JPR Live Sessions

JPR Live Sessions is a weekly series of live in-studio performances and conversations with musicians from a wide variety of genres. Recorded primarily at the JPR studios in Ashland on the Southern Oregon University campus or at the Cascade Theatre in Redding, California, the series is the work of JPR Program/Music Director Eric Teel, who brings over 25 years of experience in music ranging from classical to indie-rock.

Archived JPR Live Sessions are also available as a podcast on iTunes.

Sometimes you have to remind yourself why you started something in the first place,” muses Seth Walker. On his stellar new album, Gotta Get Back, he does precisely that, excavating the roots of his love affair with music and reuniting with the family that helped spark the fire all those years ago. The record is as remarkable as the story behind it, which stretches from Walker’s childhood living on a commune in North Carolina to stints in Austin, Nashville, New York and New Orleans.

Forward motion belies creativity and evolution. A staunch and unwavering commitment to progression is how an unassuming group of five friends can collectively become a Grammy Award-winning force of nature. That’s exactly how it happened for The Infamous Stringdusters. Within thirteen years since their 2005 formation, the band—Travis Book (bass, vocals), Andy Falco (guitar, vocals), Jeremy Garrett (fiddle, vocals), Andy Hall (dobro, vocals), and Chris Pandolfi (banjo, vocals) — have consistently forged ahead, relentlessly exploring the musical possibilities of a “bluegrass ensemble” and breaking down boundaries in the process.

The Wood Brothers’ sixth outing, ‘One Drop of Truth,’ dives headfirst into a deep wellspring of sounds, styles and influences. Whereas their previous outings have often followed a conceptual and sonic through-line, here the long-standing trio featuring brothers Oliver and Chris Wood along with Jano Rix treat each song as if it were its own short film. The end result is undeniably The Wood Brothers’ most dynamic recording to date.

Robert Francis is a multi-instrumentalist, Americana singer-songwriter from Los Angeles, California. As the youngest member of a music-filled household, Robert benefited from a diverse musical climate thanks to his late pianist/producer father, his songwriting sister Juliette Commagere, and his Mexican mother, who sang native ranchera songs around the house.

Building on a career that spans over 17 years with a history that includes Seattle, New York City, and everywhere in between, Jon Fickes proudly debuts his most ambitious album yet, Closer to a Ghost. The album, a release by his newest musical endeavor, A View of Earth from the Moon, is “everything I’ve always wanted a record to be.

In North Central Washington State, Tyson Motsenbocker grew up in the apple orchards and pine forests at the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. It’s the pastoral sound of his childhood that has defined the sound of his music, even among the freeways and fast pace of his new Southern California home. After the release of two EP’s Until it Lands and Rivers and Roads, Motsenbocker defined himself as a mature lyricist and accomplished songwriter, sharing the stage with the likes of David Bazan, Vance Joy and James Bay.

Kuinka's genre-defying music features several different lead singers, four-part harmony, and eclectic instrumentation including cello, banjo, synthesizers, ukulele and electronic percussion. For all of their sonic experimentation, the Seattle quartet's songs and live shows are linked by an infectious energy that remains present in everything they do.

Caught halfway between the dark swoon of pop-noir, the raw rasp of soul music, and the honest punch of Americana, Suzanne Santo's new solo album Ruby Red tells the story of a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist who, more than 10 years into an acclaimed career, is turning a new corner. Produced by multi-platinum Grammy nominee Butch Walker (whose Los Angeles recording studio gives the album its name), Ruby Red marks Santo's first release as a solo artist.

Julien Baker’s solo debut, Sprained Ankle, was one of the most widely acclaimed works of 2015. The album, recorded by an 18-year-old and her friend in only a few days, was a bleak yet hopeful, intimate document of staggering experiences and grace, centered entirely around Baker’s voice, guitar, and unblinking honesty. Sprained Ankle appeared on year-end lists everywhere from NPR Music to The AV Club to New York Magazine’s Vulture.

Originally from Colorado and initially part of the folk band Paper Bird with her sister Genevieve, Esmé Patterson has increasingly let loose her inner rocker on each new solo album — particularly on her third record, released in June of 2016, titled We Were Wild.

Despite their brotherhood, Aaron and Phil Reed didn’t start playing music together until two years ago after Phil left their hometown of St. Charles, Missouri to join Aaron in the unsullied mountains of the American Northwest. The brothers family blend of folk encapsulates the grit and humor of Midwest life with the swagger and serenity of the west coast. Their style evokes finger picking folk singers of the 60’s and 70’s with a contemporary and boundless edge. Cultivated from years of performing in bands ranging from heavy metal to reggae and rock, to punk, country, and funk, their musical dichotomy is at the root of their diverse yet seamless folk-brand.

Ten years and four albums deep, the story of This Is The Kit — the musical project that holds Kate Stables at its heart, is itself one of time and change and careful listening. It has carried Stables from Winchester to Bristol to Paris (where she’s lived for the last ten years), across tours and festivals and the adoration of her peers: Guy Garvey, The National, Sharon van Etten among them. And it leads her now to Moonshine Freeze, her Rough Trade debut, and her most stunning and accomplished and compelling album to date.

With his fiery guitar and lap steel playing, his trailblazing, instantly memorable songs and gritty, unvarnished vocals, Selwyn Birchwood is among the most extraordinary young stars in the blues. His deep familiarity with blues tradition allows him to bust the genre wide open, adding new sounds, colors and textures, all delivered with a revival tent preacher's fervor and a natural storyteller's charisma.

Something American is the debut of an impossibly confident artist and a distinctive new voice. With the powerful impact of a full album and the fine nuance of a novel, these five songs reveal a songwriter who emphasizes melodic craft and emotional subtlety, a singer willing to push her instrument as far as it will go, a personality defined by its contradictions: sharp-witted yet vulnerable, dead-serious yet often drop-dead funny, young but incredibly wise.

Noah Gundersen has been peddling sincerity and introspection in musical form for almost a decade; songs that give listeners a taste of the emotional nectar in the pit of another human’s gut. He’s been dredging up viscous fistfulls of his own being and shaping them into little waxen votives, candles meant to illuminate the territory between shameless confession and hopeless redemption, for all of the other twenty-somethings who’ve been groping around in that long existential shadow.

Hiss Golden Messenger is Durham, North Carolina-based songwriter M.C. Taylor. Since 2009, Taylor and in collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Scott Hirsh, longtime drummer Terry Lonergan, Nashville guitarist William Tyler, and members of Megafaun, the Black Twig Pickers, Pelt, D. Charles Speer & the Helix, Brightblack and Morning Light have released a string of universally acclaimed albums as Hiss Golden Messenger.

We’re Not Going Anywhere: At a historical moment of immense political, social, and ecological uncertainty, those four simple words comprise both a promise and a protest, a comforting reassurance of inclusion as well as a hearty cry of defiance. It’s a statement that offers no small sense of hope, in that sense matching the music contained on the new album from David Ramirez.

Born and raised in Sandpoint Idaho, Shook Twins are an Indie folk-pop band hailing from Portland, Oregon. Identical twins, Katelyn and Laurie are the main songwriters, but they also back up their band member Niko Slice (electric guitar, mandolin and vocals) adding his uniquely compelling songs to the mix. Barra Brown is on Drums, vocals and Drum Pad, and Josh Simon is on Bass, vocals, Electric guitar, and synth.

Shawn Mullins readily admits that several of the songs on his newest album, My Stupid Heart, address his perceived relationship failures. In fact, many were written as he was falling out of his third marriage; in the title tune, he actually chides himself for being such a romantic. But it's also a bit of a joke, he says, because he firmly believes in following his heart — no matter where it leads.

JPR Live Session: OK Go

Nov 2, 2017

With a career that includes award-winning videos, New York Times op-eds, a major label split and the establishment of a DIY trans-media mini-empire (Paracadute), collaborations with pioneering dance companies and tech giants, animators and Muppets, and an experiment that encoded their music on actual strands of DNA, OK Go continue to fearlessly dream and build new worlds in a time when creative boundaries have all but dissolved.

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