Calexico - For more than two decades, this Tucson-based collective, based around the talents of former classical music student Joey Burns and John Convertino, an alumnus of Howe Gelb’s experimental Giant Sand, has created an otherwordly mix of American music with a decidedly south-of-the-border influence. Enlisting a rotating group of like-minded friends, Calexico has explored Southwestern culture with a with a unique sensibility and influences ranging from Ennio Morricone's spaghetti Westerns, Portuguese fado and Afro-Peruvian music, to '50s and '60s jazz, country, and surf. In 2007, Calexico appeared at Lincoln Center as a part of the venue's American Songbook Series, and performed at New York's Beacon Theatre that fall as part of a Bob Dylan tribute. In summer 2008, Calexico's song "Crystal Frontier" was beamed into space as wake-up music for the astronauts on the Space Shuttle Discovery. To date, the group has issued six studio albums, created numerous soundtracks, and collaborated with the likes of Victoria Williams, Iron & Wine, Willie Nelson, Roger McGuinn and Nancy Sinatra. The group’s most recent CD, Algiers, was named for the New Orleans’ neighborhood where the set was recorded.
Camper Van Beethoven - Formed in California in 1985, by David Lowery and longtime friend/bassist Victor Krummenacher, Camper Van Beethoven helped jumpstart - and add some much-needed humor to - the indie rock scene with a sound described as "surrealist absurdist folk." The band’s original string of releases, beginning with 1985's “Telephone Free Landslide Victory” to 1989's “Key Lime Pie,” drew on influences ranging from punk and ska to Eastern European, country and psychedelic. In 2004, CVB released its first new studio album in 15 years, a “rock opera” titled “New Roman Times.” Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, CVB has released “Popular Songs,” something of a greatest hits collection that features songs like “The Day That Lassie Went to the Moon” and the classic “Take the Skinheads Bowling,” a version of which by Teenage Fanclub was featured in Michael Moore’s 2002 film “Bowling For Columbine.” In addition, when the band was unable to secure the rights to use songs that were released on Virgin Records, it re-recorded them for inclusion.
Bonnie Prince Billy - Hailing from Louisville, KY, Will Oldham, a.k.a. Bonnie Prince Billy, is a prolific master of all trades. His output of material is as voluminous as his touring schedule is hectic. Beginning in the early ‘90s with releases under the Palace Brothers (and Palace Music) moniker as well as his given name, the first Bonnie Prince Billy disc was released in 1999. Oldham is also is an actor who has appeared in films including John Sayles’ 1987, WV-based classic, Matewan. His recordings have been released in numerous countries and he’s played - quite literally - all over the world, from Australia and Iceland to Turkey. None other than Johnny Cash recorded his song, “I See a Darkness” (on his American III: Solitary Man) with Oldham adding harmonies. Marble Downs, a collaboration with Trembling Bells, was issued in 2012, as was Now Here's My Plan, a six-song EP that served as a companion piece for Oldham's book Will Oldham on Bonnie Prince Billy, a collection of conversations between Oldham and experimental sound artist Alan Licht. In February, he will team up with Dawn McCarthy to release What the Brothers Sang, a re-imagining of the music of The Everly Brothers.
Bahamas - Recording under the name Bahamas, Afie Jurvanen is a Finnish-Canadian from Barrie, a working class town in rural Ontario. Since 2009, he's been writing songs about sunsets and love affairs, and framed them with dreamy, minimalist arrangements. Says one reviewer, Bahamas “blends together blue-eyed soul, home-crafted indie rock, and ‘60s rock – and then gives it all a dose of echo.” His most recent release is titled Barchords.
Piney Gir - London-based, Kansas native Angela Penhaligon, a.k.a. Piney Gir, was raised in a strict Pentecostal household with her preacher father who banned TV and modern music in their household. After moving to London, she worked at Mute Records, and became a force on the indie scene by way of her solo performances. Following a stint with the band Vic Twenty, she released her solo debut, “Peakahokahoo,” in 2004. and, after touring Europe opening for Erasure, she released “Hold Yer Horses” with her band, now dubbed the Piney Gir Country Roadshow, and founded the all-female garage fivesome The Scha La Las. Embracing styles ranging from indie rock and country to electronica, her current release, “Geronimo!” is a sunshine pop disc that was recorded in Hollywood.
-30-This episode is scheduled for distribution by NPR on April 5, 2013. For more information, including hi-res photos, please contact Adam Harris at 304.556.4900.