Worlds Colliding: Rhiannon Giddens And Francesco Turrisi
Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi are both gifted multi-instrumentalists and devoted students of music history. Each has dug into the past to illuminate the present and worked to give credit where credit is due for the way instruments and ideas have moved over time between people and places. While Rhiannon's work has focused on the influence of African traditions on what we think of as American music, Francesco is an expert in the often unacknowledged influence of Arabic and Middle Eastern music on what we think of as European sound. They found common ground in their quest to dispel false cultural narratives and turned it into gorgeous music on a new collaborative album called 'there is no Other'.
Ace Of Cups' Endless Summer Of Love
The members Ace of Cups came together in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood around the Summer of Love in the late 1960s. They lived down the street from the Grateful Dead, built up a following and shared the stage (and their gear) with Jimi Hendrix the week after he played the Monterey Pop Festival. Although there were female-fronted acts like Jefferson Airplane and singers like Janis Joplin on the scene at the time, Ace of Cups was a shock to the '60s system as an all-female rock band whose members played their own instruments and wrote their own songs. Despite being poised for superstardom, things didn't quite work out for Ace of Cups back then. But this past November, more than 50 years after getting together, the band released its full-length debut studio album. Original members Mary Gannon, Denise Kaufman, Mary Ellen Simpson, and Diane Vitalich dropped by World Cafe along with touring keyboard player Giovanna Imbesi to perform live and share stories about Ken Kesey's Acid Tests, the Summer of Love and their lives since then.
Hayes Carll Tells Stories That Reflect The World Around Him
Hayes Carll has been making music for nearly two decades. Early on, he focused more on telling other people's stories than his own. Now, Carll has a really sweet collection of new songs called 'What It Is', where the roots rocker from Texas applies his keen eye for detail and humor to tell stories that reflect the world all around him — inside him and beside him. Carll's partner, musician Allison Moorer, played a big part in the making of the album. She co-wrote several songs and co-produced the record along with Brad Jones. Moorer talks about watching Carll transform as a songwriter, and the two share what it was like to both put out records based on their respective divorces around the same time before they fell in love.
Lizzo Is In The Eye Of A Superstar Storm
The night before Lizzo swooped off a 5 a.m. flight and into World Cafe, her colossal album 'Cuz I Love You' made her the highest streaming artist on Spotify. She had just been nominated for a BET Award in the category of best female hip-hop artist alongside Cardi B and Nicki Minaj. She was right in the eye of a superstar storm, and she wasn't afraid to talk about the challenges that come alongside all the good bits of achieving her dreams. In Lizzo's words, "If I had to be fake during all this press and all of this work, I think that it would eat me alive." Lizzo is a singer, writer, rapper, producer and classically trained flute player who has been training and working towards this incredible moment for a long time. We talked about the inspiration she drew from Aretha Franklin, what it was like for her to record with Prince when she was rapping in Minneapolis and the making of her major label full length debut (albeit her third studio album) 'Cuz I Love You'. You can hear it all in the player, read selected highlights below and watch acoustic versions of "Cuz I Love You" and "Juice."
Norah Jones Turns Fame Into Freedom
Just over a minute into her new collection of singles, 'Being Again', Norah Jones declares "I will rise." Her vocal power is arresting and floats over heartbeat percussion and ambient piano. It's unlike anything we've heard from Jones before, which is saying a lot given the many facets of musical exploration she's pursued since breaking out with her 2002 debut, 'Come Away With Me'. While some artists who have that kind of explosive fame early on seem intimidated by trying to outdo their own commercial success, or trapped by what people expect from them afterwards, Jones has managed to do something brilliant and far too rare — she's used her fame to carve out the exact career that she wants, where she's guided purely by exploring her own musical interests. Whether that means making an Everly Brothers cover album with Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day, fronting a country classic tribute band The Little Willies, or collaborating with anyone from Dolly Parton to Danger Mouse. Or, in the case of her latest release, 'Begin Again', ditching the album format in favor of a collection of seven singles that would allow her to sprawl out musically without being bound by an expectation of a unifying theme. We spoke about creative freedom, personal privacy and luck. Jones shared why she doesn't talk to her audience in between songs on stage, why she prefers a rowdy crowd and what it was like to bond with Sharon Van Etten over being a touring parent.