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Sounds Familiar

There are tunes you can't get out of your head, and some you don't even know how they got there in the first place. There are songs so woven into the cultural fabric that you may not know them by name, but you know them just the same. These are the melodies featured on "Sounds Familiar"– the songs you didn't know you knew so well.

Find out what popular song from the early 1900s inspired the "Itchy and Scratchy" theme, and why a song about a levee in Alabama – a state with no levees – is still used in film, television and movies almost 100 years after it first became a ragtime hit. And that piano duet you and your friends played together as children – where did that come from, and what is it called?

KUOW's Amanda Wilde. focuses on themes of the great American songbook and the enduring nature of music of the early 20th century. "Sounds Familiar" is a sound–rich series that explores the soundtrack of American life.

Sounds Familiar: 'Hey Jude'

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Ever since its first release people have been happily singing along to "Hey Jude" by the Beatles. On the radio, on 45 RPM vinyl records, or downloaded onto a smart phone, "Hey Jude" and its irresistible chorus of "nah nah nahs" has always connected with listeners and musicians. Amanda Wilde is the host of "The Swing Years and Beyond" here on KUOW. And she regularly brings us the stories of music that Sounds Familiar. Amanda says that the tradition of "Hey Jude" sing–alongs had its origins back in the summer of 1968. Amanda Wilde speaks with KUOW's Dave Beck.

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Sounds Familiar: 'Tonight You Belong To Me'

Thursday, October 06, 2011

"Tonight You Belong To Me" is a song originally created during the ukulele craze of the 1920s. It was rerecorded during the Big Band Era, and these days it's sung by one of the world's biggest rock stars. But the song is probably best known through a particularly charming version recorded by teenaged siblings in 1956. KUOW's "Swing Years" host Amanda Wilde has another tune that Sounds Familiar. She speaks with KUOW's Dave Beck.

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Sounds Familiar: 'Glow Worm'

Saturday, August 06, 2011

When you think of the tune "Glow Worm," the sounds of a big band, vocal harmonies and clever, flirtatious lyrics might come immediately to mind. It's a tune that epitomizes the Swing Era in music. Amanda Wilde is the host of "The Swing Years and Beyond" on KUOW, so she knows this tune very well. But Amanda recently discovered that "Glow Worm" didn't originate in the Swing Era. It has its roots in a German operetta that's more than 100 years old. KUOW's Dave Beck speaks with Amanda Wilde about another tune that Sounds Familiar.

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Sounds Familiar: R.E.M.'s 'Stand'

Saturday, May 21, 2011

It's easy to dismiss some of the pop songs from our youth as silly bubblegum tunes that have no artistic merit. But songwriters today are still borrowing those ideas from the late 60s. KUOW's Amanda Wilde has been thinking about that when it comes to this tune that Sounds Familiar. Amanda speaks with KUOW's Dave Beck.

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Sounds Familiar: 'Brother Can You Spare a Dime?'

Thursday, March 10, 2011

There's a song written in the Great Depression that has a lot to say about the great recession we're going through. One of the challenges of a time like this is not just the financial hardships, but the loss of a sense of self–worth. KUOW's Amanda Wilde brings us the story behind another tune that Sounds Familiar: "Brother Can You Spare a Dime?" Amanda speaks with KUOW's Dave Beck.

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Sounds Familiar: 'Why Don't You Do Right?'

Saturday, October 16, 2010

When you think of songs about female empowerment, the 1970s hit "I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar" from Helen Reddy might come to mind. But another song with roots in the Great Depression features a strong woman making a demand with a single question. KUOW's Amanda Wilde has another song that Sounds Familiar. She speaks with KUOW's Dave Beck.

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Sounds Familiar: 'Man In The Mirror'

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Amanda Wilde is the host of the "Swing Years and Beyond" on KUOW. Every month she talks with KUOW's Dave Beck. When it comes to great music there are only so many building blocks you can use. And the way a singer, producer or songwriter puts those elements together makes all the difference. Amanda talks about how Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror" uses those elements in a way that continues to sound familiar.

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Sounds Familiar: 'Mistadobolina'

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Amanda Wilde is the host of the Swing Years and Beyond on KUOW. Every month she talks with KUOW's Dave Beck about the roots of music that sounds familiar. There's a hip–hop tune from the early 90s that Amanda has always loved. And lately she's been investigating the origins of one particularly catchy sample from the tune.

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Sounds Familiar: 'The Water Is Wide'

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The human experience of love and loss lies at the heart of a 400 year–old tune from the British Isles. The song endures in movies, church services and in classical, folk and pop settings. KUOW's Amanda Wilde has listened to several versions of the piece. She spoke with KUOW's Dave Beck about another tune that "Sounds Familiar."

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Sounds Familiar: 'Aloha Oe'

Thursday, February 11, 2010

After a recent visit to Hawaii, KUOW's Amanda Wilde has a new connection to an old melody. The last of the Hawaiian monarchs penned this tune. It was inspired by a poignant moment on top of a mountain on the Island of Oahu. Amanda spoke with KUOW's Dave Beck about a classic tune that Sounds Familiar.

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Sounds Familiar: 'Tico Tico'

Thursday, January 14, 2010

There are some songs so catchy that it's impossible not to dance, sing, play or clap along. KUOW's Amanda Wilde has been listening to an infectious Latin tune that's kept toes tapping for more than 90 years. Amanda spoke with KUOW's Dave Beck about another tune that Sounds Familiar.

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Sounds Familiar: 'Baby It's Cold Outside'

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Along with snow tires and warm socks, music can help us through a rough winter. KUOW's Amanda Wilde recommends a seductive song that warms things up on nights when temperatures are in the teens. It's music penned by a master of American Musical Theatre. Amanda Wilde spoke with KUOW's Dave Beck about another tune that "Sounds Familiar."

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Sounds Familiar: 'Old Folks At Home (Swanee River)'

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Amanda Wilde is the host of "The Swing Years and Beyond" heard Saturday evenings on KUOW. Every month she talks with KUOW's Dave Beck and explores the origins of songs that sound familiar. This month Amanda has been listening to a mid–19th century tune with roots in the world of slavery and Southern plantation life.

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Sounds Familiar: 'September Song'

Thursday, September 10, 2009

KUOW's Amanda Wilde has been listening to a song that conjures up feelings of nostalgia, wistfulness and the inevitable end of summer. Every month we talk with Amanda about the history behind songs that sound familiar. She spoke with KUOW's Dave Beck about a tune with roots in American musical theater.

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Sounds Familiar: 'Smoke Gets In Your Eyes'

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Amanda Wilde is the host of the "Swing Years and Beyond" heard Saturday evenings on KUOW. Every month we get a visit from Amanda introducing us to the history behind songs we didn't know we knew so well. Amanda talks with KUOW's Dave Beck about another tune that sounds familiar.

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Sounds Familiar: 'Holiday For Strings'

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Amanda Wilde is the host of "The Swing Years and Beyond" heard Saturday evenings on KUOW. Every month we get a visit from Amanda introducing us to the history behind songs we didn't know we knew so well. Amanda talks with KUOW's Dave Beck about another tune that sounds familiar.

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Sounds Familiar: 'Dark Eyes'

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Amanda Wilde is the host of "Swing Years and Beyond," heard Saturday evenings on KUOW. Every month we get a visit from Amanda, introducing us to the history behind songs we didn't know we knew so well. Amanda speaks with KUOW's Dave Beck.

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Jimmy Carter, Domestic Partnership and 'The Godfather'

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Today on KXOT Presents, we'll discover a solar powered house in Tacoma, and find out how President Jimmy Carter contributed to its success. We'll also hear from State Representative Jamie Pedersen about his bill to expand domestic partnerships in Washington, and the history of the musical theme to "The Godfather."

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Ultrarunning, Old Mississippi and Sounds Familiar

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Cascade Crest is a 100–mile ultramarathon that starts in Easton Washington and crosses forests and mountains. Ultrarunner Matt Hart tells us why he runs these kinds of races. We also listen to a former civil rights lawyer in Mississippi and a tune that Sounds Familiar.

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Vanishing Orangutans, the Army of the Republic and Electric Cars

Thursday, December 11, 2008

When Joyce Major looks at an Oreo cookie, she thinks of disappearing orangutans. Today, she shares stories from her five–month volunteer trip to Bali and explains the link between cookies and vanishing habitat. Then, a novelist finds a connection between the Battle in Seattle and rebel violence in South America. We also check out a new wave of electric cars.

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Art in Recovery, Gluten-Free Girl, and Lost Sounds

Thursday, November 13, 2008

In 2003, Seattle artist Lisa Anderson suffered two strokes that stripped away her hard-won ability to read and draw. Today, she shares how she reconnected to her life and the world by returning to art. We also hear how going gluten-free transformed a woman's outlook on life.

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The Best of Sound Focus: Pushing Limits

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Today, we explore the rewards of pushing the body's limits. We meet a King County Superior Court Judge who became a power lifter and the first woman from Washington State to complete the Iditarod. We also hear from a doctor who is using scorpion venom in cancer treatments.

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Gluten Free Girl, Salish Fishing Practice, and the Legacy of Betty MacDonald

Thursday, September 11, 2008

When you have a slice of toast, a cupcake, or a beer, you're consuming gluten. But for 1 in 133 people, gluten triggers a severe illness, celiac disease. Today, Shauna James Ahern tells us how her gluten–free needs have inspired her to embrace all of her life's challenges.

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For the Love of Pickles and Blending Wine

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Marcus Latham is the co–founder of The Pickle Plan. He shares why he loves being involved in every step of the food making process, even if it involves staying up all night jarring pickles. Then, a UW professor looks to the ancient past to find clues about global warming.

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Growing up Triviaholic, Going out to the Ball Park, and Recovering from Brain Trauma

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Most toddlers don't know where the Wright brothers flew their first plane. But the young Ken Jennings did. He tells about going from a trivia loving child to becoming the Jeopardy world champion. Then, we hear a song that puts us in the mood for peanuts at the ballpark.

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The Art of Plastic Cameras and My Book of Life

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A professional camera costs thousands of dollars. A plastic toy Holga camera runs about twenty–five bucks. We meet a photographer who discovered the exciting artistic potential of cheap plastic cameras. Then, we hear a tune rooted in the legend of the Arkansas Traveler.

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From Cuba to Weezer, The Century Ballroom, and Reviews with Gary Faigin

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Today, Seattle violinist Irene Mitri reveals how she found inspiration in teachers from Cuba and Russia and the rock band Weezer. We also talk with the owner of The Century Ballroom about building community around dance, and we get an on–site art review from Gary Faigin.

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Building the Northwest and the Birth of Classic Northwest Songs

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Today, we celebrate the people who helped build the Northwest we know today. We meet the visionary behind Gas Works Park, peek inside the art deco "cave" of the Seattle Tower, and discover why one of the Northwest's most influential architects was forced out of his job.

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The Renegade Harpist, The Pleasure of Bad Movies, and Vintage Instruments

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Heidi Lehwalder was destined to become a harpist before she was even born. Today, Heidi tells us how she took up the harp at the of age of six and has been mastering the instrument for the last five decades. We also find out how to keep cows without losing the landscape.

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Romantic Serenades, Making Chocolate, Scalpels and Broken Hearts

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A serenade can be a romantic surprise – or an awkward one. Today, women's singing group Q4 share stories of memorable serenades. Later, a local chocolatier honors his grandparents through the confections he creates. We also hear a doctor's thoughts on healing broken hearts.

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Waiting Out the Writers Strike and Even Rollergirls Get the Blues

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The writers strike has been hard on television viewers, but harder still on television critics. Today, local critic Melanie McFarland tells us what has been keeping her busy these past weeks. We also dive into Seattle roller derby and meet the invisible record producer.

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Famous Microphones and a Taste of 'Braincandy'

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Kearney Barton's 50 year old studio microphones still set the standard for recording in the 21st century. Today, we find out why Kearney never turns the mics off. We also get a taste of "Braincandy" and hear the story of a familiar song you didn't know you knew so well.

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Death, Birth, and Triumphs in the Northwest

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The world champion of Donkey Kong lives among us. Today, we look back at the Northwest stories of triumph that we've discovered, including writer Kathleen Alcala and novelist Nicola Griffith. We also learn about mothering from local animals and dying from a death midwife.

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Animals We Live With and Blue Scholars

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Humans and animals will always have to live together. A wildlife biologist tells us about the wild animals we live with. Also today, the hip hop group Blue Scholars explains what it means to call Seattle home, and Amanda Wilde shares a tune we didn't know we knew so well.

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Exploring the Cultural Geography of the Northwest

Thursday, August 09, 2007

When visitors arrive on Bainbridge Island's IslandWood campus, they are oriented to history films which explore the people who once inhabited the island. Dave Beck talks with IslandWood film producer, Katie Jennings. Plus, we listen to a familiar song we didn't know we knew so well.

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Dynamic Logs, Elder Evolution, and 'Sounds Familiar'

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Musicians need to be streetwise to survive in Seattle. Next time on The Beat, we travel back to the 1970's to discover what made the Dynamic Logs the "streetband of the galaxy". We also redefine retirement, simplify elder housing and hear a tune that Sounds Familiar.

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Art Cars and Blue Scholars

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Art Cars make good karma. Today on the Beat, we discover the incredible kismet of giving your vehicle the Van Gogh treatment. We also talk with Seattle's Blue Scholars about the distance between home and where you live. Also, Amanda Wilde has a tune that Sounds Familiar.

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A Self Defense World View and the Music of Overton Berry

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Self-defense is not just a skill, it's a world view. Today on the Beat, Seattle-based novelist Nicola Griffith shares the personal experiences that led her to see life as an attack waiting to happen. We also hear reflections from Seattle blues and funk legend Overton Berry.

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Glamour Addiction

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Ballroom dancing is a dangerous drug. Today, the UW Dance Faculty's Juliet McMains takes us inside the American Ballroom Dance Industry and tells us how the dance she loved became an obsession she despised. Later, Amanda Wilde shares a song we didn't know we knew so well.

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'Zaatar Days, Henna Nights,' and 'Fire on the Mountain'

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Middle Eastern culture is veiled in mystery and misconception. Next time on the Beat, Seattle based writer Maliha Masood takes us into the lives of the people she met on her journey through Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Turkey. We also get Appalachian stories through song.

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Final Exam

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Death comes whether you're prepared or not. And yet, many doctors don't prepare their patients. Next time on the Beat, writer and surgeon Pauline Chen shares the challenge of facing death in a profession based on saving lives. Also, hip-hop artist RA Scion reflects on turning 30.

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Going Down Jericho Road

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Martin Luther King believed that the inseparable twin of racial injustice is economic injustice. Today on the Beat, we learn about King’s campaign for labor right and his final days fighting for Memphis sanitation workers. Plus, Seattle actor Matt Smith’s secret to success.

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Holiday Disasters and Big Box Swindles

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The perfect holiday almost always a disaster. Today on The Beat, Minnesota storyteller and NPR commentator Kevin Kling tells us why the worst holiday traditions make the best family memories. Then, author Stacy Mitchell reveals the hidden costs of inexpensive big box stores.

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Chinese Rock and Joni Mitchell's 'Spark'

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Dennis Rea is a mild-mannered Seattle musician who found himself an unsuspecting emissary of rock n roll in the largest Communist country in the world. Today, Dennis shares his improbable adventure into Chinese rock. We also explore Joni Mitchell with Harvey Danger's Sean Nelson.

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A Sense of the World

Thursday, October 12, 2006

He was known simply as The Blind Traveler—a sightless adventurer in the 19th century who fought the slave trade in Africa, survived a frozen captivity in Siberia, hunted elephants in India, and helped chart the Australian outback. Today, we learn more about James Holman.

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The History of Culinary Art

Thursday, September 14, 2006

In the year 2537, food as we know it will be history. Next time on the Beat, we take a walk through the history of culinary art from the 6th millennium BCE to 530 years in the future when processed extruded chemical nuggets are dinner.

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'Heat'

Thursday, August 10, 2006

When the opportunity arose to train in the kitchen of Mario Batali’s three-star New York restaurant, Babbo, Buford grabbed it. Heat is the chronicle of his time spent as Batali’s "slave" and of his far-flung apprenticeships with culinary masters in Italy.

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Jodi-Paul Wooster

Thursday, July 13, 2006

At Seattle's 14/48 Festival, the math is pretty simple: 14 plays, 48 hours. We talk with festival founder Jodi-Paul Wooster about art, speed, and time management. Also, The Refugee All Stars play live in our performance studio and Amanda Wilde joins us for Sounds Familiar.

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Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra - Oliver Nelson

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Oliver Nelson was the genius behind songs performed by Thelonious Monk, James Brown, Diana Ross, and many more. Members of Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra play his music live in our performance studio. Also author Heather Lende and Sounds Familiar with Amanda Wilde.

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Sean Wilsey

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Author Sean Wilsey's mother was a high society queen of gossip and one of the most beautiful woman in San Francisco. His father, well into his fifties when Wilsey was born, used to drop off Sean and his friends at the video arcade in a helicopter. And his stepmom was his actual mom's best friend. Wilsey's account of his dramatic family life, and his attempt to make sense of it, is the subject of his critically acclaimed best-selling memoir, Oh The Glory Of It All and he joins John Moe to talk about it. Also composers Robbie Fulks and Danny Barnes and Sounds Familiar with Amanda Wilde.

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'The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell'

Thursday, April 13, 2006

John Crawford joined the Florida National Guard to pay for his college tuition, willingly exchanging one weekend a month and two weeks a year for a free education. But in fall 2002, one semester short of graduating and newly married -- in fact, on his honeymoon -- he was called to active duty and sent to the front lines in Iraq. During the breaks between patrols, Crawford began writing nonfiction stories about what he and his fellow soldiers witnessed and experienced. John Crawford speaks today with Megan Sukys. Also, Curator Paul Hayes Tucker and Sounds Familiar with Amanda Wilde.

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Gas Huffer

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Gas Huffer has been a fixture on the local music scene since the late 1980's playing a unique brand of punk-infused rock to a loyal following. The band recently called it quits with a final blowout farewell concert that also served as a CD release party for their latest and last record, Lemonade For Vampires. John Moe sits down with members of the band to find out what they've learned over the years and a history lesson in Seattle music. Also, author Robert Farris Thompson and Sounds Familiar from Amanda Wilde.

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Bonnie Dunbar

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Dr. Bonnie Dunbar was recently appointed director of the Museum of Flight in Seattle. She has logged 1,208 hours — more than 50 days — in orbit aboard the shuttles Atlantis, Challenger, Columbia and Endeavour. Her most recent spaceflight was the STS-89 mission aboard Endeavour, January 22–31, 1998. Today, Dr. Dunbar tells Dave Beck about her adventures and about The Museum of Flights upcoming exhibit on Russian women aviators. Also in this hour of The Beat, music from Kelley Stoltz, novelist Suzanne Matson and Amanda Wilde with Sounds Familiar.

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Jeff Tweedy

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Music is a part of most families. Whether it's songs around a campfire, a handful of CDs in heavy rotation on the family stereo, or music made around a piano or other instruments, music is a way of helping families connect to each other and the world around them. So how is that a different equation when Dad is one of the most popular alternative country musicians in the world. Jeff Tweedy has been the frontman of the band Wilco since it was founded over 10 years ago. His oldest son is now ten years old and an aspiring musician in his own right. We sit down and talk with Jeff Tweedy about the presence of music in family life and raising children. Tweedy fills us in on when he brings his kids on the road, when he leaves them at home, and how much it helps for his sons to have seen enough backstage areas to know where Dad works. We also find out whether or not his kids are Wilco fans. Also today, Seattle band Balkan Cabaret, and music picks from KUOW's Amanda Wilde.

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'How to Survive a Robot Uprising'

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Robots are awesome. But also? A little scary. In the words of Saturday Night Live, "Robots are everywhere, and they eat old people's medicine for fuel." Fortunately, we have Daniel H. Wilson, a 27-year-old Ph.D. in robotics candidate who has written an indispensable guide, How to Survive a Robot Uprising. Daniel talks with Megan Sukys today to make sure we're all prepared. Also in this hour, Playback Theater's Amanda Rountree and Sierra Zwieg and Sounds Familiar with Amanda Wilde."

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'A Whole New Mind'

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The era of "left brain" dominance, and the Information Age that it engendered, are giving way to a new world in which "right brain" qualities - inventiveness, empathy, meaning - predominate. That's the argument at the center of Dan Pink's book, A Whole New Mind. Dan talks with Megan Sukys about a new future for America's workers. Also in this hour, musical guest Missy Higgins and Sounds Familiar with Amanda Wilde.

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'Solo: My Adventures in the Air'

Thursday, September 08, 2005

When novelist Clyde Edgerton was four years old, his mother took him to a local airport to see the airplanes. Eighteen years later, she would take him to the same airport to catch a plane to Texas for Air Force pilot training. She’ d been his first passenger when he got his aviator’ s license. The first time he soloed in a jet, he felt a strange pride and power. By then, the only access to the cockpits of fighter jets was via the war in Vietnam. So he spent a year flying combat reconnaissance over the Ho Chi Minh Trail, and he won the Distinguished Flying Cross. In his most recent book, Solo: My Adventures in the Air, Clyde shares his passion for flying. Also in this hour noted jazz pianist and composer Marc Seales and Sounds Familiar with Amanda Wilde.

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'Mozart in the Jungle'

Thursday, July 14, 2005

From her debut recital at Carnegie Recital Hall to the Broadway pits of Les Miserables and Miss Saigon, Blair Tindall has played with some of the biggest names in classical music for twenty-five years. Now in Mozart in the Jungle, Tindall exposes the scandalous rock and roll lifestyles of the musicians, conductors, and administrators who inhabit the insular world of classical music. Blair talks with Dave Beck. Also, Management by Baseball and Sounds Familiar with Amanda Wilde.

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High Price of Celebrity Worship

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Sue Erikson Bloland, LCSW, and author of In the Shadow of Fame: a Memoir by the Daughter of Erik H. Erikson, has studied the psychological impact of fame. Along with two of her colleagues, she is presenting the topic "Psychoanalytic Perspectives on the Celebrity Phenomenon" at the American Psychoanalytic Association’s 94th Annual Meeting in Seattle this weekend. Sue talks with Megan Sukys in advance of that about how celebrity worship is a symptom of a cultural avoidance and anxiety about individuality. Also, the Kronos Quartet and Sounds Familiar with Amanda Wilde.

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Marc Seales

Thursday, May 12, 2005

A noted jazz pianist and composer who has shared stages with many of the great players of the last two decades, Marc Seales is also a member of the music faculty at the University of Washington. His collaborators have included James Newton, Don Lanphere, Slide Hampton, Herb Ellis, and Bobby Hutcherson. Marc Seales plays piano in the performance studio and speaks with The Beat's Dave Beck. Also, Abundant Garden author Debra Prinzing and Amanda Wilde explores Nat King Cole's Nature Boy.

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