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

Brian C. Miller Richard

If you've never seen Sonny Landreth's hands glide over the fret of his slide guitar, you should. It's like watching someone touch the finest of silk.

If you've never heard Sonny Landreth play the blues, or classical music or flat out rock 'n roll, you should. His sound is extraordinary.

Landreth's fans include John Hiatt, Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt and Johnny Winter — with whom he toured earlier this year.

Not bad for a self-described "stepson" of Louisiana, born in Mississippi and raised on big helpings of Cajun and Zydeco music.

When jazz trumpeter Jeremy Davenport got off the road to take a lengthy engagement at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in New Orleans, he said no one seemed more surprised than his former boss — Harry Connick Jr. Davenport had traveled the world in Connick's band, which was and remains, hot stuff.

We'll be back next week with an hour with Jeremy Davenport. Stay safe, everyone!  

Irma Thomas returns to Music Inside Out for a whole new, fresh, hot buttered and yummy conversation. The Queen of New Orleans Soul pays her respects to some of her musical influences and talks about the bottom line of a Grammy Award. Turns out, there's a reason why they call it show business.

Jason Saul / American Routes

Go ahead, we DARE you. Try listening to this week's re-broadcast of Music Inside Out with Deacon John Moore and NOT enjoying yourself.

As a guitarist, band leader and showman, Deacon John has been delighting crowds for more than half a century. This year, he's played the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and the White House. He's just that irresistible.  

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

Allen Toussaint says he'd rather let his piano do the talking. Lucky for us.

Toussaint's fingers have done the talking on song after song for more than 50 years, defining the modern-day New Orleans sound. He's written, produced and arranged chart-topping hits for scores of artists. And lately, Toussaint has been performing his catalog more often around the world.

This week, Allen Toussaint has plenty to say to Music Inside Out. Check out his major chords. And the minor ones too.

Music Playlist

Classified
James Booker

Vappielle, Inc.

Don Vappie can play just about anything on banjo — classical compositions, traditional jazz, even funk music. So wherever he goes musically, there's always an audience eager to hear what he has to say.

What most people may not know is that Vappie's talent extends to bass, guitar and any other instrument that needs playing. His ears are just that big. And his hands are just that good. Maybe that's why Vappie tells Music Inside Out that one of his favorite songs is the old Charles Wright hit, "Express Yourself." Because that's what Vappie does best.

Irma Thomas' Sound

Jul 26, 2012
Rick Olivier

More than six billion people live on the planet, and yet relatively few human voices are recognizable to the naked ear.

Irma Thomas has one of those voices.

For more than 50 years, Thomas has written, recorded and lent her voice to some of the most precious songs that Louisiana has ever produced. Now music lovers all over the world know the contralto that she calls, "Irma's sound." This week, Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins makes way for the Queen of New Orleans Soul.

Keep it down, y'all. Miss Irma is speaking.

Sean Gardner / Getty Images

Louisiana music has such a hold on music lovers around the world that nearly every popular artist borrows from it. Or replicates it. Or, some might say, steals from it.

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