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Son Little Expands His Musical Palette On 'Aloha'

Son Little performing live at WXPN's Free At Noon Concert in November 2019, recorded live for World Cafe
Jamie Stow
/
WXPN
Son Little performing live at WXPN's Free At Noon Concert in November 2019, recorded live for World Cafe

The first time I heard Son Little's song "The River" back in 2014, it completely floored me. With a mix of R&B and soul, it simultaneously sounded both timeless and of the moment, much more than a simple throwback tune.

Son Little's musical palette continues to hit all of those musical sweet spots, but on his latest album, Aloha, out Jan. 31, he's pushed his sound even further. There wasn't a flange effect on early R&B records from more than 60 years ago, but there is on this record, recorded in Paris and produced by Renaud Letang.

In this session, we'll discuss Son Little's sound and influences, plus how you get over losing all your songs due to a fried hard drive. But first we get started with a special solo acoustic performance of "Hey Rose." Listen in the player above.

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Since 2017, John Myers has been the producer of NPR's World Cafe, which is produced by WXPN at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Previously he spent about eight years working on the other side of Philly at WHYY as a producer on the staff of Fresh Air with Terry Gross. John was also a member of the team of public radio veterans recruited to develop original programming for Audible and has worked extensively as a freelance producer. His portfolio includes work for the Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, The Association for Public Art and the radio documentary, Going Black: The Legacy of Philly Soul Radio. He's taught radio production to preschoolers and college students and, in the late 90's, spent a couple of years traveling around the country as a roadie for the rock band Huffamoose.