Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 11:01 am
Germany's Oktoberfest — that annual celebration of all things lager — kicked off on Sept. 22 in Munich, the festival's birthplace. In honor of the 200-year tradition, NPR Music and opbmusic.org in Portland (America's microbrew capital) team up to present a limited-time music channel devoted entirely to songs about beer.
By now, everyone's heard of Kickstarter, the website that lets people with an idea or project ask other people to contribute toward realizing it. It's called crowd funding, and this summer's big success story was musician Amanda Palmer. She raised more than $1 million to produce her new album. But crowd funding doesn't work for every musician every time.
Lightning Love is an indie-pop trio from Ypsilanti, Mich. The band is led by quirky pop singer Leah Diehl, who originally started Lightning Love as a solo project, recording demos in her basement. As she gained attention online, Diehl was asked to play some shows in the Midwest, so to round out her live sound, Diehl teamed up with her friend Ben Collins and her brother Aaron Diehl, who play guitar and drums, respectively.
Singer-songwriter Dar Williams makes her seventh appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live in Charleston, W.V. A veteran of the New England folk scene, Williams emerged nationally in the mid-1990s, winning fans (including folk heavyweights like Joan Baez) with her idiosyncratic songwriting, acerbic wit and lovely soprano voice.
At NPR Music, we get stacks of CDs in the mail, as well as countless links to music streams, from bands trying to stand out and get some attention. It's safe to say that we all share similar previewing procedures: At some point, we just sit and listen.
What are we listening for? I can't speak for the others, but I'm constantly in search of music I haven't heard, but which sounds as if it's been in my life forever.