Stephen Kallao

It's all started in 2016 with a reunited Guns N' Roses lineup and tour. My guest, Duff McKagan, rejoined Axl Rose and Slash for what is a still on-going world tour across multiple continents. No one thought it was going to happen.

The first time I heard Rodrigo y Gabriela, the pair was covering Metallica's "Orion." It's a beautiful composition, but what I couldn't wrap my head around was that this dense, majestic instrumental was being played by only two acoustic guitars.

Summer's here and the time is right for looking back on some of our favorite World Cafe sessions of the year! Let's just say, it's been an inspiring one so far.

Meeting Ben Dickey is like running into an old friend you haven't seen in a while, but you're thrilled to see them. He was a joy to speak with the roots singer-songwriter while visiting the World Cafe Studio to play songs from his sophomore solo record, A Glimmer On The Outskirts — not just about the album, but also about his potential star-making turn as Blaze Foley in the Ethan Hawke-directed biopic Blaze.

Johnathan Rice rolled in the door and right away I knew I was going to enjoy chatting with him. He arrived as a party of one, with merch in a carry-on bag in one hand, and a guitar case in the other. Normally there's a manager, a sound person, or label folk shepherding. But this time, it was just Rice and a rental car touring the Northeast.

Page Burkum and Jack Torrey a.k.a. The Cactus Blossoms are brothers, but their vocal talents aren't just simply a case of sibling harmonies. They didn't start singing together until their 30s. So much for a lifetime of practice with one another!

Boston-based singer-songwriter Marissa Nadler has been making old school country with a twist since 2004, but that twist has turned in many directions since then. It's led to her lending those trademark "haunting vocals" to metal bands, recording several albums of covers and opening up for Swedish hard rock band Ghost.

Carlos Santana is arguably one of the most influential guitarists of the last 50 years — from his groundbreaking performance at Woodstock to his millions of albums sold in the '70s to his revival in the late '90s thanks to the album Supernatural and its lead single "Smooth." Santana's latest album is called Africa Speaks, which just came out on

The National has always been an ambitious band. There was the one time it played its song "Sorrow" for six hours straight at MoMA PS1 in New York City. Then there are band members, and twin brothers, Aaron and Bryce Dessner who've scored films and curated music festivals. But The National's latest project might be the band's most ambitious.

In this session, we have the shapeshifting sounds of singer, songwriter, and record producer Chaz Bear a.k.a Toro y Moi.

On 2017's Boo Boo, Toro y Moi wrote a chill R&B record. For 2019's Outer Peace, he had an unusual motivator. He wanted to write more about the grind, about songs that serve as cheat codes for your life.

Eleven years ago, after a Metallica show, a gentleman named Warren told me "We have this band you have to hear." I jump into his car, he pops the CD in the player, and this blares out: "Oh, there ain't no rest for the wicked / Money don't grow on trees / I got bills to pay, I got mouths to feed / There ain't nothing in this world for free."

When Warner Bros. heard George Benson's take on "This Masquerade," they didn't realize he was the vocalist. It's one of the many amazing tales Benson shares with us on World Cafe.

Snarky Puppy is an incredible ensemble of musicians, a loosely-knit collective of funk, jazz and rock players founded in Denton, Tx. by bandleader Michael League. They've been at it since 2003, with a rotating group of touring musicians. How many? As many as 25 will cycle in and out over the course of the tour.

The Beths is a rising band in the indie-pop scene, and yes, there is an Elizabeth leading the band! There is also a Jonathan, a Benajmin, and for today's session, a Trystan, for those of you wondering where the harmonies are coming from in this mini-concert.

I asked Clarence Greenwood what his 8-year-old daughter thought of his job as a professional musician. He said, "When she was really young, she asked one of her mom's friends why do people stop her daddy?" The joys of parenthood.

It's one of many things that's kept Greenwood, better known by his stage name, Citizen Cope, busy over the last seven years. That's the last time he released an album, 2012's One Lovely Day.

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