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World Cafe - Words and Music

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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.




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 their...

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 the...

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 1971...

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 Henry,...

Duration: 00:49:40

Singer and Actor – Jake La Botz

He learned the blues on the streets of Chicago sharing Jim Beam with "Honeyboy" Edwards. He has toured tattoo parlors across the country, cause that's where his audience was, and sang his songs in major motion pictures like Rambo. Along the way he got sober. We'll hear all about it as Jake La Botz joins us live.

Duration: 00:16:37

The Wooden Sky: From My Home to Yours

Talia Schlanger here. This one's personal. The Wooden Sky is a band from my hometown, Toronto. They first blew me away at a live show about a decade ago and I've been following their career ever since. They're incredibly dynamic – Explosive, fiery and huge in one moment. And then, on a dime, they can be tender, beautiful and magnetically quiet. Their new album is called Swimming in Strange Waters and we invited them to perform some of it when the band passed through Philly recently. Lead...

Duration: 00:40:37

Stretch & Bobbito: Rappin' with the Stars

Before Jay-Z, Notorious BIG, Busta Rhymes and The Fugees were stars, they were guests on a 90s college radio show hosted by DJ Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Garcia. Stretch and Bobbito are now back with a new NPR podcast called What's Good. They tell stories about interviewing Stevie Wonder and Dave Chappelle in 2017, and hanging with hip hop's future stars before they were famous back in the 90s.

Duration: 00:35:08

Simon Raymonde is back making music

This is the story of Simon Raymonde, member of Cocteau Twins in the 80's and 90's and for 20 years the owner of the very successful Bella Union record label reprioritizing his musical life in light of the discovery of a brain tumor. That has lead him to a new band Lost Horizons with drummer Richard Thomas and the collaborative album Ojala. The new music is surprising, inventive and some of his best work. His past life with Cocteau Twins and signing artists like Fleet Foxes and Father John...

Duration: 00:31:16

The Dreamy Harmonies of Overcoats

Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell are vocally intertwined in a way that you often only hear from people who are related. Their sister-like bond started relatively recently though, when the pair met at Wesleyan college and started singing covers together. By their Senior year they opened up to each other enough to delve into some very personal songwriting. The resulting debut album is called Young. It features coming of age stories, where growing pains sound a little less painful or at least less...

Duration: 00:24:18

Chuck Berry's Son Reveals the Father Behind the Guitar

Rock and roll pioneer Chuck Berry died this past March, and in June, his decades-in-the-making final album called Chuck came out. While many revere Berry as a musician, his son, Charles Berry Jr, saw him as only a son can. He idolized his hard working dad's dedication to the stage, learned the guitar as a part of his touring band, and figured out that there were some things it was better not to take after him in – as Charles Jr explained it, despite his father being famous for some great...

Duration: 00:31:16

Brother Ali on Hip Hop, Islam and Being Albino

Normally we wouldn't introduce a musician by describing what they look like or their religion. But for Minneapolis-based hip hop artist Brother Ali, it's all intertwined. On his latest album All the Beauty in This Whole Life Brother Ali shares stories about that time as a kid when his mom dyed his hair so he'd look less albino and the fears he has for his own black son as a potential victim of violence. Brother Ali visited the Cafe to perform in June while he was observing Ramadan. He talked...

Duration: 00:34:59

Waxahatchee – A Break-up Album for Everyone

Katie Crutchfield's new Waxahatchee album Out in the Storm came after the end of a difficult relationship but she wants listeners to focus on is how the songs touch their own experiences, not the particulars of her life. She talks about that, and the support twin sister Allison gave her on this record, as their creative relationship has evolved over the years. The pair have previously worked together in their early band PS Eliot and Katie has lent her talents to Allison's solo projects.

Duration: 00:26:26

Sherman Holmes: "Rock 'em on Saturday and save 'em on Sunday"

For decades, Sherman Holmes was a member of the trio the Holmes Brothers with his real brother, Wendell, and with Popsy Dixon who was like a brother. But in 2015, he lost both his bandmates. Sherman talks about finding the courage to go on and performs music from his solo debut The Richmond Sessions. He also shares stories about his childhood in Virginia and his early musical days in the clubs as well as at church where the motto was "rock 'em on Saturday and save 'em on Sunday".

Duration: 00:36:26

Jei Beibi! Mexico's Café Tacvba are still breaking ground

Café Tacvba's 1994 album Re is consistently ranked among the greatest Latin albums, and considered a groundbreaking contribution to the rock en español movement. Their latest album Jei Beibi features the diversity of sounds and influences the band is known for incorporating – from rock to bubblegum pop to electronica to funk and of course, Mexican and Latin influences. The four members of Café Tacvba perform live music and talk about 25 years of breaking sonic ground on this Latin Roots...

Duration: 00:27:03

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