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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!
Aretha Franklin was more than a woman, more than a diva and more than an entertainer. Aretha Franklin was an American institution. Aretha Franklin died Thursday in her home city of Detroit after battling pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type. Her death was confirmed by her publicist, Gwendolyn Quinn. She was 76.
In 1950, a red-haired Alabama boy who'd learned about radio and electronics in the U.S. Army opened a recording studio to document the blues and country music he loved. A new box set compiles the beginnings of Sam Philipps'
Cash spent half a century in the limelight as a country singer turned American icon. Between 1958, when he first recorded for Columbia, until 1986, when it didn't renew his contract, he recorded more than 50 singles and 60 albums for the label.
Bass died on Dec. 27, 2012. We'll listen back to a Fresh Air interview from March 1995, in which she spoke about performing at funeral homes as a girl in St. Louis and how secular music wasn't allowed in her childhood home.
Mike McGonigal runs the literary magazine Yeti. In his spare time, he's been collecting gospel 45s on vanity and tiny independent labels for years. He's now released a pair of three-CD sets featuring amazing, long-forgotten African-American gospel tracks from his collection.
Solomon Burke, the Grammy Award-winning singer who wrote the hit track "Everyone Needs Somebody to Love," died Sunday at 70. Fresh Air remembers the "King of Rock and Soul" with excerpts from a 1986 interview.
Skaggs became a mainstream country music star in the 1980s, but in recent years, he's become more interested in performing in a traditional bluegrass style. Ken Tucker says the tracks on Skaggs' album Mosaic "don't just fit together -- they lock into place with a firmness."
Jones has been a pop star since 1965, when he released his first single, "It's Not Unusual." Since that time, he's remained a star overseas, while resurfacing periodically on the American pop charts. Rock critic Ken Tucker review his latest album, a collection of gospel, blues and soul covers called Praise and Blame.
Randolph emerged from a gospel music tradition, playing steel guitar in the so-called "sacred steel" style of some African-American Pentecostal churches. Rock critic Ken Tucker reviews his new album, We Walk This Road, which features original tunes and covers of songs by Bob Dylan, Prince and John Lennon.