Raise a toast to Saint Joe Strummer
I think he might have been our only decent teacher
So sings Craig Finn of the band The Hold Steady on “Constructive Summer,” from its 2008 album Stay Positive. They may be the two best lines in one of the best rock songs of last year (at least according to one specific NPT Music Monthly writer). The song’s refrain of “we’re gonna build something this summer” was a call-to-arms when the album came out last July. Put perhaps it’s never been more appropriate of a song than right now, when it seems like we’re falling apart. So here it is, my first official Music Monthly proclamation. It may only be April, and still chilly outside, but let’s reclaim “Constructive Summer” — and the album’s title track while we’re at it — and make it the official song of Summer 2009 where it rightfully belongs. Let’s build something this summer.
The Hold Steady plays the gorgeously-shot new music series LIVE FROM THE ARTISTS DEN on Friday, April 24 at 11:00 p.m. Recorded at the Old Emigrant Savings Bank Building, at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge in lower Manhattan, in September of last year. The richly decorated banking hall’s marble floors and stained-glass skylights provide the perfect setting for the band Billboard hailed as “Brooklyn’s working class heroes.”
Each episode of LIVE FROM THE ARTISTS DEN takes place in an extraordinary setting with an intimate, invitation-only concert by cutting-edge, contemporary musicians, along with artist interviews and insights about the unusual venues chosen. Included in the series in April is soul singer/producer Raphael Saadiq (Tony! Toni! Toné!; Lucy Pearl), recorded at the Harvard Club in Boston, on April 3; singer/songwriter Jakob Dylan, lead singer of platinum-selling band The Wallflowers, recorded at Desmond Tutu Cultural Center in New York City, on April 10; and indie-pop sensation Ingrid Michaelson (“The Way I Am”) recorded at Cape Cinema, a 1930s movie theater in Cape Cod, on April 17. Other artists featured this season include Aimee Mann, Patty Griffin, Ben Harper, The Swell Season, Crowded House, KT Tunstall and Josh Ritter.
What Philip Glass builds in one summer will make your head spin. In American Masters’ “Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts,” Wednesday, April 8 at 8:00 p.m., filmmaker Scott Hicks follows him for a year as he romps with his young children on the Nova Scotia coastline, cooks pizza and deconstructs philosophy in the farmhouse kitchen, creates new works in his cluttered Baltimore studio and collaborates with Chuck Close, Ravi Shankar and Woody Allen. The film follows Glass across three continents — including to the world premiere of his new opera in Germany and in performance with a didgeridoo virtuoso in Australia. It is an intimate, often verité, portrait of artistic sensibility and pursuits.
Wynton Marsalis is Live at Lincoln Center; the Arcade Fire, Van Morrison and The Raconteurs encore on Austin City Limits; and Anna Netrebko portrays Lucia di Lammermoor at the Met. It’s another great month of music programming on NPT.
Read the Rest of the Music Monthly on the wnpt.org/news page. It’s the complete listing of all the music programming coming to NPT this month, including all the above mentioned artists, plus Cat Power, Femi Kuti, The Rochester Jazz Festival, From The Top at Carnegie Hall and plenty more. Subscribe for free at wnpt.net. Tell your friends!