Music

Boise State Public Radio Music can be heard in Boise and the surrounding Treasure Valley at 90.3FM, and across parts of southern and central Idaho, 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.

 

Rufus Wainwright has been making music pretty much his entire life. It's almost as if he were destined to do it, considering his pedigree: Rufus is the son of folk singers Loudon Wainwright III and the late Kate McGarrigle; his sister, musician Martha Wainwright; his half-sister, singer-songwriter Lucy Wainwright Roche.

Twenty years ago, life was hard for a rock fan. On the radio, corporate pop and slick R&B reigned. Justin, Britney and Christina were rising, straight from Mickey Mouse Club finishing school, trained to give red carpet quotes to Carson Daly on TRL. Grunge had been reduced to a lifestyle concept, used to sell Smashing Pumpkins t-shirts and cheap flannels at Hot Topics in malls across America. Spin magazine had Mark McGrath and Matchbox 20 on the cover. Pitchfork barely existed, still just some online thing a dude from Chicago ran out of his bedroom.

The sister band HAIM is synonymous with the sound of Los Angeles — sunny, airy and wistful. After a two-month delay due to the coronavirus, sisters Este, Danielle and Alana finally get to share their third record, Women in Music Pt. III, with their fans. NPR's Scott Detrow spoke to the Haim sisters about creating a record that's a little less sun and a little bit more shade as they explore some of the darker challenges that each sister has faced lately. Listen in the audio player above.

It's been five months since Pop Smoke's death and just over a year since "Welcome to the Party," the first single of his debut mixtape, Meet the Woo, began snaking through the firmament. Then it was joined by the even more irresistible "Dior." That music remains an artifact of the New York summer — the songs that once soundtracked the city's revelry have now been refashioned for protest, which only further cements his growing legend.

New York-based singer-songwriter Paul Beaubrun was born into the legendary musical family behind Boukman Eksperyans, one of Haiti's most famous bands. But in recent years, Paul has also made a name for himself as a solo artist thanks in part to two stellar albums under his own name and through collaborations with artists like Jackson Browne, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Jenny Lewis and Arcade Fire.

Songs don't necessarily mean something different now than they did before this roller coaster of a year started clicking down its one-way track, but you'll forgive us if we act like they do. Perhaps it's just that our needs over the first six months of 2020 have been more intense, but the songs to which we've turned have met them. These rallying cries, these tiny vacations, these serotonin infusions, these distillations of pain and strength and comfort, confirm the power and flexibility of this form.

How can it be possible that we're only halfway through the year? On its relentless whiplash toward the middle, the first six months of 2020 have reframed, redefined, shocked, torn down, confounded and crumbled our expectations, our priorities, our concepts of distance and closeness, of responsibility, of tragedy, of joy. They changed how we listened to music, too: so often alone, through wires and screens and glitches and delays. But in six full months packed with moments where we needed music to cope with challenges new and old, there was so much to see us through.

In the liner notes to John Coltrane's 1964 album Live At Birdland, Amiri Baraka (then writing as Le Roi Jones) contemplated the gift the saxophonist and his band offered with this music inspired by the horrific deaths of four Black girls in a Birmingham church bombing inspired by white supremacist hatred. "Listen," Baraka wrote. "What we're given is a slow delicate introspective sadness, almost hopelessness, except for Elvin [Jones], rising in the background like something out of nature... a fattening thunder, storm clouds or jungle war clouds.

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Updated on June 26 at 4:29 p.m. ET.

The listening party has ended, but you can watch the album stream and conversation for the next 72 hours.

Our Daily Breather was a daily series where we asked writers and artists to recommend one thing that's helping them get through the days of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic, which concluded on June 12, 2020. Here, we've collected some of the music recommendations that artists have shared with us throughout the series.


Angelica Garcia Finds Sanctuary In Ranchera Music

New Orleans music history is played out by an ensemble cast, as colorful, diverse and dynamic as a Sunday-afternoon second line. No single lineage can quite unlock the ongoing magic that remains far more than the sum of its parts. But one essential thread, which began before rock and roll and stretched past the birth of hip-hop, is the legacy of queer performers and tastemakers — from Bobby Marchan to James Booker to Big Freedia — who steered the sounds and the scenes.

Love In Abundance: A Guide To Women's Music

Jun 17, 2020

If the first time you ever heard the phrase "women's music" was during the episode of the Amazon Original show Transparent in which the main character, a transgender woman, attends a music festival and finds herself enmeshed in a debate about gender and the right to inclusion, you know something about one aspect of a larger story. Women's music is its own genre, with a history that goes back more than 50 years.

Between the pandemic, the economic crisis and now protests, 2020 has already been a lot. Yo-Yo Ma has been coping, and trying to help the rest of us cope, with music. The cellist has been posting videos of himself playing what he calls "Songs of Comfort."

"I do believe that everything that we do," he says, "people in every profession — medical workers, the delivery people, the politicians — we all are there to serve. We only exist because someone has a need. I know that music fulfills that kind of need."

Our Daily Breather is a series where we ask writers and artists to recommend one thing that's helping them get through the days of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic.

Who: Bootsy Collins
Where: Cincinnati, Ohio
Recommendation: Gratitude


During this quarantine, I've had the opportunity to complete work on a few important projects, including recording a funk version of Indiana University's "Fight Song."

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When John Prine died on April 7 due to complications from COVID-19, he didn't just leave behind a rich recorded legacy.

Bonnie Pointer, a Grammy-winning singer and songwriter who was a founding member of vocal group the Pointer Sisters, has died at the age of 69. Her death was announced in a statement that included a remembrance from her older sister, Anita Pointer. "Bonnie was my best friend and we talked every day; we never had a fight in our life. I already miss her, and I will see her again one day." No cause was given.

Zeshan Bagewadi is in many ways, a classic soul singer. As Zeshan B, he channels the music of Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye and Otis Redding. His signature, though, is combining that classic soul sound with lyrics that pay tribute to his South Asian roots. On his latest album, Melismatic, his first collection of entirely original compositions, he sings in both English and Urdu.

As technology evolves, so does protest. Awareness of George Floyd's killing at the hands of Minneapolis police officers could only inspire an international grassroots movement because a teenager, Darnella Frazier, decided to record his arrest using her phone and post it to social media. Activists are organizing marches and rallies on Twitter and Instagram, even as they warn participants to be careful of surveillance on those platforms.

As a black man on the Tiny Desk team, I've always felt a responsibility to amplify black artistry. In the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, the subsequent protests and the fight for legislative reform, I sit in this moment and reflect on how many artists have used their Tiny Desk concerts to express themselves, including songs of protest, cries for help, and messages of hope and rage.

Many hip-hop albums that top the Billboard 200 these days share a few telltale characteristics. Future's latest No.

Alt.Latino host Felix Contreras joins Weekend Edition host Lulu Garcia-Navarro for their monthly new music chat. The tracks featured this week come from several corners of the Latin music world and all center on themes of inspiration and emotional release, which Felix says is exactly what we need during these difficult times. Listen to the conversation in the audio player above and check out all of the tracks below.

Our Daily Breather is a series where we ask writers and artists to recommend one thing that's helping them get through the days of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic.

Who: Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show

Where: Nashville, Tenn.

Recommendation: Widening your musical horizons

Today we're sharing an incredible story that Mikel Jollett, the lead singer of The Airborne Toxic Event, has chronicled both in the written word and in song. Jollett had a pretty dramatic childhood: He was born into a cult called Synanon and had to go on the run with biological mother.

Here is the story of how Moby got his second neck tattoo: In early September of 2019, on the eve of his 54th birthday, the electronic music producer born Richard Melville Hall was having lunch at the vegan restaurant in Los Angeles that he owns, Little Pine. When a pal asked Moby how he intended to celebrate, another responded with a quick quip before he could answer: "Get a tattoo."

If I knew what the future held, then it wouldn't be the future. But still, somehow, right now, with the world aswirl and upside-down and as I'm learning what it's like to live during a pandemic, I find that I'm compelled more than ever to look back in time. What better place to dig into nostalgia than the Tiny Desk archives? I loved all five of these solo performances, as each one makes me feel like I was right there in the room with them.

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