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!

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

Rod Picott | July 3, 2021

For his new album, Wood, Steel, Dust & Dreams, Rod Picott re-recorded 25 songs co-written with Slaid Cleaves, his friend since elementary school. On the next Words & Music, Rod talks about their connection and collaboration. He shares his difficult path to a music career, including 18 years hanging sheetrock for a living. Not surprisingly, given the depth and poignancy of his lyrics, Rod is open and unguarded as he describes setbacks that haunt him and transcendent moments on stage that keep him going.

 

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.

Listen to the entire playlist on Spotify

 

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.

 

Joaquim Cooder | June 1, 2021

Joaquim Cooder’s new album reimagines the songs of Uncle Dave Macon, known as the grandfather of country music. He was a banjo player and vaudeville performer before becoming the Grand Ole Opry’s first star.

Joaquim learned Uncle Dave’s songs from his father, Ry Cooder. Seeing his young daughter entranced by Uncle Dave’s foot stomping and whooping, Joaquim rewrote the songs, substituting the African mbira for banjo.

 

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.”

 

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.

 

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.

 

Suzanne Vega | March 16, 2021

Suzanne Vega’s new album, An Evening of New York Songs and Stories, was recorded at Manhattan’s famed Carlyle Cafe. New York plays a big part in Suzanne’s life and work, and she talks about the city as a presence – almost a character – in her songs.

The album includes one cover, Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side. Suzanne shares how she and Lou met and became friends, his profound influence on her writing, and why Walk on the Wild Side is special for her.

 

Laura Marling | March 9, 2021

We talk with Laura Marling about her new album, Song for Our Daughter. Inspired by Maya Angelou’s Letters to My Daughter, Laura offers comfort to her younger self and hard-won lessons to the next generation. Marcie and Laura talk about her experience of trauma and recovery and her admiration for the growing ability of women to speak out, recognize their worth, and take control of their bodies and lives.

Since releasing her first album at 18, Laura has piled up awards in her native England and worldwide. And next Sunday, Song for Our Daughter may win her the Grammy for Best Folk Album!

 

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.

 

The War and Treaty | February 16, 2021

For many of us, our first W&T experience was at Heatwave in an Italian Club alcove. Their career has soared, but they have the same honesty, humility, and desire to connect. Their new album, Hearts Town, assures us that we can work through hard times, even personal trauma, and find joy.

Michael and Tanya share their perspectives on Black History Month; the connection between their music and both old spirituals and the recent Black Lives Matter movement; and raising black children to be safe without making them feel separate.

 

Josh Ritter | February 9, 2021

Josh Ritter calls his new album See Here I Have Built You a Mansion. We get to the root of the title and much more on the next Tuesday Morning Show. Josh talks about the work and the joy of crafting songs, albums, and performances. He explains his continuing wonder at his good fortune to make music for a living. They don’t come any nicer or more appreciative than Josh!

 

Indigo Girls | February 2, 2021

In their new album, Look Long, the Indigo Girls take a long look at the roads Amy Ray & Emily Saliers have traveled, the joys and struggles along the way. Amy and Emily join me on the Tuesday Morning Show for a deeply personal conversation about sexual orientation, gender identity, and the pain of feeling “other.” They share the challenges of raising children who celebrate inclusivity.

We’ll hear Country Radio, inspired by the teenage Emily’s love of songs she knew weren’t written for girls like her.

 

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.

 

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.

 

S.G. Goodman | December 29, 2020

S.G. Goodman is a songwriter and activist from small-town Kentucky. S.G.’s debut album, Old Time Feeling, lets outsiders know that her community is more than the stereotypes we hold, while also urging change in that community. The fast-disappearing old time feeling was good for some, but not so much for a left-leaning lesbian in Appalachia.

S.G. is my guest on Words & Music. She’s friendly and straightforward and says that with this record, produced by fellow Kentuckian Jim James, she’s “inviting listeners into my world as I see it.”

 

Paul Thorn | December 15, 2020

Paul’s song, It’s Never Too Late to Call, was inspired by his late sister Deborah. He would phone her in the middle of the night after a show, and she always signed off with, “Just remember I love you, and it’s never too late to call.”

Paul describes their childhood playing music and their continued closeness despite diverging approaches to life and religion. He shed some tears, but it wouldn’t be a Paul Thorn chat without a lot of laughs too.

 

Langhorne Slim | December 8, 2020

With his song, Mighty Soul, Sean Skolnick (aka Langhorne Sim) celebrates community.  The song took shape when people of all personal and political stripes came together to rebuild East Nashville after the tornado. Sean also uses his struggles with anxiety and substance use to help others while he learns, thanks to the pandemic, to embrace a simpler life.

 

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.”

 

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.

 

Caleb Caudle | November 20, 2020

For Caleb, the title song to his new album, Better Hurry Up, is a personal hymn, motivating him to push ahead even as the pandemic constrains us. He talks about songwriting as therapy and issues he’s worked through in recent years.

 

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.”

 

Betty Fox | October 20, 2020

Betty Fox made her latest CD at the legendary FAME Studios and recently released more songs recorded there with her band. We’ll hear a bluesy version of She’s Got You, a hit for both Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn.

Betty traces the connection between country and blues and talks about her own family’s roots as country gospel performers. She shares why she chose this song to cover and how music helps her reach others – and herself.

 

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.

 

Los Mocosos | September 22, 2020

¡Vamos de fiesta! Los Mocosos played 3 high-energy concerts for WMNF, including Tropical Heatwave, before disbanding. They’ve reunited to release their first album in 15 years.

Los Mocosos’ songs mix all the music, culture, and politics they absorbed growing up in San Francisco’s Mission District. Founder Happy Sanchez and lead singer Juan Ele Perez talk about the issues, concerns, and enduring optimism that fuel the album.

 

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.

 

BJ Barham (American Aquarium) | September 8, 2020

American Aquarium’s new album, Lamentations, gives voice to the broken. Its centerpiece is the song Me & Mine, the story of a 2016 Trump voter who has lost hope that his job and middle class life will return.

The band’s songwriter and frontman, BJ Barham’s writing shows deep empathy because these are the people of his rural North Carolina childhood – his teachers, his barber, his friends. BJ talks about their paths, personal and political, and his own detours in life.

 

Lori McKenna | September 1, 2020

For years, Lori McKenna was a Morning Show staple. We don’t hear her as often because she doesn’t make records as often, launching a career co-writing songs for country stars. It all started when Faith Hill heard Fireflies and stalled her completed album to replace 3 tracks with Lori’s songs. But Lori has just released her own album, The Balladeer, and she’s my guest on Words & Music. We talked about her dual lives in Nashville and Massachusetts, the pulls of career and family, and the meaning behind her new song, This Town is a Woman.

 

Michael Franti | June 2, 2020

Michael Franti shares his new album, Work Hard And Be Nice, which was written before the pandemic but speaks directly to today. Michael shares his hopes and fears for his sons and the country at a time of divisiveness and incivility from the top. The deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd give his songs and our conversation increased relevance as Michael recalls his own encounters with police in San Francisco.

 

Steve Forbert | July 28, 2020

Steve Forbert’s new album, Early Morning Rain, spotlights songwriters who influenced him throughout his career. Steve talks about the power of a well-crafted song, his problem with today’s pop radio tunes, and why he’ll never stop writing. We also get candid insights into the life and personal struggles of a musician on the road with a family at home.

 

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.

 

Ray Wylie Hubbard | July 7, 2020

Anyone who can casually insert “I did the video at Ringo Starr’s house” into the middle of a sentence is some kind of cool. And Ray Wylie Hubbard is as cool, friendly, and interesting as they come, a great songwriter and storyteller.

Ray’s new album, Co-Starring, includes lots of old friends, including Ringo and Joe Walsh. He’ll talk about the friendships, the record, and what he’s been up to lately.

 

Bettye LaVette | June 30, 2020

On the next Words & Music, my conversation with Bettye LaVette. Bettye’s new album includes her chilling recording of Strange Fruit. When she went into the studio, she thought of it as an “old tune” and was shocked by how timely it soon became. Now in her 70s, Bettye reflects on her own experience and why she believes the current generation of young activists can bring about real change.

 

Willy Braun (Reckless Kelly) | August 25, 2020

With a new double album, American Jackpot/American Girls, the band tells stories of life in the U.S. The songs are more observation than political commentary.

Willy talks about his aim with the record, how he’s spending his time sheltering in his native Idaho, and why he isn’t deterred by those who would have him just “”shut up and sing.”””

Interview Audio Coming Soon

 

Grant Peeples | August 11, 2020

2020 marks 100 years since the 19th amendment was ratified, guaranteeing women the right to vote. In recognition of the anniversary, and as a personal challenge, Grant Peeples recorded his new album, Bad Wife. The songs are written by women (all friends of his) from a clearly female perspective. Grant talks about the album and the intention behind it.

Interview Audio Coming Soon

 

Shemekia Copeland | August 4, 2020

Confronting the country’s deep divisions, Shemekia Copeland feels both anger and hope. She pours the hope into her new song, Uncivil War, with a mix of musicians – Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, and co-author Will Kimbrough – that reflect her determination to celebrate diversity.

Shemekia shares her perspective Tuesday on Words & Music. She talks about growing up in Harlem, the daughter of blues legend Johnny Copeland; raising a biracial son; and the need for individuals to stand against injustice of any kind. ”

Interview Audio Coming Soon

 

David Bromberg | June 23, 2020

In the early ‘80s, at the height of his career, David Bromberg left the music business to study violin making and restoration. He still owns his violin shop, but luckily for us, returned to recording and performing. His new album celebrates American music from blues and gospel to bluegrass and folk.

We spoke shortly after George Floyd was killed and the day after the store next to David’s was looted. He talked about his unconventional career path, and somehow our conversation about a Lead Belly tune segued into a discussion of the importance of protest.

Interview Audio Coming Soon

 

Chuck Prophet | June 16, 2020

Chuck Prophet shares his new album, The Land That Time Forgot. We spoke before George Floyd was killed but after the unleashed dog incident in Central Park. It was a freewheeling discussion that veered from his hometown of San Francisco to racism, from Hunter S. Thompson to Donald Trump. We’ll hear Chuck’s song for the president, Get Off The Stage. Listening to the lyrics, it’s hard to believe it was written before the pandemic.

Chuck has a unique talent, in song and conversation, for mixing humor and anger in a thoroughly engaging way.

Interview Audio Coming Soon

 

Eliza Gilkyson | June 9, 2020

Eliza Gilkyson shares her new album, 2020. We’ll hear her song Beach Haven, the lyrics adapted from a 1952 letter Woody Guthrie sent to his landlord, urging him to end his segregationist rental policy. That landlord was Fred Trump, Donald’s father. In 1973, the Justice Department accused Trump Management of violating the Fair Housing Act. Both Fred, company chairman, and Donald, its president, were named as defendants.

Interview Audio Coming Soon

 

 

The Hummingbirds | May 26, 2020

The Hummingbirds’ new song, Blues Skies Ahead. Rachel Lynn & Sg Wood talk about their songwriting partnership and how they’re staying positive and productive.”

Interview Audio Coming Soon

 

Matt Burke (Have Gun Will Travel) | May 19, 2020

The band’s new album, Strange Chemistry, addresses Matt’s struggle with anxiety disorder and panic attacks triggered by performing. We’ll hear the song, Tidal Wave, which makes you feel what Matt feels when the panic begins. Matt also shares the unexpected benefits of being limited to solo online gigs.

Interview Audio Coming Soon

 

Hayes Carll | May 12, 2020

Hayes talks about his bewilderment at the fallout, including death threats, from expressing his views and his unwillingness to just “shut up and sing.” We’ll hear Times Like These from Hayes’ new album, a song that masks tough observations with an upbeat dance tune. Hayes just re-recorded the song to “unmask” the lyrics.

Interview Audio Coming Soon

 

Mary Gauthier | May 5, 2020

Mary Gauthier’s latest album, Rifles & Rosary Beads, features songs co-written with veterans; we’ll hear one she wrote with EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) wives. Mary discusses the record and what life is like for her these days.”

Interview Audio Coming Soon

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 was Best of the Bay from Creative Loafing for my WMNF show. See you Saturday!