Top 89 Staff Picks: Bill DeVille, host
The Current's Bill DeVille shares his top songs of 2016.
Bill DeVille brings his deep musical knowledge to The Current's airwaves five days a week, including Saturdays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Sundays 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
On Saturdays, he features the "honey-do list," a series of tracks scattered throughout the day that adhere to a theme: Sometimes it's Rolling Stones songs, sometimes it acknowledges special dates or shows, and sometimes it's something as specific as artists mentioned in the LCD Soundsystem hipster classic, "Losing My Edge."
On Sundays, DeVille hosts and curates the show, United States of Americana, which specializes in the roots-oriented side of The Current. He's hosted several in-studio sessions on the show with such luminaries as Rosanne Cash and Justin Townes Earle, as well as with newcomers like J.D. McPherson. Tuesdays at 10 p.m., DeVille hosts Time Machine Tuesday, a weekly show focusing on a year and its music, news and pop culture.
DeVille has been with The Current since its inception. You might also remember him as the overnight host and music programmer on Cities 97. While there, he also hosted Minnesota Music, where he interviewed local music legends the Jayhawks, Semisonic, Mason Jennings and Soul Asylum. DeVille started his radio career in Sioux Falls, S.D., and also spent some time at KABL (a Minneapolis-based, cable-radio station). He was named City Pages' Best DJ in 2007 for his work on The Current, and more recently was named Best DJ in Vita.MN's List of Lists issue.
The Current's Bill DeVille shares his top songs of 2016.
Alejandro Escovedo is a true survivor; not only has he enjoyed 40 years in the music business, he's had some very close calls with death, including surviving a category four hurricane. 'I appreciate everything now more than ever,' Escovedo says. Touring in support of his latest album, 'Burn Something Beautiful,' Escovedo and his band stopped at The Current for a session hosted by Bill DeVille.
The Current's DJ Pick of the Week is a new offering in which The Current's hosts take turns talking about a tune that's recently captured their attention. Bill DeVille begins this new series with a tune by New York ska band, The Frightnrs.
Tommy Stinson entered the music industry as the bassist for the Replacements. He's gone on to work with Guns 'n Roses and other artists, but now, Stinson is focusing on his own music, with his duo Cowboys in the Campfire and with the rebooted Bash & Pop. 'It just feels good to be able to do my own thing,' Stinson tells The Current's Bill DeVille. Listen to the complete interview.
There is something about the human voice and simple accompaniment in its unadorned form with no electronic enhancements, and it works particularly well on Conor Oberst's solo album, 'Ruminations,' a poetic batch of songs that appear to focus on the darker and more fragile side of the human condition.
Shreveport, La., band Seratones were signed to Fat Possum Records in 2015, and released their debut album, 'Get Gone', in May 2016. They've been touring heavily since then. 'You're constantly riding in and out of an adrenalin rush,' says frontperson AJ Haynes. 'It's kind of addictive, actually!' Before a show at the Turf Club in St. Paul, Minn., Seratones stopped at The Current for a session hosted by Bill DeVille.
Conor Oberst says he doesn't really like surprises, but his next album, 'Ruminations,' came about somewhat surprisingly. One of the heads at Oberst's label 'just really liked the recording and he suggested that we just put it out,' Oberst recalls. 'I thought it was an interesting idea.' Oberst visits The Current's studio to play songs from the new album and to chat with host Bill DeVille.
On their latest album, 'Little Seeds,' Shovels & Rope continue to stretch creatively. 'We're always kind of morphing and doing things a little bit different to stretch our legs,' says Michael Trent, co-frontperson with Cary Ann Hearst. Listen to Shovels & Rope's complete in-studio session, hosted by Bill DeVille on 'United States of Americana.'
The Current's Bill DeVille was recently in Nashville, Tenn., to attend the Americana Festival, held by the Americana Music Association. Bill shares some photos and impressions from the many performances he got to take in during a whirlwind visit to Music City.
Wilco have become as unpredictable as Neil Young; you never know what's next musically. On their latest album, 'Schmilco', Wilco bring a spare, almost 'unplugged' set of songs. Wilco have been a steady unit for more than a decade, and they are firing on all cylinders.
The Current's Bill DeVille is a big fan of the Minnesota State Fair, particularly the live music available on the various stages throughout the fairgrounds. Bill recently had a look at the daily rundown of acts around the State Fair, and he's picked some artists you may want to check out during your visit to this year's Fair.
Sisters Emily, Camilla and Jessica Staveley-Taylor may be from Watford, England, but they spent enough time in the Upper Midwest to nearly be considered local. Between performing at the Winnipeg Folk Festival and recording at Justin Vernon's April Base Studio in western Wisconsin, the Staves stopped in to the Forum at MPR for a performance before a live audience, hosted by Bill DeVille.
Ahead of his 'American Dreamer' release show at the Turf Club, Frankie Lee and company stopped by The Current to perform live in-studio and to chat with host Bill DeVille.
The Current's Bill DeVille attended The Cure's Tuesday-night concert at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. 'The show clocked in at a Springsteen-like number of just over three hours in length,' DeVille writes, 'and frontman Robert Smith sounded amazing the whole night.' Read Bill DeVille's complete review of the show.
The Jayhawks' new album features the band's signature sunny melodies and their trademark harmonies, but it also breaks new ground by adventuring into new sounds. With 'Paging Mr. Proust,' the Jayhawks look to the future without forgetting their past.
The James Hunter Six's latest album, 'Hold On!,' was released in February 2016 on Daptone Records. Between gigs during a two-night stand at the Dakota in Minneapolis, the James Hunter Six visited The Current for a session hosted by Bill DeVille. Hunter is known for his soulful vocals and effects-free guitar playing; he even teases that he doesn't use a tuner. 'Tuning? That's for jazzers, that is!' Hunter jokes.
Ahead of two sold out shows at First Avenue opening for Courtney Barnett, Bully stopped by The Current to perform in-studio and to chat with host Bill DeVille.
From its very first song, Ray LaMontagne lets us know 'Ouroboros' is a different sort of outing. Stepping away from the easy-breezy folk music he's been known for, LaMontagne gives us a dreamy psychedelic album.
Sunflower Bean have been touring in support of their full-length debut album 'Human Ceremony', which came out in February of 2016. This week, they stopped by The Current's studio to chat with Bill DeVille ahead of their show at the 7th St Entry.
Growing up in northern Wisconsin, one of Phil Cook's biggest influences was Bruce Hornsby. 'He was somebody who was playing and he could really sing and he had all this talent and was writing songs,' Cook says. 'The dude changed my life.' Cook now lives in North Carolina, and he stopped at The Current to play some songs off his new album, 'Southland Mission.'