Music

New Voices Join Music Midtown

Sep 16, 2016

Music Midtown returns this weekend for its sixth year at Piedmont Park in Atlanta. The two-day festival has changed a lot since it was founded in 1994 by veteran music promoters Alex Cooley and Peter Conlon. This year’s lineup features a noticeably younger cast of artists, including DeadMau5, Kesha, and Atlanta-born soul singer Leon Bridges. We speak with Music Midtown co-founder Peter Conlon, who also serves as president of Live Nation Atlanta (which produces the festival), about the future direction of the festival. 

Sean Powers / On Second Thought

One of the groups performing at the Music Midtown festival is The Coathangers, a staple in Atlanta’s punk rock scene. We asked Meredith Franco and Julia Kugel, two of the band’s members, to add two songs to our Georgia Playlist. They chose works by Black Lips and Subsonics

Over 100,000 concertgoers are expected to visit Piedmont Park for Music Midtown this weekend to hear headliners like The Killers, Beck and Deadmau5.

After years of expensive high-profile superstars like Drake, Elton John, and John Mayer, this year's festival has cut a day of performances and features a roster filled with lesser-known performers.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

In the first of the Living Room Concert Series shows from the Field Note Stenographers, singer-songwriters Aaron Irons and Justin Cutway. Aaron Irons held down the Macon music scene back in the 1990s with his band the Liabilities. He doesn't play out much these days, which is what makes this set special. Justin Cutway is super literate, witty and blessed with a good voice and serious guitar chops. Enjoy them here and look ahead to the next show on September 29 with Caleb Caudle and Justin Osborne of the band SUSTO.   

Mercer University

World-renowned violinist Robert McDuffie has opened a music conservatory at Mercer University in Macon. It not only focuses on musical talent, but also offers a broad-based education and teaches students how to survive financially as working musicians. He talks about the McDuffie Center for Strings and why some consider it to be the “Juilliard of the South.” 

Otis Redding's Soulful Legacy

Sep 13, 2016
YOUTUBE

If Aretha Franklin is the “Queen of Soul,” Otis Redding was the king. He died in 1967 at the young age of 26, but not before recording some of the most powerful soul records that still resonate with contemporary listeners. Last weekend, Macon hosted a festival in honor of the fallen soul-singer, including musical performances from his two sons. Author Mark Ribowsky examines Redding’s legacy from his upbringing in Georgia to his untimely death.

We speak with Mark Ribowsky, author of "Dreams to Remember: Otis Redding, Stax Records, and the Transformation of Southern Soul."

If Aretha Franklin is the “Queen of Soul,” Otis Redding was the king. He died in 1967 at the young age of 26, but not before recording some of the most powerful soul records that still resonate with contemporary listeners. Last weekend, Macon hosted a festival in honor of the fallen soul-singer, including musical performances from his two sons. Author Mark Ribowsky examines Redding’s legacy from his upbringing in Georgia to his untimely death. He talks about his book, “Dreams to Remember: Otis Redding, Stax Records, and the Transformation of Southern Soul.”

Gregg Allman

We  revisit our conversation with singer/songwriter Gregg Allman about how he got his start singing with The Allman Brothers Band and what Macon means to him today. He also reveals the origins of the song “Melissa,” and he takes a stand for artists who struggle to make a living in the modern-day music industry.

In this episode of Just Off The Radar, hear some of Kishi Bashi's new album Sonderlust, due out September 16, plus tracks from Joanna Gruesome, tacocat and more.  

Track listing....

We catch up with singer/songwriter and former Georgia resident Matthew Sweet as he prepares to release his next studio album “Tomorrow Forever”

Wikimedia Commons

Singer Kate Pierson has been a staple of Georgia's music scene since the early 1970s. She is a founding member of the B-52s. She has also collaborated with the likes of R.E.M., the Ramones, Iggy Pop and many others. Her first solo album was released in 2015. She adds two songs to our Georgia Playlist, a couple classics from James Brown and Little Richard.

R.E.M.

R.E.M. made the world listen. Formed in 1980, the quartet out of Athens, Georgia exploded the old idea of what pop music is all about. The 25th anniversary edition of the band’s iconic “Out of Time” album is set to be released in November. A 2014 MTV documentary explores the band’s Georgia roots.

Exclusive interview with Pylon…post-punk legends from Athens, GA on the occasion of the release of their double album “Live.” Plus tracks from Russian Circles, The Orb and more. Get more Pylon in our live session with the Pylon Reenactment Society, too. You can follow the Just Off The Radar podcast on the NPR One app. 

Just Off The Radar: Nellie McKay Live

Aug 19, 2016

Recently we were lucky enough to have Nellie McKay record a few songs for us during her 2016 tour at Atlanta’s City Winery. And you can subscribe to the Just Off The Radar Podcast on Google Play or follow the show on the NPR One app. 

Georgia Playlist: Speakerfoxxx

Aug 19, 2016
RBMA Radio

Atlanta producer and DJ Christen Nilan, also known as Speakerfoxxx, adds two more songs to our Georgia Playlist. She’s the host of the radio program “Cruisin’ in the ATL,” and part of a re-launch of Red Bull Music Academy Radio. RBMA Radio is taking place at Patchwerk Studios in Atlanta this week with lectures, workshops, and live broadcasts.

The Red Bull Music Academy's RBMA Radio lands in Atlanta this week. It's a six-day event with lectures, workshops, and live broadcasts. It features conversations and performances from artists and musicians who have shaped the city's sound, including Jermaine Dupri, Organized Noize, and Don Cannon.  

Just Off The Radar: New Dinosaur Jr.

Aug 15, 2016

Dig into some new Dinosaur Jr. (the whole band is back together), a track from Case/Lang/Veirs, a track off the new Pylon live album and more in this episode of Just Off The Radar. You can follow the Just Off The Radar podcast on the NPR One app.

Just Off The Radar: Angel Olsen ...And More

Aug 15, 2016

Thank heavens…a new Angel Olsen is forthcoming this year! As a preview we’ve got the latest single from her this week, along with tributes to Ralph Stanley and Scotty Moore, a throwback track from John Wesley Harding, and new BRONCHO. Subscribe to the Just Off The Radar podcast on Google Play or follow the show on the NPR One app. 

VICTOR WAINWRIGHT

Savannah blues musician Victor Wainwright adds two more songs to our Georgia playlist, a collection of the best songs from or about Georgia. Wainwright is known as the “Piana from Savannah” and won the 2016 B.B. King Entertainer Award from the Blues Hall of Fame earlier this year.

Wainwright adds two of his favorite songs to the Playlist: "Diggin' The Boogie" (1951) by Piano Red and "Statesboro Blues" by Blind Willie McTell. 

In this Field Session, we give you singer, songwriter and virtuoso of both guitar and lyric Dylan LeBlanc. In this solo acoustic set from the Bragg Jam Music Festival, LeBlanc performs songs from his debut album "Pauper's Field" as well as the album he's touring now, "Cautionary Tale." Recorded at the Field Note Stenographers Stage at Gallery West in Macon, Georgia. Hear three songs in the video or listen to the whole set in the audio above. 

Grant Blankenship / GPB

In this Field Session we have a live set from singer/songwriter Andrew Bryant of Water Valley, Miss. You can usually find Andrew behind the trap kit in his band Water Liars, but last year he released an album of his own songs in his voice accompanied by his guitar.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

The Bragg Jam Music Festival and Concert Crawl is on one day, Saturday, July 30. With 80 bands on 20 stages, it can pose a logistical challenge to even the most die hard fans. To help you get a start on a manageable plan, have a listen to Sarah and Justin Schanck of Macon. You can find the Bragg Jam schedule at the festival's site.

Georgia Playlist: Gwen Hughes

Jul 29, 2016
Gwen Hughes

We add two more songs to our essential Georgia Playlist. All tunes have to be written or performed by a Georgian. And musicians can't pick one of their own songs to go on the playlist. Atlanta jazz singer Gwen Hughes chooses hits from Johnny Mercer and Otis Redding. 

Grant Blankenship / GPB

Growing up at the foot of the Blue Ridge mountains, Jimmy Haney had one dream. To join the musicians he and his father heard on the radio at the Grand Ole Opry. He got his start on that road in the 1950s with an icon of Country Music, but it almost cost him his life. Haney tells his story in this piece from GPB Music and the Field Note Stenographers

Shervin Lainez/Courtesy of the artist

Kishi Bashi recently stopped by NPR's Washington, D.C., headquarters to announce his new album Sonderlust, which is due out Sept. 16 via Joyful Noise. It includes the lushly layered "Say Yeah," a rapturous mix of '70s soft rock, disco and synth pop.

WUGA

We add a couple of songs to our essential Georgia Playlist courtesy of David Barbe, director and lecturer at the University of Georgia’s music business certificate program. He selects a pair of his favorite songs, one from Athens scene pioneers Pylon and another from Atlanta's Lotus Plaza featuring Lockett Pundt of Deerhunter.

Check out  "Stop It" by Pylon and "Strangers" by Lotus Plaza.

Most folks are well acquainted with the classic country and blues form that is the cheatin' song. Whether the singer plays the wronged party, the adulterer or the "other" man or woman, American music is full of tales about what goes on at the dark end of the street and behind back doors.

When musicians Nick Walusko and Darian Sahanaja first met in Los Angeles back in 1983, they immediately bonded over their shared passions: movies, sci-fi and the mysteries of 1960s pop. The two spent countless hours poring over records by bands like Buffalo Springfield, The Mamas & the Papas and The Beach Boys, "just taking apart music and figuring out how all the parts work together," Walusko recalls.

Manchester Orchestra

The new film “Swiss Army Man” tells the story of a shipwrecked man who befriends a corpse. The soundtrack was composed by Andy Hull and Robert McDowell. They're part of the Atlanta-indie rock band Manchester Orchestra and join us to add two more tunes to our Georgia Playlist.  They pick songs by  Gnarls Barkley of Atlanta and Neutral Milk Hotel of Athens.

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