Stephen Kallao

It's all started in 2016 with a reunited Guns N' Roses lineup and tour. My guest, Duff McKagan, rejoined Axl Rose and Slash for what is a still on-going world tour across multiple continents. No one thought it was going to happen.

The first time I heard Rodrigo y Gabriela, the pair was covering Metallica's "Orion." It's a beautiful composition, but what I couldn't wrap my head around was that this dense, majestic instrumental was being played by only two acoustic guitars.

Summer's here and the time is right for looking back on some of our favorite World Cafe sessions of the year! Let's just say, it's been an inspiring one so far.

Meeting Ben Dickey is like running into an old friend you haven't seen in a while, but you're thrilled to see them. He was a joy to speak with the roots singer-songwriter while visiting the World Cafe Studio to play songs from his sophomore solo record, A Glimmer On The Outskirts — not just about the album, but also about his potential star-making turn as Blaze Foley in the Ethan Hawke-directed biopic Blaze.

Johnathan Rice rolled in the door and right away I knew I was going to enjoy chatting with him. He arrived as a party of one, with merch in a carry-on bag in one hand, and a guitar case in the other. Normally there's a manager, a sound person, or label folk shepherding. But this time, it was just Rice and a rental car touring the Northeast.

Page Burkum and Jack Torrey a.k.a. The Cactus Blossoms are brothers, but their vocal talents aren't just simply a case of sibling harmonies. They didn't start singing together until their 30s. So much for a lifetime of practice with one another!

Boston-based singer-songwriter Marissa Nadler has been making old school country with a twist since 2004, but that twist has turned in many directions since then. It's led to her lending those trademark "haunting vocals" to metal bands, recording several albums of covers and opening up for Swedish hard rock band Ghost.

Orville Peck makes a very different kind of country music. It's a kind that's just as authentic as the storytellers he admired growing up, though some have questioned that because of the way he presents himself as an artist.

Carlos Santana is arguably one of the most influential guitarists of the last 50 years — from his groundbreaking performance at Woodstock to his millions of albums sold in the '70s to his revival in the late '90s thanks to the album Supernatural and its lead single "Smooth." Santana's latest album is called Africa Speaks, which just came out on

The National has always been an ambitious band. There was the one time it played its song "Sorrow" for six hours straight at MoMA PS1 in New York City. Then there are band members, and twin brothers, Aaron and Bryce Dessner who've scored films and curated music festivals. But The National's latest project might be the band's most ambitious.

In this session, we have the shapeshifting sounds of singer, songwriter, and record producer Chaz Bear a.k.a Toro y Moi.

On 2017's Boo Boo, Toro y Moi wrote a chill R&B record. For 2019's Outer Peace, he had an unusual motivator. He wanted to write more about the grind, about songs that serve as cheat codes for your life.

Eleven years ago, after a Metallica show, a gentleman named Warren told me "We have this band you have to hear." I jump into his car, he pops the CD in the player, and this blares out: "Oh, there ain't no rest for the wicked / Money don't grow on trees / I got bills to pay, I got mouths to feed / There ain't nothing in this world for free."

When Warner Bros. heard George Benson's take on "This Masquerade," they didn't realize he was the vocalist. It's one of the many amazing tales Benson shares with us on World Cafe.

Snarky Puppy is an incredible ensemble of musicians, a loosely-knit collective of funk, jazz and rock players founded in Denton, Tx. by bandleader Michael League. They've been at it since 2003, with a rotating group of touring musicians. How many? As many as 25 will cycle in and out over the course of the tour.

The Beths is a rising band in the indie-pop scene, and yes, there is an Elizabeth leading the band! There is also a Jonathan, a Benajmin, and for today's session, a Trystan, for those of you wondering where the harmonies are coming from in this mini-concert.

I asked Clarence Greenwood what his 8-year-old daughter thought of his job as a professional musician. He said, "When she was really young, she asked one of her mom's friends why do people stop her daddy?" The joys of parenthood.

It's one of many things that's kept Greenwood, better known by his stage name, Citizen Cope, busy over the last seven years. That's the last time he released an album, 2012's One Lovely Day.

Imagine being a young touring band playing a house party when the host approaches you, sits you down on his gold-encrusted fireplace and reads you his manifesto. Yes, that's one of the many interesting things that happened to BAILEN while on the road.

The Cranberries were one of the most successful groups to emerge from Ireland. The members, Dolores O'Riordan as lead vocalist, guitarist Noel Hogan, bassist Mike Hogan and drummer Fergal Lawler, were in the studio working on what is now their final studio album when volcalist, O'Riordan died suddenly in January 2018.

We welcome back an influential and iconic musician to the punk and hardcore scene, Bob Mould. After blazing trails in the '80s with Hüsker Dü, and in the '90s with Sugar, Mould has had a successful solo career for the last 25 years. His latest album, Sunshine Rock, is an intentional look away from the politics of now and instead a look back to the albums he loved as a youth.

Matthew Houck, who records as Phosphorescent, released his beloved album Muchacho almost six years ago. Since that time, he's had a lot of milestone experiences, which fueled his latest record, C'est La Vie.

In this session, Houck joins us to share about meeting his partner in a New England bar, having a child and his near-death bout with meningitis. Plus, he performs a set of new songs live in concert. Hear it all in the player.

Glen Hansard has a new album, but not the album he initially intended on making. Glen wrote much of the album while staying at a monastery in Paris. The record was initially supposed to be a simple, acoustic album. But, that changed after a chance jam session with Persian musicians.

The guy who always calls it like he sees it pays tribute to his late friend, mentor, and outlaw music icon, Guy Clark. In this session, we welcome back Steve Earle for a live performance.

If you're a fan of the band Metric, you might know their original name was Mainstream. It's worth sharing this tidbit since the band has spent the last 20 years making and publishing its own music outside the mainstream, while being quite successful.

Karl Denson has one of the coolest side gigs in the world. In 2015, he took over for Bobby Keys as the saxophonist for The Rolling Stones. In his day job however, he's the leader of Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, a fusion of funk, jazz, soul, and rock.

What do you think of when you think of a Piano bar? Is it Billy Joel's "Piano Man?" There's always been something that made me slightly uncomfortable about the piano man, and don't even get me started on dueling pianos. But my guest, Robert Ellis, who dressed in an all-white tuxedo for the occasion, has an answer.

It's one thing to meet someone who's talented, but it's a trip to meet someone like Northern Ireland's Naomi Hamilton, who makes music (and art) as Jealous of the Birds. Naomi has a knack for slicing up genres and making music that sounds homemade and tiny, but also explosive and bombastic. She studied English and creative writing at Queens University Belfast and uses her love of language to great effect when crafting songs for the band.

If you've been on social media in the few months, you've come across the 10-Year Challenge. It first began on Twitter in January with one user posting two photos side by side, one from 10 years ago and their most recent upload. Within a week, the trend had moved to Facebook, to Instagram, to local news segments. Unless you're Paul Rudd, it was fun to look back on the passing of time and 2009's fashion on display.

We're being treated to a special kind performance from a tight-knit group of friends.

We first introduced listeners to Julia Jacklin when World Cafe's original host, David Dye, met up with her in Australia for our Sense of Place visit back in 2016. Now, Julia's returning the favor, joining us in the U.S. to share a sneak peek of her forthcoming record, Crushing, due out Feb. 22. The album is personal, intimate and beautiful.

Nothing, and, by extension, founder and band leader Dominic Palermo, has been called the unluckiest band in the world. There was the time when Palermo, rising star in the Philadelphia hardcore scene, stabbed someone during a fight one night and ended up in prison. There was the time, after he got out, when he was jumped after a show and nearly died.

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