local music

In a time of diminishing budgets, guest host Brian Ellison learns how fine-arts program Harmony Project is helping underserved kids in Kansas City do better in school. Then, actor Bryan Cranston says a large part of his successful career has to do with hard work and good luck. This week's Local Listen features the classic rock band Kansas, touring in support of its first album since 2000.

Prairie Village has the distinction among Kansas cities of being the hometown of not one — but two! — operatic prodigies. Hear the latest tenor voice that's delighting audiences from California to Carnegie Hall. Then, we examine a different way to frame victims of sexual violence and the concept of rape itself. Finally, the latest Statehouse Blend Kansas, recorded live in Wichita.

Courtesy The Conquerors

The Conquerors
Wyld Time (High Dive Records)

A remastered version of the Beatles’ Live at the Hollywood Bowl was recently released in conjunction with Ron Howard’s new documentary The Beatles: Eight Days a Week. While the reissue of will satisfy avid fans of the Fab Four, Wyld Time, by Kansas City’s The Conquerors, is a more arresting demonstration of the Beatles’ enduring legacy.

Rowland Scherman / National Archives and Records Administration

Bob Dylan, who won the Nobel Prize for literature this morning — "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition" —has written a lot of words, about a lot of places. In honor of his accomplishments, however, we can't help being proud that a few of those words indicate he's been thinking about us.

1. "High Water (For Charley Patton)," from 2001's Love and Theft

First verse:

With the presidential campaigns reaching a fever pitch, the Media Critics discuss whether or not journalists hold Hillary Clinton to a different standard than Donald Trump, and if the press is giving political "spin" the same importance as evidence-based facts. Then, Bill Brownlee introduces Various Blonde in this week's Local Listen.

Courtesy Various Blonde

Led by guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Joshua Allen, Various Blonde is one of Kansas City’s most daring indie-rock bands, incorporating funk and electronic dance music elements into the startling new sound showcased on its new record.

3 reasons we're listening to Various Blonde this week:

1. The band's new All Bases Covered was released last month by the The Record Machine, a Kansas City label.

Courtesy The Sexy Accident

The Sexy Accident
Champagne Babycakes

Jesse Kates is a coordinated guy. The front-man and creator of The Sexy Accident has been at it for a decade, dutifully churning out catchy, creative pop records every two years with an ever-changing cast of characters.

First, Ambassador Allan Katz examines the diminishing role of civility in politics, and what might be done to reverse it. Then, the story of Forsyth County, Georgia, which became a "white county" in 1912, after a campaign of violence and intimidation against its black inhabitants. This week's Local Listen features Brody Buster's One Man Band.

Courtesy Mudstomp Records

As a child prodigy on harmonica back in the 1990s, Brody Buster was once one of Kansas City’s most notable musical exports. He appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and on an episode of the sitcom “Full House.”

But Buster's fame was as fleeting as his youth. The disturbing 90-minute documentary "How Did This Happen" documents Buster’s decline from child star to relatively obscure bar band musician.

3 reasons we're listening to Brody Buster this week:

Courtesy Lyal Strickland

Lyal Strickland

Lyal Strickland’s day job, raising grass-fed beef cattle on 900 acres or so just north of Springfield in Buffalo, Missouri, says as much about his authenticity as his rocky, heart-wrenching songs.

Courtesy Kansas City Missouri City Hall

Mayor Sly James asked a Kansas City Council committee on Wednesday to recommend spending $250,000 to begin planning for a three-day arts festival to take place in Swope Park next September.

Those funds would go toward hiring of a project manager who would spend the next year developing the festival, which would include visual, performing, and digital arts, as well as an educational component, all taking advantage of the assets in Swope Park: Starlight Theatre, the park's pavilion, and the Southeast Community Center.

Courtesy Eddie Moore

Originally from Houston, Eddie Moore, 30, moved to Kansas City in 2010. On Saturday, he and his band the Outer Circle perform at a release party for their new album Kings & Queens.

3 reasons we're listening to Eddie Moore and the Outer Circle this week:

1. Not only is Moore one of the only keyboardists in town who can play both gospel-infused and conventional post-bop forms of jazz, Moore he can occasionally be heard playing with rock, reggae and hip-hop ensembles.

What goes into making a beat? Usually, producers toil in the background, but a local promoter is bringing beatmaking to center stage.


Courtesy Heidi Lynne Gluck

Kansas City's annual Plaza Art Fair doubles as a music festival: 55 free performances by locally based rock, R&B, country, jazz, folk, and classical musicians will take place on three stages. One of those performers is Heidi Lynne Gluck, a singer-songwriter with an indie-rock orientation.

3 reasons we're listening to Heidi Lynne Gluck this week:

Gavin Peters

Moreland & Arbuckle
Promised Land or Bust

It’s not easy to surprise with a blues record.

Courtesy of Bummer

Story of a Song is a monthly segment on KCUR's Central Standard in which local musicians tell the story behind a song they have written or are performing.

The Band: Bummer

The Song: "Bad News"

The Songwriters: Matt Perrin and Mike Gustafson

Clarke Wyatt

Musicians Betse Ellis and Clarke Wyatt started playing as Betse & Clarke, a fiddle and banjo duo, in late 2014. Their latest album is called River Still Rise.

Zach Bauman

The Anniversary, a band from Lawrence, earned national recognition before it broke up in 2004, but the band has reunited for a national tour that concludes in their hometown on Saturday.

3 reasons we're listening to The Anniversary this week:

Rich the Factor
Smile and Whale Mafi (Major Factor Records)

In the parlance of the street, the Kansas City rapper Rich the Factor has spent most of the past two years on “vacation.”

Since his extended incarceration recently ended, the man born Richard Johnson has been making up for lost time. “I’m fresh up out the pen and I’m back with a vengeance,” he raps on “Blow the Horn,” a combative track on one of his two new albums.

3 Reasons We're Listening To Dan Thomas This Week

Sep 7, 2016
Courtesy Dan Thomas

Jazz saxophonist Dan Thomas opens for Marilyn Maye this weekend.

Thomas is the associate director of Jazz Studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. He's also the bandleader of Voyage, whose other members are pianist Wayne Hawkins, bassist Forest Stewart and drummer Mike Warren (no relation to the KCUR contributor of the same name).

Courtesy David George

David George & A Crooked Mile
Radiant Man (Uniglobe Records)

In a week or so, David George & A Crooked Mile’s music will be all over town.

A talk with a local visual and performing artist who has just released his first collection of poetry.


Chico Sierra has a reading on September 15 at the Raven Bookstore in Lawrence.


You may not know his name, but you might know his work: the giant, colorful animals lurking on walls around the Crossroads and Westport, and in the halls of Children's Mercy Hospital. Meet Scribe, who has a new children's book and an album of music inspired by his art coming out this month.


Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Eddie Delahunt is Kansas City’s favorite Irish troubadour, and it's Irish Fest weekend in Kansas City. That's enough reason to spotlight Delahunt, but we'll get a bit more specific.

3 reasons we're listening to Eddie Delahunt this week:

1. Delahunt moved to the United States from his native Ireland in 1989. He’s been a mainstay of Kansas City’s music community for more than 20 years.

KCUR 89.3

It was a rainy night in April in Lawrence, Kansas. 

Liberty Hall was hosting the twelfth stop on Jónsi Birgisson’s solo live experience tour of 2010. During Sigur Ros’ indefinite hiatus, lead singer Birgisson set out to craft an experience all his own.

Courtesy Eddie Moore

Eddie Moore and the Outer Circle
Kings & Queens (Ropeadope Records)

Eddie Moore is diligently pulling Kansas City’s jazz scene into the 21st century. Since moving here from Houston in 2010, the 30-year-old keyboardist has done as much as any jazz-oriented musician to bring Kansas City up to date.

Going To The End Of Himself

Aug 25, 2016

An excerpt from Ghost Notes, a new music podcast in KC. Host Hannah Copeland talks with local singer/songwriter Calvin Arsenia.


Courtesy Soul Revival

Soul Revival is a Kansas City-based R&B band led by vocalist Derek Cunigan and keyboardist Desmond Mason, which has just released its debut single, “If You Ask Me Again (I Do).”

3 reasons we're listening to Soul Revival this week:

1. “If You Ask Me Again (I Do)” is a strong contender for best locally released song of 2016. It's a lovely affirmation of love written by Cunigan, whose delicate vocals evoke Luther Vandross. Mason is responsible for the silky arrangement.