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World Cafe Looks Back: '90s Singer-Songwriters | January 23, 2012

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Throughout the month of October, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of World Cafe by revisiting some of the best and most memorable interviews of the past 20 years.

On today's jam-packed session, host David Dye takes us on a journey through the singer-songwriter movement of the 1990s, with artists who were at the forefront of the World Cafe program in its infancy.

We hear from Suzanne Vega, seen by many as the standard-bearer for this moment in music with her impeccable knack for storytelling in a neo-folk style. She stopped by the studio in 1993, in the wake of "Tom's Diner," one of her most popular hits.

Next, we revisit our first interview with Aimee Mann, also from 1993, when she put out her solo debut. In this excerpt, Mann discusses her struggle to leave her record company after the break-up of her former band, 'Til Tuesday. We've paired this conversation with another from 2000, after Mann penned the Academy Award-nominated song "Save Me" for the film Magnolia.

From Mann we turn to Sheryl Crow, who, since her breakout success in the mid-'90s, has won nine Grammy Awards over the years. In an interview from 2003, Crow spans a range of topics, from illegal music downloading to songs that have surprised her by becoming hits.

The first interview we ever aired on World Cafe, in October 1991, featured Bruce Cockburn, the Canadian singer-songwriter and political activist. Cockburn tells a story about nomadic musicians he encountered in Nepal and discusses how his love of traveling influences his music.

We close today's show with a 1999 conversation between Sting and World Cafe's Michaela Majoun around the release of his album Brand New Day. Sting shares the childhood experience that shaped his current singing style and the job he wishes he could have if he weren't a musician.(link)


Hour 1

(( )) for interlude music

Tom Petty "You Don't Know How It Feels" Wildflowers
Suzanne Vega and DNA "Tom's Diner" Retrospecitve
Suzanne Vega "When Heroes Go Down" Recorded Live for the World Cafe
Aimee Mann "Put Me On Top" Recorded Live for the World Cafe
Aimee Mann "Save Me" Recorded Live for the World Cafe

((Jackson Browne "Off Of Wonderland" Time The Conqueror))

Sheryl Crow "Everyday Is A Winding Road" Recorded Live for the World Cafe
Sheryl Crow "If It Makes You Happy" Recorded Live for the World Cafe

((Ani DiFranco "32 Flavors" Not A Pretty Girl))

Bruce Cockburn "Great Big Love" Recorded Live for the World Cafe
Sting "Desert Song" Brand New Day

((Here We Go Magic "Only Pieces" Here We Go Magic))

Hour 2

Sam Phillips "Same Changes" Martinis and Bikinis
Liz Phair "Help Me Mary" Exile In Guyville
Liz Phair "Stratford-On-Guy" Exile In Guyville
Beck "Loser" Beck
Luscious Jackson "Strong Man" Natural Ingredients

((RJD2 "Tin Flower" The Colossus))

Dave Matthews Band "Ants Marching" Recorded Live for the World Cafe
Jeff Buckley "Last Goodbye" Grace
Pearl Jam "Nothingman" Vitalogy

((Miike Snow "Sans Soleil" Miike Snow))

Whitehorse "Killing Time Is Murder" Whitehorse
Whitehorse "Broken" Whitehorse
Johnny Cash "The Beast In Me" American Recordings
Grant Lee Buffalo "Honey Don't Think" Mighty Joe Moon
The Mavericks "What A Crying Shame" What A Crying Shame

((Alla "Tu Vida" Es Tiempo))