Music

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:

Courtesy Strange Music

Tech N9ne
Strangeulation Vol. II (Strange Music)

Tech N9ne once boasted, on the title track of his 2009 EP “E.B.A.H.,” that he has an “evil brain” and an “angel heart.” Those contradictory extremes have characterized the Kansas City rapper’s extraordinarily successful career, so it’s not surprising that the two albums Tech N9ne released in 2015 may be the best and the worst recordings in his extensive catalog.

Courtesy Photo / The Electric Lungs

The Electric Lungs
Don’t Be Ashamed of the Way You Were Made

A lot of churches today have a clashing musical lineup: electric-guitar-and-drums rock songs for the Lord’s newbies, and a smattering of organ and upright piano standards to please the old folks.

Heather Burton

Kansas City musicians have written three new holidays songs for 2016 (that we know of). Here they are, along with a few other gems by local songwriters dating back to the 1940s.

Fair warning: Kansas City musicians are not in the habit of writing cheerful Christmas tunes. The following songs fearlessly embrace the deeply complicated emotions so many people feel this time of year, making Elvis and his "Blue Christmas" feel like candy canes.

New

The Best Kansas City Music Of 2015

Dec 18, 2015

It's becoming a year-end tradition at KCUR's Up to Date: Reviewing the year's best work from area musicians.

This year's panelists are:

Joshua Ferdinand

The Architects
Border Wars: Episode II

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

When 50 kids play a concert at the Plaza Library this weekend, it'll be one of the first public performances of a new program that provides free music education to low-income kids in hopes of improving their long-term academic performance.

thecrowdedstage.com

Claire Adams was one of the Kansas City area’s most eclectic musicians even before she began collaborating with the chamber music ensemble Classical Revolution KC. Adams plays bass in the blues-rock band Katy Guillen and the Girls, and is the front person of the ornate folk-pop group, Claire and the Crowded Stage

For its 100th edition, Local Listen features “Enough,” a song that showcases Adams’ new venture with Classical Revolution KC.

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

When alcoholism and addiction landed Bryan Hicks on the streets, it wasn't a spiritual epiphany that sent him searching for help. It was the realization that if he didn't get help, he was going to die.

In those days, his view of Kansas City consisted mostly of cracks in the sidewalks because his head was always hung low, looking for change, a discarded piece of pizza or half a beer left behind by a Westport reveler. Occasional hospital stays felt like spa getaways.

He'd been having seizures. He'd started coughing up blood.

Music Man

Dec 4, 2015
Paul Andrews

A local jazz musician shares his journey from addiction to homelessness to recovery.

Guest:

The Count Basie Orchestra
A Very Swingin’ Basie Christmas! (Concord Records)

Founded in Kansas City in 1935, the Count Basie Orchestra celebrates its 80th anniversary with the release of its first Christmas album. With delightful assists from guests including the Christmas mainstay Johnny Mathis, the ensemble upholds its reputation as the greatest blues-soaked big band in jazz on the ebullient if stodgy A Very Swingin’ Basie Christmas!

Facebook

Colin Halliburton and a rotating cast of collaborators create earnest folk-rock as The Roseline. The Lawrence-based ensemble released the quietly-defiant album “Townie” in June. This week's edition of Local Listen features “Feckless,” a song that displays The Roseline’s troubled optimism.

The Roseline performs at 8:30 p.m. at the Riot Room on Friday, Nov. 27. 

Joe Stanziola

Second Hand King
Before the Bomb Drops

In a 30-second slice from Before the Bomb Drops' opener, Second Hand King (Joe Stanziola) reminds us to “be glad [we’re] not in Baghdad,” plays a radio sample about the atomic bomb, and regrets drunkenly texting a girl he doesn’t care about. This enigmatic album gives Stanziola a platform to think through his own problems while telling the audience not to think so hard, because “nothing really matters.”

For years, people have been asking Cody Wyoming to reprise the now-legendary 2011 concert in which a long roster of Kansas City musicians played a live version of the Rolling Stones’ classic Exile on Main Street.

“As much fun as it was, I try not to repeat myself too much,” Wyoming says.

So, on Nov. 28, a long roster of Kansas City musicians will stage the Rolling Stones’ classic Sticky Fingers.

Local musicians tell the story behind a song and explain how it was constructed musically in The Story of a Song, a monthly segment from KCUR's Central Standard.

Artist: Shy Boys

The Song: Trim

The convergence of experimental hip-hop and arty indie-rock often yields compelling music. The Lawrence-based trio Ebony Tusks is one of the region’s most exciting practitioners of the hybrid style. This week's edition of Local Listen features Ebony Tusks’ signature song “Everybody Run.”

Ebony Tusks headlines a free show at the RecordBar at 8 p.m. Sunday, November 22. 

Whitney Thouvenelle

Howard Iceberg & the Titanics
Smooth Sailing

Putting the name Howard Iceberg & the Titanics next to an image of a sinking ship on a CD cover creates an impression of doom-and-gloom, but in a hokey, cartoonish way. Add the title Smooth Sailing, and you get something else: irony, or at least smart-aleck cynicism.

Facebook

Kansas City musician Lauren Anderson has a master’s degree in music therapy, and her gritty new album “Truly Me” is loaded with sonic solace. This week's edition of Local Listen features “One Day,” a brash song that combines Anderson’s love of blues and soul.

Anderson is part of a stellar lineup of blues acts at Knuckleheads on Friday, Nov. 13. The show starts at 6 p.m.

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.

americanjazzmuseum.org

As the guitarist of the Count Basie Orchestra, Will Matthews plays swinging Kansas City jazz around the globe. He often performs with an organist and drummer in his hometown when he’s not on the road with the big band. This week's edition of Local Listen features Matthews’ rendition of “Corner Pocket.”

Courtesy Johnny Hamil

GAV7D
Thanks for Everything (Johnny Hamil/GAV7D)

This extension of Kansas City's Mr. Marco’s V7 is a testament to the wide-ranging brilliance and vision of its bassist Johnny Hamil. Even though Hamil wrote virtually everything here — give or take the improvisation he encourages and the lyrical contributions noted on three cuts — and even though Hamil plays bass, keys or vibes on everything, key to that vision is humility and thankfulness.

Heather Burton / Facebook

Rock fans preferring disorientation to terror will congregate at Californos on Oct. 31. The Halloween party features Kansas City psychedelic rock bands that daze rather than scare. This week's edition of Local Listen features “January” by the atmospheric trio Riala.

The festivities begin at Californos at 8 p.m. Oct. 31. Also on the bill will be After Nations, Temp Tats and Drag Me To Safe Harbour.

Analog Heart Music

David Cook
Digital Vein (Analog Heart Music)

The mania surrounding David Cook was once so frenzied that the audience hardly seemed to notice his most notable opening act — Justin Bieber — at Cricket Wireless Amphitheater in 2009.

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

Artist: HMPH!

The Song: Sghetti Sauce

Facebook

The guitarist and bandleader Ron Carlson has quietly become an integral component of Kansas City jazz scene during the last couple years. Musicians from New York and Kansas City combine their talents on Carlson’s new album “Kind Folk.” This week's Local Listen features the mainstream swing of “Beatrice.”

Carlson performs with pianist Roger Wilder and bassist Bob Bowman at the Art Factory in Overland Park at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23. 

Music Review: Lauren Anderson's 'Truly Me'

Oct 20, 2015
Rob Smith Photos

Lauren Anderson
Truly Me

It’s easy to miss the obvious with Kansas City blueswoman Lauren Anderson — that dangerous label after the slash after “singer.”

Lauren Anderson is a fine songwriter, too, versatile and honest. She puts her cards — and her heart — on the table, right there in the liner notes: “This CD ... includes most of what I know, who I am, who I’d like to be and where I’d like to go.”

 Howard Iceberg leads an unusual double life. He’s an immigration attorney by day …. and one of Kansas City’s most respected troubadours by night. Local Listen features “You and Your Hazel Eyes,” a song from the singer-songwriter’s new album…. “Smooth Sailing.”

Iceberg and his band the Titanics perform an early show at the RecordBar on Saturday.

Courtesy HMPH!

HMPH!
Headrush (Haymaker Records)

Hearing the instrumental math rock HMPH! is like watching a mastermind play an intense game of Tetris. Like blocks, notes keep coming with no indication of where they will fall, making the band’s debut album, Headrush, an unpredictable journey.

Pages