Over the past year, Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep has been following the progress of singer-songwriter Neko Case as she works on a follow-up to her 2009 album Middle Cyclone. Inskeep spoke with Case last spring, right after an 18-day recording session in Tucson, Ariz. During that first installment, Case said she was struggling to get a feel for the songs she'd written.
Singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen makes his 10th appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown. One of roots music's most beloved and enduring performers, Keen first gained notice for his holiday song "Merry Christmas From the Family." But it was the release of his album Picnic in 1997 that demonstrated his depth as a songwriter — and helped herald the coming of the Americana genre.
The world is catching up with Katie Crutchfield and Waxahatchee, and with good reason. Her shows at SXSW, including an NPR showcase, were greeted rapturously. Her new album, Cerulean Salt, is a sonic leap forward from her debut, American Weekend, which was recorded in a bedroom in Alabama.
With eight accomplished musicians from Argentina and Uruguay, and a sound rooted in tango traditions, Bajofondo lays out a visual and aural feast. Led by Oscar and Grammy winner Gustavo Santaolalla, the group mashes up traditional candombe sounds and other forms with electronica to produce a mix that's hypnotic and danceable.