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!



Jenn Marie Earle | March 18, 2023

A special hour: my conversation with Jenn Marie Earle, widow of Justin Townes Earle. He died in 2020 of an accidental overdose after years of addiction, much of which played out on stage. I remember Justin at Crowbar in 2010. He gave a great show, but when he joked about a recent arrest, the crowd cheered.

So it caught my eye when Jenn Marie posted on his Facebook page: “I’m happy to hear about your experiences meeting Justin, but if it includes providing him drugs and getting wasted with him, I don’t want to hear it. I don’t want to see photos of him with his shirt off or mooning people…Many fans thought Justin’s behavior the last couple years of his life was entertaining; people egged on the erratic behavior and even brag about it. But the majority of true fans were concerned for his life.”

I asked Jenn Marie to talk with me about how fans can affect artists battling addiction. She shared insights into Justin and their life together; her struggle to raise their daughter and her determination to help others. We weave songs by and about Justin through the hour.


Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams | March 4, 2023

The spirit of Levon Helm lives on in Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams. As members of the Levon Helm Band, they toured together and played the Midnight Rambles at his Woodstock home. They basked in Levon’s delight in music and musicians, his authenticity and connection to his roots. Larry produced Levon’s 3 Grammy-winning solo albums.

After Levon’s death, Larry & Teresa formed their own band and recently released ‘Live at Levon’s!‘, recorded in the space they love best. I spoke with them about the new record, their years with Levon, and the magic of the Rambles.


Marty Stuart | February 18, 2023

Ken Burns says, “If country music had a President, it would be Marty Stuart.” Marty’s story starts in Philadelphia Mississippi, fueled by Black juke joints and the Grand Ole Opry. His career combines a deep love of country music’s diverse origins with a commitment to use the music in service to others.

Nowhere is this more fully realized than in Marty’s album Badlands: Ballads of the Lakota. Since his first visit to Pine Ridge with Johnny Cash’s band, Marty has steeped himself in native culture. Here he honors it while also taking on the government’s treatment of our indigenous peoples.


Sue Foley | February 4, 2023

Through decades of touring and recording, the one constant in Sue Foley’s life has been Pinky, her pink paisley Telecaster. Sue immortalizes their relationship in her new album, Pinky’s Blues.

I spoke with Sue about Pinky, the album, and how a white female from Canada became a noted Texas blues artist. Sue describes arriving in Austin as a young woman and joining an innovative and welcoming community. She’s indebted to Clifford Antone, founder of Antone’s, for his lifelong support of blues music and musicians.


Kathy Mattea | January 28, 2023

Kathy Mattea is a treat to talk with! She’s a down-to earth, engaging, and uniquely talented Grammy winner whose deep connection to her West Virginia roots compels her to activism. I spoke with Kathy about her journey from Appalachia to Nashville and the circumstances that led to her album, Coal. The granddaughter of miners, Kathy has witnessed the devastation of mountaintop removal mining and uses her music and vast knowledge to speak on the issue.

David Wilcox | January 7, 2023

In his new song, We Make The Way By Walking, David Wilcox embraces uncertainty. He urges us, when we can’t see a path forward, to keep moving and create our own. I spoke with David about the song and his own idiosyncratic career path. He views songwriting, not so much as a means of communicating, but as therapy and an avenue for personal growth. The very discipline of attending to his craft serves as a guide, opening him to joys he never knew as a younger man.


Amy Ray | December 17, 2022

Amy Ray was biking around Jackson Mississippi when she came across a Black church revival in a park. The jubilant singing inspired Amy to write Joy Train, a reminder to appreciate the good around us rather than “dwelling in the cage while life flies by.” Joy Train evokes Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King, who each faced insurmountable obstacles but never lost their ability to celebrate progress.

I spoke with Amy about the song and her new solo album, If It All Goes South.


Tommy Prine | December 10, 2022

When the rest of the world lost John Prine the artist, Tommy Prine lost Dad. Tommy still grieves but has come to find beauty in mortality; knowing that what we love is impermanent allows us to appreciate it more deeply. Tommy shares his perspective, and his love for his father, in an exquisite new song, Ships in the Harbor. My first thought after hearing it was that I wanted to talk with Tommy.


BJ Barham (American Aquarium) | December 3, 2022

When BJ Barham went to a deserted North Carolina beach town to write the latest American Aquarium album, he finally was ready to share his grief from a string of losses. They included his wife’s miscarriage and his mother’s death from addiction. For the first time, BJ was telling his own story instead of creating characters. What he found with the release of Chicamacomico was an outpouring of gratitude: People thanked him for giving voice to experiences they had been unable to talk about or even process. Now with a daughter and his own sobriety, BJ is grateful for second chances.


Caleb Caudle | November 26, 2022

When I spoke with Caleb Caudle in early 2020, he’d just released Better Hurry Up with its call to keep pushing forward. But as the pandemic set in and touring ended, Caleb had to step back from music. To save money, he and his wife left Nashville and returned to his rural North Carolina hometown. It’s there that Caleb re-discovered himself. The result is a new perspective on life and career and a new album, Forsythia. Thinking this likely would be his last, Caleb gave it his all and emerged with his best work.


Aoife O’Donovan | November 19, 2022

Grammy nominations were announced last Tuesday, and Aoife O’Donovan received three: Best Folk Album for Age of Apathy, Best American Roots Performance and Best American Roots Song for Prodigal Daughter, written with Tim O’Brien and featuring Allison Russell. The song is a heart-wrenching story of a complicated mother-daughter relationship. I spoke with Aoife about the song and the album. She’s living in Orlando now and recorded Age of Apathy in Winter Park.


Rufus Wainwright | October 29, 2022

Rufus Wainwright’s new album owes a lot to family. His daughter inspired the name, Unfollow the Rules, and he wrote the song Peaceful Afternoon for his husband Jörn. The song celebrates the mundane rhythms of home life, and for Rufus, that ordinariness is extraordinary. He grew up in a fractured family, coming of age to find – between the devastation of AIDS and laws discriminating against same-sex couples – few models for creating his own. Here Rufus talks about celebrating the mundane and his path to a “peaceful afternoon.”


Jeff Hanna (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) | September 24, 2022

On their Grammy-winning record, Will the Circle Be Unbroken, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band was joined by traditional country musicians. Now, on Dirt Does Dylan, the spotlight is on guest artists with distinctly political messages. I spoke with founder Jeff Hanna about the album and the man who inspired it.

Jeff vividly remembers being mesmerized as a teenager at his first Bob Dylan concert and in his best Dylan voice, recalls some funny anecdotes about meeting the legend himself and “sort of” sharing a stage.


Shemekia Copeland | September 17, 2022

Shemekia Copeland’s new album, Done Come Too Far, completes a trilogy that started with America’s Child and continued with Uncivil War. She didn’t set out to tackle social issues, but as the mother of a young Black male, the personal became political. She worries for him but sings for everyone who struggles for justice and a voice. Shemekia’s aim is to uplift and encourage – and have fun doing it. And a you’ll hear, she’s engaging and funny and doesn’t hold back.


Rod Picott | August 27, 2022

Rod Picott was always a bit of an outsider: a sensitive kid in a tough blue-collar family, an artsy teen in a sports-loving town. In Lost in the South, from his new album Paper Hearts and Broken Arrows, Rod describes the culture shock of a New Englander transplanted to Nashville.

Ten years after arriving in Music City, Rod finally was established enough to quit hanging sheetrock for a living. We talk about the song and the endless struggles – and rich rewards – of life as an independent artist.


Amanda Shires | July 30, 2022

Amanda Shires’ new album, Take it Like a Man, shines a light on the ways we label people and make assumptions that can limit them. She takes on traditional gender roles in Hawk for the Dove, where the woman is the predator preparing to capture her lover. Taking inspiration from her daughter, who still believes that anything is possible, Amanda hopes her songs encourage others to spread their wings and fly.


Patterson Hood | July 23, 2022

Before there was a Drive-By Truckers, Paterson Hood & Mike Cooley formed Adam’s House Cat in their hometown of Muscle Shoals. Despite years of hard work and some critical success, the band never made a go of it. Their struggles inspired the new Truckers album, Welcome 2 Club XIII, a poignant mix of humor and heartbreak. As Patterson sings in the title song, “Our glory days did kinda suck.”

I spoke with him about those early years, the toll they took and the rewards that eventually were reaped. Patterson also talks about the move that jump-started his career and turned his life around.


Nicki Bluhm | July 16, 2022

Nicki Bluhm reshaped her life in recent years – divorcing, moving cross-country, dissolving her band (Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers) to start a solo career. With these changes came profound self-examination, and Nicki captures the search for her authentic self, and her authentic voice, in a new album, Avondale Drive. I spoke with her about the album and the process of translating her inner life into song.


Lucy Kaplansky | July 9, 2022

As summer 2021 wound down, Lucy Kaplansky’s daughter looked forward to starting college, while Lucy dreaded Molly’s leaving. In the title song to her new album, Last Days of Summer, Mom describes a bittersweet mix of pride and sadness as she anticipates the departure of her only child. I spoke with Lucy about this and more. She talks of her relationship with her own mother, why she gave up her music career, and how she eventually found her way back.

Spoiler Alert: The impending move that so troubled Lucy was all of 4 blocks, from the family’s Greenwich Village apartment to NYU (where her husband and Molly’s Dad, Rick Litvin, teaches).


Seth Walker | June 25, 2022

Seth Walker made his new album, I Hope I Know, while navigating the pandemic, the end of a long-term relationship, and a move from Nashville to Asheville. But he found a silver lining in the upheaval, learning to embrace inaction and appreciate the moment. Seth says he now knows, not only that he doesn’t know it all, but that the questions themselves are what we must learn to love – and then maybe they’ll lead to answers.


Judy Collins | June 4, 2022

At 82, Judy Collins released Spellbound, her first album of all-original songs. The title song is a beautiful but unsparing account of a time in Hawaii where she recalls being years before, a troubled alcoholic in a tropical paradise. I spoke with Judy about this and another great sorrow, her son’s suicide.

What’s astonishing about Judy, in addition to her still-wondrous voice, is that she not only charted her own path to recovery, but used her experiences to help others. Instead of keeping secrets, she shared her family’s struggles, writing and speaking on behalf of those affected by suicide and substance abuse.


Robert Earl Keen | May 21, 2022

The first time I interviewed Robert Earl Keen, he talked about the years of struggle to launch his career. Robert would assure record execs that “I’m a slow burner, but I’m a long burner.” Well, he’s proved that in a big way, burning long enough to call his final tour, “I’m Comin’ Home: 41 Years On The Road.”

Robert looked back with me at his life in music through the lens of 3 songs: The Front Porch Song, Then Came Lo Mein, and The Road Goes on Forever.


Dom Flemons | May 7, 2022

I spoke with Dom Flemons,co-founder of the Carolina Chocolate Drops,about his album, Black Cowboys. The songs tell the stories of African-Americans who helped settle the West after the Civil War. Black men were among this country’s first cowboys, but popular culture erased them from our picture of the Old West. We’ll hear He’s a Lone Ranger, written about Bass Reeves, an escaped slave who became the first Deputy Marshall west of the Mississippi. He’s the real-life inspiration for the Lone Ranger, more fascinating than any fictitious figure.


John Sebastian | April 30, 2022

In collaboration with longtime friend and guitar legend Arlen Roth, John Sebastian has re-recorded his songbook, from the Lovin’ Spoonful through his solo years. I spoke with John about his career and the new album. He describes the influence of his father, a professional harmonica player, and of growing up in the music mecca of Greenwich Village. He also talks about his nearly 60-year friendship with Maria Muldaur who joins him on the song, Stories We Could Tell.


Janis Ian | April 23, 2022

Janis Ian has announced that her new album, The Light at the End of the Line, will be her last. I spoke with her about the record and the song, Better Times Will Come, written after hearing news of John Prine’s death. The song in turn inspired Janis to create the Better Times Project, a mechanism for helping musicians during the pandemic.


Molly Tuttle | April 16, 2022

The title song of Molly Tuttle’s new album, Crooked Tree, was inspired by her experience with alopecia. It’s a condition we’ve heard a lot about since the Oscars, but Molly has lived with it since childhood. The song celebrates difference, and Molly is also “different” professionally, an award-winning bluegrass guitarist in a male-dominated arena. In 2017, she became the first woman to win the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Guitar Player of the Year award (and she won it again in 2018).



Kim Richey |  April 9, 2022

20 years after the release of her critically-acclaimed album, Glimmer, Kim Richey gives us A Long Way Back: The Songs of Glimmer. It’s a more intimate re-recording that reflects Kim today. Though she’s written #1 hits for others, that level of success as a recording artist has eluded her. But whenever Kim thinks of quitting, she finds herself making music with friends or engaging with an audience – and finding her greatest joy. She’s earnest and funny, and you’ll enjoy her company.


Ray Wylie Hubbard | April 2, 2022

A conversation with Ray Wylie Hubbard is like his songs, a delightful mix of humor and depth. Ray talks about making records on his own terms, a recurring theme in his new release, Co-Starring Too. He’s chosen guest artists for each song; we’ll hear Fancy Boys, where the co-stars include James McMurtry and Hayes Carll. They skewer singers who put image over substance.

Ray is adamant about authenticity in his music. Financial rewards and chart toppers may have eluded him, but he has the success he’s always wanted – pride in his work.


Allison Moorer | March 26, 2022

I knew Allison Moorer and ex Steve Earle had a son, knew he’s profoundly autistic. Now, thanks to Allison and her album, Wish For You, I can start to know John Henry. Though he does not speak, he creates melodies, and Allison has turned them into song. She’s also written a beautiful, unsparing book about raising John Henry. After reading an excerpt in the New York Times, attending a virtual book talk, and listening to the album, I’m enormously grateful to have been able to speak with her.


Lucinda Williams | March 19, 2022

2020 started with the release of Lucinda Williams’ latest album, Good Souls Better Angels; it ended with her stroke. The album includes Big Black Train, a reference to depression and the first song co-written with her husband, Tom Overby. Lucinda addresses her decision to write about real-life issues, both personal and political, and her frustration that her music gets labeled as dark. The upside, she says, is the enjoyment she gets pushing people’s buttons.

Sarah Borges | March 5, 2022

Life has handed Sarah Borges a lot since she danced with abandon in the rain at Tropical Heatwave. She had a child, divorced, got sober, started a new relationship – but still holds that memory dear. I talked with Sarah about the years since we last saw her, including her pandemic job as an airport courier and her new album, Together Alone. The title describes the recording – each band member adding their part remotely to form a seamless whole.


Amy Ray | February 26, 2022

In honor of Black History Month, I spoke with Amy Ray about her song, I Didn’t Know a Damn Thing. The lyrics show Amy coming of age in the south, unaware of the history of Blacks, Native Americans, and other marginalized groups. Looking back, she’s frustrated with curricula that, by omitting difficult subjects, deprive children of the knowledge and critical thinking skills needed to make meaningful change. Though the song was released in 2018, it takes on a familiar urgency today.

Our conversation went beyond the song as Amy described her emotionally turbulent teens. She was an outgoing school leader struggling with her gender identity and sexual orientation. Identifying now as a left-wing Christian lesbian who chooses to raise a child in conservative rural Georgia, Amy stays true to her focus without rejecting her roots.


Don McLean | February 12, 2022

In advance of his upcoming Capitol Theatre concert, I spoke with Don McLean about Vincent. Don talked about identifying with Van Gogh and his pain, about his own struggles for connection, and how he came to write the song that still has the power to move people.


Tamara Saviano | February 5, 2022

A new documentary by Guy Clark’s biographer,, Tamara Saviano, explores the complicated relationship between Guy, his wife Susanna and Townes van Zandt. As Susanna said, “Guy and I were married. Guy and Townes were best friends, but Townes and I were soulmates.” The 3 shared a home where they hosted “hippie poet salons” and mentored young songwriters like Steve Earle and Rodney Crowell.

A few days after Susanna died, Guy found a box of her diaries and audio journals and, without reading or listening to them, gave them to Tamara. They form the basis of the film, Without Getting Killed or Caught.


Madeleine Peyroux | January 22, 2022

Madeleine Peyroux was knocked around enough by the music industry to leave it – until she realized music was all she could do well, and all she wanted to do. I spoke with Madeleine about the recent re-issue of her breakthrough album, Careless Love. Madeleine shares the eight-year journey that preceded its original release. She also talks about her teen years busking in Paris and why she turned down a record deal to keep performing with friends on street corners.


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!