World Cafe on WXPR

Monday through Thursday 9-11 PM

The premier public radio showcase for contemporary music serving up an eclectic blend that includes blues, rock, world, folk, and alternative country. 

James Cotton On World Cafe

Sep 5, 2013

Harmonica master James Cotton is a giant of the blues. Born in 1935 on a cotton plantation in Tunica, Miss., he learned the instrument from Sonny Boy Williamson, who had a radio program right across the river in West Helena, Ark. After listening to the show and imitating him on a harmonica, Cotton met Williamson, who took him under his wing.

At 15, Cotton met and played with Howlin' Wolf, who took him to record at Sun Studios in Memphis. Later, while on tour, Muddy Waters asked Cotton to replace Junior Wells in his band; Cotton stayed on the road with Waters for a dozen years.

Natalia Clavier On World Cafe

Sep 4, 2013

There was never any doubt that Argentine vocalist Natalia Clavier could sing. She's been proving that for years, performing jazz and serving as the anonymous voice on hundreds of techno and dance songs, most recorded when she lived in Barcelona after moving there from Buenos Aires. For years, she's also been the go-to live voice for Thievery Corporation, and she remains part of its live act.

Youth Lagoon On World Cafe

Sep 4, 2013

Youth Lagoon is the work of Boise, Idaho's Trevor Powers. The title of his first album, 2011's The Year of Hibernation, captures what was going on: a solo bedroom project that explored the theme of emerging from isolation. It sounded great, and the positive response got Powers out of the bedroom and on the road for a year.

Houndmouth On World Cafe

Sep 3, 2013

Houndmouth is a rootsy rock band from New Albany, Ind., right across the river from Louisville. In an age of loops, samples and all things digital, Houndmouth is a refreshingly straightforward rock band with guitars, B-3 and all members singing in harmony.

The group recently released its debut album, From the Hills Below the City. Hear Houndmouth perform four of its songs on this installment of World Cafe.

World Cafe Next: Caroline Rose

Sep 3, 2013

Singer-songwriter Caroline Rose grew up in Vermont the daughter of two artists, so it was never a far stretch to imagine she would become a performer herself. What is a little surprising is the grit in this young woman's performance. Turns out her mother is from the South, and there were many trips and exposures to Southern culture along the way. She started writing songs in her early teens hasn't stopped since, and most of her debut full-length, America Religious, was conceived on the road. It's a tough-sounding record from an artist to watch.

The Black Keys On World Cafe

Sep 2, 2013

Welcome to the first in our weekly Vintage Cafe series of interviews from the archive. Each week we are going to be re-visiting significant session with major artists. For this installment, we bring back our Black Keys session, recorded in December 2011 right before the release of El Camino.

Buddy Guy On World Cafe

Aug 23, 2013

We recorded this interview with blues guitarist and singer Buddy Guy the day after he turned 77 — and he turned up early for our 9 a.m. start.

In this edition of Latin Roots, we look at the music of Colombia's Caribbean coast. Our guest, Beat Latino host Catalina Maria Johnson, selected some older music from Petrona Martinez and her family, as well as a more modern example from Lido Pimienta, who is part of the large Colombian population based in Toronto. Pimienta uses traditional elements in her music, yet records on her laptop.

Smith Westerns On World Cafe

Aug 22, 2013

The wonderful half-garage, half-glam band Smith Westerns recently released its third album, Soft Will. In this installment of World Cafe, the group's members tell us that a lot of the record was written as a reaction to returning home to Chicago after touring for five years during their late teens and twenties. And, of course, they perform some of their songs live in the studio.

Sarah Lee Guthrie is the granddaughter of Woody Guthrie, while Johnny Irion is the grand-nephew of author John Steinbeck. Since marrying in 1999, Guthrie and Irion have released five albums together, including this year's Wassaic Way.

The duo recorded its latest LP with help from Wilco's Jeff Tweedy and Pat Sansone in the band's loft. In this edition of World Cafe, Guthrie and Irion perform songs from Wassaic Way and chat with host David Dye about Wilco's many connections to the Guthrie family.

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