The Things That We Are Made Of is Mary Chapin Carpenter's superb new album. It captures a specific and relatable stage in life — a characteristic of Carpenter's music throughout 14 albums (which have earned her five Grammys and two CMA Awards).
Bob Boilen is the man behind NPR's All Songs Considered and the Tiny Desk concert series, which takes place at his desk. Needless to say, he's always in search of new music; last year alone, he saw more than 400 bands live.
For every country star and insurgent new sensation, Nashville boasts a dozen musicians who've perfected their art over many years. Tomi Lunsford is one such exceptional, undersung talent. She hails from a prestigious family — her great-uncle was the revered folklorist and songwriter Bascom Lamar Lunsford, and her father, fiddler Jim Lunsford, played with the likes of Roy Acuff and Bob Wills. Tomi herself began singing professionally as a teen with Jim and her harmonizing sisters.
Daptone Records, known for recording blues, R&B and funk artists like Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, has entered into the world of rock music with a new offshoot: Wick Records. Wick's label debut, from Queens-based garage-rock band The Mystery Lights, definitely sets the standard.
In 1970, five guys — Tom Petty, Tom Leadon, Randall Marsh, Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench — formed a band, moved from Florida to Hollywood, made a single and broke up. If it hadn't been for Petty holding onto Campbell and Tench as part of The Heartbreakers, that original band, Mudcrutch, might have never come back together — but in 2007, they did just that to make a new record.
Introducing Karl Blau is an interesting title for the singer-songwriter's latest album, seeing as he's been releasing music since 1997 on his own labels. Producer Tucker Martine gave him the idea to record an album of country covers after Blau worked with Martine's wife, Laura Veirs. In this session, Martine and Blau join forces to play three songs from that album live for World Cafe.
The Last Shadow Puppets is the work of two British rock stars, Alex Turner and Miles Kane, who met when Kane's band The Little Flames toured with Turner's Arctic Monkeys. In 2008, Turner and Kane released The Age Of The Understatement, their first album as The Last Shadow Puppets, to a very appreciative response — but they didn't find time to make another until Arctic Monkeys went on hiatus in 2014.
The freak-folk band Vetiver is the work of Andy Cabic, who convened the band in 2002. Today, Cabic and his current group of touring musicians join World Cafe to perform music from the sixth Vetiver album, Complete Strangers, which was produced by Thom Monahan and incorporates synthesizers into the band's typical acoustic sound.
Nashville may be famous as the country music capital, but it's also a great rock 'n' roll town. In recent years, the city's spawned a new generation of joyfully ragged garage-punk purveyors, currently represented on the national scene by enduring bands like Jeff the Brotherhood and newer ones like Bully. Thelma and the Sleaze's Lauren Gilbert, who goes by the initials LG, has been part of that community since moving to Nashville from Iowa to study audio engineering.