Music came naturally to Jon Batiste, the leader of Stay Human, the house band for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Growing up outside of New Orleans as part of a large musical family, he says, "I picked up on all of these things that are integral to who I am as a musician without necessarily studying them."
Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis come from different generations, but both play the old style of country music — her brother is Jerry Lee Lewis. They share songs and stories from their new album, Wild! Wild! Wild!
Pianist and composer Dave Burrell was an important part of the free jazz scene of the 1960s, recording with Pharoah Sanders, Marion Brown, Archie Shepp and others. His new CD with his Full-Blown Trio, Expansion, marks Burrell's first recording for a U.S. label in almost 40 years.
"We think it's all a bit vulgar, you know, cashing in on Christmas," Lowe says of the British. He says he took it as a challenge: Quality Street tackles old classics and adds originals to the mix.
Rowan got his start performing with the father of bluegrass, Bill Monroe. In the '70s, he formed the band Old and in the Way with Jerry Garcia. Now, he joins his group for an in-studio session and interview on Fresh Air.
Ed Helms plays a paper pusher on The Office and an insurance salesman in the new comedy Cedar Rapids — but on Thursday's Fresh Air, he plays the banjo. With his band The Lonesome Trio, he joins Terry Gross for an in-studio performance and a chat about his latest film.
Though they work as a tradition African-American string band, Carolina Chocolate Drops' members throw in some modern twists. The Durham, N.C.-based trio plays a wide variety of instruments, including the banjo, fiddle, jug, bones and harmonica. All of those sounds are featured on the band's newest record, Genuine Negro Jig.
Canadian singer-songwriter Kate McGarrigle died Monday after a lifetime of making music with her family and friends. She was 63. McGarrigle grew up singing old French and Irish tunes with her parents and sisters, and went on to perform in a duo with her sister Anna.
The veteran punk rocker John Doe embraced his inner mountain man on Country Club, an album of classic country covers he recorded with The Sadies. The Canadian rockers and the former X frontman joined Terry Gross in the Fresh Air studio for an interview and an intimate performance.
This interview was originally broadcast on May 19, 2009.
For decades, singer songwriter Geoff Muldaur has been reinterpreting blues and jazz of the '20s and '30s. Today, we'll play some of the tracks from Muldaur's new album, Texas Sheiks, and he'll perform some songs live. Muldaur's band, also called Texas Sheiks, is currently on tour.
Lyricist and composer Johnny Mercer -- born Nov. 18, 1909 -- wrote or co-wrote more than 1,000 songs, including American Songbook standards like "Skylark," "That Old Black Magic" and "Come Rain or Come Shine." HIs Academy Awards tally includes a statue for what's possibly his most famous tune, "Moon River." Fresh Air marks the anniversary of his birth with an in-studio concert starring Rebecca Kilgore and Dave Frishberg.