Stephen Kallao

Carlos Santana is arguably one of the most influential guitarists of the last 50 years — from his groundbreaking performance at Woodstock to his millions of albums sold in the '70s to his revival in the late '90s thanks to the album Supernatural and its lead single "Smooth." Santana's latest album is called Africa Speaks, which just came out on

The National has always been an ambitious band. There was the one time it played its song "Sorrow" for six hours straight at MoMA PS1 in New York City. Then there are band members, and twin brothers, Aaron and Bryce Dessner who've scored films and curated music festivals. But The National's latest project might be the band's most ambitious.

In this session, we have the shapeshifting sounds of singer, songwriter, and record producer Chaz Bear a.k.a Toro y Moi.

On 2017's Boo Boo, Toro y Moi wrote a chill R&B record. For 2019's Outer Peace, he had an unusual motivator. He wanted to write more about the grind, about songs that serve as cheat codes for your life.

Eleven years ago, after a Metallica show, a gentleman named Warren told me "We have this band you have to hear." I jump into his car, he pops the CD in the player, and this blares out: "Oh, there ain't no rest for the wicked / Money don't grow on trees / I got bills to pay, I got mouths to feed / There ain't nothing in this world for free."

When Warner Bros. heard George Benson's take on "This Masquerade," they didn't realize he was the vocalist. It's one of the many amazing tales Benson shares with us on World Cafe.

Snarky Puppy is an incredible ensemble of musicians, a loosely-knit collective of funk, jazz and rock players founded in Denton, Tx. by bandleader Michael League. They've been at it since 2003, with a rotating group of touring musicians. How many? As many as 25 will cycle in and out over the course of the tour.

The Beths is a rising band in the indie-pop scene, and yes, there is an Elizabeth leading the band! There is also a Jonathan, a Benajmin, and for today's session, a Trystan, for those of you wondering where the harmonies are coming from in this mini-concert.

I asked Clarence Greenwood what his 8-year-old daughter thought of his job as a professional musician. He said, "When she was really young, she asked one of her mom's friends why do people stop her daddy?" The joys of parenthood.

It's one of many things that's kept Greenwood, better known by his stage name, Citizen Cope, busy over the last seven years. That's the last time he released an album, 2012's One Lovely Day.

Imagine being a young touring band playing a house party when the host approaches you, sits you down on his gold-encrusted fireplace and reads you his manifesto. Yes, that's one of the many interesting things that happened to BAILEN while on the road.

The Cranberries were one of the most successful groups to emerge from Ireland. The members, Dolores O'Riordan as lead vocalist, guitarist Noel Hogan, bassist Mike Hogan and drummer Fergal Lawler, were in the studio working on what is now their final studio album when volcalist, O'Riordan died suddenly in January 2018.

We welcome back an influential and iconic musician to the punk and hardcore scene, Bob Mould. After blazing trails in the '80s with Hüsker Dü, and in the '90s with Sugar, Mould has had a successful solo career for the last 25 years. His latest album, Sunshine Rock, is an intentional look away from the politics of now and instead a look back to the albums he loved as a youth.

Matthew Houck, who records as Phosphorescent, released his beloved album Muchacho almost six years ago. Since that time, he's had a lot of milestone experiences, which fueled his latest record, C'est La Vie.

In this session, Houck joins us to share about meeting his partner in a New England bar, having a child and his near-death bout with meningitis. Plus, he performs a set of new songs live in concert. Hear it all in the player.

Glen Hansard has a new album, but not the album he initially intended on making. Glen wrote much of the album while staying at a monastery in Paris. The record was initially supposed to be a simple, acoustic album. But, that changed after a chance jam session with Persian musicians.

The guy who always calls it like he sees it pays tribute to his late friend, mentor, and outlaw music icon, Guy Clark. In this session, we welcome back Steve Earle for a live performance.

If you're a fan of the band Metric, you might know their original name was Mainstream. It's worth sharing this tidbit since the band has spent the last 20 years making and publishing its own music outside the mainstream, while being quite successful.

Karl Denson has one of the coolest side gigs in the world. In 2015, he took over for Bobby Keys as the saxophonist for The Rolling Stones. In his day job however, he's the leader of Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, a fusion of funk, jazz, soul, and rock.

What do you think of when you think of a Piano bar? Is it Billy Joel's "Piano Man?" There's always been something that made me slightly uncomfortable about the piano man, and don't even get me started on dueling pianos. But my guest, Robert Ellis, who dressed in an all-white tuxedo for the occasion, has an answer.

It's one thing to meet someone who's talented, but it's a trip to meet someone like Northern Ireland's Naomi Hamilton, who makes music (and art) as Jealous of the Birds. Naomi has a knack for slicing up genres and making music that sounds homemade and tiny, but also explosive and bombastic. She studied English and creative writing at Queens University Belfast and uses her love of language to great effect when crafting songs for the band.

If you've been on social media in the few months, you've come across the 10-Year Challenge. It first began on Twitter in January with one user posting two photos side by side, one from 10 years ago and their most recent upload. Within a week, the trend had moved to Facebook, to Instagram, to local news segments. Unless you're Paul Rudd, it was fun to look back on the passing of time and 2009's fashion on display.

We're being treated to a special kind performance from a tight-knit group of friends.

We first introduced listeners to Julia Jacklin when World Cafe's original host, David Dye, met up with her in Australia for our Sense of Place visit back in 2016. Now, Julia's returning the favor, joining us in the U.S. to share a sneak peek of her forthcoming record, Crushing, due out Feb. 22. The album is personal, intimate and beautiful.

Nothing, and, by extension, founder and band leader Dominic Palermo, has been called the unluckiest band in the world. There was the time when Palermo, rising star in the Philadelphia hardcore scene, stabbed someone during a fight one night and ended up in prison. There was the time, after he got out, when he was jumped after a show and nearly died.

Mike Farris is unflinchingly optimistic. You can read it on his Twitter, hear it in his music and feel it in conversation when you talk with him. He can even have a laugh about the name of the band he played in during his 20s while signed to Atlantic Records, The Screamin' Cheetah Wheelies.

Hope you brought your volume knob. J Mascis co-founded Dinosaur Jr. and over the past decade, the band sounded just as vital as when it debuted in 1984. Mascis has also been just as prolific when it comes to his own solo albums. He's recorded three records in the last seven years as a place to showcase some of the quieter (yet still loud) songs.

The band Lawrence is led by two siblings, Clyde and Gracie Lawrence. The New York City-raised pair started the band, now an eight-piece group, with a love of pop and soul music. They've had artistic talents for a while: Elder brother Clyde scored his first songwriting credit at the age of 6 for the movie Miss Congeniality and Gracie's pursuing an acting career.

Johnny Marr has a lot of accolades. From co-founding The Smiths to playing alongside folks like The Pretenders and Talking Heads, from invigorating Modest Mouse in the aughts to a successful solo career, Marr has earned himself a legion of devoted fans.

PJ Morton loves Christmas. He even joked that he's been making music just so he could be able to record an album of classics (and a handful of originals too).

Explaining Christmas to someone who's never heard of it is a strange proposition. As our guest and old friend JD McPherson puts it, there's a tree in your living room, a strange man's walking around your house at midnight eating cookies, and then you get clothes.

I imagine it's an even stranger proposition to write an album of modern Christmas originals. Christmas means so many different things to so many people, and the differences matter: Is your audience children or adults, religious or not? Are they jaded? Feeling humorous? Maybe sentimental? You've got a lot of options.

Back in the day, morning radio programs would take all the week's bits, interviews, and wacky phone pranks, and build a brand-new show out of those parts. They'd call it "The Best of...whatever" But it really wasn't 'best of.' It was 'more of.' If you didn't like Sparky's Morning Playhouse, you'd probably hate The Best of Sparky's Morning Playhouse.

The first thing I remarked after finishing my conversation with Marcus King: "This guy doesn't act or sound like a 22-year-old at all." He's incredibly perceptive, and thoughtful, and the music he's making sounds like it's coming from someone who's been working at it for decades. But I mean, he's been playing guitar for audiences since he was 11. I should have seen this coming.

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