Guster's latest album, 'Look Alive', is a trippy and textured twist on everything you might already love about the band. Lead singer Ryan Miller and drummer Brian Rosenworcel dropped by to talk about the making of the album, which included three producers, Leo Abrahams, John Congleton and Collin DuPuis, as well as a very fruitful visit to synthesizer and keyboard heaven, a.k.a. Canada's National Music Centre. Ryan and Brian muse about the Leonard Cohen vs. Bob Dylan philosophies of music-making, and how after 27 years the members of Guster managed to still surprise their fans, and themselves, with this album. And we take an adventurous trip down memory lane reading from the tour blog Brian has been keeping since 1999.
Josh Ritter Performs Stripped Down Versions of 'Fever Breaks'
Twenty years into his career, it's safe to say Josh Ritter is a master songwriter and musician. But while making his latest album, 'Fever Breaks', he felt nervous. Ritter had been making music with generally the same small group of people, The Royal City Band, for most of his career. But this time, he decided to switch it up and have his friend and fellow songwriter Jason Isbell produce the new record. Isbell brought his band the 400 Unit on board, and they headed to the legendary RCA Studio A. That's when the nerves really hit. But, as Ritter explains, "I realized that being afraid in this moment with my songs and nervous about where they should go and how they should is the right thing — this is what I got into this for." 'Fever Breaks' comes out April 26, but in this special session in front of a live audience, Josh Ritter performs stripped-down acoustic versions of his songs just like he did for Isbell and Amanda Shires on their Nashville porch when they were first deciding to work together. Ritter explains how they turned those sessions into the album versions we hear on 'Fever Breaks' and shares a full-circle story about his long musical relationship with Joan Baez and the beautiful, new song it led to. Plus, we talk about his family: Ritter is now a father of two, having adopted his youngest daughter through Wide Horizons for Children.
Persian Musicians And A Parisian Monastery: Making Glen Hansard's 'This Wild Willing'
Glen Hansard has a new album, but not the album he initially intended on making. Glen wrote much of the album while staying at a monastery in Paris. The record, titled 'This Wild Willing', was initially supposed to be a simple, acoustic album. But, that changed after a chance jam session with Persian musicians. "It just completely opened my mind to a new thought process," Glen says. "And I asked them instinctively would they be interested in coming to the studio with me to do some improvising and they agreed and I called David, the producer, the next day and I said 'Look, the record is going to take a turn." It did. Glen will also talk about honoring Joni Mitchell, covering Van the Man, and recording with Steve Albini.
Nilüfer Yanya Has A Very Cool Voice
Rising star Nilüfer Yanya caught so much well-deserved buzz with her first two EPs, it was difficult for her to carve out time to write a full-length debut album. But the Londoner has done it, and her debut, 'Miss Universe', out now, shows off the catchy melodies and grounded guitar playing that first earned Yanya attention, not to mention her unique and stunning voice. Yanya has been writing songs since she was a kid and she explains how an early guitar teacher helped her find the courage to actually sing the songs she was writing herself. She also performs live in-studio with her band.
Cautious Clay's Bold Leap
Cautious Clay makes magnetic and cool R&B that features his honeyed voice and his skills on the saxophone. The first instrument he picked up as a kid was the flute, all thanks to a case of mistaken instrument identity that involves the movie "Aladdin". In this session, Joshua Karpeh, who records as Cautious Clay, shares that story, reflects on his decision to leave real estate to pursue music full time, and explains how being raised by a single mom who made her own bold career change when he was growing up inspired Karpeh to take the leap. We talk about some of the exciting opportunities Karpeh has scored, including working with John Mayer out in LA and have his music featured in Issa Rae's HBO show "Insecure". And he delights with live performances from his latest EP, "Table of Context".