Robin Hilton

Robin Hilton is the producer and co-host for the popular NPR Music show All Songs Considered.

In addition to his work on All Songs, Hilton curates NPR Music's First Listen series, a weekly showcase of select albums you can read about and hear in their entirety before they're officially released.

Prior to joining NPR in 2000, Hilton co-founded Small Good Thing Productions, a non-profit production company for independent film, radio and music in Athens, GA.

Hilton lived and worked in Japan as an interpreter for the government, and taught English as a second language to junior high school students.

From 1989 to 1996, Hilton worked for NPR member stations KANU and WUGA as a senior producer and assistant news director and was a long-time contributing reporter to NPR's daily news programs All Things Considered and Morning Edition.

Hilton is also a multi-instrumentalist and composer. His original scores have appeared in work from National Geographic, Center Stage and in films, including the documentary Open Secret. Hilton also arranged and performed the theme for NPR's Weekend All Things Considered. You can hear more of his music here.

Along the way, Hilton worked as an emergency room orderly, a blackjack dealer and a fruitcake factory assembly lineman.

Macklemore's latest effort with producer Ryan Lewis is "Kevin," a funk-flavored tirade against the ravages of addiction, with a particularly scathing indictment against overprescription of medication. The Seattle duo is joined by soul singer Leon Bridges for the hook. "Doctor please give me a dose of the American dream," Bridges implores. "Put down the pen and look in my eyes. We're in the waiting room and something ain't right."

Music For Healing

Nov 17, 2015

Music can provide a space for healing, feeling and thought. Following the terrorist attacks in Paris, including at a show in that city's Bataclan concert hall, we were compelled to play music with a meditative tone, songs that allow space and time for reflection. A tune Bob Boilen found himself playing all weekend was by Hiya Wal Âalam, a band featuring members from Tunisia, Palestine and Sweden. It's culture-blending music and perfectly pensive.

Shovels & Rope's new album of covers, Busted Jukebox Vol. I, took a village to create. The folk-rock duo of Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent called in their talented friends and collaborators to tackle songs from Elvis Costello, Nine Inch Nails and Guns n' Roses, just to name a few. Each tune is imbued with Shovels & Rope's signature sound and the individual influence of the guests on each track.

This week's All Songs Considered is an emotional roller coaster. Hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton start off mellow with the sweet, acoustic Many Rooms, only to pull the rug out from under it with a monstrously good tune from Grimes. Then we've got intricate Ethiopian accordion rhythms from Hailu Mergia, a piece full of anguish and beauty from the Manchester band Money and a thick, shoe-gazey song from Shmu to close out the whirlwind of frenzied feelings.

On our most recent episode of All Songs Considered I noted that Sharon Van Etten can be heard on a new ad for Corona beer, and that a number of my favorite musicians have sold their songs for commercials.

On this week's All Songs Considered, Robin starts the show with a question: What bands have you discovered and fallen in love with from commercials? His first pick, Chairlift, has come a long way since its 2008 ad for the Apple iPod Nano.

Andy Shauf is a gifted storyteller. Earlier this year the Saskatchewan-based singer-songwriter put out one of 2015's most breathtaking albums, called The Bearer Of Bad News — an appropriately titled collection of mostly grim tales about small town drug addicts, murderous lovers and other weary underachievers.

On this week's All Songs Considered, Bob Boilen is getting excited for the CMJ Music Marathon in New York and Robin Hilton is just plain getting excited.

The musician and provocateur known as Peaches has just won a Polaris prize for the Best Canadian Album of the 2000s. Music fans selected her sexually charged debut release The Teaches Of Peaches in an online poll over albums by Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene and Feist, among others.

Tomorrow, Oct. 9, would have been John Lennon's 75th birthday. So for this week's Throwback Thursday we're sharing a live webcast we did about The Beatles back in February of 2003. At the time, police in Amsterdam had just discovered a bunch of incredibly rare tapes that were stolen from The Beatles and had been missing for 30 years. So we had author Bruce Spizer in to talk about the newly recovered recordings. Bruce wrote The Beatles On Apple Records, and his conversation with host Bob Boilen dug deep into the Beatles' legacy and explained the history of the lost tapes.

This week on All Songs Considered, Bob Boilen and Robin share a few of their favorite things: choice tunes from cherished artists. We've got all the bases covered, from a devastating song about dementia from Daughter to an energetic anthem from Frank Turner on the power of positivity.

This week's puzzler draws mostly on Top 40 hits and as such, should be pretty easy for some careful listeners. Then again, every time I say that people tank ... just like they get near-perfect scores whenever I think it's a particularly hard week. So what do I know?

I do know that Drum Fill Friday is going on a brief hiatus after this week for some technical maintenance work. But we hope to back in a few weeks.

On paper, the musical Hamilton sounds like a joke. But as NPR Music's Timmhotep Aku tells us in this week's +1 podcast, "Maybe you shouldn't judge things on face value."

When a legendary band returns after a long hiatus the results are often cringe-worthy—or mixed, at best. To be fair, it's nearly impossible to recapture the kind of magic that makes legends to begin with. But that's not the case with a surprise new album from the Electric Light Orchestra.

Ian Chang is a gigantically talented drummer. You may have seen him recently in a Tiny Desk performance with the band Son Lux, but he's also known for his work with the bands Landlady and Body Language.

On this week's +1 podcast, we go to Nashville where host Bob Boilen has been making new discoveries at the Americana Music Festival, and attended the Americana Music Awards ceremony. Boilen chats with co-host Robin Hilton about this year's three biggest winners: Lucinda Williams, Sturgill Simpson and Shakey Graves.

Singer Sharon Van Etten has turned Donovan's gently strummed acoustic song, "Teen Angel" into a powerful, electrified ballad, with some of the most potent vocals she's ever recorded. The cover, which appears on a new Donovan tribute album, is still relatively spare, yet Van Etten injects it with an extra jolt of heartache and longing as she belts out the chorus.

This week's show is split much like some of our favorite records: The A-side is loud and fast. The B-side is slow and quiet.

What can I say? You caught me in a good mood and I'm feeling generous. This week's Drum Fill Friday is a lowly one out of five stars for difficulty. I'd give it zero stars, but there's one song that I admit not everyone on the planet has probably heard, though they should. I'll leave it to you to decide which one I'm thinking of. And as always, good luck, careful listeners.

This week's episode of All Songs Considered is a journey of sound. Bob has a new favorite noise app, so he and Robin Hilton go on a sonic expedition that includes a spring walk, a gaggle of purring kittens, and a rolling rain storm (thunder optional). As if kittens weren't enough, Bob and Robin also have six new songs to share, including a British band, a Scandinavian band that sounds British, and an American band that sounds Scandinavian.

This week's Drum Fill Friday comes courtesy of Shaun Fleming, drummer for Foxygen and frontman for the band Diane Coffee. Fleming has an unabashed love of late-'60s psychedelic rock and pop, and you can hear as much in the fills he picked here. But he also threw in a few surprises from the '70s and '80s. I'd give it three out of five stars for difficulty.

Bob Boilen is back after several weeks for this week's episode of All Songs Considered, and at least part of this week's show is Robin coming to terms with Bob's new beard.

Columbia House (actually, the company that has owned Columbia House since 2012) filed for bankruptcy this week, which will mean a great deal to those who were music lovers in the 1980s and '90s, and probably close to nothing to listeners under the age of 30. Columbia House was a mail-order music warehouse, which used cheap (or free) LPs, then 8-tracks, then cassettes and CDs to rope customers into its full-price subscription service.

This week, the All Songs team picks songs that sound like revolutions. Bob Boilen is out, so co-host Robin Hilton is joined by Katie Presley in D.C. and Timmhotep Aku in New York. The trio shares big, smashy music that lets Robin engage in his once-yearly purge of emotion.