Bob Boilen

In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.

Significant listener interest in the music being played on All Things Considered, along with his and NPR's vast music collections, gave Boilen the idea to start All Songs Considered. "It was obvious to me that listeners of NPR were also lovers of music, but what also became obvious by 1999 was that the web was going to be the place to discover new music and that we wanted to be the premiere site for music discovery." The show launched in 2000, with Boilen as its host.

Before coming to NPR, Boilen found many ways to share his passion for music. From 1982 to 1986 he worked for Baltimore's Impossible Theater, where he held many posts, including composer, technician, and recording engineer. Boilen became part of music history in 1983 with the Impossible Theater production Whiz Bang, a History of Sound. In it, Boilen became one of the first composers to use audio sampling — in this case, sounds from nature and the industrial revolution. He was interviewed about Whiz Bang by Susan Stamberg on All Things Considered.

In 1985, the Washington City Paper voted Boilen 'Performance Artist of the Year.' An electronic musician, he received a grant from the Washington D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities to work on electronic music and performance.

After Impossible Theater, Boilen worked as a producer for a television station in Washington, D.C. He produced several projects, including a music video show. In 1997, he started producing an online show called Science Live for the Discovery Channel. He also put out two albums with his psychedelic band, Tiny Desk Unit, during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Boilen still composes and performs music and posts it for free on his website BobBoilen.info. He performs contradance music and has a podcast of contradance music that he produces with his son Julian.

Longtime NPR fans may remember another contribution Boilen made to NPR. He composed the original theme music for NPR's Talk of the Nation.

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NPR Front Row
11:58 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Unknown Mortal Orchestra: NPR Front Row

Unknown Mortal Orchestra performs live at the Rock and Roll Hotel in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 27, 2013.
Lizzie Chen NPR Music

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 12:28 pm

"No Need for a Leader," from Unknown Mortal Orchestra's recent album II, is the song that really drew me into the band's recent concert at Washington, D.C.'s Rock and Roll Hotel, recorded live on Feb. 27. A cocktail of riff-rock and Black Sabbath-style psychedelia, it's a tremendous introduction to the trio, which began as a solo project for frontman Ruban Nielsen.

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Live in Concert
7:20 am
Thu May 23, 2013

James Blake, Live In Concert

NPR Music

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 11:25 am

Each time I see James Blake and his band perform, I feel the extreme rush of hearing something for the very first time. The sound is sharp and visceral; it oddly vibrates the hair on my arms and, at moments of extreme bass, gets me feeling claustrophobic before the inevitable release when Blake sings. It's hopeful, mournful, always thoughtful.

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All Songs Considered
12:51 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Do You Have A Favorite Record Label?

Marie McGrory NPR

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 9:13 pm

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Tiny Desk Concerts
1:03 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale: Tiny Desk Concert

Buddy Miller and Jimmy Lauderdale perform a Tiny Desk Concert at NPR in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 19, 2013.
Gabriella Demczuk NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 5:32 pm

There's something endearing, old-timey and almost vaudevillian about Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale — even the way they bill themselves as "Buddy and Jim." Both veteran musicians are in love with country music in all its many forms and influences; their music incorporates the blues and bluegrass, rock 'n' roll and a good deal of craft.

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All Songs Considered
8:00 am
Wed May 8, 2013

First Watch: Gary Clark Jr., 'Numb'

Gary Clark Jr.
Frank Maddocks Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 1:02 pm

In the seven months since Gary Clark, Jr. released his major label debut, Blak and Blu, he's played for the President at the White House with Mick Jagger and blues legend B.B.

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