WRUR 88.5 Different Radio

Denise Guerra

Wu Fei and Abigail Washburn, who released a self-titled debut album as a duo on Friday, have lived almost parallel lives. Both women were born in 1977, and both grew up to be accomplished and virtuosic folk musicians, albeit in completely different folk traditions. Wu is a composer and a world-renowned virtuoso on the guzheng, a 2500-year-old string instrument which is a staple of Chinese folk music. Meanwhile, Washburn is a banjo player who has won a Grammy Award for her reinterpretations of traditional Appalachian music.

British songwriter Dua Lipa has a new album and a new nickname: the quarantine queen."Don't Start Now," the lead single from Future Nostalgia, featured what Vulture called a "social-distance-positive refrain": "Don't show up, don't come out, don't start caring about me now."

Cecilia Cassandra Peña-Govea is a product of her upbringing. She writes and records music under the name La Doña, and her signature mix of Latin rhythms and San Francisco hip-hop is a tribute to the community she grew up in. Her new EP is called Algo Nuevo, or "Something New."

Marcus King has rock and roll in his bones: He comes from a family of famed guitarists in Greenville, S.C. With his raspy falsetto and guitar licks, he's been hailed as a revival of B.B. King or Stevie Ray Vaughan.

"It was really important to me to write about what happened," Mikaela Straus, the musician known as King Princess, says, referencing being thrust into a career that she wasn't as prepared for as she'd imagined.

Director Ken Burns has told the story of America through the lens of the U.S. Civil War, baseball, jazz and the war in Vietnam. Now, he's telling it again through the soundtrack and the struggle of country music.

On rare occasions, Dad and I would get together for lunch. It was 2014, and I had just started a job at NPR. Dad was retired and lived 60 miles away.

From what I remember, we ate dim sum, which meant driving through the heart of downtown Los Angeles, the massive skyscrapers glistening in the afternoon sun.

It was quiet in the car. I was thinking about how Mom and Dad used to make this commute to LA every day for work. Two hours in the morning, two hours at night.

Dad interrupted my thoughts, pointing to a building on the side of the freeway.

The rock band Luxury started out like many other punk and indie bands in the 1990s, as college kids just looking for other people to make music with. Less common was their cultural context: They hailed from the small Georgia town of Toccoa, in a solidly evangelical milieu, and while the members were Christians they often found the venues and retailers of that community didn't quite know what to do with their brash lyrics and stage presence.

Jack White of The White Stripes, Brendan Benson, Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler, known to fans as The Raconteurs, have carved out a spot as one of rock's most formidable supergroups. In 2006, the band's album Broken Boy Soldiers was nominated for a Grammy for best rock album. But what was once just a side project for everyone is back more than a decade later.

Quinn Christopherson may be the winner of the 2019 Tiny Desk Contest, but this year's 6,000-plus entries included many outstanding performances.

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