We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the flyers from reputable debt-consolidation companies is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, a vexing piece of concert-going etiquette.
Chelsea Wolfe has a surreal voice that cuts through her foggy, soulful, often haunting rock and folk music. There's a thorny vision of yearning, heartbreak and death in Wolfe's songs that's striking, yet always brings us back to what makes these bleak themes so appealing, even beautiful. When I heard that Wolfe would "go electronic" for the forthcoming Pain Is Beauty, it was no shock; after all, synths and noise had been part of her textures all along. But with "The Warden," Wolfe has taken the fog to the club.
Singer-songwriter Barbara Jean makes her first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live in Grand Marais, Minn., in partnership with the North House Folk School. A resident of Grand Marais, Barbara Jean has worked as the news director at WTIP North Shore Community Radio since 2006. She was also one of the first musicians Mountain Stage encountered when it first traveled to Grand Marais in 2011; she was playing a set at the beloved Gunflint Tavern.