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Courtnie Henson wants us to vibrate higher. The 22-year-old singer-songwriter from Harlem (by way of Los Angeles, Chicago and St. Louis) is quietly making her stage entrance via an unassuming style of astral jazz-tinged rhythm & blues.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Now a peek into the creative process of one of modern music's most innovative thinkers.

(SOUNDBITE OF BRAD MEHLDAU SONG, "GOD ONLY KNOWS")

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

The brass-band sound is a proud tradition of New Orleans. But over the years, those horns have evolved to embrace a broader repertoire, full of funk and jazz and even a little hip-hop — and the sounds have migrated well beyond Louisiana. Take NO BS! Brass Band, whose core members met at Virgina Commonwealth University and proudly claim Richmond, Va. as their home base.

Walter Trout has been playing and sometimes living the blues for five decades. The guitarist was with Canned Heat in the early 1980s, shared the stage and recorded with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers and sold millions of albums as a solo artist, but drugs and alcohol almost did him in. He was just days away from death last year when he received a liver transplant, an experience he recounts in a song called "Gonna Live Again."

Hear An Unreleased Song By Allen Toussaint

Nov 14, 2015

This week, the 77-year-old New Orleans songwriter, producer and arranger Allen Toussaint died after a concert in Madrid. For most of his career, Toussaint preferred working behind the scenes, but our friend Gwen Thompkins met him at a time when he'd thrown himself into performing extensively around the world. Before they parted ways for what would be the last time, Toussaint gave Thompkins a gift: a demo recording of a song he never got to release, but said he wanted the world to hear.

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/.

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Last year, the book Rednecks, Queers & Country Music — a significant, if overlooked work by scholar Nadine Hubbs — drove home just how powerful and pervasive outsider assumptions about the backwardness of rural identities and downhome music can be.

The video for Kadhja Bonet's "Honeycomb" feels a tad familiar — then again, it doesn't. Technically, the scenes of backlit silhouettes that flash throughout are nothing we haven't seen before. But when you add those visuals to Bonet's breathy vocals and the song's string-laden arrangement, "Honeycomb" becomes something all its own.

1990s revivalism may be entering its dwarf-star phase without ever having shed proper light on itself. Last week, the 22-year-old rapper Vince Staples argued that for his generation, hip-hop's official Golden Age matters less than the viral onset of 21st-century stars like Soulja Boy.

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