Words & Music

Event Hours(1)

  • Saturday

    10:00 am - 12:00 pm

    with Marcie Finkelstein

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Words & MusicMarcie gathers listeners together to share music and ideas for an intimate start to your Saturday. You’ll hear new releases and old favorites along with interviews with artists about their latest work. Marcie dives deep into an album, giving insights into the songs and the inspiration behind them. An Americana/singer-songwriters core mixes with soul, rock, and other spice to get your weekend going.


Marcie Finkelstein

As a volunteer, I’ve followed WMNF to 3 homes over more than 3 decades. After all these years hosting a show, I still marvel at the intimacy of our time together. It doesn’t feel like broadcasting; it feels like we’re hanging out – good friends sharing music and ideas, linked by an interest in people and issues beyond our own personal lives. I can’t tell you how often I’ll get a request for a song I’m about to play, or two listeners suggest songs that form a perfect set. And we don’t just share the music: We talk about the artists and the stories behind the songs, bringing them to life in a way that simply streaming music can’t do.

In my other life, I’m Professor Emerita at USF, but my favorite title is Best of the Bay from Creative Loafing for my WMNF show. See you Saturday!


Hayes Carll | December 11, 2021

Hayes Carll’s new album includes Help Me Remember, a deeply moving song told from the perspective of someone struggling with Alzheimer’s. As his memory fades, he asks others to remind him who he was, seeking reassurance that he was an honorable man. I spoke with Hayes about his grandfather who died of Alzheimer’s, but also more generally; the questions the narrator asks are those Haye asks himself as he evaluates his own life.


Rising Appalachia | December 4, 2021

Sisters Leah Song and Chloe Smith grew up steeped in music and social activism. They explored the roots of fiddle and banjo on family trips to Appalachia, hip-hop in the clubs of their Atlanta hometown, Latin and world music living and working overseas. All these influences come together in their songs and their band, Rising Appalachia. I spoke with Leah about their efforts to create community and give voice to the voiceless. We’ll hear the song, Speak Out, a duet with Ani DiFranco.


John McCutcheon | November 20, 2021

When World Lacrosse chose the 8 nations that would compete in the 2022 championship, it excluded the #3-ranked Iroquois Nationals; the organization did not recognize them as a sovereign nation. But Ireland knew the Iroquois not only are sovereign, they also gave lacrosse to the world. Ireland has stepped aside to make room on the roster for the Iroquois. John McCutcheon tells the story in his new song, Medicine Game.

We had a wide-ranging discussion that also looked at broader issues: whether and how to tell the story of another culture; how each of us in our daily lives can do our part to recognize and rectify injustice; and how songs can take on new meanings never dreamed of by the writer.


Bob Schneider | November 13, 2021

Now a happily married father of two, Bob Schneider enjoyed his time off from touring this past year. And getting back to performing has given him a new appreciation for his fans and his music: It all feels new again. But with this feeling of rebirth come other changes that lead Bob to ponder his mortality, and he explores this with his usual humor in a new album, In a Roomful of Blood With a Sleeping Tiger.

I talked with Bob about his evolving perspective on life and career.  By letting go of expectations, Bob finds his world richer than ever before.


Paula Fuga | November 6, 2021

Hawaiian singer-songwriter, Paula Fuga, is at the top of her game. Her new album is on Jack Johnson’s record label; she duets with Jack on a song (If Ever) they co-wrote after losing their fathers; and Ben Harper accompanies them on lap-steel guitar. But her early life didn’t foreshadow great success. Paula’s parents were troubled, the family at times homeless. Yet even as a young child, Paula knew she would make it as a singer. Paula talks about the trajectory of her life, her relationship with Jack, and her unwavering optimism in the face of hardship.


John Paul White | October 30, 2021

When John Prine died, John Paul White lost a mentor and dear friend; they’d shared a stage and had just booked their next tour. On a new tribute album, Broken Hearts and Dirty Windows Vol. 2, John Paul sings a stirring version of Prine’s iconic Sam Stone. I spoke with John Paul about their friendship and the song.

John Paul also talks about making his way back to music after the breakup of The Civil Wars. It took several years and some soul-searching, but in the end came down to what motivates many artists: He writes and shares his songs with us because it’s “what I’m supposed to do.”


Don McLean | October 23, 2021

This month marks 50 years since the release of American Pie. At 8 ½ minutes, it took up both sides of a 45; you had to flip the record to hear the whole thing. I spoke with Don McLean about the song and our obsession with uncovering its meaning. I don’t know how much more you’ll learn about it, but you will get a sense of the man. He’s generous with his time, and he’ll tell you what he thinks on any issue you ask about (and some you don’t.) He defies easy labels and takes pride in being tough to figure out. It’s easy to see, though, that Don believes in speech without restraint, music, and himself.


Dar Williams | October 9, 2021

A special two-part conversation with Dar Williams. We began as planned, talking about her new album, I’ll Meet You Here. Dar shared the challenge of navigating changes in the music industry and listeners’ tastes, and finding new creative outlets.

Our discussion took a profound and unexpected turn (for both of us) when I mentioned watching Jamie Raskin lead the second impeachment trial and hearing, “My friend Dar Williams says that ‘sometimes the truth is like a second chance’.” The quote is from Dar’s song, After All. It’s about her struggle in college with depression, the illness that led Rep. Raskin’s son, Tommy, to take his life just days before the trial.


Laura Love | September 25, 2021

The January 6 insurrection did something to Laura Love that neither four years of Donald Trump nor the Black Lives Matter movement could: catapulted her out of retirement. The result is her new album, Uppity. Laura reveals the difficult road she’s traveled because of her color, one defined by personal tragedy and professional constraints. Those experiences inspired her song, The Heart of Nat Turner, where she compares the treatment the Capitol rioters received with the injustices perpetrated against blacks following Nat Turner’s slave rebellion. Though weighted by history, with her career no longer hanging in the balance, Laura finds joy in the freedom to speak out – in short, to be “uppity.”


James McMurtry | September 18, 2021

I spoke with James about his new song, Canola Fields, in which the sight of the bright yellow crop evokes a flood of memories from decades past. James shares the sweet and the bitter that inevitably come with age: the wisdom and long-lasting friendships as well as the inevitable regrets. Canola Fields showcases James’ exquisite eye for detail, describing places and people we otherwise might never notice. He says he can still rock out and still draw a young audience, though he feels his age in other ways.


Dylan LeBlanc | September 4, 2021

Dylan LeBlanc spent much of his youth trying to escape his environment – and himself. On a new album, Pastimes, he covers songs that inspired a young Dylan, including Gentle On My Mind. The song evokes deep connections to his roots, and the theme of the nomad is close to his heart. Dylan talks about family (including a daughter born in June), struggling with substance abuse, and learning to face life head on.


M. Ward | August 28, 2021

The first time M. Ward heard Billie Holiday, he was drawn to the imperfections in her voice and the authenticity of her delivery. That sound, and the accompanying strings, were “sweet and sour in perfect measure.” Matt didn’t know it was latter-day Billie from Lady in Satin, her voice damaged by years of drugs.

He pays tribute to Billie in his new release, Think of Spring, re-recording Lady in Satin and filtering the lush arrangements through an acoustic guitar. We talked about Billie’s life and recordings and the inspiration Matt takes from them.


Amy Helm | August 21, 2021

Amy Helm’s new album, What the Flood Leaves Behind, finds her more confident as a singer and more adept at balancing life as single mom and touring artist. Recording in her father, Levon Helm’s, Woodstock studio, Amy took inspiration from his triumphant final chapter after years of addiction. Levon released 3 Grammy-winning solo albums, and Amy worked on all 3 and was a member of The Levon Helm Band.

We’ll hear The Cotton and the Cane, a song that honors Amy’s Arkansas roots. We see the hardscrabble lives of cotton share croppers and meet the women, Amy’s grandmother and aunts, who were a safe harbor during her often-chaotic childhood.


Mary Chapin Carpenter | November 24, 2020

Her song, Secret Keepers, was inspired by the #MeToo movement and comes from Mary Chapin’s own experience. Our conversation covered a lot of ground, including the corrosive nature of secrets and why it took years for her to be able to write a song that’s both personal and universal. It’s on her new album, The Dirt and the Stars.


Shannon McNally | July 24, 2021

With The Waylon Sessions, Shannon McNally becomes the first woman to tackle a large chunk of Waylon Jennings’ catalog. Recording songs associated with the macho “Outlaw” appealed to Shannon as a feminist and a fan, and we’ll hear from her tomorrow on Words & Music.
Shannon discusses her approach to Waylon’s iconic image and songs; the support she received from his widow, Jessi Colter; and the challenges facing women in rock. She also talks lovingly about friend and mentor, Rodney Crowell (last week’s guest on Words & Music), who joins Shannon on his song, I Ain’t Living Long Like This.


Rodney Crowell | July 17, 2021

Something Has to Change, from Rodney Crowell’s new record Triage, is an urgent plea to care for the environment and each other. In what he calls his most personal album, Rodney shares a spiritual perspective that emphasize the connection of all people to each other and the planet. With this comes an aim to treat those with differing views with respect, aware, as Rodney says, that we don’t know the path another has walked. In a thoughtful and revealing conversation, Rodney uncovers layers of himself and his own path. He talks about the lasting effects of a childhood in near-poverty and how his failures have been his greatest teachers.


Steve Earle | July 21, 2020

In 2010, an explosion at Upper Big Branch mine killed 29 and revealed safety violations so egregious, the CEO went to prison. The event inspired a play, Coal Country, its script drawn from interviews with survivors and the families of the dead. Steve Earle conducted many of those interviews. His songs anchor the play and a new album, Ghosts of West Virginia.

The project satisfied his longstanding desire to write an album from the perspective of people who don’t share his politics. Steve concluded that we all have much in common, but those in power have a vested interest in fostering divisions.

Todd Snider | June 26, 2021

Marcie moves to a new day and time and shares a conversation with WMNF favorite, Todd Snider. Join Marcie every Saturday from 10AM to Noon.

Todd’s new album captures his unique ability to mix humor and vulnerability. We see this beautifully in the song, Handsome John, Todd’s tribute to his hero/mentor/surrogate father/friend, John Prine. Marcie spoke with Todd about his complicated personal journey and the gift of John’s guidance and love.


Aaron Lee Tasjan | June 15, 2021

We continue WMNF’s celebration of Pride Month with Aaron Lee Tasjan. Aaron dedicates his new album, Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan!, to the alternative kids who felt ‘other’ growing up. With humor and empathy, he explores his own journey in his most autobiographical record.

Aaron defies labels, explaining, “I don’t know what my sexuality is. I just know that I find people attractive and I seem to be able to fall in love with people.” We’ll learn more as we talk with Aaron and hear his song, Feminine Walk.


Selwyn Birchwood | May 4, 2021

At the start of our conversation, Selwyn Birchwood tells me, “My worst day playing music is better than my best day doing anything else,” and in my memories of him onstage, he’s always smiling. You can hear the Tampa native Tuesday on Words & Music and catch him next Saturday at the Safety Harbor Art and Music Center.

Selwyn talks about his new album, Living in a Burning House, and about a life in the blues: His introduction to the genre was a Buddy Guy concert; Selwyn knew then that the blues was his future. He shares the story of meeting Sonny Rhodes, touring with him during college breaks, and developing his own genre-blending sound.”


Raul Malo (The Mavericks) | September 15, 2020

¡Buenos días! As part of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Marcie celebrated with Raul Malo on Words & Music. The Mavericks just released their first all-Spanish album, a mix of originals and classics and – as with any Mavericks record – genres.

Raul talks about his commitment to diversity in music and beyond. The son of Cuban exiles, Raul describes how his 2017 trip to explore his musical roots – documented in the PBS special Havana Time Machine – changed his life and the lives of artists he met there.


Rachael Price (Lake Street Dive)  | March 23, 2021

Lake Street Dive frontwoman Rachael Price joins me for a conversation on Words & Music. The band has a new album, and we’ll hear Rachael’s song, Nobody’s Stopping You Now. Rachael wrote the song after finding journals she kept as a teen, filled with insecurities. She tenderly embraces that girl and admits in our conversation that she’s also singing to herself today.


Dave Alvin | January 5, 2021

Dave Alvin shares his new record, From an Old Guitar: Rare and Unreleased Recordings. Dave may be an intense guitar player, but he’s also friendly and good-natured, and great fun to chat with.

Dave talks about studying poetry in college, discovering his own voice after writing for brother Phil, and the joy of making music with friends. He shares his approach to re-interpreting Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited” along with insights into Dylan’s songwriting process, gleaned from their time touring and recording together.


Rosanne Cash | November 10, 2020

Rosanne Cash’s new song, Crawl Into the Promised Land, captures her fear and anger at the state of our nation. But there’s also optimism, an abiding belief that better days are ahead. Rosanne’s husband, John Leventhal, wrote the music and her son Jakob Leventhal sings backup and shot the accompanying video. Rosanne talks about family, friends, and a life in music.”


Grace Potter | April 13, 2o21

With the demise of The Nocturnals and divorce from the band’s drummer, Grace Potter saw music as a destructive force in her life. What brought her back to singing, then writing, and eventually recording the new Grammy-nominated album, Daylight, was the birth of her son and lullabies she composed to comfort him. Grace shares her journey.

Writing was therapy, with songs so personal, she says she wouldn’t have written them if she’d known they’d be released. Ironically, by focusing on herself, Grace has found her deepest connection with fans.


Ani DiFranco | March 30, 2021

As part of WMNF’s celebration of Women’s History Month, I spoke with the incomparable Ani DiFranco. Ani left home at 16 to make her own way, writing music that spoke to the marginalized. Her LGBTQ fans were so devoted, that when she chose to marry, many felt betrayed. Ani feels for them, just as she works to understand those whose politics differ from hers – a resolve she explores in her new album, Revolutionary Love.

In a deep and revealing conversation, Ani shares her efforts to stay true to herself, and find peace, in the midst of others’ expectations and judgments. She talks about her decision at 19 to start her own record label, Righteous Babe, which flourishes 30 years later. We’ll hear a song from the new record and an older tune in which she comes to terms with choices her parents made.


Patterson Hood (Drive-By Truckers) | January 19, 2021

Patterson Hood gets us ready for Inauguration Day on Words & Music. Drive-By Truckers just released The New OK, written during lockdown and recorded by the band in separate studios. The title song was inspired by the BLM protests in Patterson’s Portland hometown.

He offers his perspective on the protests, the increase in white supremacist activity, and Donald Trump’s role. Patterson also talks about his father’s stand against racism as a member of the famed Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. He shares his hopes and concerns for the country and the personal toll of the past year as he works to find a new OK.


Will Quinlan | August 7, 2021

Will Quinlan has been a staple of the Tampa Bay music scene for decades, playing with legendary bands Pagan Saints and The Diviners. His stunning new single, Texarkana, was inspired by the real-life story of his late cousin, Mike. It’s a tale of deep love and great loss, and Will talks with us about the song and his relationship with the man who was like a brother to him. While the song’s narrator is Mike, in many ways, as our conversation gradually reveals, it’s also Will. We’ll learn about Mike & his love Henrietta, but also about Will, the man behind the haunting ballad.


Robin Pecknold (Fleet Foxes) | July 31, 2021

Robin Pecknold is the creative force behind Fleet Foxes.The band’s new album, Shore, was written during the height of the pandemic. Throughout the winter of 2020, Robin saw the bodies at the makeshift morgue across from his apartment. Springtime brought Black Lives Matter marchers past his window on their way to Washington Square Park. Robin began helping them and, inspired by a friend who had devoted his life to social justice, wrote the song, Jara. It’s named for the Chilean singer/activist who was tortured and killed in the coup that brought Pinochet to power.


Brett Dennen | August 14, 2021

Brett Dennen has just released See the World, and while the song was inspired by his son, Brett urges us all to leave our comfort zones and explore unfamiliar cultures and environments. He sees this as a path toward greater empathy for others and a better understanding of ourselves. He’s also an environmentalist, emphasizing our connection to the planet as well as each other.

Brett talks about his work with San Francisco’s Mosaic Project, which brings together children of diverse backgrounds for a summer of fun and community building. The hope is that once back home, the children will embrace inclusivity and “try to make peace on earth.”


Sarah Jarosz | February 23, 2021

At 29, Sarah has won 3 Grammys and may soon take home 2 more for World on the Ground. Nominated for Best Americana Album, it draws inspiration from Sarah’s childhood in bucolic Wimberley Texas and the roads she’s traveled since. But the songs transcend her own experience to explore the idea of home, the fragility of our best-laid plans, and what we mean by a life well lived.

We talk about all this and hear Hometown, nominated for Best American Roots Song. You’ll see that for all her success, Sarah is open, friendly, and as down-to-earth as they come.


Amanda Shires | December 1, 2020

Amanda Shires shares her new song, The Problem. I had the same surprise talking with Amanda as with Mary Chapin Carpenter – discovering during our conversation that the song was about her own experience. Here the subject is abortion.

Amanda wrote The Problem several years ago, concerned about efforts to restrict the right to choose. She hesitated to release it because of fears for her family’s safety. She also chose to release it because of family: her determination to see that her daughter has options denied to previous generations. I’m deeply grateful to Amanda for her willingness to be so vulnerable and speak so openly.”


Elizabeth Cook | October 13, 2020

Just as her career was taking off, Elizabeth Cook suffered a series of losses: Her brother, parents, and mother- and father-in-law died; the family farm burned; her marriage ended. Elizabeth’s depression was misconstrued as evidence of substance abuse. An upcoming tour was cancelled, and she was forced into rehab.

But Elizabeth spun her pain and newfound strength into an album, Aftermath, and she’s my guest on the next Tuesday Morning Show. You’ll find she pulls no punches – in song or conversation.”


Kathleen Edwards | October 13, 2020

In 2014, Kathleen Edwards left music and went home to Ottawa to open a coffee shop called Quitters. She was clinically depressed, felt stalled in her career, and had ended a very public relationship with Justin Vernon (aka Bon Iver).

But she’s back with a new album, and on tomorrow’s Tuesday Morning Show, Kathleen talks candidly about all of this and how she found her way back to music – and herself.










Hosted By...

Marcie Finkelstein  [email protected]

As a volunteer, I've followed WMNF to 3 homes over more than 3 decades. After all these years hosting a show, I still marvel at the intimacy of our time together. It doesn’t feel like broadcasting; it’s feels like we’re hanging out – good friends sharing music and ideas, linked by an interest in people and issues beyond our own personal lives. I can’t tell you how often I’ll get a request for a song I’m about to play, or two listeners suggest songs that form a perfect set. And we don’t just share the music: We talk about the artists and the stories behind the songs, bringing them to life in a way that simply streaming music can’t do.

In my other life, I’m Professor Emerita at USF, but my favorite title is Best of the Bay from Creative Loafing for my WMNF show. See you Saturday!