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World Cafe - Words and Music


Since 1991, World Cafe has showcased contemporary music, serving up an eclectic blend of blues, rock, folk and alternative country.

Since 1991, World Cafe has showcased contemporary music, serving up an eclectic blend of blues, rock, folk and alternative country.
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Philadelphia, PA





Since 1991, World Cafe has showcased contemporary music, serving up an eclectic blend of blues, rock, folk and alternative country.




Broken Social Scene Wants to Hug You

Recorded right after Tom Petty's passing and the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Broken Social Scene give a sense of comfort and community during chaotic times. The Canadian supergroup's new record Hug of Thunder was aptly named by band member Feist. After 7 year break between releases the long time friends have created another anthemic album and in our studio eight of the talented players, including founding members Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning, give a powerful performance of the new songs...

Duration: 00:34:18

Sour + Sweet: Deer Tick

The band Deer Tick goes from in-your-face to introspective on a dime in their new set of 2 full length albums, Deer Tick Volume 1 and Volume 2. While Volume 1 is folkier with just a little bit of a bite, the band gets heavy and lets their punk influence rip on Volume 2. Lead singer John McCauley and guitarist Ian O'Neil talk about what it's been like to go from a hard-partiers to family men in the time since the band's last album Negativity (2013). They assure us that their party days aren't...

Duration: 00:37:11

Southern Rockers J. Roddy Walston and the Business

A lot has changed since the last time J. Roddy Walston and the Business stopped by the Cafe in 2013. After living in Cleveland, Tennessee and Baltimore, Maryland J. Roddy has settled in Richmond, Virginia where he found a thriving music community, built a recording studio, and became a father. J. Roddy tells David Dye how those changes impacted the band's new album Destroyers of the Soft Life. Roddy also tells the story of starting his first band. The tale involves Kurt Cobain's death, a 7th...

Duration: 00:17:24

Dan Wilson On Writing with Adele, The Dixie Chicks and More

Dan Wilson wrote "Closing Time", one of the biggest hits of the 90s for his band Semisonic. Since then he's co-written with artists including Taylor Swift, Chris Stapleton and John Legend and scored some big hits along the way. Wilson also co-wrote Adele's "Someone Like You" and the Dixie Chicks' "Not Ready to Make Nice". On Dan's new album Recovered he puts his own spin on those tunes and others. In this World Cafe session, Dan performs some of those covers live and reveals what it's like...

Duration: 00:56:21

Indigo Girls' Emily Saliers Flies Solo

Along with her Indigo Girls bandmate Amy Ray, Emily Saliers is one of the most important female voices of a generation. And while the duo is still going strong, Emily has just released her debut solo album Murmuration Nation. It was produced by violinist Lyris Hung, who joins Emily in our studio for a live performance along with singer-songwriter Lucy Wainwright Roche. Emily talks about the stigma of being a lesbian playing acoustic guitar, what it was like for her to come out in the 80s and...

Duration: 00:30:55

Allie X: Dark Pop With Serious Chops

"I can't believe that Katy Perry just tweeted about my song." That was Allie X's reaction to receiving the biggest boost an aspiring pop songwriter and new LA transplant could get. Allie describes her move from the theatre scene in Toronto to the pop world of LA, which included some seriously gutsy choices. She'll also explain why replaced her last name with "X", and show off her classically trained chops in a live performance from her latest album CollXtion II.

Duration: 00:20:27

Carlos Santana, the Isley Brothers and Cindy Blackman Santana

Four superstars for the price of one! Carlos Santana, his virtuoso drummer wife Cindy Blackman Santana and the two main surviving members of the legendary Isley Brothers, Ron and Ernie Isley have collaborated on the new album, Power of Peace. It features covers of songs by Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Billie Holiday, all centered around music's ability to heal and unify. Carlos, Cindy, Ron and Ernie tell the Cafe's Talia Schlanger the story of the album's inception and creation. Also,...

Duration: 00:19:50

From Mali With Love: Amadou and Mariam

Afropop's first couple Amadou and Mariam met at Mali's Bamako Institute for the Young Blind in the 70s. They fell in love, got married and become global sensations. While Amadou and Mariam are known for playing energetic world music, they've got many fans in the rock universe including U2, Coldplay and Damon Albarn of Blur. With the help of French translator Catherine Bedeski, Amadou and Mariam tell their love story and Amadou picks one of his favorite Pink Floyd guitar solos for us to...

Duration: 00:16:48

The Decemberists + Olivia Chaney = Offa Rex

Cue the harpsichord! Colin Meloy of the Decemberists has always dreamed of recording an album of British folk songs. He found the perfect collaborator in English singer-songwriter Olivia Chaney, who joined forces with the Decemberists to form Offa Rex. Together they released an album of English-Scottish-Irish folk covers called The Queen of Hearts. Colin and Olivia discuss the balancing act between the excitement of his American fantasy and her reverence for traditional British folk, and...

Duration: 00:41:59

JTLC, Alanis Morissette and the 90s: Turning the Tables Listening Party

Today we're having a listening party inspired by Turning the Tables – the NPR Music list of the 150 greatest albums by women. It was spearheaded by Nashville correspondent Ann Powers, and she joins Talia Schlanger along with Alisa Ali from WFUV in New York City and Andrea Swensson from The Current in Minneapolis to discuss Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill, TLC's CrazySexyCool, and the contributions of female artists to rock and R&B in the 90s.

Duration: 00:30:34

Joan Shelley, Whitehorse & The National Reserve at The Philadelphia Folk Festival

The World Cafe's David Dye hosted an evening of music at the Philadelphia Folk Festival's campground stage for the 10th year in a row this August. In the past The Felice Brothers, Deer Tick, and Sturgill Simpson have joined us. This year the night started off with Kentucky based singer songwriter Joan Shelley. Her new self-titled album was produced by Jeff Tweedy at Wilco's Loft in Chicago. Canadian duo Whitehorse took the stage next. They've been shortlisted for the Polaris Prize and...

Duration: 00:41:19

Grant Hart of Hüsker Dü from 2010

We remember Grant Hart, the drummer, co-leader and co-songwriter with Bob Mould of the influential band Hüsker Dü. Hart died on Wednesday at the age of 56. In this 2010 interview, Hart talks with the World Cafe's David Dye about the early days of Hüsker Dü, his relationship with Bob Mould and the 14 months Hart spent believing he was HIV positive before discovering that he'd been misdiagnosed.

Duration: 00:11:17

Bruce Cockburn Breaks A Dry Spell

Canadian troubadour Bruce Cockburn has just released his new album called Bone on Bone. It's his 33rd record, and yes, it rings out with the expert craft of a legend who will be inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame this month. Bone on Bone is Bruce's first release since an album called Small Source of Comfort which came out in 2011. Bruce will talk with Talia Schlanger about his return to writing after a three year dry spell and play live in the studio.

Duration: 00:42:19

Ride Rides Again After 21 Years

Along with contemporaries like My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive, Oxford's Ride were one of the definitive 90s shoegaze bands. But after the disappointing performance of their fourth album, Tarantula, in 1995 and growing tensions between core band members Mark Gardener and Andy Bell, Ride called it quits. Until now. The band reunited recently to make a new album called Weather Diaries. In this episode of World Cafe, Ride delivers live performances of new songs and one of their biggest hits...

Duration: 00:32:50

Selwyn Birchwood Blends Blues, Gospel & Funk

After hearing the music of Jimi Hendrix as a kid, Selwyn Birchwood was drawn to the blues. Later, he was literally drawn to the blues' doorstep. One of Birchwood's high school friends in Florida introduced him to a neighbor, bluesman Sonny Rhodes. Birchwood tells the Cafe's David Dye, "I took my guitar over to play for him [Sonny Rhodes] and I got through about half a song and he just stopped me and said 'Son, you have a passport?' and I said 'yeah.' And he's like 'I'm gonna take you on...

Duration: 00:21:46

Alvvays Sounds "Sad But Shiny" & Dislikes Cats

Alvvays went from being an unknown band to instant indie darlings after their 2014 hit "Archie, Marry Me." On their newly released sophomore album Antisocialites, Toronto's Alvvays maintain the same spirit of jangly jams with dark lyrical undertones filtered through a summer's haze. On this episode of the World Cafe, the band performs live and lead singer Molly Rankin and guitarist Alec O'Hanley have a chat with the Cafe's Talia Schlanger in which they manage to alienate cat lovers, ice...

Duration: 00:25:36

David Gilmour Returns to Pompeii

British psych-rockers Pink Floyd filmed the concert documentary Live At Pompeii in 1971, and just last summer guitarist David Gilmour and his band returned to the Roman amphitheater in Pompeii to record another concert - this time with a live audience. The resulting film is visually spectacular and will be given a one day theatrical showing across the country on September 13, with a DVD available later in the month. Gilmour discusses the differences between producing Live At Pompeii in...

Duration: 00:15:46

The Districts Go Big and Go Home

Hear The Districts doing what they do best, ripping through a powerful live performance before a packed hometown crowd at World Cafe headquarters in Philadelphia. Now that's not to say their recorded stuff isn't impressive – it is. And they've been at it for some time. Their debut release Telephone came out in 2012 when they were still in high school. The Districts' new record called Popular Manipulations is sophisticated and ambitious. They'll tell us about producing part of it themselves...

Duration: 00:20:48

Tiny Desk Winners Tank & The Bangas

New Orleans based Tank & The Bangas have invented their own style of joyous music combining poetry, funk and rock in a life affirming set. They won the Tiny Desk Contest over thousands of entries. As long as we are throwing around numbers, the resulting Tiny Desk Concert itself has over a million views. You need to put your ears to this gorgeous World Cafe session.

Duration: 00:28:37

Steve Earle on Country, Marriage and Family

Earle's latest album So You Wannabe An Outlaw features Willie Nelson and Miranda Lambert, and is dedicated to Waylon Jennings. Earle performs live and tells us stories about getting a letter of support from Jennings in prison, that time Johnny Cash gave him a compliment at a truck stop and having one of country music's toughest singers pull a gun on him. Steve Earle has been married seven times, including to singer-songwriter Allison Moorer. She's the mother of his youngest son, John...

Duration: 00:49:40

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