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World Cafe's Best Of 2015

Father John Misty.closemore
Father John Misty.

More than 200 bands were featured on World Cafe this year, including many incredible sessions. This week on the show, we're re-airing eight of the best guest performances of 2015. Listen back to each one from the archives below.

Father John Misty

Father John Misty.

Back in 2012, it was an important year for Josh Tillman. That was the year he unleashed his Father John Misty persona on the world, with his debut album Fear Fun. It was also the year he met and fell in love with a photographer and filmmaker; their relationship became the inspiration for the songs on his new album, I Love You, Honeybear.

In this episode of World Cafe, Tillman discusses the relationship and how it's changed him and his art. And, though the two now live in New Orleans, Tillman has much to say about Los Angeles for the Sense Of Place series. This performance comes from the stage of World Cafe Live.

Marilyn Manson

Marilyn Manson.

"I think America needs people like me," Marilyn Manson tells World Cafe host David Dye. "The world needs bad men to keep out the other bad men. And I think the world needs a villain like me, because I'm the part of the movie where change happens."

Known as a dark, demonic, heavily made-up shock rocker, Manson just released his first new album in three years, called The Pale Emperor. Written and produced with film composer Tyler Bates, it exhibits a stylistic shift, as a few blues chords sneak into Manson's industrial rock.

In this interview, Manson discusses his recurring role as a white supremacist on the TV series Sons Of Anarchy, as well as the death of his mother and his mixed feelings due to their relationship when he was a child. In a fascinating hour, Manson also offers his thoughts on becoming a face of teenage evil in the wake of the 1999 Columbine shootings.

Courtney Barnett

Courtney Barnett.

When Courtney Barnett combined her previously released Australian EPs into A Sea of Split Peas in 2013 and put them out in the U.S., we fell in love. She's an amazing writer, with wordplay that captures the stream of consciousness of the everyday without becoming overly clever.

Her debut album, Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit, came out in March. We'll hear Barnett and her band play live in Melbourne, Australia, and we'll talk about the new songs.

John Lydon

Public Image Ltd, with John Lydon in the foreground.

John Lydon (once known as Johnny Rotten) formed Public Image Ltd when The Sex Pistols disbanded in 1978. By that time, being in the Pistols had given Lydon, a self-described "shy person," a platform for expression, and he'd become an important cultural figure.

Public Image Ltd went on hiatus in 1993, but the band re-formed in 2009. Lydon joins World Cafe to share music from PiL's new album, What The World Needs Now..., and talk about some of his heroes, who include Bettie Page and Mahatma Gandhi.

Sam Beam & Ben Bridwell On World Cafe

Sam Beam and Ben Bridwell.

On this episode of World Cafe, Sam Beam of Iron & Wine and Ben Bridwell of Band Of Horses perform each other's songs.

Iron & Wine has released seven albums — including its latest, Ghost On Ghost — and Beam is no stranger to outside collaboration. His best-known pairing is 2005's In The Reins, recorded with Calexico. Band Of Horses is similarly well-established, having churned out a fondly received string of albums since its 2005 breakthrough single "The Funeral."

Beam and Bridwell both grew up in South Carolina. Their new album of covers together is Sing Into My Mouth, which draws its title from a line in the Talking Heads song "This Must Be The Place." Out on tour and in this session, the two also play each other's songs. Unlike what you might hear in their live show, the World Cafe versions of "Joy" and "No One's Gonna Love You" are sparse acoustic performances.

Ana Tijoux

Ana Tijoux.

World Cafe features a special live edition of Latin Roots with a performance by the French-Chilean hip-hop artist Ana Tijoux. The set, which contains music from her latest album, Vengo, was recorded at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.

Vengo is the product of a fascinating evolution for Tijoux, who asked herself why Latin hip-hop didn't feature more indigenous acoustic instruments in its backing tracks and decided to incorporate them. Her band uses samples of these sounds live.

Tijoux was born in France, where her parents were forced to move during the dictatorial regime of Augusto Pinochet in Chile. Growing up in both France and Chile, she's often said that hip-hop has given her the cultural identity she'd otherwise lacked. Her first success came with the group Makiza before she launched her solo career in 2004.

Patty Griffin

Patty Griffin.

Setting sun, wind and waves and hills — these are all elements of the lyrics on Patty Griffin's new album, Servant Of Love. She says those references come from noticing the spiritual interconnection between nature and humans, which she says makes it harder to be cynical. The songs on Servant Of Love, her ninth studio album, are also love songs and songs of strength that give a glimpse into Griffin's state of mind since her breakup with longtime partner Robert Plant.

Griffin has been recording for more than 20 years, creating music that's ranged from full-on rock to folk and gospel. She's also had her songs recorded by others, including the Dixie Chicks and her good friend Emmylou Harris. Today, Griffin joins World Cafe from KUTX in her adopted hometown of Austin, Texas.

Buffy Sainte-Marie

Buffy Sainte-Marie.

At 74, Buffy Sainte-Marie still has the passion of her youth on her new album Power In The Blood. The Cree songwriter wrote hits like "Universal Soldier" and "Until It's Time For You To Go" in the 1960s, but that was before she was blacklisted from American radio in the 1970s. Sainte-Marie also won a Grammy and an Oscar for her part in writing "Up Where We Belong," recorded by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes for the 1982 film An Officer And A Gentleman.

Here, she performs a cross-section of her material and sits down with World Cafe to discuss her older songs, how she learned about being blacklisted, and what drives her to keep writing and advocating for underserved people now.

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