Music

The Winter Olympics are in full swing, and among those going for gold at Sochi are eight New Hampshire residents. Today on Word of Mouth, we’ll go back to the days before lifts and lodges to find out why a tiny state with icy mountains has produced so many champs. Also, last night marked the 50th Anniversary of The Beatles’  first performance on the Ed Sullivan Show, an event that drew the largest audience for any program in the history of television up to that time, and has remained burned into America’s collective memory. We’ll take a deeper look into the start of Beatle-mania.

Word Of Mouth's Super Sappy Bracket Contenders

Feb 7, 2014
moriartys via flickr Creative Commons

Dim the lights, pour a glass, and press play; Word of Mouth is about to woo you. We reached out for the sappiest songs on Facebook and Twitter and compiled the best of the best. Naturally, the next step is to make love a competition, right? Get ready, because your submissions are going head-to-head in our super sappy bracket. Who will come out on top? Love or Heartbreak? Bill Withers or Bill Withers? Before voting begins, take some time to get to know each song.  Check out the contenders, and prepare to fall in love.

Word Of Mouth Seeks Love Song Clichés

Feb 6, 2014
amanky via flickr creative commons

... and long walks on the beach. Really, though. We need your help to find the most overused and overcheesed love song clichés to create one majorly sappy song. Do you have that lovin' feeling? Then leave some love on our Facebook page. Just as Michael Bolton couldn't live without his love, Word of Mouth can't live with you. *Sob*.

Word Of Mouth 2.1.14

Jan 31, 2014
Taylor Quimby

Happy February! This Word of Mouth Saturday show has all you need to satisfy your midwinter radio cravings with new ideas about audio, the wacky world of internet horror lore, and more. Enjoy! And beware.

Timely Words For Pete Seeger

Jan 30, 2014
scarlatti2004 via flickr Creative Commons

More than a musician, folk legend Pete Seeger influenced generations of Americans through both song and activism, often using one to fuel the message of the other. The power he invested in music helped promote his peaceful messages. Recently, producer Zach Nugent spoke to Nick Panken of the band Spirit Family Reunion. Nick had some timely praise for the folk singer who recently died:

1.29.14: Power Of Audio

Jan 29, 2014
Michael D Spencer

Audio: it can be both poetic and powerful. Its influence is undeniable, but what happens when we need to be concerned with limiting its intake while simultaneously expanding our auditory horizons? Today on Word of Mouth: the ear-plug debate, High Intensity Focused Ultrasound, the band Spirit Family Reunion, and continuing the Rethink 2014 series with a conversation about, you guessed it, radio.  Listen to the whole show below or keep scrolling to listen to individual segments.

In February, 1995, violinist Roman Totenberg performed with the New Hampshire Symphony Orchestra. He joined NHPR ahead of the concerts on our Perspectives program and spoke with host Laura Kiernan.

Taylor Quimby (weeping out of frame)

Can't help singing along to your favorite sad songs in the shower, the car, or from the middle of a crowded street?  Looking for something to help you dwell on your latest breakup, or summon your personal demons?  Want to put something on the stereo that will dull your roomate's perversely happy attitude?  Word of Mouth has the playlist for you. 

Sara Plourde

This is “Rethink 2014”, presenting ways of challenging our habits and assumptions and the status quo. Today: paying for creative content. It’s the axiom of the era: you can find anything on the internet--for free!  The challenge has been figuring out how artists, writers, musicians and content makers get paid for their work. Take the music streaming service Spotify. Sure, users can discover new artists and find a lot of great music, but Spotify is under fire for failing to compensate the artists who make that music. In an opinion piece for the The Guardian last October, David Byrne wrote, “If artists have to rely almost exclusively on the income from these services, they'll be out of work within a year.” Maybe the big-name musicians have it wrong. We bring you the story of an unknown songwriter who is raking in the Spotify royalty checks, one song at a time. PJ Vogt of On The Media’s new TLDR podcast and blog, has the story.

Help Us Name Our Children's Song!

Jan 14, 2014
Zach Nugent

Our interview with Chris Ballew, also known as Caspar Babypants (also the frontman for the band The Presidents of The United States of America!) made us want to try and write a children's song.  SO WE DID! But we need your help naming it.

via presidentsrock.com and babypantsmusic.com

The Presidents of The United States of America - the same band responsible for the enigmatic 1995 hit single “Lump”  - is releasing their 6th studio album in February, their first since 2008.  Since then, PUSA’s frontman Chris Ballew has been keeping himself busy making music geared towards an entirely different generation of listeners: the three and four year old set!  Under the alias “Caspar Babypants”, Chris has released 7 albums of children’s music, including a collection of Beatles tunes.  In this interview Chris explains why he started making music for families, how “being a parent is a little like being in a penitentiary in 1887”, and gave us a preview of songs off PUSA’s new record!  

Recycled Percussion

In 2009 the New Hampshire based “junk rock” band Recycled Percussion successfully made it to the final round of NBC’s show “America’s Got Talent”. For their final performance the four piece band pounded away on assorted junk as water rained down on them and strobe lights flashed in rhythm. After coming in third place in the competition out of 100,ooo acts, Recycled Percussion landed a headlining show in Las Vegas where they’re still going strong. This Thursday the band will finish up a string of homecoming shows at The Music Hall in Portsmouth. Our guest is founding member of Recycled Percussion and Legacy X Justin Spencer.

Affendaddy via flickr Creative Commons

Maybe it’s the repetition, or maybe the obligatory cheeriness, but there’s something about hearing holiday songs that you don’t like that rankles much more deeply than other assaults on the senses.  We asked listeners to share their favorite seasonal tunes on our Facebook page, along with the ones they hate.

mariahcarey.com

The song, “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey was released in 1994, and has become a Christmas standard, consistently topping the billboard holiday charts. Despite the sleigh load of holiday albums released every winter, there hasn’t been an original holiday single with the staying power of Mariah Carey’s hit for nineteen years.

So, has our culture stopped welcoming new holiday songs? Has our Christmas carol quota been met?  Chris Klimek, is here to weigh in, his article for Slate:  “All I Want For Christmas Is A New Christmas Song,” pretty much says it all.

Shannon Brinkman / preservationhalljazzband.com

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, one of New Orlean’s most legendary bands, will be rousing the crowds at The Music Hall in Portsmouth this Saturday with its “Creole Christmas” show… a joyful mix of Christmas tunes, jazz standards, and original music that busts out of the nutcracker and King Wenceslas mold. 

Ben Jaffe is creative director and sousaphone player for the band and joined us from the road.

SamsungTomorrow via flickr Creative Commons

Whether scoping out plasma-screen HDTV’s, or picking up a PlayStation 4, consumers upgrading their entertainment systems this Christmas are generally looking for products promising a better picture, superior sound, or next-generation graphics.  We’ve come a very long way since the VHS and Atari 2600.  So far, in fact, that one may wonder how much better the visuals, sound and graphics on entertainment systems can get – and would the casual user even be able to tell the difference?  

Joining the conversation about where entertainment technology can go from here is Jamin Warren – founder and editor-in-chief at Killscreen, a videogame arts and culture magazine, Slate music columnist Carl Wilson, and, David Ewalt, contributing editor at Forbes.

millerfarm via Flickr Creative Commons

The relatively unknown song "Daylight" by Brooklyn-based band Matt and Kim was featured in a 2009 Bacardi commercial, and by the following year went gold, selling over 500 thousand copies and sweeping Matt and Kim into the mainstream. Not so long ago, selling your music to ad agencies was considered the lowest form of selling out, a sure-fire way to lose hard-core fans. Today many musicians see it as the only way to make a living. And fans, for the most part, seem to be turning a blind eye. 

Logan Shannon / NHPR

Not sure how you're going to muster the energy to rake another pile of leaves this weekend? Let us make the chore a little easier by distracting you with a solid hour of public radio encouragement. The Word of Mouth Saturday show is carefully designed to take you on a sound odyssey that's perfect even if you decide to forgo the leaf raking for another day.

On this week's show:

  • Please don't send shoes: Jessica Alexander makes the case for sending money instead of food or clothing when disaster strikes.
  • Why is Sweden so good at pop music? Nolan Feeney outlines the many reasons Sweden is a country of hit makers. We dare you to not get "The Sign" stuck in your head.
  • Talking about death: It's not an easy subject, but a new Showtime series, "Time of Death" approaches the taboo with unflinching realism. Jaweed Kaleem from the Huffington Post, and Miggi Hood, co-executive producer of the series join us to talk about death.
  • The Warren Commission 50 years later. Justice Richard Mosk was a 23-year-old attorney when he became the youngest member of the commission established by President Johnson to investigate the murder of JFK and his assassin. He tells us about the commission and why conspiracy theories can be harmful.

via The Land of Abba

Two decades have passed since Swedish quartet Ace of Base picked up Abba's mantle. Their single, 'The Sign,' topped U.S. charts and cemented a permanent place on pop playlists for decades to come.

Ace of Base also ushered in the so-called 'Swedish Miracle,' an era between 1990 and 2003 when music royalties earned by Sweden from foreign markets were twice as much per capita as royalties paid to songwriters and performers in the U.S. Today, Sweden is the world’s number three music exporter.

Nolan Feeney writes and produces for The Atlantic's entertainment channel, where he asked “Why Is Sweden So Good at Pop Music?”

Linus Bohman

Listening to Word of Mouth's Saturday broadcast is like sitting around a campfire and chatting with a bunch of super-smart, super-interesting people.  So go sharpen a stick, grab your bag of marshmallows and pull up a log - here's what's coming up this hour:

  • The Science of Superstition:  Psychologist Stuart Vyse explains the collective power of the Red Sox beards.
  • MORE COWBELL!!!  From Strauss to Def Leppard, writer Lori Rotenberk traces the musical history of the cowbell.
  • A Grimm Cinderella Story:  Author Adam Gidwitz shares the original gruesome version of the classic fairy tale, and explains why Disney has done the Brothers Grimm a disservice.
  • #NoFilter: Brian Ries, social media guru for The Daily Beast, on how a growing number of private dealers are legally selling guns on Instagram
  • WHEN JELLYFISH ATTACK!  They're clogging nuclear reactors, capsizing ships, wiping out fish populations, and causing cerebral hemorrhages... So basically, jellyfish are scarier than sharks.  There, I said it.  Quartz reporter Gwynn Guilford explains.

Ingo Lütkebohle via flickr Creative Commons

One of comedian Will Ferrell’s most memorable Saturday Night Live characters was musician Gene Frenkle, the belly shirted cowbell player from the ‘70s rock band, Blue Ӧyster Cult. His cowbell playing was intoxicating and hilarious and prompted this now quotable line: "I got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell."

That line, delivered by Christopher Walken, catapulted onto t- shirts and bumper stickers, and helped put the instrument designed for agriculture into the mainstream musical spotlight. But where did cowbell come from? And how did it migrate from the farm to the recording studio? Chicago based journalist Lori Rotenberk  wrote an article for Modern Farmer called “More Cowbell: From Herdsman’s Tool to Cultural Icon.

Logan Shannon

Each month the husband and wife duo, Robin MacArthur and Tyler Gibbons, from Marlboro, Vermont write and record a song to be released on the day of the full moon. The beautifully layered, tunes have a backwoods feel are recorded in a barn, and sent out to subscribers. It’s an intimate and unique take on the ever growing DIY music scene.  They joined us in studio back in July to talk about their album and to play live in Studio D.

Big Machine Records

Before the legislature agreed on a deal yesterday, we asked for your contribution to our Un-official Partial Shutdown Playlist – music reflecting your feelings about how our government has been functioning, or not functioning these past two weeks. A number of you contributed to the list by posting your picks on Facebook, Twitter, and by calling our listener hotline.

Many in the nation breathed a sigh of relief on the news that the standoff was over on Capitol Hill, the deal makes our collective shutdown playlist a little un-necessary, but we’re pretty happy it didn’t need such a long run.

Perhaps our collective effort had something to do with the shutdown ending...for now.

For anyone who’s ever driven by a crumbling old New Hampshire barn and wondered what could be in there, here’s one answer…a stack of dusty old film reels that turned out to be the only surviving reel from a long lost 1911 film. The movie, called Their First Misunderstanding , was written by and stars Mary Pickford, one of the most beloved actresses of the  silent film era. We spoke with Professor Emeritus of Film Studies at Keene State College Dr. Larry Benaquist about the discovery of this rare, important and now celebrated film.

This Weekend's N.H. Arts Scene

Sep 18, 2013
Logan Shannon for Word of Mouth

A round-up of this weekend's New Hampshire arts events, including:

Hawk and Dove & Darlingside, playing Friday at the Capitol Center for the Arts

The Telluride by the Sea film festival in Portsmouth, and Telluride at Dartmouth

"The Mudroom," a story-telling event at the AVA Gallery and Arts Center in Lebanon

Watch Darlingside perform Live From Studio D at NHPR:

On this edition of All Songs Considered, hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton share a brand new song from Beck. The new cut, called "Gimme," is the third single he's released since June and by far the strangest (i.e., best) of the bunch. None of the songs will be on the new full-length record Beck hopes to release before the end of the year.

Jessica Verma

Vaud and the Villains is the 19-piece group known for putting on rollicking musical theater and cabaret shows with a "New Orleans in the 1930s" twist. The band is performing this weekend at The Music Hall in Portsmouth.

Joining us is bandleader Andy Comeau, also known as "Vaud Overstreet," as well as his wife, Dawn Lewis, A.K.A "Peaches Mahoney."

Via Photobrew

Gary Burton was thirteen when he first heard jazz. By then, he’d been playing the marimba for seven years, and had toured around his home state of Indiana with his siblings. “The Burton Family” band came apart shortly after Gary heard Benny Goodman’s band playing a song called  "After You’ve Gone."

That song helped launch a career that has spanned the globe, the decades, collaborations with musicians from Chick Corea to Stan Getz to Astor Piazolla, and originated what’s called the "Burton Grip," playing the vibraphone holding two mallets in each hand.

Now 70, Gary Burton is a seven-time Grammy award winner. He’s the former Executive Vice-President at Berklee College of Music and has spent the majority of his life playing and teaching jazz. Burton has a new album, called "Guided Tour," and a new autobiography called, Learning to Listen: The Jazz Journey of Gary Burton.

Abigail Washburn

Aug 29, 2013
http://www.abigailwashburn.com

Abigail Washburn and Bela Fleck are a banjo playing husband and wife duo. Bela,  a fifteen time Grammy winning virtuoso on the instrument plays "Scruggs Style". Abigail  plays "Clawhammer" and sings…together they whip their respective styles into intricate music that sounds big and new. We asked Abigail Washburn about her peculiar journey into music and life on the road with her family. The duo will be at The Music Hall in Portsmouth tomorrow night.

Guus Krol via flickr Creative Commons

Not so long ago, “Americana” was the term for rusty milk jugs, embroidered pillows and souvenir spoon collections found at antique stores. In the mid-1990s, it became the nickname for the rootsy, twangy, weather-beaten music of bands like Uncle Tupelo, Alison Krauss, and a man who embodies rebellion against the country music establishment…Johnny Cash. Americana stalwarts like Wilco, Ryan Adams, Gillian Welch and the big-selling collaboration of Alison Krauss and Robert Plant revived the music of an America that was appealing to boomers and those to the left of the “real” America celebrated by conservatives.

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