Ben Nesselhuf
Ally Karsyn

Ode: Does mother know best?

When I was 20, I dropped out of college and drove a car from Chicago to Guatemala City.

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What if your goal was to just write some good songs? What if you and your longtime friend did that and then went back to your day jobs at a law firm and in the music industry? Then what if everything changed? Your song gets 10 millions plays on Spotify, you are spotlighted by NPR Music, you perform live on Conan and you sign a major label deal — and all before your debut album's release!

Tori Amos made her major-label debut not with her landmark album Little Earthquakes, but with an embarrassingly cheesy hair-metal album, Y Kant Tori Read. It was 1988, albums by Bon Jovi and Poison were selling like crazy and Atlantic Records — Amos' label at the time — wanted her to try something similar. It was a massive flop, but Amos came out of it with the chance to fight for the piano-driven music she had wanted to make all along.

Detroit-bred rapper and producer Black Milk's new video for "Laugh Now Cry Later" plays like an episode of Netflix's sci-fi horror hit Black Mirror, with its incisive commentary on the impact of technology.

Updated at 3:40 p.m. ET

Just over a week after 17 people were killed at Parkland, Fla., high school, National Rifle Association executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre gave a fiery, defiant speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, on Thursday in Washington, D.C. LaPierre defended Second Amendment rights and warned of a "socialist agenda" intended to strip firearms away from law-abiding citizens.

The blind have descended in droves on the Bisidimo Hospital in Eastern Ethiopia.

The Himalayan Cataract Project is hosting a mass cataract surgery campaign at the medical compound that used to be a leper colony. For one week a team from the nonprofit has set up seven operating tables in four operating rooms and they're offering free cataract surgery to anyone who needs it.

On the first day of the campaign it's clear that the need is great.

It wasn't the Miracle on Ice, exactly — but when the U.S. men's curling team squared up with their Canadian counterparts in the Olympic semifinal, few could have expected what happened next. Canadian men have won gold at each of the past three Winter Games, after all, and Americans had never — ever! — won an Olympic semifinal.

That all changed Thursday.

The U.S., led by captain John Shuster, shocked the traditional powerhouse in the close contest, riding a late surge of momentum to win 5-3.

Brett Dennen brings great vibes with him wherever he goes. He stopped by our studio for a solo acoustic set on the release date of his new EP, Let's. The first single, "Already Gone," is an easy favorite.

SET LIST

  • "Already Gone"

Blind Pilot On Mountain Stage

4 hours ago

Singer and guitarist Israel Nebeker and drummer Ryan Dubrowski began making music together in Portland, Ore. almost a decade ago. Since then, they've grown their band, Blind Pilot, by adding four additional talents to fill out their folk-pop melodies. Since 2008, the band has released three records and made several high-profile television appearances, as well as taken the stage at various large-scale music festivals throughout the country.

Fig and pomegranate trees, grapes, carrots, and narcissus flowers are some of the plants that Aveen Ismail like to grow in the Domiz refugee camp in Northern Iraq where they live. That's because these plants remind her of Syria and home.

At first, Ismail did not find the dry land welcoming. But she values greenery and gardening, so she cultivated a small patch of land next to the house her family built in the camp.

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