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
5:00 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Music Inside Out: Lights! Camera! Music!

Bob Mondello, Benh Zeitlin and Terence Blanchard.

The Art & Craft Of Marrying Film And Music

From the earliest days of motion pictures, music has played a crucial role in setting the mood for movies. Just take a look at the clip (above) of the final moments of Charlie Chaplin’s 1936 film “Modern Times.”

It’s hard to imagine that scene without the song “Smile.”

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
1:40 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Treme's David Simon: 'I'm A Storyteller'

David Simon.
Credit American Library Association

For most of his working life, David Simon has been telling an epic story of the American city — one corner at a time. First on the pages of The Baltimore Sun, then in the books Homicide: Life on the Killing Streets and The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood.

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
2:14 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

The Music Biz: Scott Aiges Pulls Back The Curtain

Credit Guillaume Laurent / Flickr

Consider the musicians.

After the crowd goes home, after they pack their gear and instruments, when their van rolls through the night and the smell of smoke still lingers on their clothes, the bottom line remains. The business of music never sleeps.

Artist royalties, mechanical royalties, revenue streams and recording contracts occupy the minds and sleepless nights of managers and artists the country over as they head to their next gig.

You could fill a college course with everything an artist needs to know. Trust us, they have.

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
2:02 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Jim McCormick: A Poet Finds A Voice As A Songwriter

Jim McCormick.
Credit Scott Saltzman

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.

A New Orleans native (and still occasional resident), McCormick penned two of 2012′s number one songs on the country charts. But all that success — and it is considerable — hasn’t gone to his head. He’s stayed humble. And funny. And grateful for the collaborations and to the mentors through the years.

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
8:21 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

A. J. Croce: Telling Tales

A.J. Croce.
Credit Shelby Duncan

It’s easy to tease out the artists who’ve inspired A.J. Croce’s singing over the years — Ray Charles, Paul McCartney, Buddy Holly, even Ray Davies of The Kinks. He loves early rock n roll and R&B. So perhaps it’s ironic that A.J. rarely sounds like his father, singer-songwriter Jim Croce, who made his mark on music in the late 1960s and early 70s.

With nine albums to his credit and more than 20 years as a touring musician, A.J. Croce is his own man, performing his own music. And a devoted fan base has shown its appreciation for the genre-busting of the younger Croce.

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
8:23 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Spend An Hour With John Boutté

John Boutté at the 2008 Voodoo Music Experience.
Jason Saul WWNO

 

When John Boutté commits to a song, he tailors it like a suit from Savile Row, breaking down the lyrics then building them back up again to say exactly what he means. If a Paul Simon song conjures the image of early Americans sailing to the New World on the Mayflower ship, Boutté will sing the same song and mention early Americans who sailed on the slave ship Amistad. If Dave Bartholemew writes that the grass looks greener somewhere else, Boutté will sing that the grass is greener right here at home.

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Music
1:53 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

The Kentucky Sisters And Old-Time Tunes As Doorways To History

The Kentucky Sisters.
Jason Rhein Elephant Quilty Productions

Originally published on Sun July 6, 2014 1:46 pm

Did you know that John F. Kennedy was a Republican? Neither did I. But that's what one of my college students guessed in a course on news writing. I asked another kid what period followed the Industrial Age and she said, "The Golden Age?" We moved on.

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
2:00 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

David Egan: Unabashedly Experienced

Credit Denny Culbert / John Sellards Design via MusicInsideOut.org

Songwriters talk about a song being “honest.” And according to David Egan, that’s all about telling the truth about our battles and our triumphs — our loves and losses.

“We write music for grownup people,” he says. “Grownup music for grown-ass people.”

They’re the people you might see at the gas station, or in the grocery store. Or in the mirror.

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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
1:58 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

The Irresistible Deacon John Moore

Deacon John at the House of Blues in 2009.
Credit 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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Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins
4:32 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Dr. Michael White's Time Machine

Credit Derek Bridges / Flickr

What do you hear when Dr. Michael White plays his clarinet?

Can you hear the bayou? The river? The French Quarter? People sitting on their stoops waiting for someone to deliver the news? Penny parties?

That's not a clarinet in the doctor's hands; it's a time machine.

"I listened to Johnny Dodds' recordings. I listened to Sidney Bechet. I listened to George Lewis. I listened to Edmond Hall. I listened to Omer Simeon, Barney Bigard, and so many others," White says. "And you listen to that and you say, 'Wow, I would like to capture that feeling.'"

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