JPR Live Sessions

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Multi-instrumentalist Sean Watkins has long been known for his work as one-third of the Grammy Award-winning Nickel Creek and, more recently, for helming, with sister Sara, the itinerant, genre-hopping Watkins Family Hour ensemble. But in the last year he has more assertively – and impressively – taken on the role of solo artist. What To Fear is a follow-up to 2014’s acclaimed All I Do Is Lie, which had been Watkins’ first solo effort in nearly a decade, ten years that had been jammed with collaborative projects and a herculean amount of touring.

On Friday, August 5th at Noon, JPR will broadcast a live session with Australian singer/songwriter Ben Abraham on Open Air.

The artist formerly known as Aaron Livingston knows his nation well. The pastiche and reach of his music is literally all over the map, and he can hear a map in his music. In it, he can recognize the places he's lived, traveled, and played to, places explored and discovered. "I hear places in the songs without trying to evoke them while writing. I can trace where a lot of my music came from, as my life and my family touch so many different places. I can hear the Gulf Coast of Louisiana in my voice, the way I say some of the words; I hear New York, definitely in my lyrics. Detroit is a place I haven't spent a ton of time in, but if I explore the music of Detroit, I can hear myself in there, too."

Eric Teel

Futureman is an inventor, scientist, musician, composer and five time Grammy Award winning performer with Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, a band that also featured his bass virtuoso brother Victor. At the heart of the Flecktones' music is Futureman's ground breaking percussion technique performed on his first invention he calls the Drumitar. The guitar shaped instrument allows him to replicate sounds of an entire contemporary drum kit with just a few fingers.

On Friday, July 29th at Noon, JPR will broadcast a live session with Alex Jackson, JPR's favorite regional entrant in the 2016 NPR Tiny Desk Contest.

Ana Byers

Honesty, confidence, and respect permeate Eilen Jewell’s (pronounced: EE-len) music, dating back to her self-released Boundary County album in 2006. Since then, the Boise native has recorded five studio albums with her road-tested touring band, and two more as a member of the Boston-based gospel-charged Sacred Shakers, which includes that well-oiled band at its core. Her latest, Sundown Over Ghost Town, is a culmination of Jewell’s work to date.

Soleil Rowan

Entranced by the sound of her grandfather’s violin, Anna Tivel started learning in the first grade and never put it down. In 2006, she moved to Portland, muddled through college, and started waiting tables and playing some fiddle on the side. Jeffrey Martin was born in San Antonio, Texas. While he’s been writing songs since he was in high school, he didn’t begin touring until 2010 when a few chance opening gigs fell his way. Before he ever slept out of his car for music, he enjoyed sleeping out of his car all over the country just for the sake of traveling— so the anti-glamourous lifestyle of a touring singer-songwriter suited him well. 

Eric Teel

When Indianapolis sisters Lily and Madeleine first started making music together, it didn’t cross their minds that they could make a living at it. Although they now find themselves in an acclaimed full-fledged career, what got them here has nothing to do with money, and everything to do with the spirit.

Mike Edel couldn’t have named his sophomore release more poetically. Even the title, India, Seattle feels like a story on its own. Two polarized locations on opposite ends of the earth, one crawling with colors and noise and the other lying silent and blue in the corner of America. Part of growing a little bit older, a little bit wiser is the awareness that comes inside growing spaces.

Soleil Rowan

Emotions and Math is not simply the name of Margaret Glaspy’s new debut album. That expression drills right to the heart of the New York-based singer-songwriter’s proper introduction, a mission statement both artistic and personal.

While romantic entanglement hasn’t been exactly uncommon when it comes to successful musical duos -- Buckingham and Nicks, Sonny and Cher, Bonnie and Delaney, and Goffin and King simply for starters -- Freddy & Francine, or, as they’re known to family and friends, Lee Ferris and Bianca Caruso, have built a career that’s been intertwined with their feelings for both their music and each other.

Eric Teel

Jessica Fichot is a lot like her hometown of Paris: French at heart, but with a soul that's truly international. Drawing from her multi-ethnic French / Chinese / American upbringing, her music fuses styles and languages, taking the listener on a twisting journey out of the French chanson tradition, into the lands of gypsy jazz, Chinese 1940's swing, international folk, and into the wilderness of her imagination. She has performed packed venues in France, China, Spain, Mexico, Canada and across the U.S - backed by her fiery band (clarinet/sax, upright bass, drums and guitar), and armed with her accordion, toy piano and multilingual vocals.

Eric Teel

Escondido is Nashville, TN based artists Jessica Maros and Tyler James. Recorded live in a single day, their 10-song debut album was released Feb. 26, 2013. Their sound is a washed out desert landscape steeped in American roots music. “We wanted it to be like Clint Eastwood playing pop songs at one of the honky-tonks downtown,” James mused. “But we’ve been told it sounds like desert sex.

Soleil Rowan

Odds are pretty good that you have already heard Bronze Radio Return, even if you may not realize it. Since 2008, the six-piece has independently sold over 100,000 singles, racked up more than 26 million streams on Spotify.

JPR Live Session: SOAK

May 6, 2016
Eric Teel

Irish singer/songwriter SOAK says her stage name came from combining "soul" and "folk," and while she doesn't believe either word accurately describes her music, her breathy, emotionally revealing songs and spare, powerfully evocative performing style are certainly soulful and folk-influenced, though there's just as much indie rock in her musical formula.

Overwhelmed by the speed at which his gift took him from Applebee’s server to “the new Neil Young” in a matter of months, Dylan LeBlanc walked away from an unlikely major label deal after releasing two critically acclaimed albums. He slipped into a blur of booze and self-doubt. Exhausted and damaged at just 23-years-old, Dylan came home to Muscle Shoals, Alabama to write a new life for himself.

Soleil Rowan

Austin-made singer-songwriter duo Penny & Sparrow dwells in the spaces left between contradictions and opposing forces. In fact, it’s where they’re most at home. As the title of their latest album, Let A Lover Drown You, suggests, they know intimately the ideas of using pain as a barometer of passion and giving as a means of gaining.

The inventive, acoustic guitar-wielding folksinger Emma-Lee Moss was born in Hong Kong and later moved with her family to England, where she became a fixture of London's burgeoning anti-folk scene. Performing as Emmy the Great, her debut single, "Secret Circus," was released in 2006, followed in 2007 by the My Bad EP.

Charles Waldorf

As a singer, songwriter, activist and independent entrepreneur, Ani DiFranco has been setting her own pace—and encouraging countless admirers to do the same—for more than 20 years. But while she has been known as the “Little Folksinger,” her music has grown far beyond her acoustic solo roots in cozy venues to embrace jazz, soul, electronica and even more distant sounds.

Eric Teel

Basia Bulat has become one of Canada's most conspicuous talents. Since releasing her debut in 2007, Bulat has shared a stage with artists including Arcade Fire, The National, Nick Cave, Daniel Lanois, St Vincent, Sufjan Stevens, Beirut, Destroyer, Tune-Yards, The Tallest Man On Earth, and Andrew Bird.

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