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.
April 25, 2011
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.
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.