Truth be told, Holly Williams brought me and many of my hardened colleagues to tears. The singer-songwriter has a magnificent way with words and phrasing, not to mention a country-music lineage that fills her with pride and guides her poignancy and subject matter.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. As we head toward production of our final program on August 1, we've been bringing you encores of some of our favorite conversations. Today, we're hearing again from Grammy-winning recording artist Sheryl Crow. She's been a rock star for more than a decade. Her breakthrough came in 1993 with her debut album, "Tuesday Night Music Club," and the monster hit "All I Want To Do." Well, seven albums and nine Grammys later, she's got a new concert video out featuring the late Johnny Cash.
Richard Reed Parry is famous for making music sound big. As a core member of Arcade Fire, the Grammy-winning indie rock group from Montreal, he wields multiple instruments to help create deep, layered textures in which strings and synthesizers, slow ballads and disco dance tracks are all at home.
John Grant's songs don't mess around: The music isn't complicated, while the lyrics function as darts of retort and thought. His album Pale Green Ghosts is decorated with synthesizers, his voice often drenched in reverb; those tools and textures help make the record strong and everlasting.
Impulse Records is the legendary label that proudly delivered the "new thing" in jazz in the 1960s: avant-garde records from the likes of John Coltrane and Pharaoh Sanders. It also helped jazz cross over to a larger audience; quite a few flower children bought Impulse albums.
You may or may not recognize the name. But I'm pretty confident you already know our next guest - Jack Antonoff. Two summers ago, if you had a radio or a phone or just went outside anywhere where speakers exist, you heard Jack Antonoff. He was playing an extra distorted guitar for a band called Fun.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WE ARE YOUNG")
FUN: (Singing) Tonight we are young. So let's set the world on fire, we can burn brighter than the sun.
Ben Watt is a singer and DJ, best known for being in the British pop duo Everything but the Girl. Now, he's back with a new album and a book that gives an inside look at his complicated relationship with his parents.