23-year-old Long Beach, Calif., singer-songwriter Kwesi Foraes' debut EP, 27, reveals blues, R&B and folk influences and an incredible level of emotional depth. Foraes says the aftermath of family turmoil and death affected these songs, which also explore the addictive nature of love. Hear two songs in this week's World Cafe Next segment, above.
Grant-Lee Phillips has been a Californian practically his whole life. But in 2013, 20 years after World Cafe first met him and his band Grant Lee Buffalo, Phillips moved his family to Nashville. His new album, The Narrows, reflects the move. With songs like "Cry Cry," Phillips tells the story of his Native American ancestors, who were from that region of the country.
Carrie Rodriguez is a fiddle-playing singer and songwriter from Texas who first became known with a series of duo albums she made with Chip Taylor. She's been recording solo in English for a while, but her new album, Lola, is purposefully bilingual.
Ben Harper recorded with the Innocent Criminals from 1997 through his 2007 album, Lifeline. Since then, he's worked solo and with Relentless7 — until now. The Innocent Criminals join Harper on his new album, Call It What It Is.
Two distinct strains of music might come to mind when one thinks of the western Massachusetts hamlet of Northampton and the surrounding area. One is the singer-songwriter scene centered around the venue The Iron Horse and the Signature Sounds label. The other is the loud rock scene conjured by J Mascis and Dinosaur Jr.
Black Pistol Fire is the stomping, blues-inflected duo of Kevin McKeown on guitar and lead vocals and Eric Owen on drums. Originally from Toronto, the two now call Austin home. Black Pistol Fire's fourth album, Don't Wake The Riot, comes out later this month.
It turns out that Parquet Courts' most recent two albums were actually recorded at the same time. As guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Andrew Savage explains, the band's 2015 EP, Monastic Living,was a mostly instrumental "palate cleanser" that prepared him and songwriting partner Austin Brown to record this year's Human Performance.
Each month, we ask music curators at public radio stations across the country to introduce us to one new song they can't stop spinning. In April, these denizens of the left side of the dial loved songs by Brooklyn electric-folk band Big Thief, Philadelphia power-pop quintet Sheer Mag, Louisiana garage-rock outfit Seratones and more. Hear all 10 selections below.
World Cafe's latest Latin Roots artist, Cuban singer Daymé Arocena, has a warm, dynamic voice and a personality to match. The 23-year-old laughs easily in this session, as she sings songs from her debut album, NuevaEra,and discusses the opportunities available to her at home and around the world.