Julie Denesha / KCUR

A nice, shady front porch can be a great place to swap stories or share songs. And the community event called PorchFest continues this relationship — by pairing musicians with neighborhood porches.

The first PorchFest took place about 8 years ago in Ithaca, New York. It's spread to nearly 30 cities, including the West Plaza neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri, where visitors are encouraged to park their cars and follow their ears.

Matching musicians with the right porch

C.J. Janovy / KCUR

In Salina, along the railroad tracks, in the shadow of grain elevators, next to a gravel lot filled with industrial propane tanks, is the headquarters of Acoustic Sounds.

It’s run by Chad Kassem. He’s originally from Louisiana.

“Back in the mid-’70s every teenage boy had a stereo, or most of the boys in my neighborhood had a stereo, and maybe a hundred albums,” Kassem says. “So I wasn’t any more of a collector than most of my friends.”

By the time he was 21, though, Kassem’s drinking and drug abuse was causing him trouble with the law.

“I came to Kansas to get sober in 1984. That’s where the judge picked.”

As we know, Kansas has alcohol, but in general, there were fewer distractions for a man who needed to dry out.

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.

David Katzenstein

Regina Carter is considered one of the most prolific contemporary jazz violinists.

A MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant recipient, she has a discography that draws upon a wide range of musical influences from Motown to Folk, and now her Southern roots, with her latest album Southern Comfort.

"[Southern Comfort] is about my journey of trying to learn about my father's family and search for my ancestors to find out where I come from," Carter explains in a recent interview with Central Standard's Matthew Long-Middleton.

Chuck Mead left Kansas more than two decades ago when he set out for Nashville and made a name for himself in country music. Now he’s circling back to Kansas, where his career began.

The first group he formed there, BR549, started out as the house band at Robert’s Western World on Lower Broadway in Nashville, just across the alley from Ryman Auditorium, the original home of the Grand Ole Opry.  BR549 quickly built a huge following playing regularly in the small bar.

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.

TOP 10

  1. Bob Dylan
  2. Elvis Presley
  3. The Beatles
  4. Chuck Berry
  5. Ray Charles
  6. Bob Marley
  7. Van Morrison
  8. Bruce Springsteen
  9. James Brown
  10. Paul Simon

REMAINING 25, in no particular order

This fall marks a milestone for Kansas City radio and the metro’s many fans of rock, gospel, country and reggae. The now-iconic Cyprus Avenue program premiered on KCUR in October 1978. Piloting the program from the beginning was an eager, well-informed, dedicated host who was opportunely equipped with both an ideal voice for radio and a passion about the music he played.

The Best Kansas City Music of 2013 - So Far

Jun 25, 2013
Jordan Smith - Creative Commons

Is your iTunes library lacking a local flare? From jazz acts to hip hop artists and everything in between, KCUR has its finger on the pulse of local music. 

Popular Hot Rodding

Looking for ways to enjoy the weekend of May 17-19, 2013? Brian McTavish has some options for you on the Weekend To-Do List.

Mike Sinclair

Two Kansas Citians were announced yesterday as winners of this year's very prestigious Guggenheim Fellowships.

Musician Joe Sample has made his life about all that jazz.

All wasn't quiet on the homefront during World War I.

He tickled the ivories from Kansas City to Paris in the 1920s. Now, a new documentary is chronicling organist Virgil Thomson’s journey from movie theater musician to trailblazer of the American style of music composition.

The sweet notes of smooth jazz are well-known to anyone who’s delved into Kansas City’s history, but jazz is still evolving today.

Singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash is bringing her country tunes back to the Midwest.

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

Kansas City-based singer Deborah Brown says her new CD, All Too Soon, explores hidden gems of jazz songs.

12 St. Jump

Charlie Parker’s birthday is coming up on August 29, and Kansas City has been known to show its locally grown sax legend many forms of tributes over the years.  

Meet The Ukesters

Aug 7, 2012
wererabbit / flickr

It's lightweight, inexpensive, and fun to play, with a sound that's both deeply sentimental and incredibly silly. Is there a more perfect instrument than the ukulele?

Pretend #lastfm asked you to tweet your top three songs so far in 2012, what would you select?  Something straight from Billboard, or maybe a tune playing under the radar?

Drum Safari

Jul 17, 2012

On this Tuesday's Central Standard, meet the guy in crazy patchwork pants teaching kids about world instruments. Join us for a drum safari with our guest Brandon Draper.

Rise and Dream: A Concert In A Conflict Zone

Jun 25, 2012

Coming up on this Tuesday's Central Standard, the story of 13 young people in Zamboanga, Philippines who take on an extraordinary challenge – to learn their traditional instruments, and preform a concert, in front of 10,000 people.

US Air Guitar Regionals Come to KC: Meet The Oxygen Warriors

Jun 21, 2012
Alyce Henson

Air Guitar. It sounds like something you should only do in private, but it’s become an international phenomenon – a combination of sport, comedy, mime, and performance art, with ample hair tossing, fret scaling, and hip thrusting.

Marilyn Maye's Song For Walt Bodine

Apr 27, 2012

Thank you all for joining KCUR this Friday morning at 10 a.m. for the very last Walt Bodine Show, and showing such outstanding support for Walt, and his contributions to local journalism.

KC Artists' Tribute To Etta James

Apr 12, 2012

Kansas City artists love reasons to get together, and who's more tribute-worthy than the late Etta James? On this Thursday's Central Standard, a look back at the singer’s many styles, from early jump blues to country soul.

The Middle Of The Map Fest Is Blowing Up

Apr 4, 2012

On this Wednesday's Central Standard, learn about a SXSW-style festival in our own backyard. Hear why the Middle of the Map Festival is drawing exponentially more bands, more people & more attention in its second year.

Windows Down, Stereo Up: New Music Releases With KCUR Hosts

Apr 3, 2012

Is your musical taste stuck in a rut? Don’t you wish you had cool friends to take you out to a record store for a music makeover? Well, now you do.

The History Of Gospel Music In KC

Mar 20, 2012

Back in the 1940-60s, Black gospel music gave a voice to people living in troubled times.

The Beautiful Bodies Work It

Mar 8, 2012
Thomas Becker

On the second half of this Thursday's Central Standard, meet energetic lead-singer Alicia Solo. Her hip-thrusts and dance moves have sent her home with cuts, bruises and chipped teeth.

The Great Immensity: The Fine Art Of Edutrainment

Feb 29, 2012
Don Ipock / KC Rep

Can any topic make a good song – even climate change? On this leap day edition of Central Standard, meet the cast from a musical mystery about the environment showing now at the Kansas City Repertory Theater.