Irish-American supergroup Solas makes its seventh appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live in Charleston, W.V. Bandleader Seamus Egan, who founded the group in 1996, was a teen prodigy; he recorded his first album at 16 and toured with Ralph Stanley and Peter, Paul & Mary.
There's not much about Ben Sollee's career that could be described as conventional. The singer-songwriter's primary instrument is the cello, and his work ranges from traditional classical music to Asian folk tunes. Even his preferred method of transportation on tour deviates from the norm; he's been known to travel from one show to the next on a bicycle with his cello strapped to the back.
Vicki Yohe may look like a country western singer with her blond hair and blue eyes. But she's an urban gospel star. Yohe's latest album is titled, I'm at Peace: A Praise and Worship Experience. For Tell Me More's In Your Ear series, Yohe shares the songs that lift her up in tough times.
I first heard Natalie Maines's version of "Mother," the Pink Floyd song, while sitting alone in my car on a particularly difficult Saturday morning. It was the day after Adam Lanza took his mother's guns into Sandy Hook elementary school and wreaked destruction, and like many people across America, I'd spent most of the previous day trying to grasp what had happened. I really mean grasp: like so many tragedies that don't involve me directly yet engross me as they unfold in raw, real time on the Web, this one quickly became a spectral burden that was difficult to shake.
2012 will go down as a year of orchestral turmoil in the U.S.: Strikes, lockouts and bankruptcies erupted time and again as once seemingly untouchable institutions struggled financially.
There's been particularly little seasonal cheer in Minnesota's orchestral community. Protests erupted after management at the Minnesota Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra each locked out their musicians, after the musicians had rejected contracts that cut their salaries by tens of thousands of dollars and reduced the size of the orchestras.