Stephen Kallao

Jim Lauderdale is rightfully considered one of the kings of Americana music. He's a songwriter's songwriter, having written for George Strait, Patti Loveless, Vince Gill, George Jones and countless others.

It's easy to throw the word legend around when you talk to musicians who regularly appear on World Cafe. So when a real legend shows up, you've run out of superlatives.

Low Cut Connie is a lot of fun. Sure, it's developed a healthy reputation as a party band, but there's a lot more to discover underneath the sweaty sheen of its intense live shows. Speaking of which, I wish you could see the way lead singer Adam Weiner attacks the piano. At some points, he plays it the same way Superman flies, his body parallel to the ground. It's a sight to see!

Are you up for having a good time today? Trick question — it's impossible not to have a good time with The Suffers, as Kam Franklin explains in the opening lines of "Do Whatever": "Full on disclosure, I'm not here for exposure / I came to have a good time, so let me shine."

For over 50 years, Paul Simon has shared his amazing talents with us: first, as a part of Simon & Garfunkel, one of the most important musical duos, and later as a solo artist. Few musicians have had as a critically-acclaimed and beloved career as Simon. He's won 16 Grammys, three of those for album of the year.

Rare Essence has been waving the flag for go-go music for four decades. So, what is go-go music? Not to be confused with go-go dancing or go-go boots, go-go music is an offshoot of funk that combines elements of R&B, hip-hop and blues. It's built live thanks to the audience and the band feeding off one another's energy. Fans frequently sing lines back during the show.

Spinal Tap made its mark as one of England's loudest bands, releasing slightly above average records like Shark Sandwich. Now, Derek Smalls, the band's legendary bassist, is making waves of his on his own with a new reflective solo record in the vain of David Bowie's Blackstar and Leonard Cohen's You Want It Darker.

Welles has the look, the voice, the licks, the hooks and the attitude of a real rock star. His classic rock-meets-grunge debut  Red Trees and White Trashes  alternates between being big, chunky, bombastic and driving and also intimate, sensitive, quiet and reserved. There's no shortage of ballads and barn-burners.

Peter Hook's first bass rig when he was a child was "no good," as he puts it. The low notes sounded terrible, so instead, he worked his way up the fretboard. Few musicians have more of a signature sound, or personality, than Peter Hook. He was one of the founding members of Joy Division, pioneers of the post-punk genre. When the band's lead singer, Ian Curtis, died on the eve of its first American tour, the remaining members didn't mourn.

Described by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys as the "greatest soul singer alive," Robert Finley joined us for a live session. His story is a quintessential American one of perseverance. He's loved music and performing his whole life, and now finally released his first album in his early 60s.

Rock's not dead. They say this every few years — or months, or days — but really, the state of rock is quite strong.

Here's a hypothetical: Would you drop out of a prestigious school to pursue a music career? What if there was a huge buzz around your high school bedroom recordings — lush atmospheric pop with some of the most incisive lyrics about love and loss — that you never expected anyone to hear, but when people did hear it, they loved it?

The first thing you notice about George Ezra, besides his incredible voice, is his demeanor. He's warm, friendly and engaging to talk to. There's a similar charm in his songwriting. Ezra pulls you in as a storyteller. You want to root for him. His 2014 debut LP includes the breakout smashes "Budapest" and "Blame It on Me," which showcase his voice and charm in spades.

Caroline Rose has arrived. I know this sounds a little unusual to say considering her new record LONER is her third studio album. But for a point of reference, if you listen to a moment of "Red Bikini Waltz" from her 2014 album, I Will Not Be Afraid, to her new album, LONER ... Yeah, it's a little different. But this is who Rose is.

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