JPR Music

JPR Music is a place that celebrates music discovery.  It's a place that collects what we think is exciting on the contemporary music  scene, in the State of Jefferson and beyond.  JPR Music features exclusive Live Sessions, reviews by JPR music hosts, NPR Tiny Desk concerts and First Listens of new releases.  Visit often ... and re-discover music!

Dominic Barth

Juliana Hatfield was raised in Massachusetts. As a child she learned how to play piano, and during high school she played guitar in a covers group called the Squids before discovering alternative rock through the Velvet Underground. Following high school, she attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she studied voice. While at Berklee, she met guitarist John Strohm and drummer Freda Boner, with whom she formed the Blake Babies in 1986.

Dominic Barth

For more than a decade pianist Marco Benevento has been amassing an extensive resume of composition and collaboration. His albums set forth a vision that connects the dots between Explosions In The Sky and Tortoise on one side, Brian Eno and Brad Mehldau on the other.

On his most recent album, Vestiges & Claws, José González treads a familiar musical path, offering listeners the same subdued-but-powerful austerity of his unobtrusive tenor paired with minimal instrumentation that's come to define his remarkable sound since his full-length debut with 2003's Veneer. While those compositional tendencies have thankfully remained undisturbed, Vestiges & Claws is a divergence in theme for González.

Dominic Barth

Those who have followed Ruthie Foster's eclectic musical history know that she can burn down any stage with her combustible blend of soul, blues, rock, folk and gospel. Ruthie’s astonishing voice has taken her on an amazing ride. She came from humble church choir beginnings in rural Texas, followed by a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy Band, and ended up in Austin, Texas.

Ewert and the Two Dragons Live Session 4/3/2015
Eric Teel

Ewert and The Two Dragons is a band from Tallinn, Estonia. Their debut album The Hills Behind The Hills was released in autumn 2009 and since then they have taken the Baltics by storm. 

Nell & Jim & You: First Friday In The Arts

Apr 3, 2015
Mike Melnyk/

Country singers Nell Robinson and Jim Nunally call what they do "new old country music." 

And they'll perform it for an audience in Ashland Friday night (April 3rd). 

Before that, though, they'll be our featured guests on our First Friday Arts segment. 

The Exchange syncs up with the art world on First Friday, by visiting with listeners about arts events in the coming month.  From gallery displays to throat singing to dance, all are welcome.

The Music Of Cornflower, In The Studio

Apr 3, 2015

Rogue Valley-based one-man-band Cornflower needs little for his act: microphone and looping recorder. 

All the sounds come from him, layered over in multiple tracks. 

If you think that sounds like Bobby McFerrin, you're on the right track. 

Cornflower trained with McFerrin a while back.  Now Cornflower plans a spring tour, with dates already set for Ashland, Grants Pass, and Portland. 

decker. Live Session

Mar 27, 2015
decker. Live Session 3/27/2015
Eric Teel

Since 2009, the Sedona, AZ based songwriter Brandon Decker has written, produced and released a trove of mesmerizing music; an expansive palette of folk, gospel, rock and psychedelia recorded under the nom de plume decker. “Tailor-made for a Coen Brothers western,” as one reviewer put it, “the music is dark, atmospheric and uncomfortably honest.

Eric Teel

For Kris Orlowski, making music is about more than fulfilling personal agendas; it’s about creating something that touches the soul. Through relatable storytelling, husky harmonies and knack for hitting emotional highs, the band has touched the souls of people across the Pacific Northwest since 2010.

Dominic Barth

Vocalist Sara Gazarek and pianist Josh Nelson have aligned their musical spirits in a way that would make any artistic duo envious. Gazarek’s top flight interpretations of the vast and varied American songbook are buoyed by the sensitivity of Nelson’s supple command and they have transfixed audiences from New York to Tokyo. They have a telepathic understanding that has come about through more than a decade of friendship, not just hundreds of hours on the bandstand and it blankets any audience lucky enough to hear their swinging high-wire act of trust and commitment.

Eric Teel

Penny & Sparrow is American singer-songwriter duo of Andy Baxter and Kyle Jahnke out of Austin, Texas. Formed in 2011 after living as roommates at the University of Texas, the duo began their musical endeavor as a hobby and creative outlet. Their first tune, “Creature” was recorded in a small apartment behind an orphanage with one microphone and a laptop. “If you listen closely, you can hear kids screaming and laughing in the background of each song,” says Baxter. “After just one song, we knew writing and recording was something we didn’t want to stop doing.

Let There Be Music

Mar 1, 2015
Dominic Barth

I’ve written several times recently about the important role public radio plays in delivering in-depth, fact-based contextual journalism to citizens.

Perhaps less prominent and appreciated nationally is the compelling work public radio stations like JPR perform every day to help craft a dynamic and vibrant music scene within the communities they serve.  The simple truth is that music in America would sound very different without public radio.

Eric Teel

Peter Bradley Adams was born in Birmingham, Alabama and grew up in a musical family, taking inspiration from his grandfather, a jazz musician proficient in the piano and clarinet. Adams began learning the piano when he was six years old, and went on to study music at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, and the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California.

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You might think that Whitehorse is a 10-piece affair. The Canadian band plays complex melodies, its rhythms are layered, but Whitehorse is actually just a couple of people.


Adrian Legg Live Session

Feb 13, 2015
Eric Teel

Since the 1990 release of his first U.S. recording Guitars and Other Cathedrals , Adrian Legg has more than lived up to the expectations stirred by an ongoing avalanche of praise from critics, fans, top guitar magazines and peers alike. Guitar wizard Joe Satriani once said, “He's simply the best acoustic guitar player I've ever heard…he plays like he has hammers for fingers.” The genius that the Boston Globe has called “technical brilliance paired with a troubadour's tale-weaving skill” led him from 1993-96 to be voted Best Fingerstyle Guitarist four years straight by the readers of Guitar Player magazine.

Eric Teel

Kaoru Ishibashi, who goes by the professional name Kishi Bashi, is a singer-songwriter, composer and performing artist who appears both solo and with groups. He plays multiple instruments including violin, keyboard and guitar, and his musical repertoire ranges from indie pop and rock to psychedelic pop. He sometimes uses Japanese singing as one of many sound layers in his creations, helping to suggest (to Western ears, at least) a sense of the ineffable. His newest release, Lighght was released in 2014.

Eric Teel

Chris Wood had a scrap of a song — seemed like a chorus — scribbled in a notebook. He played it for his older brother, Oliver, who’d had a verse lying around he didn’t know what to do with. The two pieces, composed months apart, one in urban Atlanta and the other deep in the Catskills, dovetailed musically and lyrically: the verse about a man regretting chasing unattainable women, the high-lonesome, harmony-driven refrain of “When I die, I wanna be sent back to try, try again.”

Eric Teel

Born in Watkins Glen, N.Y.—best-known for its race track and the rock festival of the same name which took place there, featuring the Allman Brothers, Grateful Dead and The Band—Willie Watson grew up listening to his father’s basement record collection, including Bob Dylan and Neil Young, before stumbling on a Leadbelly album at the age of 12. Combined with having heard plenty of local string bands—featuring old-time banjo and fiddle—Willie experienced an epiphany. “As soon as I heard that record,” he recalls, “I was hooked.”

Eric Teel

Jonah Tolchin's new album, Clover Lane, gets its name from an astonishing coincidence. Tolchin grew up in New Jersey on Clover Lane. As he tells it, “My parents bought the Clover Lane house in 1996. Fast forward to 2012. At the suggestion of a friend, record producer Marvin Etzioni came out to a show of mine in Los Angeles (Room 5). After an inspired conversation, a few weeks later Marvin and I were recording an album together in Nashville.” The pivotal phone call to Etzioni that night had come from Jonah’s friend, singer-songwriter Alex Wright. He and his wife Chris had met Marvin through their friend and neighbor in LA, Anna Serridge. When Jonah met Anna at the Wright’s, he discovered, quite by chance, that she had lived in the very same house on Clover Lane and had sold it to Tolchin’s parents sixteen years earlier.