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Music Interviews
2:03 am
Sat December 6, 2014

'Oxford American' Waltzes Across Texas

Willie Nelson, seen performing in the U.K. in 1980, is one of the featured artists in Oxford American's Southern Music issue about Texas.
David Redfern Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 6, 2014 11:51 am

A scholarly literary magazine is celebrating the music of Texas — but don't let that academic approach get in the way of enjoying it.

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Code Switch
3:33 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Civil Rights Attorney On How She Built Trust With Police

Civil rights attorney Constance Rice worked with the Los Angeles Police Department to build trust with minority communities.
Valerie Macon Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 7, 2014 7:50 am

As a civil rights attorney, Constance Rice became known in the 1990s for, as she puts it, going to war with the Los Angeles Police Department.

Rice filed lawsuits against the department, mainly over their treatment of minorities in underprivileged communities.

Following the recent decisions not to indict white cops in the deaths of two black men — President Obama has said one of his top priorities is building trust between minority communities and local police.

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StoryCorps
3:29 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Caring For AIDS Patients, 'When No One Else Would'

Ruth Coker Burks with her friend Paul Wineland. Wineland's partner was one of many AIDS patients Coker Burks has cared for over the past three decades.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri December 5, 2014 1:07 pm

Ruth Coker Burks was a young mother in her 20s when the AIDS epidemic hit her home state of Arkansas in the early 1980s. She took it upon herself to care for AIDS patients who were abandoned by their families, and even by medical professionals, who feared the disease.

Coker Burks, now 55, has no medical training, but she estimates that she has cared for nearly 1,000 people over the past three decades, including her friend Paul Wineland's partner.

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Music Interviews
12:04 am
Wed December 3, 2014

Mary J. Blige: 'I'm Not Worried, Trying To Keep It Real — I Am Real'

Mary J. Blige has just released a new album, her 13th, called The London Sessions.
Polina Yamshchikov for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 7:25 pm

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Music Interviews
6:16 pm
Sun November 30, 2014

At 86, A 'Jazz Child' Looks Back On A Life Of Sunshine, Sorrow

Jazz vocalist Sheila Jordan doesn't mind that, despite her critical acclaim, she's not a household name. "The people that respect what I do and hire me, that's all I need, you know?" she says. "I just need to keep doing this music as long as I live. "
Richard Laird Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 6:43 pm

Many fans first encountered one of the great voices in jazz as a whisper: Sheila Jordan made a quiet but lasting impression as a guest singer on pianist George Russell's 1962 arrangement of "You Are My Sunshine."

Since then, Jordan's career has taken her all over the world, and in 2012, she received one of the highest honors in jazz: she became an National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master. Her music has soared, but her story starts with pain.

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Around the Nation
10:33 am
Sun November 30, 2014

After Wrongful Conviction, Three Lifetimes Spent With Hope In Check

Kwame Ajamu grabs his brother Wiley Bridgeman's beard after his release in a gesture that dates from their boyhood.
John Kuntz The Plain Dealer/Landov

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 4:31 pm

The year was 1975. Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese as American troops and civilians were forced to evacuate the country. Ronald Reagan entered the presidential race against Gerald Ford. A show called Saturday Night Live debuted on NBC.

And Ricky Jackson, Wiley Bridgeman and Bridgeman's younger brother, Ronnie, were charged with the murder of an Ohio salesman. Jackson was 18, Ronnie Bridgeman was 17 and Wiley Bridgeman was 20.

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Author Interviews
4:57 pm
Sat November 29, 2014

Backstage With Janis Joplin: Doubts, Drugs And Compassion

Janis Joplin
Tucker Ransom/Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 1:08 pm

Janis Joplin felt a sense of outsider isolation throughout her life. She once said, "On stage, I make love to 25,000 different people. Then I go home alone."

But she wasn't alone — she had John Byrne Cooke.

Cooke was Janis Joplin's first and only road manager, from 1967 until her death from a heroin overdose in 1970. He was the one who found her body. In a new memoir, On the Road With Janis Joplin, he details the electrifying performances — and the drugs — that marked Joplin's tours.

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Music Articles
5:01 pm
Fri November 28, 2014

Killer Mike: 'Rap Has Given Me Voice'

"If I trust you with the power of human life, your standard has to be much higher," says rapper Killer Mike, son of a policeman, on police violence.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri November 28, 2014 6:22 pm

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Music Interviews
2:57 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

Melissa Etheridge Opens Her Heart

"What's gonna all bring us together is when we recognize that diversity in each other and not be afraid of it," Melissa Etheridge says.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 9:30 am

Melissa Etheridge is one of America's biggest female rock stars. She has all the trappings and then some: two Grammys, an Oscar and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Thanksgiving, however, takes her back to before all that, to her childhood in Kansas.

"Thanksgiving is — it was the one meal that my mother would really cook," the 53-year-old musician tells NPR's Ari Shapiro. "She worked very hard. ... It was a lot of frozen food, my life, you know."

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Deceptive Cadence
1:15 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

Stabat Mater: Young Composers Explore An Ancient Text

The British choral group called The Sixteen have taken on new settings of the ancient Stabat Mater text.
Molina Visuals The Sixteen

Originally published on Thu November 27, 2014 9:10 am

The words of the Stabat Mater come from an ancient Latin text describing Mary weeping at the cross over her son, Jesus. While the Catholic poem has been set to music by many — from Vivaldi to Arvo Pärt — three contemporary composers have put their own spin on the old verses.

Alissa Firsova was born in Moscow, but has lived in England since she was 4.

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