Gwen Thompkins

Host of Music Inside Out

Gwen Thompkins is a New Orleans native, NPR veteran and host of WWNO's Music Inside Out, where she brings to bear the knowledge and experience she amassed as senior editor of Weekend Edition, an East Africa correspondent, the holder of Nieman and Watson Fellowships, and as a longtime student of music from around the world.

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
1:00 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Three Degrees of David Torkanowsky

David Torkanowsky.
facebook.com

Forget "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon." In New Orleans, it's more fun to play three degrees of David Torkanowsky.

As a piano player and band leader, Torkanowsky is equally comfortable pushing the edges of jazz, funk, blues and rhythm and blues. Aside from his solo projects, Torkanowsky has collaborated with so many musical legends — Irma Thomas, Allen Toussaint, Danny Barker, Earl Turbington, Tony DaGradi, George Porter Jr., Zigaboo Modeliste, Dianne Reeves and Errol Garner, among them — that he now enjoys his own legendary patina.

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
1:00 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Songs for the Soul

Credit seafaringwoman / Flickr

 

At Music Inside Out, we can't save your soul. But we can help you sponge it clean.

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
1:01 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

Allen Toussaint & Some Carnival Music

Allen Toussaint.
Credit Guillaume Laurent / Flickr

For half a century, New Orleans producer, arranger, and songwriter has given entertainers around the world something to sing about. 

He's written R&B, funk, jazz, rock and country. And he's learned a few things along the way. Toussaint shares his creative insights with Music Inside Out.  Lesson Number One: The artist is king... or queen.  

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
7:28 am
Sun February 3, 2013

A Tenacious Wordsmith Hits It Big In Nashville

Once a poet and an English teacher, Jim McCormick has become a powerhouse Nashville songwriter.
Scott Saltzman Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun February 3, 2013 5:21 pm

In March, country music star Jason Aldean is playing Madison Square Garden. Tickets sold out in 10 minutes. Fans want to hear his latest No. 1 song, "Take a Little Ride."

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
1:00 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Singer-Songwriter Jim McCormick

Credit jimmccormicksongs.com / BMG Chrysalis

    

Listen to this week's episode of Music Inside Out with singer/songwriter Jim McCormick.

The poetics of pickup trucks and cutoffs are not lost on Jim McCormick. Nor are the subtleties of Trans Ams and the beverage choices of the young and hay-baling set. And that's how it should be for a poet-turned-Nashville songwriter. 

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
1:03 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

Shannon Powell's Joyful Drums

Drummer Shannon Powell.
Credit Shannon Brinkman

The only thing more fun than talking to Shannon Powell is listening to him play. Powell is one of the most charismatic drummers to ever grace a stage. His secret? "I'm happy," Powell tells Music Inside Out. "I was a happy child. I'm a happy spirit."

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
9:00 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Pianist C.R. Gruver of the New Orleans Suspects

C. R. Gruver
photosbyjosh.com

Any piano player worth his fingers in New Orleans has been influenced by Professor Longhair. C. R. Gruver was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA and moved to the city six years ago. He now plays piano for a band called, The New Orleans Suspects.

At Gruver's house, above the antique upright piano, are portraits of the Professor and two of his most gifted disciples — James Booker and Mac Rebbenack, a.k.a. Dr. John. It's a modern-day triumvirate of piano talent. Here's a lesson Gruver gave reporter  Gwen Thompkins on the related styles of the three players.

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Music Interviews
1:03 am
Sat January 5, 2013

Preserving The Home, And History, Of New Orleans' Piano Professor

Professor Longhair performs at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, circa 1970.
David Redfern Redferns

Originally published on Sat January 5, 2013 1:10 pm

On the tough side of Terpsichore Street in New Orleans stands a duplex — a two-story, wood-framed building with wood floors, high ceilings and a nice fireplace. But this old house is empty: no furniture, no walls, no electricity, no toilet. Iron bars hide the windows; there's a lockbox on the door. The facade is three different shades of blecch, blurgh and blah.

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
1:00 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

Irma Thomas' Influences

Irma Thomas, on Music Inside Out.

Irma Thomas returns to Music Inside Out for a whole new, fresh, hot buttered and yummy conversation. The Queen of New Orleans Soul pays her respects to some of her musical influences and talks about the bottom line of a Grammy Award. Turns out, there's a reason why they call it show business.

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
1:00 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

The Irresistible Deacon John Moore

Deacon John at the House of Blues in 2009.
Jason Saul American Routes

Go ahead, we DARE you. Try listening to this week's re-broadcast of Music Inside Out with Deacon John Moore and NOT enjoying yourself.

As a guitarist, band leader and showman, Deacon John has been delighting crowds for more than half a century. This year, he's played the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and the White House. He's just that irresistible.  

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