Central Standard
2:09 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Kansas City Duo Victor & Penny Make Music On The Road

Erin McGrane and Jeff Freiling perform as Victor & Penny in KCUR's talk show studio.
Credit Alyson Raletz, KCUR

With a ukelele and jazz guitar in tow, the traveling Kansas City-based musical duo known as Victor & Penny stopped by Central Standard on Wednesday to talk with Gina Kaufmann — and to perform a few of their signature "antique pop" songs live for our listeners.

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Up To Date
1:55 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Local Listen: Jason Vivone & the Billy Bats


The Phoenix, one of Kansas City's most popular live music venues, hosts its fifth annual Phoenix Fest this Saturday.  Jason Vivone and the Billy Bats are among the eight area-based acts performing at the event.  This week's edition of Local Listen features "Eddie Ate Dynamite," the humorous title track from the band's 2013 album.

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Up to Date
2:01 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Local Listen: Quixotic

Quixotic performs at Crossroads KC on July 19.
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

Quixotic's circus-like presentations make it easy to overlook the musical component of this performing arts troupe from Kansas City. Yet the sounds that accompany its compelling visuals, a distinctive merger of electronic and acoustic elements that bridge the divide between classical and pop, are an essential element of the ensemble's success.

This edition of Local Listen features "From the Outside Looking In," the title track of Quixotic's latest recording.

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Arts & Culture
6:01 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Local Listen: Ensemble Ibérica

Ensemble Ibérica
Credit Jeff Evrard /

Often characterized by Americans as the blues of Portugal, fado is a melancholy music.  Vocalist Rodrigo Costa Félix is one of three Portuguese fado artists that will headline a concert Saturday, July 12, at Polsky Theatre on the campus of Johnson County Community College.  Kansas City's Ensemble Ibérica, a group led by event organizer Beau Bledsoe, will open the show.  This week's Local Listen features Ensemble Ibérica's "Fado Pechincha."

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Central Standard
3:55 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Kansas City Bartenders Create Cocktails Inspired By Local Bands

Credit Geishaboy500 on Flickr

Music is often connected with emotions, but what about food? Can a cocktail taste like a song? On Thursday's Central Standard, we spoke with two Kansas City bartenders who recently completed a feat of synesthesia - creating original cocktails inspired by songs from local musicians.  The event was called Mixtapes & Mixology.

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Up To Date
3:32 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

The Best Music of 2014 — So Far

Sylvan Esso, pictured here, is just one of the groups that our music lovers picked as one of the best of 2014 so far.
Credit Ross Grady / Flickr-CC

We're almost halfway through 2014 and there's already been great music on the local, national and international stages.

From jazz to experimental ambient music, there's been something for pretty much everyone this year. 

On Friday's Up to Date, host Steve Kraske was joined by a panel of music lovers to find the best bands, albums, and tracks so far in 2014. 

Here are our guests' picks:


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Up To Date
3:44 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Local Listen: Greg Mackender

"The Winter's Tale" at the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival.
Credit Roger Ridpath / Heart of America Shakespeare Festival

The Heart of America Shakespeare Festival begins this weekend and while the play may be the thing, there’s live music too.

During performances of The Winter's Tale, there are three musicians on stage, including resident composer Greg Mackender on percussion and mallets, Sascha Groschang on cello and Laura Parks on violin.

"I left a lot of openings for impromptu types of things," says Mackender. "There are other spots where they can get a little livelier, we can play around a little bit."

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Up To Date
12:25 pm
Sat June 14, 2014

Local Listen: David George & A Crooked Mile

David George is a rock and roll formalist. The Kansas City musician's affinity for tradition was recognized by John Fogerty and George recently toured as a member of Fogerty's band. But, he has returned to the Heartland to write his own music and this edition of Local Listen features a vibrant new composition. Here is David George & A Crooked Mile performing "Shine."

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Arts & Culture
2:35 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

LISTEN: Ben Folds Bridges Pop And Classical Music

Ben Folds performed and answered questions at a matinee performance on Wednesday, conducted by the Symphony's associate conductor Aram Demirjian.
Credit Beth Buchanan / Kansas City Symphony

Singer-songwriter Ben Folds had a strongly worded message for an audience at a sold-out Kansas City Symphony concert at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts this week: "Cities without symphony orchestras are crap."

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Central Standard
10:26 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Kansas City's Front Porches Are Gathering Places, And Now Music Venues, Too

PorchFests fill historic city neighborhoods with live music, in Kansas City and throughout the United States.
Credit Ari Moore / Creative Commons, Flickr

The front porch is an American institution. It's an ideal place to wind down with a cool drink on a summer night. But this familiar scene is all-too-easy to take for granted.

On the occasion of Kansas City's inaugural PorchFest, a music festival bringing 70 bands to residential porches, Central Standard takes a look at the history of the American front porch. We also visit with the festival organizer to hear about the bands bringing West Plaza porches to life this weekend.


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Arts & Culture
9:27 am
Wed June 11, 2014

7 Questions For Doug Frost On Beer And The First-Ever Boulevardia

Music, food, and craft beer will jostle for center stage this weekend at Boulevardia, a three-day festival in the West Bottoms of Kansas City, Mo.

More than three dozen brewers from 11 states, from Oregon to Maine, as well as two Belgian breweries, will be on tap to provide samples. And – of course — there will be beer from local favorites in Kansas and Missouri (such as Boulevard Brewing Co., the organizer of the event).

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Up To Date
10:40 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Local Listen: 77 Jefferson

The summer months are reggae season in Kansas City.  Known for sweet vocals and loping rhythms, Kansas City's 77 Jefferson has been one of the region's most popular purveyors of the Jamaican sound since its inception in 2006.  From the band's most recent album “Rarities Vol. 2” comes the breezy track,"Call On Me".

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Arts & Culture
5:19 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Violinist Angèle Dubeau Mines Cancer Experience In New CD

When Angèle Dubeau was diagnosed with cancer, her fans reached out and asked her to share her experience through music.
Credit Courtesy: Analekta

Canadian violinist Angèle Dubeau was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2013. Her latest CD, Blanc, traces the range of emotions during her illness - from anxiety to sadness to hope - with songs by composers such as Dave Brubeck, Mark O'Connor and Cat Stevens.

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Up To Date
4:11 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Local Listen: My Brothers & Sisters

Performances by My Brothers & Sisters are a spectacle.  The self-described "14-piece pop orchestra" from Kansas City includes string and horn sections, and a large chorus.  The ambitious project has been documented on "Violet Music: Volume One" a recently-released album that took over a year to record.  This edition of Local Listen features a song that showcases the soulful side of this expansive ensemble.  Here is "How To Move What To Wear".

Hear More: My Brothers & Sisters headline the annual spring dance at Knuckleheads on Saturday, May 31.

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Up To Date
11:23 am
Thu May 22, 2014

The Weekend To-Do List: May 23-25

At 87, Tony Bennett is still performing regularly. He's part of the 'Weekend To-Do List' for May 23-25.
Credit Tom Beetz / Flickr-CC

If you're looking for good music this weekend, look no further than Brian McTavish's Weekend To-Do List for May 23-25.

Tony Bennett (pop music legend), 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo. Tickets: $70 to $150.

Westport Roots Festival (Billy Joe Shaver and 25 bands), Saturday, indoor music at noon, outdoor at 2 p.m. at the Westport Saloon, 4112 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, Mo. Tickets: $28.

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Up To Date
3:21 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Local Listen: Bassist Dominique Sanders

Bassist Dominique Sanders

Although he's in his early twenties, bassist Dominique Sanders is already a fixture in Kansas City's most prestigious jazz clubs.    Tivon Pennicott, a New York-based saxophonist best known for his work with the Grammy-winning star Esperanza Spalding, will join Sanders' trio at three area venues next week.  Sanders and Pennicott will explore the intersection of jazz and R&B at Broadway Jazz Club, the Blue Room and Take Five Coffee.

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Central Standard
2:45 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Glenn North: Fostering Raw Self-Expression At 18th And Vine

Poet Glenn North has held court at the American Jazz Museum's Blue Room for the past decade.
Credit Terance Williams / Facebook

When Glenn North read a poem at the grand opening for the American Jazz Museum in 1997, something clicked.

From that moment on, the poet and the museum grew in tandem.  In 2004, North officially joined the museum's staff, establishing a nationally recognized spoken word scene at the museum's Blue Room.

North recently left his post as education manager and poet-in-residence. He plans to finish his master's degree and focus on his poetry.

Upon his departure, Central Standard invited him to sit down for a talk. Among the highlights:

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Up To Date
4:14 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Local Listen: Kantorei Of Kansas City

Since 2009 Kantorei of Kansas City has been accentuating the region's reputation as a hotbed of superior classical vocal ensembles.  Kantorei of Kansas City's latest album,“Music and Sweet Poetry, Choral Music by Matthew Harris,” was released by the British record label Resonus Classics on Valentine's Day.  In this edition of Local Listen, we enjoy "Fantasy on La Bamba," a gorgeous but decidedly lighthearted arrangement of the 1958 Ritchie Valens hit "La Bamba".

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Arts & Culture
9:07 am
Sat May 3, 2014

newEar Closes Season With Pulitzer Prize-Winning Composer

Evoking the sounds of nature, Lyra Pherigo plays the piccolo.
Julie Denesha KCUR

The contemporary chamber ensemble, newEar, brings its 21st season to a close with three pieces from the 1970s, 80s and 90s. This including songbirdsongs, written between 1974 and 1980, by Alaskan composer John Luther Adams. Adams recently won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Music.

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10:13 am
Thu May 1, 2014

Accordion Legend Don Lipovac Remembered In Kansas City

Credit Photo courtesy of Laura Krzyzanowski.

Musician Don Lipovac, internationally recognized for his prowess on the accordion, will be buried Thursday in Mount Calvary Cemetery in Kansas City, Kan.

The 79-year-old died on April 26.

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Up to Date
9:00 am
Thu May 1, 2014

A New Kind Of Jazz Combo

Hermon Mehari (far right) is a trumpeter with the band Diverse. Other members include (from left) Ryan J. Lee, Tony Tixier and Ben Leifer.

  Kansas City-based jazz band Diverse is mixing it up to combine their smooth sounds with other musical genres.

On Thursday's Up to Date, we talk with their trumpeter about those innovations and where they hope to take this new sound mix.


  • Hermon Mehari, trumpeter in Diverse and 2014 Charlotte Street Generative Performing Artist Award recipient
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Up to Date
11:37 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Local Listen: Kristie Stremel

Kristie Stremel sings this week's Local Listen on her album, 'Songwriter.'

For this Local Listen, we turn to longtime area favorite, Kristie Stremel who has a sure-handed grasp of the dynamic potential in a pop song.  Her single, Cry It All Out, combines a tender voice with a delicate arrangement while kicking up a great big, noisy celebration.  From the album Songwriter here is Kristie and Cry It All Out.

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Up to Date
5:31 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Local Listen: Scruffy And The Janitors

Scruffy and the Janitors play the Middle of the Map festival Saturday, April 5, on the back patio of the Riot Room at 6:15 p.m.
Credit Middle of the Map Fest


This year’s Middle of the Map music festival began Thursday night and will continue through Saturday at  locations in and around Westport.

Our “Local Listen” segment focuses on musicians from the Kansas City area that will be sharing the stage with regional and national artists.  

Today, we travel up I-29 a bit and give a listen to one of the newest bands to come out of St. Joseph: Scruffy and the Janitors. Here is “Shake it Off.”

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Central Standard
12:58 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Middle Of The Map Fest Kickoff

Middle of the Map Fest starts tonight with the music portion in Westport. The festival will continue with forum next weekend and wrap up with film April 16-20. On today's Central Standard, a Middle of the Map Fest co-founder discusses what to expect from local and national musicians in Kansas City this weekend. Plus, KCUR's Laura Ziegler is here with Royals predictions for this week's Tell KCUR.


  • Chris Haghirian, co-founder of Middle of the Map Fest
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Up To Date
2:16 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Local Listen: Middle Twin

Middle Twin performs at this year's Middle of the Map music festival running April 3-5 in Westport.

The lineup has been announced for this year’s Middle of the Map music festival.  Running from April 3 to April 5, the festival takes place at various locations in and around Westport in Kansas City.

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Up To Date
2:05 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Local Listen: Monta At Odds

Monta At Odd's newest EP is titled "Android Dream."

The line-up has been announced for this year’s Middle of the Map music festival, which takes place April 3-5 at many locations in and around Westport.

For the next several weeks, our “Local Listen” segment will focus on musicians from the Kansas City area who will be sharing the stages with regional and national artists.

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Up to Date
2:03 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

The Weekend To-Do List, March 21-23, 2014

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike plays this weekend at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre.

Get that spring into your step with Brian McTavish's Weekend To-Do List for March 21-23, 2014.

Lyric Opera of Kansas City: “La Boheme” (Classic opera by Giacomo Puccini), 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo. Tickets: $90 to $160 

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Arts & Culture
5:00 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Maria The Mexican, Influenced By Mariachi Roots

Maria Cuevas (at left) and her sister, Teresa (Tess) Cuevas, started Maria the Mexican in 2011, along with guitarist Garrett Nordstrom.
Credit courtesy Maria the Mexican

The band Maria the Mexican describes its sound as Americana soul and Mexicana groove. Sisters Maria and Tess Cuevas got their start in Mariachi Estrella, an all-female mariachi band founded by their grandmother, the late Teresa Cuevas. In 2011, they branched out to form Maria the Mexican, with guitarist Garrett Nordstrom.

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