Julia Jacklin's debut album, Don't Let The Kids Win, showcases the lyrical density of her songs. The Australian singer-songwriter treats her music as an outlet for emotions that weren't discussed much in her family as she was growing up — she finds it easier to deal with those personal stories by putting them into songs. Jacklin, who's 25, has said Don't Let The Kids Win captures her nostalgia for the ambition she had when she was younger. Hear two songs at the audio link above.
One of the beautiful surprises in the Irish singer-songwriter Damien Rice's 2002 album O was the introduction of singer Lisa Hannigan, who has one of the most direct, simple and arresting voices you'll ever hear. After singing with Rice for several years, Hannigan flexed her own songwriting muscles and released her solo debut, Sea Sew, in 2008.
This week, World Cafe rebroadcast a 2011 session with The Civil Wars. When we recorded that session, Joy Williams and John Paul White had just released their album Barton Hollow; they'd go on to win four Grammy awards, achieve a gold record and play sold-out concerts. But the duo's success wasn't enough to sustain their partnership, which fell apart in 2014.
Here are 10 more great duos that, unfortunately, weren't built to last.
Todd Snider has proven himself an agile (and very funny) solo performer, but in 2013 he decided he wanted to start performing in a band. So, he persuaded some friends, including bassist Dave Schools of Widespread Panic and guitarist Neal Casal of Ryan Adams' backing band The Cardinals, to form Hard Working Americans. (Snider jokes that he no longer even has to bring a guitar to gigs.)
Catalina Maria Johnson, the host and producer of Beat Latino, visits World Cafe to discuss the music associated with the Chicano Power movement of the 1960s, including songs by activist and folk singer Agustín Lira. In some ways, she says, this music has become the oral history of the time.
When Beth Orton released her debut album, Trailer Park, in 1996, critics dubbed her music "folktronica" for its use of acoustic instruments, singer-songwriter vibe and electronic beats. Whatever it was called, the songwriting and performance were sensational. Orton has experimented with her music through the years, leaning in her recent albums toward the acoustic side — but her newest record, Kidsticks, finds her mostly abandoning acoustic instruments for electronic keyboards and loops.
The Toronto improvisational band BADBADNOTGOOD recently released its fourth album, IV. The instrumental group includes Matthew Tavares on keys, Chester Hansen on bass, Leland Whitty on saxophone and Alexander Sowinski on drums. The four, most of whom met at Humber College, have become known for their jazz-inflected covers of hip-hop songs and, notably, for their collaborations with Tyler, the Creator.
Public-radio music curators know that a great remedy for the late-summer blues is fall's deluge of new releases. In this month's mix, hear new songs by L.A. art-rock favorite Warpaint, soulful newcomer Ethan Burns, Chicago rapper Noname and more, including a premiere from North Dakota folksinger Tom Brosseau.
Young Gun Silver Fox is a hard-to-resist duo. One member (singer-songwriter Andy Platts) is from California, while the other (multi-instrumentalist Shawn Lee) hails from London; fittingly, the duo's debut is called West End Coast.
One of the best debuts of 2016 so far is from the singer-songwriter Margaret Glaspy, whose new album is called Emotions And Math. A fan of Joni Mitchell from a young age, Glaspy began making music as a fiddler and played in backing bands before taking on the challenge of writing her own songs. She was a Berklee College of Music student — but only for a semester, before financial problems caused her to drop out.