Bob Boilen

In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.

Significant listener interest in the music being played on All Things Considered, along with his and NPR's vast music collections, gave Boilen the idea to start All Songs Considered. "It was obvious to me that listeners of NPR were also lovers of music, but what also became obvious by 1999 was that the web was going to be the place to discover new music and that we wanted to be the premiere site for music discovery." The show launched in 2000, with Boilen as its host.

Before coming to NPR, Boilen found many ways to share his passion for music. From 1982 to 1986 he worked for Baltimore's Impossible Theater, where he held many posts, including composer, technician, and recording engineer. Boilen became part of music history in 1983 with the Impossible Theater production Whiz Bang, a History of Sound. In it, Boilen became one of the first composers to use audio sampling — in this case, sounds from nature and the industrial revolution. He was interviewed about Whiz Bang by Susan Stamberg on All Things Considered.

In 1985, the Washington City Paper voted Boilen 'Performance Artist of the Year.' An electronic musician, he received a grant from the Washington D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities to work on electronic music and performance.

After Impossible Theater, Boilen worked as a producer for a television station in Washington, D.C. He produced several projects, including a music video show. In 1997, he started producing an online show called Science Live for the Discovery Channel. He also put out two albums with his psychedelic band, Tiny Desk Unit, during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Boilen still composes and performs music and posts it for free on his website BobBoilen.info. He performs contradance music and has a podcast of contradance music that he produces with his son Julian.

Boilen's first book, Your Song Changed My Life, was published in April 2016 by HarperCollins.

On this week's show, artists battle their inner demons – the kind that come out a night when you're alone in bed, trying to find sleep – speak truth to power, celebrate love, dig into complicated characters with troubled pasts and much more.

This includes a kind of demented nursery rhyme from singer Billie Eilish; the London-based duo Tender and their deep reflection on ruinous self-indulgence; and producer T Bone Burnett's new album with a prayer to overcome fear.

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Today, the great young, American singer Lucy Dacus

In the first 15 seconds of his new video, Bob Mould tells the world: "Dictators, terrorists and tech companies have created an apocalyptic surveillance state. The Western world has fallen into a deep state of paranoia and disinformation."

Fifty years ago today, on Jan. 30, 1969, The Beatles gave what would be their final concert. And on this special episode of All Songs Considered, we talk with someone who was there: Ken Mansfield wrote and just released a new book on this life-changing event called The Roof: The Beatles' Final Concert. Mansfield was the U.S.

On this edition of All Songs Considered I'm joined by Marissa Lorusso, our Tiny Desk Contest leader and also a critical contributor to NPR Music's Turning the Tables project.

Editor's note: This page has been updated to include more of the conversation between Bob Boilen and Ezra Koenig.

Video by Andrew Benincasa and Amandine Kaye / YouTube

It took a beckoning of sorts for the Stray Birds leader Maya De Vitry to write songs for her own album.

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Andrew Hozier-Byrne has a new album coming in March. His second album, called Wasteland, Baby!, is his first full-length record in four-and-a-half years.

Aaron Lee Tasjan arrived at the Tiny Desk in his fashionable ascot and mustard-colored shirt, sporting reflective, red, rounded sunglasses and mutton chops. As he warmed up, the sound of the middle-and-late 1960s came through his seagreen, Gorsuch 12-string guitar while his voice felt both familiar and fresh. This buoyant, East Nashville-via-Ohio soul and his fabulous band have a knack for channeling Paul McCartney, Tom Petty and The Kinks.

It's been a minute since we got together to share some all-new music – not since our Nov. 6 show of last year, in fact.

There are songwriters and then there are storytellers, and Steve Earle is very much the latter. His songs, such as "The Devil's Right Hand," "Copperhead Road" and "Guitar Town," have been sung by Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings, Vince Gill, Patty Loveless and many, many more.

Amidst the constant drumbeat of 2019's political talk, of raising walls and shutting out opposition — this year's globalFEST artists and organizers articulated a very clear vision, one that makes room for bracingly new voices. The one-night festival of global music, held each January in Manhattan, featured a remarkable lineup of musicians from around the world, including India, Cuba, Ukraine, Mozambique, and even New York City itself. Now in its sixteenth year, globalFEST was founded in a post-Sept.

Jen Cloher came to the Harbor Stage at Newport with a fervor matched only by her volume. Her band gets some of that credit, with Jen's wife, Courtney Barnett, on electric guitar and Bones Sloane from Courtney's band on bass.

Glen Hansard is passionate about connecting with a crowd. At the 2018 Newport Folk Festival, that crowd was hushed and he went deep. From the opening song, the Swell Season favorite "When Your Mind's Made Up," through more traditional Irish tunes with fiddler Rosie MacKenzie and Brendan Begley on accordion, Hansard's performance was enthralling.

The music I loved most in 2018 was often filled with more graceful and subtle tones, like the works of Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds, German composer Niklas Paschburg and the mysteriously soulful serpentwithfeet. I loved songs with introspective stories.

This year, All Songs Considered hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton decide to get away from it all with a holiday cruise to Bermuda. Along the way they meet a few special guests aboard the ship, including John Legend, Aloe Blacc, Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, William Shatner, Lucius, Micky Dolenz of The Monkees and Rodney Crowell, who all try to share their own good cheer for the holidays. But nature inevitably runs its course and the gang finds itself stuck in the swirling vortex of the mystical Bermuda Triangle, desperate for some sort of passage back home.

Ever wonder what albums your fellow NPR fans listen to? We asked, you voted and below are the results our year-end listener poll for 2018. The list mirrors the NPR Music Top 50 Albums more than I've noticed in previous years. Like that list, listeners put Janelle Monáe, Kacey Musgraves, Mitski and Lucy Dacus all in the top positions.

Year-end lists are a way to uncover hidden gems, not simply to validate tastes. I'm sure many lists you've looked at didn't have that one favorite you hold near and dear. This episode of All Songs is about our hidden gems, the ones that, in the give-and-take of making a representative staff list, got left off.

Sometimes the world turns obstacles into magic. When Dirty Projectors let us know they couldn't make it to the band's Tiny Desk performance until late in the day, we were sad because the clocks had recently turned back for the fall, we knew that our beautiful, natural light would be gone and it'd be dark.

Well, kids, it's been another year of holograms, headlines and big human messes here in Orbit City. At least music brought us together again and again in 2018, whether in the crowd to see Mitski, Janelle Monáe or Brandi Carlile, or surrounded by strangers in bed at Max Richter's SLEEP concert. This Year in Review edition of All Songs Considered is built like a little time machine to move us chronologically through 2018.

Bill Baird's video for "Facial Disc" creates a world of patterns and scenes as abstract as the noise he makes on guitar and synthesizers. Baird describes the video as "me getting 'swallowed by the internet,' trapped inside a multi-dimensional cube, and transformed into an owl and then an 'owl priest.'"

Guest DJ: boygenius

Nov 19, 2018

The group is new, but all of the members of boygeniusJulien Baker, Lucy Dacus and Phoebe Bridgers — are Tiny Desk Concert alumae.

Fifty years ago, just before the holidays in 1968, The Beatles put out not just a new album, but a double album, something relatively unheard of at the time.

The story of Bernie and the Believers is the most powerful I've ever come across at the Tiny Desk. It's about a beautiful act of compassion that ultimately led to this performance, and left me and my coworkers in tears.

Midway through Half Waif's Tiny Desk, singer Nandi Rose Plunkett stops to let us all know that this particular Half Waif show is extra special. "So today we're actually 'Full Waif,' because I am joined by my dear friends," she says. "These are all musicians who have played with the band Half Waif over the past five years, but we've never all played together until now! So thanks for the opportunity to get 'Full Waif' together."

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