Ben Folds has worn many musical hats, including pop-rock pianist and a cappella patron. On his new album, So There, he sets out in yet another direction by pairing a piano concerto he recorded with the Nashville Symphony and a batch of songs he wrote in collaboration with New York chamber ensemble yMusic. It's not classical and it certainly isn't rock — call it baroque pop.
On one level, Low Cut Connie seems far removed from folk music. There wasn't an acoustic guitar in sight during the band's Philadelphia Folk Festival performance. But its straight-ahead rock 'n' roll sound, propelled by Adam Weiner's piano, certainly puts it next in line of a tradition of classic bar bands.
Tall Heights makes its World Cafe debut with a set recorded live at the Philadelphia Folk Festival. Tim Harrington (guitar and vocals) and Paul Wright (cello and vocals) started out playing as a duo on Boston streets, where they entranced passerby with their gorgeous harmonies and the unique interplay of cello and guitar. Even though Tall Heights is now a quartet, the intimacy remains.
Hear the band perform two songs from its forthcoming EP, Holding On, HoldingOut,due in October.
Going into Lindi Ortega's performance at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, we already knew that the Toronto country singer's new album, FadedGloryville, was full of great songwriting. What we weren't prepared for? How tight and roadworthy her band is. Listen to this fantastic performance of some of Ortega's best yet, recorded live under the stars for World Cafe.
John Mark Nelson is just 21, but he's already figured out how to make a cohesive album in I'm Not Afraid, on which he sings with easy confidence. On this week's episode of World Cafe: Next, you can hear two songs from the Twin Cities singer-songwriter — and download them as part of the World Cafe: Next podcast, available at the show's Tumblr.
There can't help but be a New Orleans vibe in the World Cafe house when Galactic joins the show live. Almost 20 years into its career, the New Orleans funk band returns in support of its 11th album, Into The Deep.
Rayland Baxter grew up in Nashville; he's the son of steel player Bucky Baxter, whose career included a lengthy stint with Bob Dylan. The younger Baxter spent his formative years hanging with another kid whose dad was on the road a lot: Justin Townes Earle, son of Steve Earle.
Rayland Baxter's songwriting has evolved on his new second album Imaginary Man. He brings his full band in to perform live in the World Cafe studio — they even cover a song from Neil Young's classic album On The Beach.
Boxed In is the work of London's Oli Bayston, whose musical goal has been to play the electronic and house music he loves in a band with more rock interaction. No loops and no click-tracks; just a drummer who keeps perfect time. Here, Bayston and company perform songs from their self-titled debut.
Pacific Surf Line, out Oct. 3, is a sunny, breezy debut from the group GospelbeacH.The band's members have been part of Beachwood Sparks, Further, The Tyde, the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Ryan Adams & The Cardinals and Everest, among others. With the buoyant, country-influenced sound of Beachwood Sparks in mind, these musicians clearly clicked in the studio, as you'll hear in the two songs featured here.