Bob Boilen

In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.

Significant listener interest in the music being played on All Things Considered, along with his and NPR's vast music collections, gave Boilen the idea to start All Songs Considered. "It was obvious to me that listeners of NPR were also lovers of music, but what also became obvious by 1999 was that the web was going to be the place to discover new music and that we wanted to be the premiere site for music discovery." The show launched in 2000, with Boilen as its host.

Before coming to NPR, Boilen found many ways to share his passion for music. From 1982 to 1986 he worked for Baltimore's Impossible Theater, where he held many posts, including composer, technician, and recording engineer. Boilen became part of music history in 1983 with the Impossible Theater production Whiz Bang, a History of Sound. In it, Boilen became one of the first composers to use audio sampling — in this case, sounds from nature and the industrial revolution. He was interviewed about Whiz Bang by Susan Stamberg on All Things Considered.

In 1985, the Washington City Paper voted Boilen 'Performance Artist of the Year.' An electronic musician, he received a grant from the Washington D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities to work on electronic music and performance.

After Impossible Theater, Boilen worked as a producer for a television station in Washington, D.C. He produced several projects, including a music video show. In 1997, he started producing an online show called Science Live for the Discovery Channel. He also put out two albums with his psychedelic band, Tiny Desk Unit, during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Boilen still composes and performs music and posts it for free on his website BobBoilen.info. He performs contradance music and has a podcast of contradance music that he produces with his son Julian.

Longtime NPR fans may remember another contribution Boilen made to NPR. He composed the original theme music for NPR's Talk of the Nation.

 

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7:47am

Thu April 26, 2012
Tiny Desk Concerts

Cowboy Junkies: Tiny Desk Concert

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 8:18 am

Doriane Raiman NPR

Make a list of bands with integrity, still highly respected and still making music after 25 years, and that list will have Cowboy Junkies near the top. More active than ever, the group has released four new studio records in the past two years — an insane achievement. A prolific nature doesn't define greatness, of course, but these past few years have produced some of the best music Cowboy Junkies' members have ever made.

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11:56am

Mon April 23, 2012
Tiny Desk Concerts

Jolie Holland: Tiny Desk Concert

Mallory Benedict NPR

It'll take just a few seconds to find out if you're likely to fall in love with Jolie Holland. That's what happened to me about eight years ago: Holland was a founding member of The Be Good Tanyas, and I've been listening faithfully to the Texas-born, Brooklyn-based singer ever since.

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7:10am

Tue April 10, 2012
Tiny Desk Concerts

Caveman: Tiny Desk Concert

Originally published on Tue April 10, 2012 2:38 pm

Doriane Raiman NPR

Caveman's Coco Beware was one of my favorite records of 2011, with dreamy guitar- and keyboard-blended pop songs that hit all my musical sweet spots. I love hearing a guitar-based record full of subtlety; one that's not simply over-driven beyond distortion. Caveman writes hit songs, and for me, that means melodies you can carry around in your head, not just your pocket. For pop music, these songs are full of space — they're spontaneous and seem effortless.

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9:56am

Wed March 28, 2012
Tiny Desk Concerts

First Aid Kit: Tiny Desk Concert

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 8:08 am

Mallory Benedict NPR

First Aid Kit is two young Swedish sisters — that's Klara Soderberg on the left and Johanna Soderberg on the right — who make utterly charming, folk-infused pop music that lulls and enchants, with an obvious nod to late-'60s and early-'70s bands like Crosby, Stills & Nash. Their voices intertwine in that way sibling singers' sometimes do, with disarmingly lovely results, but the music remains distinctly alluring and adventurous.

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8:40am

Mon February 27, 2012
Tiny Desk Concerts

Milagres: Tiny Desk Concert

Emilly Bogle/NPR

The big sound of Milagres is built from small, simple elements: the boom of the kick drum, the clack of the claves, the repetitive tap-tap-tapping of a piano. This is a band of selective minimalism — which, in the end, somehow gets me thinking about the big sounds Phil Spector made. It's all about attention to detail, and Milagres is a band that cares.

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