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Anthony D'Amato, 'If You're Gonna Build A Wall'

I got an intriguing email recently from an artist I've followed for the past few years. Anthony D'Amato was excited about a demo he'd recorded, and he wanted to get it out into the world. D'Amato had recently broken his finger — which, for a guitar player, is a particularly tough break. So he found himself off his usual tour cycle and newly inspired by his time at home.

"I found myself being bombarded by the 24-hour news cycle every time I turned on the TV or went online," he writes. "This song, 'If You're Gonna Build A Wall,' was just my natural reaction to that." D'Amato wrote the song, broken finger and all, in his bedroom in an afternoon. "We shot this footage around the ruins of an abandoned mine near where my brother Nick lives in Colorado. He's a fantastic photographer who works under the name Diamond D Photography and knows all sorts of dirt roads and off-road trails in the mountains that lead to forgotten places like this. A day later, we had this on our hands."

D'Amato is now in the studio with Mike Mogis for a 2016 album, but he writes that he feels something immediate about this demo. "I'm generally very protective of my demos, because they're just rough sketches meant to be filled in (or completely transformed) later on in the studio. But in this case, the issues that inspired the song are very much on my mind, and the reaction it's been getting since I started playing live again suggests that I'm not alone in that regard. So I wanted to share it widely."

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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.