Music

Boise State Public Radio Music can be heard in Boise and the surrounding Treasure Valley at 90.3FM, in the Payette Lakes region and Stanley basin, providing outstanding music, arts and cultural programming on air and online.

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Not just classical, Boise State Public Radio Music brings you jazz, americana, bluegrass, blues, folk, celtic and more. 

Below, you'll find a curated selection of the news and stories behind the music.  Posts about new releases, hit songs, and conversations with respected artists from a broad range of backgrounds.

 

Morning Edition's Song Project is a series where songwriters are asked to write an original song about the COVID era – our newest song is from Kaoru Ishibashi, an Asian-American musician and songwriter who performs as Kishi Bashi. The song is called "For Every Voice That Never Sang," about the feeling of being an outsider in your own country.

Even though Aaron Lee Tasjan's song "Up All Night" sounds like a lot of fun – if you listen close, the lyrics touch on many of the things you may have been worried about over this past year. Things like health, being alone, and money. And while some of his songs on his new album Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan!

Last October, in the midst of the pandemic, Laurie Anderson appeared at the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum to recreate one of her earliest works. Wearing ice skates attached to frozen blocks of ice, she played her violin along with a tape recording stashed cleverly inside her instrument. When the ice melted, her performance ended. Bow over bridge, blades over ice: "Duets on Ice" is a meditation on balance and time.

Saxophonist Sonny Simmons left an indelible impression on fellow alto player Steve Lehman, who vividly remembers the first time he heard Simmons live: It was 1997, Lehman was assisting drummer Pheeroan akLaff – on the faculty at Wesleyan University at the time, where Lehman was a student – who had a gig with Simmons that Lehman attended. The impact was immediate.

One Direction were always known for their insightful covers and interpolations, whether it's the Blondie-Undertones mashup "One Way Or Another (Teenage Kicks)" or snippets of pop songs they'd sprinkle into live shows. Throughout their 2013 tour, a setlist staple was their version of the band Wheatus' 2000 hit single "Teenage Dirtbag," a heartfelt song about two teenage misfits finding love.

On Nov. 11, 2008, then-18-year-old Taylor Swift released her sophomore album, Fearless.

There's a new album by Rhiannon Giddens, an album that could only have been made by this artist and only in the last year. The singer, fiddler and banjo picker loves to explore the roots of American music and in particular the impact and continued relevance of early Black American music. She and her partner Francesco Turrisi birthed a new album in quarantine at home. Well, not quite home: The North Carolina native and her Italian musical partner have been in Ireland and in lockdown.

Richard Thompson has been making music for a very long time. From his days in the late 1960s as a teenage guitar player and songwriter with the seminal British folk rock group Fairport Convention to his roaring partnership with then-wife Linda Thompson, and his many years as a solo artist beyond.

Updated April 9, 2021 at 1:47 PM ET

Earl Simmons, better known as the rapper DMX, died Friday at White Plains Hospital in White Plains, N.Y., according to a statement from his family. He had been on life support for the past few days following a heart attack. He was 50.

When the Rolling Stones released "Gimme Shelter" in 1969, everyone recognized Mick Jagger. But at the time, no one knew who that voice – you know the one – belonged to.

The only true constants in the music industry during the tumultuous pandemic era have been fantastically sobering ones: lost livelihoods; interrupted career momentum; belated recognition of the brokenness of a system built on the exploitation of Black innovation and labor.

She's only 23 years old, but H.E.R. speaks like a music industry veteran – and, in many ways, truly is one. The accolades piling up around her attest: The day after the singer won her fourth Grammy Award for the song "I Can't Breathe" from her album of the same name, she and her co-writers were nominated for an Oscar for the song "Fight For You," from the movie Judas and the Black Messiah.

On the last edition of Play It Forward, All Things Considered's chain of musical gratitude, Devonté Hynes – the English singer-songwriter, producer, director and genre-spanning creative force behind Blood Orange – spoke about experimental jazz artist Angel Bat Dawid's atmospheric track "London."

Growing up poor in Washington state, singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile learned about harmony and rhythm while performing as a backup singer for a friend's dad, who worked as an Elvis impersonator.

"It was pretty interesting education to be on the backside of the stage looking at audience faces," Carlile says. "I learned the things that they react to, how a smile is contagious. ... And I remembered thinking, standing back there in my poodle skirt going, 'Actually, I want to be that dude.' "

This last year has been dark. For millions of people, Leslie Jordan's voice has been a ray of light. An Emmy winning actor before the pandemic, his quarantine video diaries have shot him to another level of fame.

He has almost six million Instagram followers and, now, he also has branded merchandise, a book on the way and a gospel album: Company's Comin'. The album has duets with some of the biggest names in country music: Dolly Parton, Chris Stapleton, Tanya Tucker, Brandi Carlisle and more.

Music festival season seems ready to go on in 2021. The Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival has posted its lineup, scheduled to run September 2-5. This year's event marks the 20th year of the Manchester, Tenn. festival, which, like everyone else, cancelled last year because of the pandemic.

March's edition of Heavy Rotation, chosen by NPR member stations, features music from Hiatus Kayote, Jensen McRae, Lake Street Dive and more.

The Morning Edition Song Project is a series where songwriters are asked to write an original song about the COVID era – our newest addition is from music collective and sibling band Infinity Song.

Composer and classical pianist Malek Jandali was raised in Homs, Syria, where he was visiting his family in 2011. During that trip, Jandali was first electrified by street protests challenging the brutal dictator Bashar al-Assad, both in his hometown and across the country. He composed a simple song in reaction to it, called "I Am My Homeland."

Updated March 28, 2021 at 5:01 PM ET

Near the end of HBO's new documentary, Tina, the movie implies the legendary singer has made a decision: after this film rolls out, Tina Turner just might be done appearing in public and talking about her life. It's an odd message, coming from a woman whose life story and experiences have inspired at least four books, an Oscar-nominated biopic, a Broadway musical and, now, this new film.

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