bluegrass/country/folk | KCUR

bluegrass/country/folk

Folk Alliance International

At 76, you might think that folk singer Judy Collins is getting ready to slow down. 

You would be wrong. 

The folk legend, who has released more than 50 records since her debut album A Maid of Constant Sorrow in 1961, is still on the road — performing as many as 120 shows a year.

Her latest album, Strangers Again, came out in 2015.

She's been candid about her struggles with addiction and bulimia and continues to fight for various social causes, including mental health. 

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.

From the singular twang of a flat-picked guitar to the tight harmonies of a bluegrass band, folk music is more than a sound — it’s an essence. Local labels Mud Stomp Records and Little Class Records work not only to preserve that essence, but to show the rest of the world what Heartland artists have to offer. 

Guests:

In this encore presentation, we revisit our conversation with Scott Hobart, AKA "Rex", on the occasion of his country band's first new album in ten years.

Music Man (R)

Dec 30, 2015

In this encore edition of Central Standard: A Portrait Session with Danny Cox. He's a legendary musician, a Civil Rights activist, an actor ... and the talent behind the Grass Pad's "High on Grass" jingle.

Guest:

Beth Lipoff / KCUR

Sam Baker calls himself “the worst guitarist who ever stood on a public stage.” Yet, the combination of the singer-songwriter's raspy voice and simple guitar melodies "just works," according to Up to Date host Steve Kraske. Baker reflects on his personal journey and performs live at KCUR studios.

A founding member of the Grammy-winning, old-time string band The Carolina Chocolate Drops, Rhiannon Giddens is out with her first solo album, "Tomorrow Is My Turn." She discusses her resistance to being called a "star" and how she's handled her sudden rise in fame. 

Cyprus Avenue Live at The Folly presents Rhiannon Giddens at 7 p.m Sunday, October 11 at the Folly Theater. For more information go to www.follytheater.org.

Kate Reeder

A song recorded in a hotel room at the Westin during this year’s Folk Alliance International Conference is now raising money for a cause, and the musicians who championed the project are back in Kansas City for a show this week.

As the second Folk Alliance International conference kicked off in Kansas City in February, Central Standard explored the question: “What is folk music today?” 

Jake Jacobson

Louis Meyers has heard a lot of music.

He's a banjo player. He’s also one of the co-founders of Austin’s South By Southwest music, film and tech festival, and he spent ten years as director of Folk Alliance International – he was the one responsible for moving the organization and its annual conference to Kansas City. But there’s one record he’s heard only in his imagination: a bluegrass version of The Who's classic rock opera "Tommy."

Paul Andrews

The first time Danny Cox visited Kansas City, it was not a pleasant experience.

It was 1963, a year before the Civil Rights Act banned racial discrimination in public places, and Cox was a nationally touring musician arriving for a show. When he walked in the door at the Muehelbach Hotel, the clerk told him that black people couldn't stay at the Muehelbach.

Though the word he used for "black people" was not quite so polite.

Most of Cox's fellow musicians and road crew were white, but they refused to stay in a place where their vocalist wasn't welcome.

Sylvia Maria Gross -- KCUR

For nearly 20 years, Rex Hobart and the Misery Boys have created songs about love, love lost and heartbreak. This Saturday, the band releases its first album in 10 years, "Long Shot of Hard Stuff."

After a decade-long hiatus, Scott Hobart (Scott is his real first name) didn't think they'd have a new album.

"I just thought we'd kind of ride our own western-cut blazers into the sunset or something, but we did it," he said. "When the opportunity came up, we just said, 'well, why not, let's try it.' The worst thing that can happen is that we get three songs out or something."

PHOTOS: At Folk Alliance, Kansas City Musicians Represent

Feb 24, 2015
Hannah Copeland / KCUR

Dozens of Kansas City bands performed at Folk Alliance International's 27th annual music conference and Winter Music Camp, Feb. 18-22 at Crown Center. Local musicians were among the thousands of musicians, concert promoters, industry representatives, folk DJs, and other supporters occupying the convention hotels for what Folk Alliance called "Planet Folk."

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

Rita Coolidge is rock royalty in this country, performing with the likes of Leon Russell, Joe Cocker, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and Eric Clapton, not to mention her former husband, Kris Kristofferson, with whom she won two Grammy Awards. 

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Hundreds of musicians carrying instruments are filling the hallways of the Westin Hotel in downtown Kansas City, Mo. this weekend.  Clustered in small groups picking, strumming and fiddling, they are gathered for the 27th Annual Folk Alliance Conference and Winter Music Camp.

On day two of the conference, fiddler Betse Ellis was fighting off a cold and trying to pace herself.

“I’ve certainly been sicker than this onstage,” says Ellis with a laugh.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

One of the youngest performers who will be showcased at this week’s Folk Alliance International conference here in Kansas City is a teenager from Overland Park.

Kate Rose is a 15-year-old singer-songwriter and student at Olathe East High School. She recently shared the process by which she wrote the song, And The People Will Remember.

Michael Byars / KCUR

Does it start with the music or the words? Can anybody do it? In time for the Folk Alliance International conference, local musicians share what it takes to write a song. 

Guests:

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

Legendary music critic Dave Marsh has been reviewing music since the '60s. On this edition of Up To Date, he talks about his love for Bruce Springsteen, and why he wasn't sold on the Fab Four until the The Beatles' Second Album.

Guest:

  • Dave Marsh has written and edited Rock and Rap Confidential for 25 years and is a Sirius XM host.

Lomax Collection / Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

When the Folk Alliance International moved its headquarters to Kansas City and held its annual conference in town last year, quite a few area musicians discovered that they qualified as folk musicians.

Jeff Evrard

As the second Folk Alliance International conference kicks off in Kansas City this week, Central Standard explored the question: “What is folk music today?” Listening to some examples with host Gina Kaufmann were three guests:

Paul Andrews

Folk Alliance International kicks off its annual conference —and a new Music Fair — Wednesday in Kansas City, Mo. The five-day event is expected to draw nearly 3,000 musicians from around the world. 

Local folk performers will also be in the spotlight, such as Kasey Rausch. The singer-songwriter's latest full-length album, her third, is called Guitar in Hand. It's her first CD since 2007. 

Phil Peterson

A couple of years ago, an organization called Folk Alliance International moved its headquarters from Memphis to Kansas City. Then, last February, 3,000 musicians from around the world came to town for the Folk Alliance’s annual music conference.

Kansas City has good musicians. It’s a solid music community. But when all of those other musicians took over the Westin Crown Center, it was a shock to the system.

thegrislyhand.com

The incessant upbeat of canned Christmas music can leave even those who love the holidays with a feeling of cheer fatigue.

Kansas City-area singer Lauren Krum of The Grisly Hand, whose DJ alter-ego Lorna Kay spins classic country tunes all year long, shares some grittier winter songs to fill out the emotional spectrum this December.

Lauren's Picks:

Beth Lipoff / KCUR

For five months, from December 2012 to May 2013, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield served as the commander of the International Space Station.

Hadfield conducted a record-setting number of scientific experiments. He also gained a reputation as the "most social media savvy astronaut" by sharing his daily life, posting photos on Tumblr and Twitter and videos on YouTube. 

courtesy: Folk Alliance International

Folk Alliance International announced its pick for a new executive director on Wednesday.

The board of directors selected Aengus Finnan, a musician, community leader and arts administrator. Finnan will replace Louis Meyers, a South by Southwest co-founder who's served as executive director since 2005.

The 3,000-member organization moved its headquarters from Memphis to Kansas City in August.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

At 72, Graham Nash remains part of rock royalty, a musician who came to the U.S. as part of the British invasion with his band The Hollies and plays on today with his super-group Crosby, Stills & Nash.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

For the past 20 years, the nonprofit Folk Alliance International has promoted and celebrated folk music. The organization relocated last year from Memphis, Tenn., to Kansas City, Mo. And, later this month, nearly 250 artists, from Sam Baker to Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys, are scheduled to perform in about a dozen venues in Kansas City during the group's annual conference.

gregbrownmusic.org

Critic Josh Kun once called singer-songwriter Greg Brown, "A Midwestern existentialist hobo with a quick-draw heart, a bloodied heart, and bourbon on his breath." If there's one thing Kun left out, it's Brown's growling tones, which have gotten deeper and more soulful after nearly 50 years of performing.

On Friday's Up to Date, we sit down with musician Greg Brown and discuss his long career and continued success as a Midwestern folk staple.

Guests:

Lauren Kirby

Kansas City, Mo., will take on a folksy note next month when Folk Alliance International holds its annual conference at Crown Center.

A celebration of all types of folk culture, the event is perhaps a harbinger of bigger things to come. The nonprofit Folk Alliance moved its headquarters from Memphis to Kansas City last summer — and already, the folk connections are building. 

The group set up its headquarters in Kansas City's River Market and opened a boutique music shop called The Folk Shop on location.

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