Musician's Spotlight

From folk to rock, from classical to jazz and beyond, music and conversation with today's most talented and compelling musicians.


Ben Sollee, who describes himself as "cellist, composer, storyteller," brings a sweet grace and gritty groove to his diverse mix of styles. Appalachian mountain music segues into blues, a Bach cello suite leads to a Paul Simon cover, then to the bluegrass music of Sollee's native Kentucky.

Singer and multi-instrumentalist Grace Potter makes her first visit to Musicians’ Spotlight to talk about her debut solo recording, which comes after a decade of touring and recording with The Nocturnals. Known for her magnetic stage presence, soaring vocals and adventurous keyboard solos, Grace’s new album, Midnight, reveals a more personal and reflective side of her music.

Lauded as “the greatest living exponent of the electric violin,” Tracy Silverman’s groundbreaking work with the 6-string electric violin defies musical boundaries. Silverman joins John Floridis in the Musicians' Spotlight this week.

Mary Carlson, Vespidae Photography

Born in Philipsburg, Montana and holding a master’s degree in Appalachian studies, instrumentalist/singer-songwriter Coty Hogue immersed herself in old music, studying with Ginny Hawker, before starting to write and record a few of her own songs alongside favorite traditional gems.

"The Shape Of Things Gone Missing, The Shape Of Things to Come” - that’s the poetic title of singer-songwriter Martha Scanlan’s most recent album. Martha returns to “Musicians’ Spotlight” to discuss this recording project as well as her efforts to shine a spotlight on threats to southeastern Montana’s unique Tongue River Valley: its landscape, pace, and way of life.

This week's “Musicians’ Spotlight” is a St. Patrick's Day special honoring some of the best Irish music we've featured on the program - traditional, contemporary, and something in between. Highlights include the duo John Doyle and Karan Casey, and sean-nós singer and former member of the Hothouse Flowers, Liam Ó Maonlaí.

The arresting vocal style of Darlingside has launched the band into the upper echelons of indie baroque-folk. Appropriately for a group that started as an a capella quartet at Williams College, there’s no designated “lead singer;" everyone sings melodies, either in harmony or in unison.

When Camila Meza moved to New York in 2009 from her native Chile, American jazz fans discovered her rare combination of talents; Meza is a singer, guitar player, songwriter and arranger. Her expressive phrasing and unique vocal timbre, combined with soulful improvisations on the guitar, take us on a joyful musical journey full of beauty and adventure.

Darrell Scott is one of the luminaries of "Americana" and American folk music; he’s a multi-instrumentalist, an award-winning songwriter, and a powerful interpreter of songs of all stripes. Scott’s most recent recording project, "Ten," lies very close to his heart; it's ten songs by the late Montana doctor/singer-songwriter, Ben Bullington, with whom Scott struck up a close friendship in the last years of Bullington's life. 

More than forty years after he founded the legendary Kronos Quartet, violinist David Harrington's passion for string music - and his drive for nailing a live performance - is stronger than ever. Harrington recalls the origins of the pioneering quartet's vision and reflects on the diversity of musical styles represented in its huge repertoire of commissioned works.