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The National's Latest Project Might Be Its Most Ambitious Yet

The National
Graham Macindoe
/
Courtesy of the artist
The National

The National has always been an ambitious band. There was the one time it played its song "Sorrow" for six hours straight at MoMA PS1 in New York City. Then there are band members, and twin brothers, Aaron and Bryce Dessner who've scored films and curated music festivals. But The National's latest project might be the band's most ambitious. It's a collaborative album and short film directed by Mike Mills (director of Beginners, and 20th Century Women.) It's calledI Am Easy To Find and it tells the story of one woman's life from birth to death, starring Alicia Vikander. And that's just the movie!

The album sees the band in new territory asking a question many have been curious about: What if a woman fronted The National? Sharon Van Etten, Kate Stables, Gail Ann Dorsey and others perform throughout the album. Our World Cafe guests Matt Berninger and Aaron Desner talk about the women's contributions, plus what goes into making an album and short film that tie together.

They start this session with a studio performance of "You Had Your Soul With You." Hear it all in the player.

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Since 2017, John Myers has been the producer of NPR's World Cafe, which is produced by WXPN at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Previously he spent about eight years working on the other side of Philly at WHYY as a producer on the staff of Fresh Air with Terry Gross. John was also a member of the team of public radio veterans recruited to develop original programming for Audible and has worked extensively as a freelance producer. His portfolio includes work for the Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, The Association for Public Art and the radio documentary, Going Black: The Legacy of Philly Soul Radio. He's taught radio production to preschoolers and college students and, in the late 90's, spent a couple of years traveling around the country as a roadie for the rock band Huffamoose.