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.

Ways to Connect

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There's a reason why lions prefer the company of other lions. Just ask Reggie Scanlan.

As a bass player, Scanlan worked with James Booker and Professor Longhair before starting a 33-year run with the Radiators. He's now in a band of all-stars called the New Orleans Suspects.

Scanlan tells us some of the lessons he's learned from playing, touring, and recording with the best in New Orleans music.

For instance: band tours last longer with separate hotel rooms. And if you can't sing... don't. 

Seán Collins

Commercial kitchens are the workplaces (and playgrounds) of some of the most inventive people around and they have some of the best soundtracks on the planet.

When your dinner reservation is still just a pencil mark in a ledger, long before the candles are lit, before the linen table cloths are smoothed and the cutlery is placed just so, your favorite restaurants are suffused with great music. Rock 'n' roll, gut-bucket blues, country, funk, ska, and jazz make the food taste better because the chefs are listening. And their musical taste is just as refined as any other.

Babs Evangelista

Meschiya Lake & The Little Big Horns have been playing together as a band since 2009. But their repertoire suggests a much longer, deeper history, dating back to the early part of the last century, when people were buying phonographs and drinking absinthe in its original form.

At their best, pop songs conjure exactly what it’s like to be young. The stories are often simple. But they’re not so easy to write. Because the best pop songs take on the same themes as a great epic poem or a Wagnerian opera. Pop is about the loss of innocence.

John Boutté is hard to intimidate. He may be the only guy who has ever told Stevie Wonder that his singing was flat. Boutté's observation, during a chance encounter with Wonder, changed his life for good. What's more, it made our lives better.

For more than 20 years, Boutté has built a career writing and performing his own songs, as well as re-interpreting the signature work of others. This week, Boutté tells Music Inside Out how he got so good at finding lyrics to suit his voice, his tenderness, his outrage and his legendary sass.

Our good friends at WWNO are in the midst of a fund drive — that niggling but necessary part of the way that public radio in which listeners like you help pay for the programs you love.

Take it from us: the easiest way to listen during a fund drive is with a clear conscience. So give our friends a call and cough up the coin. Then sit back and listen with the smug satisfaction that you’re a member. As they say in the biz: operators are standing-by. 800-286-7002  

Without music, most movie would be downright drab. No one would be singing in the rain. The guys in "Chariots of Fire" would be running INEXPLICABLY IN SLOW MOTION. And in "Casablanca," Sam would have nothing to play... much less play again.

This week, we're talking about movie music with three great guests: NPR film critic Bob Mondello, jazz great Terence Blanchard, and director Benh Zeitlin, whose "Beasts of the Southern Wild" earned him awards the world over.

So, as they say, save us the aisle seat and we'll share our popcorn.

Gregg Goldman

If this week's show doesn't bring out the animal in you, consult a doctor. You may be a vegetable... or a mineral... or a big block of cheese.

This is the time of year when pet lovers take their animals to church, when Lions and Tigers and Cardinals and Falcons take to the field, and when we turn to Louisiana songs about animals.

We've got birds, bees, a monkey, a horse, and even a cheetah. Yes, there are cheetahs in Louisiana. But the potholes slow them down.

So mark your territory and pick up our scent. Click LISTEN and enjoy.

PLAYLIST

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Food may be the most popular subject on the planet. In fact, scientists have long said that men and women think about food more often than almost anything else: more often than global warming or world peace, more than super heroes, more often, even, than sex.

We can't beat those odds, so this week on Music Inside Out we make a grocery list and dedicate the show to Louisiana songs about food.

Taj Mahal has guts. What else would explain the song title, "You Ain't No Streetwalker Mama, Honey, But I Do Like the Way You Strut Your Stuff?"

In the history of the blues, there's never been anyone as bold, funny, carnal and canny.

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