Playlist: Music Station Picks for September
Compiled By: PRX Curators
September picks for music stations curated by PRX Music Format Curator David Srebnik of Virtuoso Voices.
Suggestions from David:
"Are you on Twitter? PRX is on Twitter — I've found it to be an invaluable programming resource, providing information and updates on new program that are available on PRX. It's like getting an instant update from PRX without having to go to the PRX site.
"One PRX Twitter feed contains a link to each new PRX piece.
"The second PRX feed tells you which programs have been bought in real time."
David produces Virtuoso Voices, an interview clip and fundraising service heard on 115 stations. As an Associate Producer at NPR, he programmed the music heard on...Show full description
From Western Folklife Center Media | 08:42
A recent "driveway moment" on NPR's Weekend Edition (Sunday) that is now available for scheduling and rescheduling on your station. A natural tie-in to your local teens to 20-somethings reporting and local music scene, but can run on its own.
"Spy Hop: Making Music, Changing Lives" charts a youth program using music (hip-hop) to help young people find their voice and get that voice heard. Spy Hop also changes minds, helps minds grow and attacks stereotypes (theirs and ours) about kids coming to terms with the real world.
Very moving personal stories, flawlessly told and produced. I think the musical performances are strong as well.
Every Friday afternoon, teenagers trickle into a place called Spy Hop Productions in downtown Salt Lake City, and settle into a cozy recording studio. They come to make music…setting their personal story to verse and beat, and in some cases finding a brief respite from an otherwise confusing and even dangerous life. And it’s all free. Open Mic is one of many programs at SpyHop, an arts organization that empowers young people by teaching them video, photography, website and audio skills. Spy Hop instructors and students mentor kids as they craft their songs…everything from rap…to jazz…to acoustic. Their backgrounds are equally diverse…everything from East African refugees, to kids with disabilities, to suburban kids aspiring for a career in the music business. Many of their songs are powerful, and often represent a breakthrough… emotionally as well as musically. The Western Folkife Center's Taki Telonidis reports on a transformational program that has, for the past six years, allowed young mostly at-risk youth to find their voice and record it.
Hosted by David Dye (World Cafe) and produced by Tracey Tanenbaum (WXPN's "A Musician's Life").
A brief look at Woodstock (and its recent 40-year anniversary), but that's really just the starting point for this very fine 4-minute performer snapshot. Consider this either an introduction or tribute to a sometimes forgotten artist and thinker who was well ahead of his time.
That being said, the retelling of his Woodstock break out, and how he rescued the Festival, is a story that never gets tired. Interesting, fun, thoughtful; superbly hosted, produced and mixed.
From the Savannah Music Festival 2009, a piano showdown with pianists Eddie Palmieri, Henry Butler, Bob Seeley and Aaron Goldberg.
Jazz, New Orleans, Latin and Boogie Woogie.
It's billed as a piano showdown, and this is one of the better and more musical forms of competition: the friendly competition.
Seeley is the 80-something Boogie Woogie man who can play both rugged and religious (Amazing Grace Boogie Woogie, for example); Goldberg plays Monk; Palmieri plays an original tune...gorgeous; and Butler shows why he's the iron man and soul of New Orleans piano playing and a category you just can't worry about assigning a label. Okay — maybe "High-Bread."
Production is mostly fine — but we definitely could use longer, more artful fades on the applause after the tunes.
Piano solos and duets, a well matched mix of styles that flow from one to the other, and the playing is electrifying.
Original air date: Week of August 3, 2009
In the international music world, there are literally dozens of piano competitions across the globe. However, in jazz and blues music, the spirit of friendly competition has always been a part of the tradition. In this second episode, we'll hear more solos and duets by four distinct, versatile and unique players from different generations. Octogenarian and boogie woogie specialist Bob Seeley shares the stage with Aaron Goldberg, who is not even half his age. New Orleans-based Henry Butler and Latin jazz great Eddie Palmieri round out this one-time-only production recorded at the 2009 Savannah Music Festival.
From Joyride Media | 59:01
Overheard on the second floor of Tower Records in Westwood in 1990-something: "Yeah, it's great music watch your plants grow to."
It was a local LA musician's reference to what was then called "New Age" music.
Windham Hill, the label, is alive and well, celebrating its 30-year history with a documentary hosted by John Dilberto (Echoes).
Among its innovations, like selling tons of records, CDs and cassettes, Windham Hill came to be known as "a style of music" rather than a label. In truth it was both. In the body of the program, Windham Hill founder, Will Ackerman drops a few surprises — including the commonalities between Windham Hill and the Punk movement, and how they tried to avoid the label, "New Age." Hearing the artists talk about the difference between good and bad New Age music is a program highpoint.
Performances, thoughts and memories come from Will Ackerman, George Winston, Michael Hedges, Liz Story, Shadowfax and Carly Simon...at the end. This is a nice look back at music and a music option that grew on many of us — and did it quietly.
It was good to hear some of these tunes again, especially Liz Story playing "Wedding Rain."
The program charts the early days but also shows how Windham Hill worked through and extended beyond its original sound, texture and concept — like adding vocals.
With the variety of music your listeners have been exposed to over the past thirty years, I think they will hear the music in a new way in 2009.
Suitable for News/Music formats, and especially AAA and eclectic music formats. For News stations, "Windham Hill A Quiet Revolution" is worth considering for your Doc slot.
And please wait for the "washing lettuce" story at the end.
For stations that are more music-directed: the music-to-talk ratio is at times more on the doc side.
Overall, the music, subject matter and information are, in balance, I think, for a variety of station formats.
John Diliberto (Echoes) hosts this documentary on the 30-year history of Windham Hill Records. One of the music industry's most distinctive independent labels, Windham Hill's artist roster reads like a who's who of contemporary instrumental music. This program features music and commentary from label founder Will Ackerman as well as George Winston, Michael Hedges, Jim Brickman, Liz Story and many others. Contact: Andy Cahn, Cahn Media 201-386-1736 email@example.com
Produced by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
As you look for end-of-summer programming, or new ways to plant seeds in your listeners' hearts and souls as fundraising season returns in September and October, I wanted to get in one additional recommendation about the mindblowing six-part series "The Nerve - Music and the Human Experience" from the CBC.
The series investigates the "how and why of music" in fresh, new ways and means. To get all that this program offers requires a mostly "sit down and give all your attention to the radio" commitment. And it's a sit-down experience you can, without hesitation, tell your listeners is well worth their time and attention.
Even if you don't get all of the information and understanding of the music-brain-body interaction, the mix of voices, information, music and radio craft is so pleasing to the ear. Still, your listeners will still walk away with plenty.
(Repeating each show in the series is worth considering.)
Some people (and radio producers) know how to make far away worlds — the mystery of science, music, the cochlea, spinal column, and the cerebral cortex — accessible, beautiful, fun, interesting and entertaining.
The presenters and producers of this series are those people.
(More detailed reviews of Programs 1 and 3 in the series are included in the Music Station Picks for August playlist.)
Most recent piece in this series:
Episode 2 of The Nerve asks the question why? Why did music evolve in the first place? Some people think music is merely an evolutionary frill, a by-product - delicious cheesecake for our ears that has no evolutionary purpose. Darwin himself was puzzled by music. Observing songbirds, he suggested music's role was in sexual selection (which may explain why rock stars from Franz Liszt to Tommy Lee have had such busy sex lives). Others believe music's origins may be found in the mother-infant interactions we call baby talk, and others consider the importance of the lullaby - a need to pacify infants. Others theorize that music developed in tandem with the social cohesion necessary to the survival of bands of early humans, critical to them through its power to strengthen social bonds.
Cheesecake? Or sex, baby talk, and social interaction? Set in the Key of DNA, The Nerve 2 examines what the purpose of music is and has been, yesterday and today.
A pleasing, breezy review of the songs written in the '30s and '40s when the workers of the world united...and sang about it.
"Popular Songs on the Picket Lines" is a musical avenue that offers your listeners a different perspective on Labor Day.
This 59:00 show could serve as an addition, and possible contrast, to the more labor intensive employment and economic programming you've already scheduled for this Labor Day.
With all of the employment and economic stories that were heard on your station during this past season of economic and employment uncertainty, "Popular Songs on the Picket Lines" offers both historical perspective and a diversion that is entertaining, thoughtful and substantial.
Nice mix, and choice of songs, that are evenly sad, sentimental and satirical, including Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Ethel Waters, Bing Crosby and two stark tunes from "The Cradle Will Rock" (Mark Bliztein).
Music content is jazz and show tune-laced song and dance from the '30s and '40s, but the subject matter and timeliness makes the
program worthy of consideration on a variety of formats.
"Popular Song On the Picket Lines" features "social significance" music from the 1930s and 40s that had a political message behind it in one way or another, or alluded in humorous or poignant ways to issues and problems of the times.
Many artists in those years were involved with politics and ideological organizations or movements, often referred to as the Popular Front--much of this activity spurred on by the challenges that the Great Depression had brought to America. Some of the country's most popular songwriters and performers composed and recorded social-significance songs, including Irving Berlin, Yip Harburg, Harold Arlen, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Cab Calloway. In addition to music from Popular Front musicals such as Meet the People, Pins and Needles and The Cradle Will Rock, we'll also hear Billie Holiday performing a live version of the anti-lynching anthem "Strange Fruit," and an even earlier anti-lynching song written by Irving Berlin and sung by Ethel Waters.