local music

Brian Rogers

Story of a Song is a monthly segment on KCUR's Central Standard, in which local musicians tell the story behind a recent song, and explain how it was constructed musically.

The Musicians: Emcee Morgan Cooper (aka Barrel Maker) and producer Brian Rogers (aka Lion)

If you like to learn about the inner lives of musicians, as though they're the friends or older siblings who are way cooler than you, then music podcasts might just be your thing. This show compiles great music podcasts with an emphasis on the musician-interview approach, plus a handful of new, non-music podcasts to refresh your general playlist. Timed in anticipation of KCUR's upcoming Podcast Party featuring Central Standard and The Grisly Hand. 

Guests:

https://www.facebook.com/TheNameIsDuncan/

 A lot of hip hop sounds great on record but can disappoint live audiences, especially if it's just one guy with a microphone rapping over a recorded track. Olathe rapper Duncan Burnett avoids that by performing with a live band, often consisting of the best jazz instrumentalists in the area. Burnett's flows don't shy away from his faith, but calling him a "Christian rapper" would be missing the point.

Mathias Kang

The Matchsellers
Songs We Made Up

Kansas City is in the midst of an acoustic duo renaissance. Victor and Penny (‘20s and ‘30s swing), Betse and Clarke (old-time breakdowns), and more recently Kasey Rausch and Marco Pascolini’s country duo configuration have made it clear that two people and a cloud of dust work just fine. The Matchsellers, with Andrew Morris on guitar and Julie Bates on fiddle, have landed on that well-plowed ground with a bluegrass sound and an idiosyncratic sense of humor, one skewed roughly 23-29 degrees from the perpendicular.

Pixabay

I remember getting rid of my cassette tapes.

Through the early 2000s, when my journalism career was just beginning, I drove a beat-up used car built in 1991. The bonus was, it had a tape deck. And I had a great collection of music on tapes.

Courtesy of Maria the Mexican

Growing up in Topeka, Kansas, Maria and Tess Cuevas didn’t live in a Mexican-American neighborhood. So their after-school gigs were a little hard to explain to their friends.

“We’d go home and then suddenly you’d put on your sombrero and go to the car,” Tess Cuevas recalled. “It was so different. Nobody else did anything like that.”

commons.wikimedia.org

1992 is calling and it wants its cassette tapes back: a local record store can't keep tapes in stock, a St. Joseph pawn shop sells tape decks as quickly as they come in, and a Springfield-based cassette manufacturer just had its best year since 1969. Sounds like a cassette-tape revival to us.

Guests:

Courtesy Maria The Mexican

Maria The Mexican
South of the Border Moonlight

Ask a Latina about her ethnicity and you’re likely to get a complicated answer. Products of colonialism, most of us are mestizas, combinations of indigenous and European origin. It’s a culture with two feet planted firmly in each world. After all, there was no great diaspora — the border just changed on us. Many good things happened as a result: Spanglish, the guayabera and green chile cheeseburgers to name a few.

Jen Chen / KCUR 89.3

His music has been described as “guitar and growl” and “avant-garde folk.”

He also plays a mean kazoo on his new album, Theatres.

But Nicholas St. James says that “folk” is probably the easiest way to characterize his music — with a lot of blues influence as well.

Jen Chen / KCUR 89.3

We chat with a local musician, whose genre has been described as "avant-garde folk" and "guitar-and-growl." Plus, a live, in-studio performance.

Guest:

University of Texas Press

Mary J. Blige has been called the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, but what fans love most isn't her status as pop culture royalty, but her vulnerability and honesty, especially with her own struggles. What is it about this artist that accounts for her staying power, since 1992?

Guests:

Courtesy Nace Brothers

The Nace Brothers
Space In Time

In Kansas City, we’ve depended on the Nace Brothers forever.

Courtesy of Diallo Javonne French

Matt Otto
"Soliloquy" (Jazz Collective Records)

Matt Otto doesn’t resemble an agent of subversion.  Yet the mild-mannered man has instigated a quiet revolution on Kansas City’s jazz scene since he moved to the area in 2009.

Music Review: The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra's 'Rhapsody'

Mar 22, 2016
Todd Zimmer / Kansas City Jazz Orchestra

The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra
"Rhapsody"

A few years ago, I worked as a concierge for a corporate hotel downtown. Guests would ask, “Does Kansas City still do the jazz thing?” I would laugh and open my drawer of cards. “Oh, do we,” I'd say, before packing them like mules with fliers for shows at local clubs. “We had no idea!” they'd exclaim. “Kansas City still has the best jazz in the world,” I’d say.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

For thousands of years, artisans have been making musical instruments out of clay — from whistles and rattles to ocarinas and horns. That tradition continues with two Kansas City artists who've turned ceramic vessels into a sonic experience. 

We check in on the MidCoast Takeover, a showcase of local and regional bands at the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas.

Guest:

Brodie Rush

Be/Non
Mystic Sunrise / Sunset Magic (Haymaker)

Seven men are trapped on the moon. Only a song played well enough to please their alien captors will save them from eternal banishment from Earth. Some plead for a ride home with "oohs" and "aahs"; others beat drums, press keys and turn knobs in perfect unison. With “Aahs Come from the Skies/Oohs Come from the Ground,” Be/Non makes such an unlikely scenario sound possible.

It is OK to talk at a live music show? And what should you do when the people around you are talking so much that they're drowning out the music?

Guests:

courtesy of the artist

Charlotte Street Foundation has announced its 2016 slate of awards recipients. Each artist receives an unrestricted cash award of $10,000. 

The five fellows this year include: visual artists Shawn Bitters, Rodolfo Marron III, and Madeline Gallucci, and generative performing artists J. Ashley Miller and Eddie Moore. 

The awards process starts with an open call for applications from artists based in the five-county metro area. A jury of arts professionals narrowed the pool to 18 finalists, and then to five. 

Ben Money / Kansas City Live Music Blog (kclivemusicblog.com)

Slow Motion Commotion
The Day’s Not Over Till You Fall Asleep

Sometimes it’s OK to be a little miserable.

Local musician Taryn Miller, who performs as Your Friend, talks about her new album, Gumption, and her upcoming national tour. Plus, a live in-studio performance.

Guest:

File photo by Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

PorchFestKC has a new home. After losing favor with the neighborhood that hosted its first two years, the afternoon music festival will move to the porches of Valentine, says organizer Kathryn Golden. She’s set a date for Oct. 8.

Courtesy Logan Richardson

Logan Richardson
Shift (Blue Note)

The booklet that accompanies Logan Richardson’s monumental new album Shift contains four pages of manga-style graphic art. One panel depicts the saxophonist as a child standing on the corner of 18th & Vine in Kansas City’s Jazz District. He soon encounters Ahmad Alaadeen, an area jazz hero who is shown in the miniature comic book diligently tutoring his promising young disciple.

Story of a Song is a monthly segment on KCUR's Central Standard, in which local musicians tell the story behind a recent song, and explain how it was constructed musically.

The Musician: Julian Davis

The Song: “Maybelline”

Music Review: Fullbloods' 'Mild West'

Feb 23, 2016
Zach Bauman
Hannah Copeland

The largest Folk Music Conference in the world, Folk Alliance International, brought more than 1,000 musicians to Crown Center in Kansas City last week. Musicians and fans crowded into hotel rooms to play and watch hundreds of small concerts hosted during the five day event.

Here are the sounds from those concerts, including a tuba player practicing by a waterfall, and a room organizer stashing his guitar and beer in a bathtub.

Little Class Records

It’s impossible not to hear the life experience in Billy Beale’s time-worn voice.

As the Kansas City blues-staple sings the lyrics, “the only time I’ve been successful’s when I fell,” local record producer Jody Hendrix is reminded of why he felt compelled to document that singular sound.

“Billy is a legend in the bar rooms, the juke joints, and the courtrooms,” Hendrix told Steve Kraske on KCUR’s Up To Date.

David Basse and Joe Cartwright
Live at Pilgrim Chapel (Lafayette Music)

Live at Pilgrim Chapel, a duet album from two mainstays of Kansas City’s jazz scene, contains 56 minutes of worrisome adventure. While Joe Cartwright is a reliably outstanding pianist, David Basse’s limited vocal range and roguish demeanor add an unsteady edge to the recording.

Courtesy Little Class Records

Julian Davis
Who Walks In, When I Walk Out? (Little Class Records)

With the first listen to Who Walks In, When I Walk Out? any roots fan is going to ask, “How old is this guy again?” The question’s inevitable.

It’s also unfair. (He’s sixteen.) Julian Davis would be a wonderful discovery even if he were as old as Grandma Moses.

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