The windowsills were lined with people standing, as every nook between every office desk filled to capacity with NPR employees and their assorted guests. Pixies, after getting misplaced for a time in our parking garage during a moment worthy of This Is Spinal Tap, showed up in time to encounter the largest crowd we've ever assembled for a Tiny Desk Concert. (Our new office space allows for more guests than the old one did, but it's still a mark of this band's significance for so many youthful grownups.)
Shelby Earl always loved music, and straight out of college in Seattle, she went to work in the music industry. She worked as a booking agent, then at a record label, an eventually at Amazon's music department.
SHELBY EARL: So, all of those little blurbs you see all over the music page on Amazon - those are written by people. And I was one such person.
Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 3:47 pm
Pete Seeger was a lanky banjo player who showed up at every rally, every singalong, every town meeting, for as long as anyone could remember. He came singing songs of dissent; songs that helped to find the courage to change.
Last Monday night, the world lost one of the most influential and iconic singer-songwriters of all time. Pete Seeger died in his sleep at the age of 94. Known as much for his activism as he was for penning some of America's most beloved folk songs, Pete Seeger inspired countless musicians through his life's work. While Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and Joan Baez are just a few of his more obvious proteges, it would likely be easier to come up with a list of American musicians who were not influenced by Seeger rather than those who were.
Nicole Atkins is a New Jersey artist with a voice that has been compared to Patsy Cline, Janis Joplin and Roy Orbison - that's quite a trio - all rolled into one.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
NICOLE ATKINS: (Singing) I first saw you (unintelligible), from my (unintelligible) down for me...
SIMON: A voice that could melt the heart of a devil. Sense of humor dryer than a drought. Nicole Atkins's latest album is called "Slow Phaser." She joins us from our studios in New York. Thanks so much for being with us.
Three-time Emmy winner Elaine Stritch became a star on Broadway before going on to play a string of highly regarded film and television roles. She recently played Colleen, mother of Alec Baldwin's character Jack Donaghy, on the hit sitcom 30 Rock.
After more than 40 years in New York, Elaine Stritch moved home to Michigan not long ago. But before leaving town, she sat down with host Michael Feinstein for an episode of Song Travels full of hilarious music and candid talk about her life and career in the spotlight.
For fans of world music, South Africa's Ladysmith Black Mambazo needs no introduction.
The group has been singing a capella together for 50 years, brought together by Joseph Shabalala, a young farmhand turned factory worker from the town of Ladysmith. He had a dream of tight vocal harmonies and messages of peace.
That dream developed, and the band came to the attention of Paul Simon, who had it record "Homeless" on his album Graceland. It introduced the group to the world.
The CD of the Month for February comes to you from Hard Working Americans, a new band formed by Todd Snider, Dave Schools (from Widespread Panic!), Duane Trucks, and more. It's titled "Hard Working Americans"