Stephen Kallao

Hosting an interview show means you don't want to ask silly questions. But sometimes, a silly or lighthearted question is a great way to learn something about a band, and that's what happened with Matty Gervais, Charity Rose Thielen and Jon Russell of The Head and the Heart when they visited for an audience session at World Cafe.

It's not every day at World Cafe that we start our session with a disclaimer, but here's one: Today's conversation with Noah Gundersen includes some talk about psychedelic drugs and their influence on Gundersen's latest album, Lover.

It took some convincing, but Jessy Wilson's new album was produced by Patrick Carney of The Black Keys; little did he know that was her plan all along. When Wilson's former band, the Americana act Muddy Magnolias, broke up, she reached out to Carney to explore rock 'n' roll sounds on her next record. The result is her debut solo album, Phase.

Iceland's Of Monsters and Men exploded in popularity in 2011 with the band's epic smash "Little Talks." Since then, the band has been consistently making albums that have pushed further away from its original indie rock aesthetic.

There are charismatic people, and then there's Michael Mwenso. The leader of Mwenso & the Shakes is full of energy, charm and most importantly, joy. That joy is ever-present when he's telling stories about growing up in Ghana and Nigeria and spending four years trying to impress James Brown.

Motherless Brooklyn is a new film about a private detective trying to solve a murder in 1950s New York.

Ranky Tanky is from Charleston, S.C. and the band's music draws on the culture of slave descendants from Gullah, a region of coastal sea islands that stretches from the southern coast of North Carolina to the northernmost part of Florida.

My guest today makes some of the most stunning music I've ever heard. It's raw, it's visceral, it's real. Quinn Christopherson hails from Alaska, and even though he's released less than a handful of songs, they've left quite an impression on people.

A shift in sound because of a shift in life? Naturally. The transition from midnight to daylight, so to speak, has been significant for Grace Potter. After making 2012's The Lion The Beast The Beat with her band The Nocturnals, Grace went on to pursue a solo career.

Emir Mohseni grew up in Tehran, Iran, loving rock music and wanting to be a musician. Thanks to a musical connection with his friend Tony Azar (who split time between the United States and Iran), The Muckers were born. The only catch? Emir wanted to play his music in America, not Iran. Getting to the United States wasn't easy for Emir, especially as his journey coincided with the implementation of Trump's travel ban in 2017.

What happens when your hometown witnesses a seismic social event? David Wax and Suz Slezak, who lead the band David Wax Museum, had to answer that question after the 2017 Unite the Right rally and subsequent counterprotests in the pair's hometown of Charlottesville, Va. made national news.

Today's show features a true renaissance man: Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson. He's the co-founder of the iconic hip-hop band The Roots, the bandleader for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and is an author five times over. His latest book is called Mixtape Potluck.

The idea of sleeping on a tour bus, waking up in a different city and playing late night shows to die-hard fans is fun, especially fun, when you're young. When you're a bit older, every night on a tour bus can be tiring instead of enthralling, every new city just as faceless as the last. Enter our old friends, The Hold Steady.

Van Halen is quintessential guitar rock. So what happens when an electronic jazz duo of self-avowed fans take on the band's blistering discography? the bird and the bee's latest album, Interpreting the Masters, Vol.

Shawn Colvin was 32 when she released her debut album, Steady On, but she'd already been a musician for more than a decade. The record, which launched Colvin's solo recording career, went on to win a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album.

There's something striking about Tamino when you meet him. The Egyptian-born, Belgium-raised musician has a calm energy, a measured performance style and, quite frankly, a heavenly voice.

As a World Cafe host, there's one question I'm asked more than any other: Who has been your favorite person to interview? My answer: Vince Gill. And while it's not the answer I expected, I can't think of more thoughtful and kind storyteller than Vince.

Today we're not worthy: Joining us, it's the legendary Rush frontman and bassist, Geddy Lee. While Rush has retired from touring, Geddy's kept busy, cataloging, photographing and writing about his collection of bass guitars for the almost-encyclopedic Geddy Lee's Big Beautiful Book of Bass.

When Madison Cunningham was in her late teens, she moved from Orange County, Calif., to Los Angeles to pursue her dream of being a songwriter. It's something that she's been working at since the age of 4. She's also been singing for almost as long.

Buddy and Julie Miller's latest album is called Breakdown on 20th Ave. South and yes, that's a real address and yes, it refers to a real-life car breakdown that needed to be repaired. The songs on the album address that.

There's something delightfully unique about Mattiel's music. A pinch of garage rock, a touch of psychedelia, some galloping honky-tonk and at the lead, Mattiel Brown's powerful and assertive vocals. It's all over her excellent new album, Satis Factory.

Raphael Saadiq is one of the most accomplished musicians in pop and R&B over the last 30 years. He's also one of the most respected. He fronted Tony! Toni!

When you're lucky enough to work at a place where you talk to musicians, you get excited. It's easy to have a good experience talking with the people whose music you enjoy. It's even easier to tell random people how much you enjoyed the company of those musicians and the music they made. The problem, of course, is that it's easy to get hyperbolic and lost in the message.

Ian Noe has an incredible way with words. On his debut album, they are not the most uplifting or pleasant. They're a reflection of what he's seen growing up and living in rural Kentucky.

Craig Finn is one of the most eloquent storytellers in music. The people at the heart of his songs are filled with emotions and often flaws. As he says, he's interested in the high and the hangover.

Cedric Burnside is a drummer, guitarist, singer and performer. You can hear all of those elements come together on Benton County Relic, his latest album. He grew up in Benton County in rural Mississippi where he was raised by his grandfather, the late bluesman, R.L. Burnside.

Looking back on the past year of sessions this week, World Cafe is digging into the archives for some performances and interviews since last January. You'll hear sessions with artists including young producer, singer, multi-instrumentalist King Princess, the young rockers of Cage The Elephant, folk musician Rhiannon Giddens and more.

Listen to all the sessions below.

A chance accident performing a simple skateboard trick changed the shape of the latest Beirut record, Gallipoli. What was supposed to be a recording session in New York City ended up happening in Berlin and the result is a different set of songs that retain that signature Beirut sound.

Shovels & Rope's latest album is called By Blood and it resonates out into all of their work. Of course, the duo of Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst are partners, musically and in life. They recently celebrated the birth of their second child, which means the family now is four strong on the road.

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