Kimberly Junod

On his last album, Are You Serious, the always inventive Andrew Bird drew inspiration from monumental moments in his own personal life, including getting married and having a son. And now, on My Finest Work Yet, Bird zooms way out on humanity across history's timeline, seeking insight about our current age, in a way he hopes "stays above the news feed noise."

Ask anyone in Dublin to recommend a pub with traditional Irish music, and you're likely to hear about The Cobblestone. For our last World Cafe dispatch from Ireland, we pop into the cozy spot in Smithfield and can immediately see why this place is beloved by locals, tourists and musicians from far and wide. It's warm and welcoming with a big, long bar filled with people leaning over each other and laughing and clinking glasses.

There's something extra special about going to visit an artist in the place where it all began. On our recent trip to Dublin, Paul Noonan, lead singer of beloved Irish band Bell X1, took us on a walking city tour to show us some of the spots that have been important to the band over its 20-year career.

When Paddy Moloney formed The Chieftains in 1962, he wanted to take the sounds he loved from his Irish upbringing and share them with the rest of the world. Little did he know things would go so well that eventually, The Chieftains would help take the sounds of Ireland to outer space.

On our recent World Cafe trip to Dublin we asked Laoise, an Irish up-and-comer with an ear for sweet synthesizers, to choose a meeting spot that was meaningful to her. She chose Whelan's of Wexford Avenue, one of Dublin's most famous pubs and music venues. The walls are lined with photographs of artists who have graced the stage including Jeff Buckley, Mumford and Sons, Grimes, and Arctic Monkeys. Laoise is proud to be part of that impressive list of Whelan's alumni, having played (and sold out) her first-ever show at Whelan's last year.

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