1. John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats joins Fresh Air to talk about his new novel, Wolf in White Van, his dark adolescence, and the best part of his job: 

    "I hang out and sign records for an hour or two hours every night and I like to hear as many people’s stories as I can, because if somebody wants to share their story with me, I want to honor that. … But if you’re hearing a bunch of [stories], it gets very intense. It’s a lot.

    I feel a duty. … I really think there’s a lot of music you can use to heal and save yourself. It’s not like I have some magic power and I reached inside somebody and said, “Oh, you didn’t know this about yourself until I wrote this song.” That’s not true. What I did is I made a thing, and somebody who needed to find something found mine and chose to meet me out on that ground.

    It’s this area of communication that is unique to music, I think. That’s a choice that the listener makes to share that part of themselves with the artist who hopefully shared part of himself. … It’s very intense to have those sorts of conversations, have people sharing stuff that may be a secret, but I try to be worthy of it. It’s an honor. I’ve worked a lot of jobs — this is the best one.”

  2. the mountain goats

    john darnielle

    fresh air

    interview

    music

  1. Tomorrow John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats joins us to talk about his new novel, Wolf in White Van. We’ll also talk about his love of comic books, his chaotic and troubled childhood, and how he came to love metal.  View in High-Res

    Tomorrow John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats joins us to talk about his new novel, Wolf in White Van. We’ll also talk about his love of comic books, his chaotic and troubled childhood, and how he came to love metal. 

  2. john darnielle

    wolf in white van

    the mountain goats

    metal

    interview

    music

    fresh air

  1. Milo Miles reviews the newest album from songwriting team Tennis, Ritual in Repeat: 

Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley are clearly passionate fans of the rock ‘n’ soul sounds of the early-‘60s girl groups and Brill Building songwriters and producers. However, their new album Ritual in Repeat is a triumph not because it conveys their fandom, but because it makes a sprightly pop style from 50 years ago fresh, ready for new fans now. This is a much trickier task than it might seem.


Photo by Luca Venter View in High-Res

    Milo Miles reviews the newest album from songwriting team Tennis, Ritual in Repeat

    Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley are clearly passionate fans of the rock ‘n’ soul sounds of the early-‘60s girl groups and Brill Building songwriters and producers. However, their new album Ritual in Repeat is a triumph not because it conveys their fandom, but because it makes a sprightly pop style from 50 years ago fresh, ready for new fans now. This is a much trickier task than it might seem.

    Photo by Luca Venter

  2. music

    review

    tennis

    alaina moore

    patrick riley

    ritual in repeat

  1. By Gilles Poyet via Flickr  View in High-Res

    By Gilles Poyet via Flickr 

  2. paris

    piano

    graffiti

    street art

    music

  1. Happy 60th Birthday to Elvis Costello. Here’s a 1989 interview from the Fresh Air archives. He brought his guitar to the studio! 

  2. elvis costello

    fresh air

    interview

    music

  1. How to play Bones with today’s guest, Dom Flemons.

    Prospect Hill is Flemons’ first album since leaving the Grammy award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops.

  2. dom flemons

    carolina chocolate drops

    folk

    country

    music

  1. Railroad tracks turn into canvases. Via Lost at E Minor View in High-Res

    Railroad tracks turn into canvases. Via Lost at E Minor

  2. train

    art

    music

  1. “I think it’s very important to live in the present. One of the great things that improvising teaches you is the magic of the moment that you’re in … because when you improvise you’re in right now. You’re not in yesterday or tomorrow—you’re right in the moment. Being in that moment really gives you a perspective of life that you never get at any other time as far as learning about your ego… You have to see your unimportance before you can see your importance and your significance to the world.”
-Charlie Haden, jazz bass player 1937 - 2014 

In remembrance of Haden we put together some of his best interview moments. He spoke to Terry five times, beginning in 1983. You can listen to the show and read more quotes here. 




Photo: Charlie Haden, bass, performs at the BIM Huis on May 18, 1989 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. by Frans Schellekens/Redferns View in High-Res

    I think it’s very important to live in the present. One of the great things that improvising teaches you is the magic of the moment that you’re in … because when you improvise you’re in right now. You’re not in yesterday or tomorrow—you’re right in the moment. Being in that moment really gives you a perspective of life that you never get at any other time as far as learning about your ego… You have to see your unimportance before you can see your importance and your significance to the world.

    -Charlie Haden, jazz bass player 1937 - 2014 

    In remembrance of Haden we put together some of his best interview moments. He spoke to Terry five times, beginning in 1983. You can listen to the show and read more quotes here

    Photo: Charlie Haden, bass, performs at the BIM Huis on May 18, 1989 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. by Frans Schellekens/Redferns

  2. music

    jazz

    charlie haden

    fresh air

    interview

    terry gross

  1. For the Fourth of July we are replaying our interview with Dave and Phil Alvin, two brothers whose new new album, Common Ground, is a tribute to one of their early influences, bluesman Big Bill Broonzy: 

Phil Alvin: When I first discovered Big Bill Broozy, his voice and his songwriting, his humor, his guitar playing, his persona was so big to me. I became a Little Bill Broonzy guy; started singing the songs that I heard on the first album that I got almost immediately, and I’ve always had him in the back of my mind whenever I would sing and play.
View in High-Res

    For the Fourth of July we are replaying our interview with Dave and Phil Alvin, two brothers whose new new album, Common Ground, is a tribute to one of their early influences, bluesman Big Bill Broonzy

    Phil Alvin: When I first discovered Big Bill Broozy, his voice and his songwriting, his humor, his guitar playing, his persona was so big to me. I became a Little Bill Broonzy guy; started singing the songs that I heard on the first album that I got almost immediately, and I’ve always had him in the back of my mind whenever I would sing and play.

  2. blues

    music

    big bill broonzy

    4th of july

    fresh air

    interview

  1. Mary Gauthier started gathering material for her songs early in life. She ran away from home at 15 and entered her first stint in rehab. But it wasn’t until she was in her mid-30s that she became a singer and songwriter. Once she got started, songs poured out that told the story of her life as a drunk and addict, a chef and restaurant owner, an androgynous lesbian, and as an adoptee who spent the first year of her life in an orphanage. She joined Terry Gross in the studio to play songs from her new album Trouble & Love. 

"I finally get it—that connection is something much deeper and broader than the material that most pop songs are made of.  Popular radio is about the first six months of love, right? Or the first 90 days. I long for real and true connection. It has been the theme of all the songs in my whole life…


I feel like I’ve been running around most of my life with a plug trying to find the socket to plug it into and I’m tired now. I’m going to do it differently… I have de-romanticized romantic love, I think it’s that simple and that complicated.”
View in High-Res

    Mary Gauthier started gathering material for her songs early in life. She ran away from home at 15 and entered her first stint in rehab. But it wasn’t until she was in her mid-30s that she became a singer and songwriter. Once she got started, songs poured out that told the story of her life as a drunk and addict, a chef and restaurant owner, an androgynous lesbian, and as an adoptee who spent the first year of her life in an orphanage. She joined Terry Gross in the studio to play songs from her new album Trouble & Love

    "I finally get it—that connection is something much deeper and broader than the material that most pop songs are made of.  Popular radio is about the first six months of love, right? Or the first 90 days. I long for real and true connection. It has been the theme of all the songs in my whole life…

    I feel like I’ve been running around most of my life with a plug trying to find the socket to plug it into and I’m tired now. I’m going to do it differently… I have de-romanticized romantic love, I think it’s that simple and that complicated.”

  2. mary gauthier

    interview

    fresh air

    music

  1. Fresh Air’s jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews two albums from Ronald Shannon Jackson & The Decoding Society that are now available for download, having been out of print for ages: 

Ronald Shannon Jackson like other ’80s composers abstracted looping structures from West Africa’s intersecting rhythm cycles. His tune “Iola” is built in layers: the basses play different lines, one twice as long as the other, as a horn melody moves in slow motion over the top. Vernon Reid plays banjo, African American instrument rarely heard in creative music, because of uncool associations with minstrelsy and dixieland. But its thin percussive snap cuts through and helps keep the texture transparent. 


Listen to the full review
image via Jazz Forum  View in High-Res

    Fresh Air’s jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews two albums from Ronald Shannon Jackson & The Decoding Society that are now available for download, having been out of print for ages: 

    Ronald Shannon Jackson like other ’80s composers abstracted looping structures from West Africa’s intersecting rhythm cycles. His tune “Iola” is built in layers: the basses play different lines, one twice as long as the other, as a horn melody moves in slow motion over the top. Vernon Reid plays banjo, African American instrument rarely heard in creative music, because of uncool associations with minstrelsy and dixieland. But its thin percussive snap cuts through and helps keep the texture transparent. 

    Listen to the full review

    image via Jazz Forum 

  2. ronald shannon jackson

    free funk

    music

    review

    kevin whitehead

  1. Fresh Air critic Ken Tucker reviews the latest album from Parquet Courts, Sunbathing Animal: 

Parquet Courts creates songs that dare you to be irritated by them. They stick with a riff like that one, a song called “Dear Ramona,” and shuffle into it lines such as “Whoever she might be goin’ to bed with, you can read about that in her moleskine.” There’s an undercurrent of sarcasm there, and I would be surprised if the Parquet Courts boys don’t own a few moleskine notebooks themselves. But making clever snark develop into something more emotional, more revelatory — that’s the challenge the band sets for itself. 


photo by Ben Rayner via Rolling Stone View in High-Res

    Fresh Air critic Ken Tucker reviews the latest album from Parquet Courts, Sunbathing Animal: 

    Parquet Courts creates songs that dare you to be irritated by them. They stick with a riff like that one, a song called “Dear Ramona,” and shuffle into it lines such as “Whoever she might be goin’ to bed with, you can read about that in her moleskine.” There’s an undercurrent of sarcasm there, and I would be surprised if the Parquet Courts boys don’t own a few moleskine notebooks themselves. But making clever snark develop into something more emotional, more revelatory — that’s the challenge the band sets for itself.

    photo by Ben Rayner via Rolling Stone

  2. parquet courts

    ken tucker

    music

    review

    sunbathing animal

  1. Today Fresh Air remembers jazz singer Jimmy Scott, who died Thursday at the age of 88.  He was popular in the 1950’s and influenced both  male and female singers, including Nancy Wilson and Frankie Lyman.   Early in his career, some of his listeners who knew him only from recordings, thought he was a woman.  That was a result of a rare genetic condition that prevented his body from undergoing the complete process of puberty. Contractual problems helped stall his career, and he didn’t make any records between 1975 and 1992.  But that 1992 album started a comeback, which included  singing at President Clinton’s 1993 inaugural ball and being named a Living Jazz Legend by the Kennedy Center.  When Terry spoke with him in 1992, they started with the title track from the album he’d just released, All the Way, which led to his comeback.   
Listen to the interview 

Photo via itvs  View in High-Res

    Today Fresh Air remembers jazz singer Jimmy Scott, who died Thursday at the age of 88.  He was popular in the 1950’s and influenced both  male and female singers, including Nancy Wilson and Frankie Lyman.   Early in his career, some of his listeners who knew him only from recordings, thought he was a woman.  That was a result of a rare genetic condition that prevented his body from undergoing the complete process of puberty. Contractual problems helped stall his career, and he didn’t make any records between 1975 and 1992.  But that 1992 album started a comeback, which included  singing at President Clinton’s 1993 inaugural ball and being named a Living Jazz Legend by the Kennedy Center.  When Terry spoke with him in 1992, they started with the title track from the album he’d just released, All the Way, which led to his comeback.   

    Listen to the interview 

    Photo via itvs 

  2. jazz

    jimmy scott

    nancy wilson

    frankie lyman

    music

    fresh air

    obit

  1. Brothers Dave and Phil Alvin joined us to play the music of Blues legend Big Bill Broonzy: 

Phil Alvin: When I first discovered Big Bill Broozy, his voice and his songwriting, his humor, his guitar playing, his persona was so big to me. I became a Little Bill Broonzy guy; started singing the songs that I heard on the first album that I got almost immediately, and I’ve always had him in the back of my mind whenever I would sing and play.

The Alvin brothers played for us in the studio. You can hear the interview and the music here. 
 

Big Bill Broonzy, U Chicago Press View in High-Res

    Brothers Dave and Phil Alvin joined us to play the music of Blues legend Big Bill Broonzy: 

    Phil Alvin: When I first discovered Big Bill Broozy, his voice and his songwriting, his humor, his guitar playing, his persona was so big to me. I became a Little Bill Broonzy guy; started singing the songs that I heard on the first album that I got almost immediately, and I’ve always had him in the back of my mind whenever I would sing and play.

    The Alvin brothers played for us in the studio. You can hear the interview and the music here

     

    Big Bill Broonzy, U Chicago Press

  2. blues

    big bill broonzy

    the blasters

    music

    dave and phil alvin

  1. Brothers Dave and Phil Alvin (of The Blasters) join Fresh Air to play songs from their Big Bill Broonzy tribute album. In this short video they play Broonzy’s guitar, an artifact of Chicago Blues history. 

  2. big bill broonzy

    blues

    chicago

    music

    history

    dave and phil alvin