Saturday, January 21, 2012

On the Air: Never Too Late

Michael Franti and Spearhead: Never Too Late

[purchase studio version]

When I started thinking about this week's theme I begin to think about how the internet, for better or for worse, has changed the way that many of us listen to the radio. With an internet connection you can essentially listen to any radio station which live-streams their programming. For example, I am in Boston, but I regularly listen to sports programming streaming from WGN radio in Chicago.

My first experience with streaming music came in 2004 when my then boyfriend introduced me to KEXP. KEXP is a public supported (minimal advertising) radio station based in Seattle on the University of Washington campus. They began live streaming in 2000. Most of their daytime playlist is dominated by whatever is popular in alternative rock (or indie pop or whatever), but they also have a huge variety of shows featuring country, jazz, world, hip-hop, local music, etc.

My favorite part of their programming is their live guests. In 2005 KEXP released their inaugural Live at KEXP volume 1 limited edition album which featured 19 of their best live performances (out of over 250) from over the past year. One of the most striking performances on this stellar set is by Michael Franti and Spearhead and his song "Never Too Late." Before performing a stripped down version of the song, which really highlights Franti's powerful vocals, Franti describes the meaning of the song and dedicates the song to am important person in his life.

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