Stephen Kallao

It's a busy time for music critics as they prepare for the annual tradition of identifying the year's best albums and songs in listicle form. World Cafe Nashville correspondent Ann Powers took a break from her NPR deliberatons to share one more roundup of new songs coming out of the Music City.

The Avett Brothers' sound has grown in size and scope in the last decade — something you could really hear on Closer Than Together, their adventurous 2019 release. But on their new album, The Third Gleam, Scott and Seth Avett take a different turn and bring things back to their roots. No big band, no synths, no electric guitar.

Many bands have struggled making sense of life amid COVID-19, but for Algiers, social distancing between bandmates is something they've been dealing with for years. Algiers was founded originally in Atlanta in the late aughts, but since then its members have lived in different cities, states, and even continents.

There's something intriguing about how much drama can go into great albums. Sometimes it ends partnerships, sometimes it fuels them. For Nick Sanborn and Amelia Meath of Sylvan Esso, the friction is essential to what makes their creative collaboration tick.

I want to chill like Billy Strings is chilling. Sitting in front of a tapestry on his couch at his home in Nashville, the bluegrass all-star has a truly down-to-earth attitude about things. He tells me about restoring his old Chevrolet Chevelle, the silence and solitude of his favorite fishing spot, and his bluegrass-can-be-anything attitude.

Fall is upon us and World Cafe's Nashville correspondent, Ann Powers of NPR Music, is back to give you a rundown of her favorite end of summer releases to come out of the Music City this month.

Today we've got a mini-concert with the up and coming duo, Carolina Story. Before we get to that, we introduce you to the newest member of the World Cafe team, Jessie Scott. Jessie's joining us from WMOT in Nashville, and you might have heard one of her interviews on the show before, but it was time for a proper introduction.

Things are very different in 2020, and maybe David Longstreth had a hunch when he started work on the new project from the Dirty Projectors, a band with a lineup that has consistently rotated around him over the last 20 years. They jettisoned the traditional album format for a series of five EPs.

Sitting down over Zoom to chat from her home in Murray, Ky., S.G. Goodman's got her dog by her side and seltzer in her cup.

The sounds of Los Angeles band Triangle Fire may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term "Latin music." But KCSN's The Latin Alt program director Byron Gonzalez defines Latin Alternative as "nothing from the mainstream."

Today we're sharing an incredible story that Mikel Jollett, the lead singer of The Airborne Toxic Event, has chronicled both in the written word and in song. Jollett had a pretty dramatic childhood: He was born into a cult called Synanon and had to go on the run with biological mother.

Growing up, my parents would make the drive from Chicago to my grandmother's house in Waukon, Iowa (population: just over 3,000) for visit. While in town, I distinctly remember the only sounds we'd hear in that tiny house: The only radio station played all classic country, all day long.

The first time I heard Katie Pruitt's song "Loving Her," I was taken aback by the very first line you hear: "If loving her's a sin, I don't want to go to heaven." That's a powerful declaration from a singer-songwriter. It's especially powerful coming from a gay artist raised in the South without much precedent and with very few role models to follow.

Kate Bollinger writes smart, melodic indie pop music. It makes for easy listening, but there's real insight in her lyrics. Dig deeper and you'll discover a thoughtful songwriter coming into her own.

For today's session, The Milk Carton Kids plays songs from its latest release, The Only Ones, while standing around one microphone.

Big Thief had a pretty remarkable 2019. The band put out two beautiful albums, U.F.O.F. in May and Two Hands in October. Paired together, these albums present a larger picture of the band at the height of its powers, thinking and performing beyond the traditional album-tour cycle.

Sometimes you have to strike when the iron is hot, and sometimes you have to be patient. For today's guest Jeremy Ivey, that meant recording his first solo album at the age of 41.

The first time I heard Son Little's song "The River" back in 2014, it completely floored me. With a mix of R&B and soul, it simultaneously sounded both timeless and of the moment, much more than a simple throwback tune.

Already one of the biggest bands in the world, The Lumineers did something adventurous on the group's third album, III: The Denver-based group created a record divided into three chapters, telling the story of a family across three generations and how addiction touched those lives.

Who doesn't love a good breakup record? Well, maybe not the person going through it. On Forever Turned Around, Whitney flips the notion of the breakup record on its head. Instead of focusing on the demise, the Chicago duo's record is all about commitment.

Who doesn't love a good dog? Here at World Cafe, we are pro-doggo, and so is our next guest, Anthony LaMarca, who fronts a band called The Building (that is, when he isn't busy playing guitar in the Grammy award-winning band, The War on Drugs).

Here at World Cafe, where music discovery is buried deep in our musical DNA, we play a lot of new music. As we look at the current musical landscape — through streaming services and public radio stations alike — we've noticed that music discovery is increasingly becoming genre-less. The best sounds from Americana, R&B, indie rock, classic rock, alt-rock (whatever that actually means anymore), hip-hop and singer-songwriters all have one thing in common: that regardless of the genre, the passion for music is driven by our love of discovery and our curiosity.

Where a musician lives can tell you a lot about their songs. Joan Shelley wears her love of Kentucky proudly, but for her latest album, Like The River Loves The Sea, Shelley left her home outside of Louisville, Ky., and headed to a very different environment: Iceland.

Angel Olsen's fourth album, All Mirrors is a departure from her indie rock sensibilities of albums past, but that wasn't always the plan. The songs were initially recorded as sparse and stripped-down numbers — in the style of Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska.

Our guest, Azniv Korkejian, records as Bedouine. The name reflects the many moves Azniv has made in her life — born Syria, Azniv grew up in Saudi Arabia before coming to the United States. Here, she lived in Boston and Houston, as well as several other Southern cities, before she settled in Los Angeles' Echo Park neighborhood.

Coldplay, one of the biggest bands in the world, recently announced that the Chris Martin and company will not be touring in support of their latest album until they can figure out how to negate the environmental impact of their concerts.

One of my favorite viral videos in recent memory involved Liam Gallagher, former front man of Oasis, answering questions from a group of kids. It showcased his supremely talented wit, and a bit of his heart too.

Robbie Robertson is a very busy guy. This year alone, he released a new album, Sinematic, re-released The Band's self-titled sophomore album (celebrating its 50th anniversary) and worked with pal Martin Scorsese on two different projects.

There are 8,000 stories in Music City from folks who arrive here with a dream in their hearts for a music career. But how exactly do you get there? There are just as many paths to success.

Slide guitar maestro Sonny Landreth's latest album, Recorded Live in Lafayette, was nominated for a Grammy and just recently made his fifth appearance at Eric Clapton's Crossroads festival, a place where virtuoso guitar players go to impress and be impressed.

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