"I always felt like I was being stalked by that feeling of heartbreak." That's Josh Ritter talking about the beast that exists in the title of his seventh and latest record, The Beast in Its Tracks, an album written in the wake of his 2011 divorce from singer-songwriter Dawn Landes. To the extent that these new songs were written post-divorce, this is Ritter's "divorce album," but that's where comparisons to the likes of Blood on the Tracks and Shoot Out the Lights stop.
Some stories stand the test of time: Shakespeare's plays, the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, and the Child ballads.
If you're unfamiliar with them, they're not for children. They're Scottish and English folk songs from the 17th and 18th centuries and earlier. They're named after Francis James Child, the Harvard professor and folklorist who collected them.
Numbers are down at the American International School in Bamako, the capital of Mali.
In just over a year, the country has witnessed a rebellion, a military coup and the occupation by Islamist fighters of the desert northern region, recently largely liberated in a counteroffensive by French-led forces. Despite the troubles, the school is open and classes continue.
Teacher Paul Chandler is taking his combined class of 6th- and 7th-graders through their early paces, learning the Malian music they'll be performing at the annual school concert.
How do you write something like Partita for 8 Voices, the a cappella vocal piece that is this year's winner of the Pulitzer Prize for music?
"Very late at night," says the composer, Caroline Shaw, speaking with NPR's Scott Simon. "Sometimes it comes from having a sound in your head that you really want to hear, that you've never heard before, and struggling to make that sound happen in any way you can."
Fresh Air pays tribute to Boston with a 1988 performance by the late jazz pianist Dave McKenna. From 1981 to 1991, McKenna had a standing gig at Boston's Grand Dame Copley Plaza Hotel. He was also a loyal Red Sox fan. He died in 2008.