Bob Boilen

In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.

Significant listener interest in the music being played on All Things Considered, along with his and NPR's vast music collections, gave Boilen the idea to start All Songs Considered. "It was obvious to me that listeners of NPR were also lovers of music, but what also became obvious by 1999 was that the web was going to be the place to discover new music and that we wanted to be the premiere site for music discovery." The show launched in 2000, with Boilen as its host.

Before coming to NPR, Boilen found many ways to share his passion for music. From 1982 to 1986 he worked for Baltimore's Impossible Theater, where he held many posts, including composer, technician, and recording engineer. Boilen became part of music history in 1983 with the Impossible Theater production Whiz Bang, a History of Sound. In it, Boilen became one of the first composers to use audio sampling — in this case, sounds from nature and the industrial revolution. He was interviewed about Whiz Bang by Susan Stamberg on All Things Considered.

In 1985, the Washington City Paper voted Boilen 'Performance Artist of the Year.' An electronic musician, he received a grant from the Washington D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities to work on electronic music and performance.

After Impossible Theater, Boilen worked as a producer for a television station in Washington, D.C. He produced several projects, including a music video show. In 1997, he started producing an online show called Science Live for the Discovery Channel. He also put out two albums with his psychedelic band, Tiny Desk Unit, during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Boilen still composes and performs music and posts it for free on his website BobBoilen.info. He performs contradance music and has a podcast of contradance music that he produces with his son Julian.

Longtime NPR fans may remember another contribution Boilen made to NPR. He composed the original theme music for NPR's Talk of the Nation.

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Music
3:45 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Jenny Lewis Stands Out With 'Voyager'

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 9:56 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Tiny Desk Concerts
9:27 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Rodney Crowell: Tiny Desk Concert

Rodney Crowell performs at a Tiny Desk in May 2014.
Meredith Rizzo Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Originally published on Sun October 26, 2014 4:31 pm

Rodney Crowell performs with the ease and swagger of a man comfortable in his ways. He carries his songs the way he carries his old guitar: out in the open, no case, almost as an extension of his body.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
8:38 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Eliot Fisk And Paco Peña: Tiny Desk Concert

Paco Pena performs at the Tiny Desk in April 2014.
Meredith Rizzo Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Originally published on Sat June 14, 2014 9:07 am

Eliot Fisk looks like the happiest man on the planet. Watch that face as he plays guitar. Between performing music by J.S. Bach and partnering with the world's best flamenco guitarist, Paco Peña, Fisk can barely control his joy. I find his exuberance and their performance undeniably brilliant, inspiring and so completely universal.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
9:59 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Marian McLaughlin: Tiny Desk Concert

Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Fri July 11, 2014 2:29 pm

Marian McLaughlin is a unique musician based in the Washington/Baltimore area, and because she's lived in D.C., I've had a chance to watch her grow. She's an artist on her own path, making music like few others.

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All Songs Considered
2:21 pm
Fri July 4, 2014

After Learning To Loosen Up, Spoon Readies Its Return: The All Songs Interview

Spoon.
Tom Hines Courtesy Of The Artist

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 9:30 am

Spoon's first album in four years is called They Want My Soul. It won't be released until Aug. 5, but frontman Britt Daniel and drummer Jim Eno recently joined All Songs Considered hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton to play some of the record and share the stories behind it. You can hear the full interview using the link above, or read edited highlights below.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
3:42 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Juana Molina: Tiny Desk Concert

Juana Molina performs at a Tiny Desk Concert in April 2014.
Jim Tuttle NPR

Originally published on Sun October 26, 2014 4:33 pm

No one else makes music that sounds like this. Juana Molina takes familiar elements — guitars, drums, keyboards, voice — and manipulates them into bewildering, attractive, polished jewels. Her songs don't fall into beat patterns we're used to, but we can dance to them. The guitar doesn't make sounds you'd expect, but we can relate to them. It's as if she'd been raised by wolves and discovered the world of music on her own.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
4:58 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Hozier: Tiny Desk Concert

Hozier performs a Tiny Desk Concert.
Alex Schelldorf/NPR NPR

Originally published on Mon September 1, 2014 3:53 pm

Andrew Hozier-Byrne's voice is so rich, so vital and so soulful, I'm certain I'll follow his music for a long time to come. The 24-year-old Irishman, who performs under the name Hozier, opens this set with the brilliant and instantly grabby song "Take Me to Church," about passion, sex and religion.

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All Songs Considered
3:03 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Jack White's 'Lazaretto': The All Songs Interview

Mary Ellen Matthews Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 11:29 am

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All Songs Considered
1:21 pm
Sun May 25, 2014

Bob Dylan Covers A Classic Tune

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue May 13, 2014 10:03 am

A new Bob Dylan recording popped up on his site just now. You have to go there to hear it — it's a version of the classic 1945 song, "Full Moon and Empty Arms." The tune is written by Buddy Kaye — known for writing hits for Sinatra, Ella and Elvis — and Ted Mossman, and based on Sergei Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2.

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All Songs TV
12:50 pm
Sun May 25, 2014

Chvrches: Tiny Desk Concert

Chvrches performs at a Tiny Desk in April 2014.
Meredith Rizzo Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Originally published on Sun October 26, 2014 4:34 pm

For a brief moment, I imagined hearing Chvrches perform "Recover" or "Gun" with a couple of acoustic guitars and perhaps a shaker or two. And, though these songs would surely stand up well when broken down and bared, I'm thrilled that Chvrches came with a small arsenal of synthesizers to perform a few highlights from last year's album The Bones of What You Believe.

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