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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Since Lukas Nelson's last World Cafe visit with his group, Promise of the Real, he's been busy, to say the least. First, he's been continuing his work as Neil Young's band.

Summer's here and the time is right for looking back on some of our favorite World Cafe sessions of the year! Let's just say, it's been an inspiring one so far.

Meeting Ben Dickey is like running into an old friend you haven't seen in a while, but you're thrilled to see them. He was a joy to speak with the roots singer-songwriter while visiting the World Cafe Studio to play songs from his sophomore solo record, A Glimmer On The Outskirts — not just about the album, but also about his potential star-making turn as Blaze Foley in the Ethan Hawke-directed biopic Blaze.

Page Burkum and Jack Torrey a.k.a. The Cactus Blossoms are brothers, but their vocal talents aren't just simply a case of sibling harmonies. They didn't start singing together until their 30s. So much for a lifetime of practice with one another!

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 June 7.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Aaron Lee Tasjan has a way with words and on his latest album, Karma For Cheap, he walks a fine line between timelessness and a record very much of this moment.

Today, we're featuring a mini-concert from an artist you might first know as an actor. Lera Lynn's turn on the second season of True Detective introduced her to a lot of America, including myself.

Jim Lauderdale is rightfully considered one of the kings of Americana music.

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