The Steep Canyon Rangers appear on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.V. One of the fastest-rising bands in bluegrass, the group earned both critical and popular praise for its work in support of comedian and banjo wizard Steve Martin. The Rangers-Martin collaboration Rare Bird Alert was nominated for a Grammy, and the group followed it with Nobody Knows You, which took home 2013's Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album.
This week's pick for World Cafe: Next is Chicago guitarist Ryley Walker. The singer-songwriter recently released a psych-folk EP titled The West Wind, which features swirling guitars and jazzy excursions that are easy to get lost in.
La Santa Cecilia spreads joy every time its members plug in to do a show. They do it one dance step at a time, with cumbias, corridos, elegant mambos and plain old rock 'n' roll.
I first saw La Santa Cecilia perform in an Austin, Texas, parking lot about five years ago. As all great bands do, it showcased an It Factor that has only intensified as the L.A.-based, Mexican-American group works tirelessly to perfect its musical vision.