The smooth, booming voice of Gregory Porter brought a galvanizing force to jazz when he broke onto the scene about a decade ago. It's a voice of exhortation, flowing out of the gospel church. A voice of dignity, in the mode of his hero, Nat King Cole. A voice of reassurance, whether aiming for the heavens or toward a single soul across the room.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Earlier this year, World Cafe host Talia Schlanger announced that she is leaving World Cafe in order to pursue new creative endeavors.

If you thought Texas was a whole 'nother country, welcome to Lake Caddo, a sprawling, irregular inland sea divided between Texas and Louisiana. Surrounded by jungle-like foliage (that's right; East Texas is a different ecosphere from the rest of the state) and rife with wildlife, Lake Caddo has long been home to people looking to "hide in plain sight," as one character in Attica Locke's new Highway 59 novel, Heaven, My Home remarks.

The bus paused at a stop, opened its doors and a horse started to get on board. No telling why it was walking around free — or where it wanted to go.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Alabama Shakes singer and guitarist Brittany Howard has just released her masterpiece. Jaime, her debut solo album,is a complex, deeply personal and genre-defying examination of spirituality, identity and survival. On this week's New Music Friday, we attempt to peel back its many layers and explore the life-stories behind the music. We've also got sad bangers from Tove Lo, the late-'60s, Laurel Canyon pop of Andrew Combs, a profoundly beautiful and poignant debut solo LP from Mountain Man's Molly Sarlé, a posthumous album from the legendary Algerian singer Rachid Taha and more.

It happens on every road trip — you're driving from city to city, natural wonder to natural wonder. Every hour is a magical combination of rustic beauty and historic landmarks and fascinating people. Until, one day, things change: The scenery turns gray, the people lose their charm. You find yourself at a rest stop with no toilet paper, where the vending machine eats your last single. It's 90 miles to the nearest motel. Small, but menacing-looking rodents scurry across the road.

You, my friend, are in Podunk. Or as some people say, "Some Podunk town in the middle of nowhere."

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