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Bill Callahan Sings 'Small Plane' In A Serene City

When we first approached Bill Callahan to do a Field Recording in New York City, we asked him if he had any special place in mind. His reply surprised me: "A community garden." I guess I'd stereotyped him in my head, because after all those years of dark, thoughtful songwriting — first as Smog and then on the pensive records he's made under his own name — I'd imagined a library, someplace quiet and dark.

As it turned out, the brightly lit 6th & B Community Garden, with its lush greenery and mellow wildlife, provided just the right setting. The noise of cabs, buses, trucks and the occasional siren wound up punctuating Callahan's calm, deep baritone, but he makes it easy to ignore. Here in Manhattan, he sings "Small Plane" from his new album Dream River,one of the best works of his fine career. It comes out Sept. 17, but in the meantime, this sun-drenched Field Recording provides a perfect introduction.

Credits

Producers: Mito Habe-Evans, Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Denise DeBelius, Mito Habe-Evans, Mike Katzif; Event Coordinator: Saidah Blount; Special thanks to 6th and B Community Gardens; Executive Producer: Anya Grundmann

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In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.
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