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The sound of Low has changed a lot since husband and wife Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker started the band in 1993. But its harmonies remain central to the band's music.

"As soon as we'd sing, and you would sing harmony, I thought, 'Wow this is beautiful,'" Sparhawk says.

The Americana Music Association's 19th annual AmericanaFest in Nashville came to a close after six days of music showcases featuring over 225 performers, various panels including the keynote interview with k.d. lang, dozens of off-campus events and parties and the 17th annual Americana Music Honors and Awards ceremony.

The Philadelphia Folk Festival just celebrated it's 57th go round of concerts workshops, camping and folkie camaraderie on The Old Poole Farm outside of Philadelphia this past August. Each year, the Main Stage is open from Friday night thru Sunday, but World Cafe has been kicking things off with a special campers only show on Thursday nights for 11 years, since 2007 when we presented David Bromberg along with the Angel Band.

This week's run through the essential albums out Sep. 14 includes the first new music from Jump Little Children in 14 years, rapper Noname's incredible follow-up to her 2016 mixtape Telefone, one of the darkest and most distorted albums ever from the band Low, a bit of melancholy and hope from country singer Carrie Underwood and much more.

Featured Albums:

  1. Jump Little Children: SPARROW
    Featured Song: "Hand On My Heartache"
  2. Low: Double Negative
    Featured Song: "Quorum"

Alejandro Escovedo has carved out a very special place for himself in the music world. He established unimpeachable punk cred when his 1970's punk band The Nuns opened for the Sex Pistols at its infamous last stand at San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom.

Sponsored by the Americana Music Association, the 19th annual Americana Music Festival & Conference features a broad range of music showcases from diverse musicians in alt-country, roots-rock, bluegrass, R&B, blues and folk as well as dozens of day time industry panels.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

Black Tambourine, Velocity Girl, Lilys, Lorelei, Stereolab — these are just a few of the artists who released 7-inch singles on Slumberland Records in the late '80s and early '90s. That's a helluva run for any label, but also remarkably prescient, considering the simultaneously softer and stranger indie pop that would follow.

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