Mountain Stage Song of the Week

Every Thursday

For over 30 years, Mountain Stage has been the home of live music on public radio. Recorded in front of a live audience, every episode features performances from seasoned legends and emerging stars in genres including indie rock, folk, blues, world music and beyond. Each week, host Larry Groce hand picks his Song of The Week from the two hour broadcast. Produced in West Virginia and distributed by NPR, Mountain Stage can be heard every week on 200 stations across America and around the world via NPR Music and mountainstage.org.

Josh Saul / Mountain Stage

Warren Zevon was a beloved cult hero in the world of rock music. Born in Chicago but raised on the West Coast, Zevon began his music career as a classical piano student before broadening his admiration of Stravinsky to The Everly Brothers and other folk and pop icons.

Zevon’s stoic vocals and gallows songwriting led to critical acclaim and popular success, eventually leading to his 1978 hit “Werewolves of London.” Although he could certainly be “Mr. Bad Example,” Zevon was an artist’s artist, one that we were proud to welcome twice to the Mountain Stage

Josh Saul / Mountain Stage

Roots rock standard-bearers the Bottle Rockets return to Mountain Stage this week. Here the Bottle Rockets perform their song "Dog," which showcases lead singer Brian Henneman's irreverent humor, as well as his love for his canine friend.

Brian Blauser / Mountain Stage

Since they first met as students in Syracuse, New York, Ra Ra Riot has put a decade of experience performing under its collective belt. They draw influence from the experimental side classic rock like The Police and Talking Heads, but they also feature a small string section, which sometimes leads to their music being called "chamber pop," like in this performance of "Water."

Wilco, Jeff Tweedy, Space Oddity
Josh Saul / Mountain Stage

Since their formation as an alt-country influenced group in the mid 90's, Chicago-based band Wilco have evolved into the de facto standard bearers for experimental and indie rock. They close their Mountain Stage set this week with a cover of the late David Bowie's masterpiece "Space Oddity."

Listen: Larry Groce Perform on NPR's Mountain Stage

Feb 1, 2017
Larry Groce
Josh Saul / Mountain Stage

Although he's hosted over 850 episodes, it's been a long time since Mountain Stage host Larry Groce has performed a set of his own on the show. But he does this week, with songs from his first album in over two decades, Live Forever.

This week's broadcast also features performances from seminal indie pop band Guster, established singer and entertainer Robert Earl Keen, and Americana folk band The Westies.

Brian Blauser / Mountain Stage

Since their formation in 2000, Portland-based indie rock band Blitzen Trapper have played nearly every major festival in America and shared the stage with the likes of Iron & Wine and Wilco. Here they play "Black River Killer" from this week's encore broadcast of Mountain Stage with Larry Groce.

Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys
Josh Saul / Mountain Stage

Keeping one foot in their native Michigan's Mowtown soul and another in Music City, bluegrass-inspired ensemble Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys delivered one of our favorite performances of 2015. You can listen to their entire set on this week's encore broadcast of Mountain Stage.

Josh Saul / Mountain Stage

Best known for his 1971 acoustic pop hit "Sunshine," Jonathan Edwards also has a solid background in country, folk, and bluegrass music. Here he performs the traditional song "I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground," from this week's encore broadcast of Mountain Stage.

Josh Saul / Mountain Stage

From Northampton, Massachusetts, beloved folk-rocker Stephen Kellogg returns to Mountain Stage this week with a band that includes Miranda Mulholland of the Great Lake Swimmers. He closes his 2015 set with crowd favorite "The Bear" on this week's encore broadcast.

Brian Blauser/Mountain Stage

 

Singer and songwriter Craig Finn is best known as the frontman of the raucous punk-influenced rock band The Hold Steady. But in his solo work, Finn turns his focus to quiet themes of perseverance and redemption, as we can hear on this Mountain Stage performance of "Christine" from his latest album Faith in the Future.

Josh Saul/Mountain Stage

Over the course of nearly half a century, NRBQ - which stands for "New Rhythm and Blues Quartet" - has earned the distinction of being one of the most finely tuned bands in America, with plenty of swing. Lead by founder and pianist Terry Adams, Scott Ligon takes the lead on this Mountain Stage performance of "Waitin' on my Sweetie Pie."

Josh Saul/Mountain Stage

As Don Henley's long-time writing partner, JD Souther has had his hands in some of the most memorable pop songs of all time,  including "The New Kid in Town" and "Best of My Love." But here, Souther teams up with Mountain Stage favorite Nellie McKay to cover another legendary songwriter: Cole Porter's standard "Every Time We Say Goodbye."

Brian Blauser / Mountain Stage

 

As the year winds down and we prepare for the camaraderie of Thanksgiving, Mountain Stage looks back at some of our favorite performances of 2016. One of those performances comes from The Wood Brothers, an established folk-soul trio from Nashville whose latest release Paradise was produced by The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach.

Listen to Darlingside on Mountain Stage

Aug 30, 2016
Brian Blauser

Combining influences that range from 60's folk and bluegrass to classical music and indie rock, Massachusetts-based quartet Darlingside perform lush, cinematic songs around a single microphone. Here they perform "God of Loss" from this week's broadcast of Mountain Stage that also features Sam Bush, Chuck Prophet, Corb Lund and Patrick Sweany.

Brian Blauser

Incendiary slide guitar master and Louisiana native Sonny Landreth returns to this week's broadcast of Mountain Stage, with a timely song he wrote for his fellow survivors of  Hurricane Katrina: Blue Tarp Blues. You'll also hear performances from Bob Schneider, David Berkeley, Lilly Hiatt, and Jackie Greene.

Listen to John Mark Nelson on Mountain Stage

Aug 17, 2016
Josh Saul

Even though he's just in his early 20's, Twin Cities based indie-folk artist John Mark Nelson's name has already begun to be mentioned alongside other longstanding Minnesota musical heavyweights like The Jayhawks, Trampled by Turtles, Low, and Dan Wilson.  Here he performs "Dream Last Night," backed by his own band, recorded live on the campus of the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minnesota.

Josh Saul

"Bramble Rose" was the title track on Tift Merritt's widely-acclaimed debut album, which was released in 2002. Over a decade later, The Eagles' Don Henley chose to kick off his long-awaited album of country songs with his own version of "Bramble Rose," which also featured vocals by Mick Jagger and country superstar Miranda Lambert. She revisits the song during this week's broadcast of Mountain Stage, recorded live in Cook County, Minnesota.

Josh Saul

The most popular song from the Kentucky Headhunters platinum-selling Pickin' on Nashville album was almost never released:

Listen to Rhiannon Giddens on Mountain Stage

Jul 27, 2016
Brian Blauser

Best known as the powerful lead singer of Grammy winning African American stringband The Carolina Chocolate Drops, Rhiannon Giddens plays songs from her T-Bone Burnett-produced solo debut on this week's broadcast of Mountain Stage.  Here she performs "Black is the Color," from her album Tomorrow is My Turn; on a show that also features The SteelDrivers, Sam Gleaves, Jesse Milnes and Emily Miller, and Alice Gerarrd.

Brian Blauser

Musician Larry Campbell has long been regarded as one of Americana and country music's most respected and in-demand sidemen; backing Rosanne Cash, and serving as Levon Helm's longstanding musical director. Here he steps into the spotlight with his partner in life and music Teresa Williams with "Everybody Loves You," on a show that also features Jarekus Singleton, Los Aztex and Tyler Childers.

Listen to Chris Stapleton Live on Mountain Stage

Jul 12, 2016
Josh Saul

Since leaving beloved bluegrass band The SteelDrivers, Chris Stapleton has become one of Nashville's most respected and in-demand songwriters. He has written five number one songs for George Strait, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Darius Rucker and Josh Turner; and his solo debut, The Traveller, was released to wide acclaim.

Josh Saul

When Bahamas first appeared on Mountain Stage a few years ago, they stole the show with their infectious mix of folk-influenced harmonies and indie rock hooks. Since then, they've received much deserved mainstream recognition, thanks in no small part to the song "All the Time in the World," which was heavily featured in a television ad campaign starring James Franco. They perform the song live on this week's broadcast of Mountain Stage.

Listen to Pokey LaFarge on Mountain Stage

Jun 22, 2016
Josh Saul

Proclaiming “It’s not retro music, it’s American music that never died,” Pokey LaFarge takes to this week's Mountain Stage with songs from his new album," Something in the Water, including this one, "Wanna Be Your Man." You'll also hear performances by Dar Williams, Joe Pug, & Jill Sobule.

Brian Blauser

The tight harmonies and furious guitar picking of the Milk Carton Kids recall the sounds of legendary folk duos like Simon and Garfunkel, along with Gillian Welch & David Rawlings. They make their second appearance on this week's broadcast of Mountain Stage, bringing with them this song, "City of our Lady." You'll also hear performances by Martin Sexton, Alison Brown, Feufollet, and Amy Speace.

Josh Saul

Darrell Scott visited Mountain Stage this past Sunday, and closed his set with a song by his friend Guy Clark. Here he performs "Deperados Waiting for a Train," accompanied by Bob Thompson on piano, Michael Lipton on slide guitar, and Ron Sowell on harmonica.

Brian Blauser

Since they emerged in the mid 1990's, bluegrass band The Gibson Brothers have won nearly every award and accolade the genre has to offer; earning a place alongside great sibling duos like The Stanley Brothers, Jim & Jesse, and West Virginia's own Lilly Brothers. But here, they take on the harmonies of Don and Phil Everly, with their own version of the beloved early rock standard "Bye Bye Love." They apear on this week's broadcast of Mountain Stage, alongside Red Molly, Goodnight Texas, Sam Amidon, and Drew Holcomb.

Listen to We Banjo 3 on Mountain Stage

Apr 20, 2016
Brian Blauser

Hailing from Galway, brothers Enda & Fergal Scahill and Martin & David Howley are among the most celebrated young musicians in Ireland today. Calling themselves We Banjo 3, the group traveled straight from their Mountain Stage performance to perform for President Obama and Congressional leaders at the White House. They can be heard on this week's all new episode, along with Red Baraat, Star & Micey, and Davina & the Vagabonds.

Listen to Mavis Staples on Mountain Stage

Apr 7, 2016
Mountain Stage

This's week's  broadcast of Mountain Stage is a special one, featuring live performances by this year's Grammy nominees and winners - including this song by iconic R&B singer Mavis Staples, "You Are Not Alone." You'll also hear sets from  rising stars Chris Stapleton and  Jason Isbell, along with Rhiannon Giddens, Wilco, Buddy Guy, The SteelDrivers and much more.

Brian Blauser

Alt-country-rock masters Drive-By Truckers return to Mountain Stage this weekend with a preview of the sounds from their "Dirt Underneath" tour.  Inspired by a character in book he'd just finished, singer Patterson Hood wrote the song "Pauline Hawkins" in a single day.

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