Earlier this year, we asked public media’s musicians to send us songs so we could compile a playlist. We heard from 40 musicians from across the country, covering a wide variety of genres. This week: Public media musicians who are finding a beat of their own.
Some of my favorite songs don’t fit neatly into one particular genre — they mix and match and borrow a bit from other styles. A bunch of songs on our public media playlist were just like that — somewhere in between styles and inspirations.
The song “Vampiro” by Cecilia + The Broken Hearts starts with a bass line that feels very Pink Floyd, but it evolves, introducing vocals in Spanish. The song comes from two public media rock stars — producer and videographer Joe Rocha from KLRU in Austin, Texas, and Benjamin “Mincho” Jacob, formerly of NPR and Latino USA.
“We were the first to meet in the band, and related over our work in public media,” wrote Rocha. “It’s been no surprise that we’ve had our music played and discussed on NPR’s Alt.Latino and performed on the NPR Tiny Desk Tour.”
“Vampiro” is an original tune, inspired by music used in the fantasy film Only Lovers Left Alive.
The song “Gotta Roll” is an original by Jae Sinnett, a music host and educator at WHRO Public Media in Norfolk, Va. It’s part of Sinnett’s The Americana Groove Project. The song starts with a bit of scat, then moves in unexpected directions.
“My personality is such that I need to have progress each day of my life,” Sinnett wrote. “Forward movement. Not much time to waste. ‘Gotta Roll’ reflects this disposition.”
Phillip Westcott works in promotions at WSKG in Binghamton, N.Y. In his spare time, he plays with the band Tom Jolu whenever possible. In the band’s song “Emily,” Westcott makes a guest appearance on the saxophone. (I said it once and I’ll say it again, you can’t lose with a saxophone.)
The song “Medicine” by Two Ton Shoe is reportedly “a thousand years” old. RadioPublic CEO Jake Shapiro says he co-wrote the tune back in the band’s heyday on the Boston scene in the late ’90s.
Other genre-mashing submissions included New York Public Radio’s Jason Isaac with his song “Spyplane” by Afroskull; James Scarborough of KUT in Austin with his tune “State of Grace”; and Amasico Rainer of WBHM in Birmingham, Ala., with his song “It’s Over.”
This is the last you’ll hear from us about the inaugural Public Media Playlist … for now! Keep making tunes, keep serving the public, and maybe we’ll ask for more songs next year. In the meantime, check out all of our posts about the playlist and listen to all the songs here.