World Cafe is a cutting edge, two-hour program of alternative contemporary music. It offers a broad range of innovative sounds drawn from American as well as international music. It includes music that is familiar but also showcases works by new and emerging artists.
In "Poor Moon," his recent release under the moniker Hiss Golden Messenger, MC Taylor revels in the classic simplicity of old-school folk. His waltz-y ballad "Blue Country Mystic" is a prime example of how Taylor blends the tried-and-true methods of home-grown bluegrass with the catchiness of contemporary indie folk. "Super Blue (Two Days Clean)" is a country-infused dance number that showcases his understanding of the folk tradition as history that lives, grows and moves its audience in deep, unpredictable ways.
"None of us knew each other beforehand," recalls singer Josiah Johnson. "I just happened to go to the same open mic. [Jonathan Russell] played some songs and I played some songs, then we started talking and hanging out."
Looking at Andrew Mayer Cohen in his Buddy Holly glasses, styled like Michael Buble's little brother, he could easily be construed as another poppy heart-breaker. But this young soul man from Detroit is actually a rising hip-hop and R&B artist. Known as Mayer Hawthorne in the music world, he's built an impressive reputation for himself.
Friends since college, guitarist and vocalist Israel Nebeker and drummer Ryan Dobrowski are the essence of Portland's Blind Pilot. From the beginning, their minimalist folk-rock sound has revolved around simple melodies, sparse drumming and warm vocals.
Blitzen Trapper's rise to fame has been nontraditional, to say the least. According to frontman Eric Earley, who writes most of its music, the band was homeless up through the 2008 tour for its breakout fourth album, Furr. This was a year after the "reluctant success," as Earley called it, of Wild Mountain Nation.