About the Show

This week’s episode features some of our favorite musical moments on Wits, including performances from Har Mar Superstar, Thao Nguyen, Martha Wainwright, Dan Wilson and Sara Watkins, Loudon Wainwright III, Typhoon, Aimee Mann and Ted Leo and more.



The Guests

Har Mar Superstar


Acclaimed singer, songwriter and performer Har Mar Superstar (aka Sean Tillmann) named his flamboyant alter ego after the Har Mar mall in suburban St. Paul, Minn., where he spent his youth watching movies and writing songs about passersby in the food court. "Har Mar Superstar used to be a different person," he says. "It used to be my excuse to get away with the more fantastic things in life. ... I guess the confidence I got from being Har Mar Superstar translated into my real life, so now we're one and the same." His latest record, the soulful Bye Bye 17, was released April 23 on Cult Records, with the single Prisoner having its world debut on The Current.

Thao Nguyen


Growing up in Falls Church, VA, Thao Nguyen first picked up a guitar at the age of 12. She spent most of her 20s touring, supporting one critically acclaimed album after another, while working with Andrew Bird, Mirah, and Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs, amongst others. She’s also spent time advocating for those incarcerated in the SF county jail and CA state prison system.

Martha Wainwright


The daughter of folk legends Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle and sister of singer songwriter Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright is known for her raw, confessional material, expressive voice and captivating stage presence. After her 2008 critically acclaimed "I Know You're Married, But I've Got Feelings Too," Martha is out with a new album of original material, "Come Home To Mama."

Dan Wilson


Dan Wilson is a Grammy Award-winning multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, songwriter and producer. Wilson is a solo recording artist as well as the lead singer of the band Semisonic. Dan is well-known as a songwriting collaborator, having contributed three songs to Adele's latest album, 21, including the hit single "Someone Like You," which he also produced. Wilson has written with the Dixie Chicks, Josh Groban, Dierks Bentley, Jason Mraz, Ben Folds, Nas and many others.

Sara Watkins


Sara Watkins was eight when she started performing with the Grammy Award-winning bluegrass-folk trio Nickel Creek as a fiddle player and singer. Twenty years later, she released her first solo album – the BBC has said she's got "the kind of voice that gives your goose bumps the shivers.” She and her brother Sean (also in Nickel Creek) host the Watkins Family Hour at L.A.'s eclectic comedy and music club Largo at the Coronet. She's also a frequent guest on A Prairie Home Companion and is the only artist to have guest-hosted an entire episode of the show. Her latest and second solo album is called "Sun Midnight Sun."



With a sonic palette that adds horns, strings, xylophone, accordion, and percussion to the classic indie rock foundation, Portland, Oregon based Typhoon, have been crafting expansive, emotional anthems since 2005. Paste Magazine raves that "Typhoon is an indie rock geek’s dream: a dynamic 11-piece with a seemingly unending reservoir of energy…Ladies and gentlemen, meet your new critical darlings." In 2013, the band released their fourth album, White Lighter.

Loudon Wainwright III


Grammy winner Loudon Wainwright III’s recording career started in 1970 and now includes 25 albums.  The latest is Older Than My Old Man Now, which employs Wainwright’s unique mix of poignancy and devastating wit to examine aging. Wainwright’s songs have been recorded by Bonnie Raitt, Johnny Cash, Earl Scruggs, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Rufus Wainwright, and Mose Allison, among others. Also an accomplished actor, Wainwright has appeared in films directed by Martin Scorsese, Hal Ashby, Christopher Guest, Tim Burton, Cameron Crowe, and Judd Apatow, and can next be seen in the independent film Pleased To Meet Me, and a one-man-play entitled Surviving Twin.

Aimee Mann


Aimee Mann has always been at the forefront of contemporary songwriters – from her work in the 80s band, 'Til Tuesday through her acclaimed solo albums, "Whatever" and "I'm With Stupid." Mann was nominated for an Academy Award and a Grammy for her songs from the movie, "Magnolia" and has since released several critically-acclaimed albums featuring dysfunctional characters, infectious melodies and true song-craft, the latest of which is titled "Charmer."

Ted Leo


Ted Leo, loved for his wit and energetic performances, is the front man and main songwriter of the indie rock band Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, a band radio host Tom Scharpling says "embodies the perfect synthesis of head and heart." The band's latest album is The Brutalist Bricks.