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Stuart’s Opera House welcomes NPR Music’s Bob Boilen for a special showcase of music featuring Valerie June, Julie Byrne, and River Whyless on Friday, April 13th at 8:00pm. This show is presented in collaboration with The Ohio University Scripps College of Communication, in partnership with the Ohio University Performing Arts & Concert Series, the School of Media Arts & Studies, the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, WOUB Public Media, and Arts for OHIO. Boilen, host of NPR’s “All Songs Considered” and the creator and host of NPR’s “Tiny Desk Concerts,” will curate the evening, which will feature short interview segments with each performer.Valerie June knows a thing or two about turning hopes and dreams into realities. With Pushin’ Against A Stone, she went from self-releasing her music as Tennessee’s best kept secret to being hailed by the New York Times as one of America’s “most intriguing, fully formed new talents.” The New Yorker was captivated by her “unique, stunning voice,” while Rolling Stone dubbed her “unstoppable,” and NPR called her “an elemental talent born with the ability to rearrange the clouds themselves.” She astonished TV audiences from coast-to-coast with spellbinding performances on The Tonight Show, The Late Show, Austin City Limits, Rachael Ray, and CBS Saturday Morning, and graced some of the world’s most prestigious stages, from Carnegie Hall to the Kennedy Center. First Lady Michelle Obama invited June to The White House, and she toured with artists like Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Sturgill Simpson, Norah Jones, and Jake Bugg in addition to flooring festival crowds at Bonnaroo, Outside Lands, Newport Folk, Hangout, ACL, Pickathon, Mountain Jam and more. In the UK, the reaction was similarly ecstatic. June performed on Later…with Jools Holland, joined a bill with the Rolling Stones in Hyde Park, and took the press by storm. Uncut praised her “remarkably careworn vocals,” MOJO swooned for her “glorious sound,” and The Independent’s Andy Gill wrote, “June has the most strikingly individual delivery I’ve heard in ages.”Julie Byrne’s second album, Not Even Happiness, has evolved at its own pace. It spans recollections of bustling roadside diners, the stars over the high desert, the aching weariness of change, the wildflowers of the California coast, and the irresolvable mysteries of love. Her new album vividly archives what would have otherwise been lost to the road, and in doing so, Byrne exhibits her extraordinarily innate musicality. Some of the songs on Not Even Happiness took years of fine-tuning to reach their fruition. Her last album was released in January 2014, on Chicago based DIY label Orindal after first existing as two separate cassette releases. Rooms With Walls and Windows went on to become a true modern-day word of mouth success story (it would have to be for an artist who shuns all forms of social media). By the end of the year, it was voted number 7 in Mojo Magazine’s Best Albums, with the Huffington Post calling it, “2014’s Great American Album.” A collection of hushed intimate front porch psych-folk songs, recalling the greats, but strongly emanating the essence of timeliness. Her journey to follow was captured in two summers through Europe, playing the Green Man Festival and End of the Road, as well as lesser-trodden tour paths around Italy.Asheville, North Carolina’s River Whyless is a band much like that titular body of water – a mingling of currents, a flow of time and physical space, all brought together in a murmuring sense of purpose. It is the expression of a group of musicians, three of which are songwriters, who have played together in various forms since their college days in the North Carolina mountains. Their forthcoming EP, their first release since their 2012 debut album, is the next evolution of the band’s collective voice. Composed of Ryan O’Keefe (guitars, vocals), Halli Anderson (violin, vocals), Alex McWalters (drums, percussion) and Daniel Shearin (bass, vocals, harmonium, cello, banjo), the band found themselves at a bit of a crossroads when preparing music for a new release. “Sometimes each songwriter really differs quite a bit from the other,” said O’Keefe. “We had to figure out how to incorporate everyone’s writing style into a cohesive idea. These were the five songs where we could find that common thread.”“Bob is a master curator and a devoted fan of music discovery,” said Josh Antonuccio, a lecturer in the School of Media Arts & Studies. “From his role in creating and hosting ‘Tiny Desk Concerts’ at NPR and his work with of ‘All Songs Considered’ at NPR Music, Bob remains a national treasure in the music industry. We are excited to welcome him back for a 2nd year.” Antonuccio will interview Boilen at Glidden Music Hall at Ohio University on Friday, April 13, from 10:30 a.m. to noon. The event will be live-streamed at mediaschool.ohio.edu. The two will be joined by acclaimed Memphis soul/folk artist Valerie June and singer/songwriter Julie Byrne. The event is part of the Scripps Visiting Artist Series and is free and open to the public. Online viewers will be able to ask questions of guests via Twitter by tweeting their question with the hashtag #askoumdia.
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