Todd Zimmer


The bold rock and brash stage presence of Kangaroo Knife Fight is better suited to cavernous concert halls than the humble taverns where this Kansas City band most often performs.  This week’s edition of Local Listen features “It’s You,” an arena-ready burst of melodic rock.   

Catch them live at Danny's in Lenexa on Saturday, April 11. 

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."

Facebook/Rex Hobart & the Misery Boys

Rex Hobart and the Misery Boys have been performing traditional country music in their hometown of Kansas City and in barrooms across the country for more than 15 years.  This week’s edition of Local Listen features “Jonesin’ For Merle Haggard,” a playful song that pays tribute to several legends of country music.

Local Listen: Danielle Nicole

Mar 27, 2015


Danielle Nicole Schnebelen went right to work following the recent breakup of the popular Kansas City blues-rock band Trampled Under Foot.  Schnebelen’s new solo EP showcases her powerful voice.  This week’s edition of Local Listen features “Wandering Heart,” a track from the self-titled release. 

Danielle Nicole Schnebelen headlines a homecoming concert at Knuckleheads on Saturday, March 28.

When you listen to the latest soulful reggae from The New Riddim you could easily believe it was created in Jamaica in the 1970s. Yet the Kansas City band’s “Second Sight” was, in fact, recorded locally.

This week’s edition of Local Listen features their song “Shoot the Piano Player.”

You catch them Friday, March 20, at Davey's Uptown Ramblers Club on Main and 34th in Kansas City, Mo. Doors open at 9. 

Local Listen: Drakkar Sauna

Mar 13, 2015

The Lawrence based duo, Drakkar Sauna, has been crafting eccentric music with an old-time sound for over a decade.  This edition of Local Listen features a meditation on interplanetary colonization.  Take a listen to The Long Sovereignty.


Hear More: Drakkar Sauna makes a rare appearance in Kansas City on Saturday, March 14, at the MiniBar.


Courtesy Nuwayv

Earlier this year when the Folk Alliance International conference was underway in Kansas City, Central Standard interviewed local musicians from different genres about how they write songs. That inspired us to launch a new series: "Story of a Song."

For this installment, Hannah Copeland spoke with members of the Kansas City band, Nuwayv, which defines its music as "rugged soul." Hannah explains how the four artists collaborated to write their new album’s final track, “We Shinin.”

Antonin Dvorak's Symphony No. 8 is joyful and romantic — fitting for the season, as we bid adieu to the bitter winter weather.

“It was written when Dvorak was at a resort, and this symphony sounds like that,” Kansas City Symphony executive director Frank Byrne told Steve Kraske on Up To Date.

Local Listen: Millie Edwards

Mar 6, 2015
Facebook / Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame

Millie Edwards may be one of the smallest members of KC’s jazz community, but she owns one of the biggest voices on the scene. This week’s Local Listen features her collaboration with pianist Mike Pagán on the Duke Ellington composition “In a Mellow Tone.”

HEAR MORE: Edwards entertains every Monday at The Phoenix. On Sunday, March 8, she’ll be featured in a KC Jazz Vespers concert at the First Baptist Church of Kansas City. Admission is free.

  Though he is typically placed in the jazz category, guitarist Bill Frisell plays a wide variety of styles, including folk and Americana. On this edition of Up To Date, he chats with Steve Kraske about his beginnings and his eclectic career. 

courtesy: Akshay Dinakar

Akshay Dinakar, a senior at Shawnee Mission East High School in Prairie Village, Kan., has been invited to play with the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America (NYO-USA).

Carnegie Hall on Tuesday announced the 144 musicians, ages 16-19, chosen after an extensive audition process. They're considered to be some of the finest players in the country. 

Local Listen: Maps For Travelers

Feb 27, 2015

Even before forming Maps For Travelers in 2010, the four men in the ensemble had been adding to Kansas City's notable tradition of fostering brawny post-punk bands.This edition of Local Listen features “Static,” a bracing single the band released in 2011.

Hear More: Maps For Travelers performs Friday at the RecordBar. Doors open at 9:30.

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. 

The Hot Sardines

Combine a bawdy brass line-up, Fats Waller style piano, a female lead with a voice from another era, and a tap dancer as percussion...and you have New York-based jazz band The Hot Sardines.  Band leaders Elizabeth Bougerol and Evan Palazzo join Steve Kraske from their tour bus to chat about their fairytale beginning and their unique style. 

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. 


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.


  • 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.