Reppin the CT


Colbert rips a guest verse with Alicia Keys.

Fela Kuti in Performance - 1971

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Right now I am trying to imagine a world where I have $1000 to get my wife and myself to New York to see Fela!.

Shafiq Husayn - Lil' Girl


Shafiq Husayn of Sa-Ra Creative Partners - Lil Girl

Gil Scott Heron "Where Did the Night Go"

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Long GSH history in my family. Used to run with my mom's crew sometimes back in DC in the 60s. Did some vets' events for my dad in the 70s and 80s. He's spent most of the past ten years or so struggling with addiction and in and out of court and jail. He's got a new record called "I'm New Here" scheduled for release in February. Here's hoping for the good, right?

Prince - Head (Live in 1981)


Sometimes I think "Dirty Mind" might surpass "Sign O the Times" as my favorite Prince album. SO MANY POWER JAMS.

Jay Smooth on Michael Jackson


Exceptionally insightful.

Bill Withers, Soul Legend: Interview on The Sound of Young America

Bill Withers

Bill Withers is the singer-songwriter behind soul classics like Ain't No Sunshine, Lean on Me, Use Me, Just the Two of Us, Lovely Day and more. Withers retired from the music industry in the mid 1980s, and with the exception of a few songs penned for other artists, has stayed out of the public eye. He's featured in the new documentary and concert film Soul Power, which follows a music festival in Zaire in 1974. The film hits theaters in New York and LA on July 14th, and opens across the country thereafter.

Bill Withers in "Soul Power"


Bill Withers from Jesse Thorn on Vimeo.

I was lucky enough to see the new documentary "Soul Power" a couple weeks ago. It was shot at Zaire '74, a festival of soul music from the African diaspora that accompanied the Foreman-Ali fight that was the centerpiece of the film When We Were Kings.

It features musical performances from, among others, Celia Cruz & the Fania All-Stars, The Spinners, Miriam Makeba, James Brown and the great Bill Withers.

I can count on one hand the number of musicians as important to me as Bill Withers, and it was an amazing honor to get to speak with him for The Sound of Young America. Bill has been mostly retired for more than twenty years, but he's very healthy and sharp as a tack at 70.

The interview will air next week. In the meantime, enjoy his performance from the film. And go see it when it opens near you in July -- it's AMAZING.

Remembering Michael Jackson with Oliver Wang & Jay Smooth: The Sound of Young America Podcast

Michael Jackson
Oliver Wang
Jay Smooth

Oliver Wang and Jay Smooth join Jesse to talk about the life and music of Michael Jackson.

Bill Withers in West Virginia


Bill Withers interviewed on West Virginia public TV on the occasion of his induction into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame. One of the great popular songwriters of the 20th century, and an absolutely radiant man.

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