other diseases that are the result of living under the most dehumanizing conditions," former All Things Considered host Mike Waters reported in July of 1971.

Chariots of Fire, the drama depicting two British Olympian runners, was released in 1981 — 40 years ago this spring — and left us with an enduring cultural treasure: its musical .

NPR Music's Turning the Tables is a project envisioned to challenge sexist and exclusionary conversations about musical greatness. Up until now we have focused on overturning conventional, patriarchal best-of lists and histories of popular music. But this time, it's personal. For 2021, we're digging into our own relationships to the records we love, asking: How do we know as listeners when a piece of music is important to us?

This Song Is About You

Jul 22, 2021

In the final fading moments of "Wilshire," the centerpiece on his chart-topping album Call Me If You Get Lost, Tyler the Creator admits he's just broken one of his own rules. He's spent eight minutes peeling off the skin of a secret, sharing myriad details of an emotional affair with a friend's significant other. "Wilshire"'s narrative is digressive, dodgy, the backtracking confession of someone who feels innocent but can't help but share the evidence against himself.

They may be two of the most influential notes in funk-rock history: the soaring, plaintive start to guitarist Eddie Hazel's legendary solo in Funkadelic's "Maggot Brain."

Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson is coming out of the pandemic a changed man. The co-founder of The Roots and the music director for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon did something he never thought he'd do — he bought a farm in upstate New York.

"The last year has really been a big lesson for me in terms of self-love," Questlove says. "I was world famous for being a machine. ... I thought chaos was the only way that I could exist. But now I embrace quiet, and I can hear myself think."

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts today announced its 44th lifetime achievement award winners.

There's a moment on "Oceans of Time," from a 2016 album by The Cookers, when alto saxophonist Donald Harrison, Jr. takes a solo full of swerving self-assurance. Swinging mightily behind him is the composer of the tune, master drummer Billy Hart.

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.

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.

One of the most adventurous classical ensembles, the Grammy Award-winning Attacca Quartet, has made its reputation with an eclectic musical palette – they've explored the string quartets of Haydn and Beethoven and premiered new pieces by contemporary composers.

More than 100 years ago, a poem by Katharine Lee Bates was put to music by Samuel Ward, and the resulting song has become one of the United States' most recognizable patriotic hymns, "America the Beautiful."

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.

Louis Andriessen, the most widely acclaimed Dutch composer of his generation, died on Thursday, July 1, in a care home in Weesp, North Holland. His death was confirmed by Boosey & Hawkes, his publisher. He was 82 years old.

From the funky, opening groove of the film's first song, Stevie Wonder's slinky jam on the Isley's Brothers' "It's Your Thing," it is obvious the new documentary Summer of Soul (...or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) will be packed with little-seen, landmark live performances.

But watch a little longer, as Wonder sits behind a drumkit to whip off a crackling drum solo. As he works the kit, clips of news reports and pundits surface talking about the crucial political and social issues facing Black people in 1969. And you realize you're seeing something more.

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge signed an order Wednesday denying Britney Spears' request to have her father, Jamie Spears, removed from the financial aspects of her conservatorship.

Pages