Phoebe Snow had one of the most distinctive voices in pop music. It went silent Tuesday morning, more than a year after Snow suffered a brain hemorrhage. She was 60.
Snow was born Phoebe Ann Laub. She actually thought she’d never be a singer because she was so shy. She told NPR in 1998 that she’d made up a name for the hammy part of herself — the part unafraid to get up on stage in Greenwich Village coffeehouses.
Snow was 22 when “Poetry Man” reached the Top 10 in 1975. The song sounded like nothing else on the radio. It was refreshing and unusual to see someone embraced on the strength of her voice and songwriting alone, and not her looks. She was not the prefab concoction we’ve come to know as a pop princess, yet Snow soon graced the cover of Rolling Stone.
Robyn Hasty has a notion to travel the country “documenting the collapse of the American economy,” as she writes on her website. For that sort of endeavor, you need two obvious things: a car and a camera. She has the car part down. But there are two minor setbacks: She actually doesn’t consider herself a photographer.
Steve Earle has lived through the sort of horrors that have launched a million country songs: addiction, affliction, heartbreak, even prison. He wears them in his voice, but for all his authentic world-weariness, what’s most appealing about him is the wide-eyed, unmistakable fearlessness with which he goes about his life these days.
When you’ve kicked the demons Earle has, it’s no big deal to write a novel, act on a TV show or sing a heart-on-the-sleeve love song — or play your brand-new tunes for the first time in the NPR offices, in front of dozens of onlookers. “I think that’s the first time I’ve ever sung that song for anybody,” Earle says at one point, by way of explaining the minor lyrical glitches that pop up in his performance of “Waitin’ on the Sky.”
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Avery Brewing, Boulder, Colorado
Every Sunday morning, since July 1998, I’ve been a volunteer host on KUNM.org in Albuquerque, N.M., called Train to Glory. Each week, I play three hours of national and local gospel recording artists, soloists, groups and choirs, spanning both traditional and contemporary gospel (including gospel hip-hop). The music is rotated to keep it up to date, dedications are made and requests are played! We’re proud to be the only live gospel music program in all of New Mexico.
We usually keep it local by including community announcements from churches, non-profit organizations, and various community events, but to celebrate Easter, NPR Music has invited us to take Train to Glorynationwide for two weeks. I chose 98 songs from my collection that touch on the old and new sound of gospel.
This coming week, New Orleans will welcome thousands of music fans to its banks with the annual Jazz & Cultural Heritage Festival. The city’s signature sound started taking shape decades before the recorded era, but one of the first musicians to immortalize zydeco on wax was singer and accordionist Amede Ardoin.
Archivist Christopher King spent three years combing through flea markets and estate sales for those surviving 78 RPM recordings. He’s just mastered them for a new compilation called Mama, I’ll Be Long Gone: The Complete Recordings of Amede Ardoin 1929-1934. As he tellsWeekend All Things Considered host Linda Wertheimer, his passion for listening to Ardoin is commensurate with the passion Ardoin himself had for performing.
- APRIL 21, 2011
Last September, when I was researching a profile of Rajeev Goyal, an American development worker, I asked what he thought about the book “Three Cups of Tea.” Rajeev and I were walking through the hills of eastern Nepal, where he had organized a number of projects over the past decade, including the construction of five schools. “Three Cups of Tea” is one of the bestselling books by Greg Mortenson, a mountaineer whose Central Asia Institute claims to have built or significantly supported more than a hundred and seventy schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Rajeev paused for a moment. “It seemed to be mostly about the author, about everything he accomplished,” he said slowly. “And that story is about quantity, about the number of schools built.” Rajeev said his own work had convinced him that construction projects are overvalued, and sometimes can even have a negative impact on a community. People might become dependant on outsiders, and corruption can become a problem. Building materials and methods may be inappropriate, especially if money comes from far away and there’s little oversight. Foreign-funded structures have a tendency to overuse cement, which can change local construction patterns in environmentally damaging ways, especially in dry parts of Central Asia. Rajeev believed that teacher training and other cultural factors often have more value. “A good teacher sitting under a tree can do more than a bad teacher in a new building,” he said. “That’s why I don’t want to do school construction anymore. It might have been a mistake. It’s a good instinct, as you want to help, but maybe it’s not the best thing.”
A hidden file on the Apple iPhone 4 and iPad 3G has been found to store location information.
This privacy glitch was discovered by two programmers, Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden, who presented their findings at the location-centric O’ReillyWhere 2.0 conference in San Francisco.
SAN FRANCISCO — Apple’s winning streak extended through another quarter as a new partnership with Verizon for the iPhone — along with updated products like the iPad and MacBook — sent consumers on a shopping spree, the company reported Wednesday.
A surge in demand for its products yielded earnings gains in income and revenue that were impressive even by Apple’s lofty standards. If there is a problem, it is that Apple is having trouble keeping up with some of the consumer demand.
About this talk
Most of us will do anything to avoid being wrong. But what if we’re wrong about that? “Wrongologist” Kathryn Schulz makes a compelling case for not just admitting but embracing our fallibility.
About Kathryn Schulz
Kathryn Schulz is the author of “Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error,” and writes “The Wrong Stuff,” a Slate series featuring interviews with high-profile people about how they think and… Full bio and more links
Pentagon officials continued their silence on Tuesday about allegations against Greg Mortenson, the co-author of the best-selling “Three Cups of Tea,” after a fellow best-selling author and mountaineer, Jon Krakauer, released an article on byliner.com raising his own questions about the accuracy of Mr. Mortenson’s book and the management of his charity.
Gwyneth Paltrow cooks and tells family stories; a sumptuous illustrated biography of Diana Vreeland now in paperback; a comprehensive Latin American poetry anthology; an expose of working at the mall.
Montana’s attorney general is scrutinizing the charity run by Tree Cups of Tea co-author Greg Mortenson after reports questioned whether Mortenson benefited from money donated to build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Attorney General Steve Bullock’s announcement Tuesday follows investigations by 60 Minutes and author Jon Krakauer into inaccuracies in the book and spending by the Bozeman, Mont.-based Central Asia Institute.
Sarah Palin has almost a half-million Twitter followers. Mitt Romney announced his presidential exploratory committee in a Web video. And on Wednesday, President Obama is visiting Facebook’s California headquarters for a virtual town hall meeting.
Though Obama’s Facebook visit isn’t officially a campaign event, there’s no denying that new media are going to have a huge impact on the 2012 presidential election — and not necessarily in the ways you would expect.
HAVANA — Cuba made the most significant change to its leadership since the 1959 revolution on Tuesday, possibly setting the stage for a post-Castro era by naming someone other than Fidel or Raúl to the second-highest position in the Communist Party for the first time.
The appointment, at the party’s first congress in 14 years, coincided with a blizzard of changes allowing more private enterprise that, taken together, are meant to pull the revolution out of a midlife crisis that has led to a sinking economy and even — in the estimation of President Raúl Castro — stagnant thinking.
With Fidel Castro, 84, looking on but silent, dressed in a blue warm-up suit over a checkered shirt and helped at times by aides when he stood to clap, his 79-year-old brother took the top position of the party and read off a list of leadership changes that made official Fidel Castro’s departure from the ranks of the party he founded. The longtime leader, who was warmly cheered by party members, had announced last month he was no longer first secretary of the party, but his name still appeared on lists.
From 1950 until he died in an auto accident in 1962, Ernie Kovacs created some of the most inventive and unusual television ever made. A new Shout! Factory DVD boxed set collects more than 13 hours of the TV pioneer’s best and rarest programs. Fresh Air’s TV critic David Bianculli, who also teaches television history at Rowan University, couldn’t be more thrilled.
If you don’t know who Ernie Kovacs is, and never saw his brilliantly bizarre TV specials, hearing the Italian song “Solfeggio” won’t be associated with any specific images. But if you know Ernie, you’re doubtlessly conjuring up pictures of one of his signature recurring bits, The Nairobi Trio. It’s nothing more than three people wearing gorilla masks, pretending to play the song while one of them, the conductor, gets hit over the head at the end of each verse.
The New York Times won Pulitzer Prizes on Monday for its economics commentary and for its reporting on Russia in 2010, while The Los Angeles Times received the coveted public service Pulitzer and the award for feature photography.
The prizes, which are administered by Columbia University, went to a variety of newspapers and were not concentrated in the hands of one or two publications, as has been the case in recent years.
And for the first time, a prize was awarded to work that did not appear in print: ProPublica’s series “The Wall Street Money Machine,” which won for national reporting.
The islands off the coast of Matsushima are one of Japan’s scenic treasures. They were close to the epicenter of the devastating earthquake and tsunami. But somehow, the breathtaking pine covered islands suffered little damage in the disaster.
If you’re reading this you’re clearly not taking part in Digital Detox Week, aka Screen-Free Week, which begins today. The initiative promoting more face time and less screen time is the latest incarnation of what, until a few years ago, was called TV-Turnoff Week.
Fifty years ago Sunday, a brigade of around 1,500 CIA-trained soldiers stormed the beach in Cuba’s Bay of Pigs. It was the opening phase of a secret mission to overthrow Fidel Castro and, President John F. Kennedy hoped, halt the spread of communism throughout the world.
Things did not go as planned.
Well, it’s that time of year. Friday is Earth Day, and this is the week that some of us pause to ponder the health of our planet (while others of us spend the week yelling at the people who are pausing to ponder the health of the planet). Being a pauser, not a yeller, I thought I’d spend this week sharing with you, especially the younger set of you, a series of cartoon essays about … carbon. Why carbon?
We all know that we don’t get enough sleep. But how much sleep do we really need? Until about 15 years ago, one common theory was that if you slept at least four or five hours a night, your cognitive performance remained intact; your body simply adapted to less sleep. But that idea was based on studies in which researchers sent sleepy subjects home during the day — where they may have sneaked in naps and downed coffee.
It’s been one year since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank, killing 11 workers and spilling 5 millions barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Host Liane Hansen talks with John Konrad, author of Fire on the Horizon: The Untold Story of the Gulf Oil Disaster. Konrad is a veteran oil rig captain, and in the book he recounts the life of the rig, from its construction to its disastrous end.
Gulf Marine Life Still Lives In Spill’s Horror–”Listen”
As the BP oil spill disaster unfolded, people around the world were riveted by images of birds, fish and other wildlife, caked in black muck, for months on end. Host Liane Hansen speaks with Christopher D’Elia, dean of the School of the Coast and Environment at Louisiana State University, about the environmental impact a year after the spill.