Mark Simmet

Studio One Host

Senior Producer Mark Simmet began working at KUNI over 20 years ago.  In that time he has produced and hosted a long-running daily jazz program, as well as weekly blues and world music programs.  Mark also was a fill-in/substitute folk music host.  He has spent many years perfecting IPR's unique blend of musical styles as the host and producer of Studio One.  Mark also reviews all new submissions to IPR’s Studio One library, deciding on CD of The Week artists and maintaining reporting of music aired to record companies, promoters and trade publications.

Mark has a Bachelor’s Degree in Art from St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN, and finds that his creative skills are very applicable to his work sculpting Studio One.

Ways to Connect

Kevin Mazur/ paulsimon.com

Paul Simon has been a major figure in music since Simon & Garfunkel's heyday in the 1960s, and on through an always interesting  solo career that continues to this day.  In recent years the songwriter and musician has released an album of new material every 5 or 6 years.  This allows Simon to rewrite and perfect the songs to his satisfaction.  Stranger To Stranger is his 13th solo album.  Simon experiments with the music, collaborating with the Italian electronic musician and producer Clap!

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Kristin Kontrol is a new musical project for Dum Dum Girls leader, Dee Dee.  Dee Dee's real name is Kristin Welchez, and adding "Kontrol" to her first name was a spontaneous decision that just felt right for her new incarnation.  Kristin was looking for a new direction.  She was inspired enough to write 62 new songs, whittling them down to the 10 that make up the album X-Communicate.  The idea was to combine genres and to go beyond her work with Dum Dum Girls.  "The first music I felt was mine was classic 80s pop and 90s R&B," she says.

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Colvin & Earle is a collaboration between veteran singer-songwriters Shawn Colvin and Steve Earle.  The two first met early on in their careers, and in 2014 they toured together for the first time.  That led to this new album, comprised of original songs plus some well-chosen covers.  As the artists' press materials for Colvin & Earle explain:   "This new way of working is different for both of them.  (Earle) is splitting the writing duties and supplying slouching harmonies in several tracks.

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Last summer, Des Moines-based singer, songwriter and performer Christopher The Conquered was sharing a stage with Natalie Prass.  He handed her an early copy of his new album I'm Giving Up On Rock & Roll.  She in turn passed it on to Ryan Adams.  After hearing it, Adams expressed his enthusiasm about the record on various online platforms.  Adams called Christopher "the real deal," and the album "crazy and incredible."  I'm Giving Up On Rock & Roll was recorded at famed Ardent Studios in Memphis, with Patrick Tape Fleming producing.

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The Jayhawks began in Minneapolis in the mid-1980's as an alternative country rock band.  Since then, the band has gone through changes and had periods of hiatus.  Founding member Mark Olson has left The Jayhawks a couple of times (this time perhaps for good).  Founding member Gary Louris currently leads the band, and Marc Perlman is the other remaining member from the original lineup.  Paging Mr. Proust is the ninth Jayhawks album, with Peter Buck, Tucker Martine, and Louris producing.

IPR/Tony Dehner

 On June 2, the Studio One Tracks broadcast was live from the Kum & Go Theatre at the Des Moines Social Club.  It was the Iowa Music Project Showcase, with all of the performers featured on the new Iowa Music Project release (on CD and limited edition vinyl via Iowa record label Maximum Ames Records this summer). All Iowa artists (27 in all) are heard on this new album, representing a variety of genres.  Find out more at iowamusicproject.com.

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Fruit Bats is yet another instance of an actual band evolving from the starting point of the musical alias of a solo singer/songwriter.  In this case, the musician is Eric D. Johnson, who started as Fruit Bats in 1997.  By 2000, Johnson was the guitarist in various bands, including Califone and The Shins.  He was also a banjo instructor at the famed Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago.  By 2001, Fruit Bats was a band, with their debut full-length record released that year.  In recent years, Johnson had continued making music, but had put the Fruit Bats name to rest.

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City Sun Eater In The River Of Light is the ninth album from the Brooklyn-based band Woods.  They formed in 2005, so that's nearly an album a year.  Songwriter, vocalist and guitarist Jeremy Earl leads the band, and also runs Woods' label, Woodsist Records.  Woods is a band that have made their name in the realm of lo-fi psych folk (or freak folk, if you prefer).  Their new album is only the second to be recorded in a proper studio.

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Radiohead formed in 1985 (originally using the band name On A Friday), while the five band members were attending Abingdon School, a school for boys in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.  The lineup of Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Colin Greenwood, Phil Selway and Ed O'Brien has remained remarkably unchanged throughout their career.  Radiohead released their debut album in 1993, and within a few years they became, arguably, the most critically acclaimed band of the nineties and early 2000's.

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Scottish vocalist and guitarist Scott Hutchison began performing as Frightened Rabbit in 2003.  His mother had given him the name in childhood due to his shyness.  The solo act grew into a band with his brother Grant Hutchison joining on drums in 2004, and guitarist Billy Kennedy coming aboard in 2006.  That was also the year Frightened Rabbit released their debut full-length.  For album number 5, Painting Of A Panic Attack, producer Aaron Dessner (of The National) worked with the group at his home studio in New York City.

IPR/Tony Dehner

The Des Moines-based group The Well Pennies played a set with the full band in IPR's Cedar Falls studios on April 28.  The Well Pennies played songs from their album Endlings, featuring the beautiful vocal harmonies of Bryan and Sarah Vanderpool, and fine playing from all five members.

Enjoy this live set!

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Love Letter For Fire is a collaborative record from songwriters Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop.  Vocalist and guitarist Jesca Hoop has recorded several albums under her own name.  Sam Beam has performed and recorded for many years as Iron and Wine, and for some time he has contemplated doing a male/female duets record.  He found the vocalist he was looking for (and more) in Hoop.  According to Beam:  "I was looking to work with another songwriter because I had never shared the songwriting responsibility with anyone.

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Good Grief is the second full-length album from the Brooklyn-based band Lucius.  The group is currently a five-piece, but began in 2005 with just the core of lead vocalists Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig.  The two met while attending Berklee School Of Music in Boston.  They eventually moved to Brooklyn and spent time honing those wonderful vocal harmonies.  The other band members eventually joined up, and the debut album from Lucius was released in 2013.  Perhaps you caught their visually arresting and sonically gorgeous set at last year's Hinterland Festival.

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Andrew Bird is from the North Shore area of Chicago (Lake Forest), and that's where he learned to play the violin.  He was a Suzuki student beginning at age four.  In 1996, Bird graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in violin performance.  He soon began recording, including three albums with the band Squirrel Nut Zippers and three more with his own group, Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire.  At this point, Bird is well into a successful solo career, with many quirky and intriguing albums to his credit.

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More Rain is the eighth solo album from Portland, Oregon's M. Ward.  The singer-songwriter and guitarist is also known for being half of the duo She & Him, a member of the group Monsters Of Folk, and a producer who has worked with many other artists.  Ward began working on More Rain in 2012, originally intending to layer his vocals and make a doo-wop record.  In time, the album went in a different direction.

IPR/Tony Dehner

 The Des Moines-based band The Well Pennies played two acoustic sets for Studio One Tracks on April 7.  The venue was The Basement of The Des Moines Social Club.  It was a preview of what's to come on May 1st when The Well Pennies will bring their music upstairs to the Des Moines Social Club Theater.  On that night, the band will be joined by the Valley High School Orchestra.  Here's your chance to hear the beautiful harmonies of Bryan and Sarah Vanderpool in an intimate acoustic setting!  

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A Man Alive is the fourth studio album from the San Francisco-based band Thao & The Get Down Stay Down.  The group's origin dates to 2003, when band leader Thao Nguyen met drummer Willis Thompson.  Thompson has since left, as has the former group member who came up with naming the band "The Get Down."  Nguyen expanded on that idea for "The Get Down Stay Down."  A Man Alive was recorded in San Francisco, with Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs  producing.  Garbus brought a lot of tUnE-yArDs energy to this infectious and creative new album. 

facebook.com/quiltmusic

Quilt arose out of the Boston music scene in 2009.  Guitarist and vocalist Anna Fox Rochinski is the daughter of Berklee College of Music faculty member Steve Rochinski.  A jazz guitarist himself, he began teaching  Anna the basics of the instrument when she was 13 years old.  She later met guitarist and vocalist Shane Butler.  A year after that, drummer Taylor McVay joined them (he has since left the band) and Quilt was born.  The group released their first full-length album in 2011, moved to new York City in 2013, and recorded Plaza (album number three) in Brooklyn.

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Chicago-born Mavis Staples has been singing rhythm & blues and gospel music for decades, beginning as a child with her family's band The Staple Singers.  In recent years she has been a solo act, touring (with old friend Bob Dylan this summer) and steadily releasing new music.  Staples' latest album is Livin' On A High Note, produced by M. Ward.  Ward and ten other songwriters wrote new songs just for this project.  Ben Harper, Justin Vernon, Neko Case, Valerie June, Nick Cave, Benjamin Booker and others wrote the material specifically for Mavis Staples to record.

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The Syracuse, New York band Ra Ra Riot formed in early 2006, when they began playing at venues and house parties around the campus of Syracuse University.  Their high energy live shows attracted attention to the group, and soon they were opening for bands in New York City and touring the UK.  Ra Ra Riot's debut album came out in the summer of 2008.  Need Your Light is their fourth full-length record.  It's full of synthy hooks to grab you and get you out on the dance floor!

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Dr. Dog formed in West Grove, Pennsylvania in 1999, and The Psychedelic Swamp is their ninth album.  However, in a way this record is their first, since this new release is a revamped version of Dr. Dog's unreleased debut album.  Scott McMicken (vocals & lead guitar) and  Toby Leaman (vocals & bass guitar) were college students at the turn of the millennium.  The story goes that writing and honing the songs that would eventually become The Psychedelic Swamp is what led the two to form Dr. Dog.

IPR/Tony Dehner

The Iowa band The Soul Searchers played two crowd-pleasing sets for our live broadcast of Studio One Tracks on March 3, from The Basement venue of The Des Moines Social Club.  The four piece group, led by guitarist and vocalist Scott Eggleston, lived up to their reputation of presenting a tight blend of blues, rockabilly and surf music.  You can listen to the night's proceedings right here!   

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James Hunter began his career as a blue-eyed soul singer in the mid 1980's in his native England, using a stage name.  He was Howlin' Wilf in the trio Howlin' Wilf & The Veejays.  Van Morrison was a fan, and after The Veejays broke up, Hunter spent some time in Morrison's band before he started recording under his own name in 1996.  For the past couple of albums, the records have been credited to The James Hunter Six as a way for Hunter to acknowledge the contributions of his long-time backing musicians.  Hold On! is the first album for the band on Brooklyn's Daptone label.

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Eleanor Friedberger and her older brother Matthew Friedberger formed The Fiery Furnaces in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park in 2000.  Much of that band's music was inventive, creative and often weird (in a good way).  The Fiery Furnaces went on hiatus in 2011, and both siblings began making records under their own names.  While still a quirky lyricist with a distinctive vocal style, Eleanor Friedberger's songs have been more conventional on her solo records.  Perhaps it's maturity, or a newfound appreciation for traditional pop songcraft.

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Let Me Get By is the third studio album, and fourth full-length release overall from the Tedeschi Trucks Band.  The Jacksonville, Florida blues-rock band is led by married couple Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi.  Both are guitarists, and Susan Tedeschi also sings lead vocals in the band.  The two musicians led their own bands (Trucks is also a veteran of The Allman Brothers Band) before combining their talents as the Tedeschi Trucks Band in 2010.

IPR/Tony Dehner

The Quad Cities band The Multiple Cat stopped by IPR's Cedar Falls studios on Feb. 8.  The band played a set which included songs from the new album Intricate Maps.  ​Frontman Patrick Stolley plays guitar and sings lead vocals in The Multiple Cat.  In addition to being a songwriter and musician, Stolley is an audio engineer and producer.  He built his own studio and started a record label (both named Futureappletree), plus he was one of the founders of Daytrotter.  Have a listen to The Multiple Cat, right here!   

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Shearwater is from Austin, Texas, and led by songwriter, lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Meiburg.  Since the band's name derives from the long-winged seabird called the shearwater, it's often mentioned that Meiburg has a degree in ornithology.  That fact, plus Meiburg's lyrics and his vocal style give Shearwater a somewhat cerebral reputation.  The band began in 1999 as a side project for Meiburg and Will Sheff when both were in Okkervil River.  In time, Meiburg left Okkervil River and Sheff left Shearwater.

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Cage The Elephant have been around since 2006 when they formed in their hometown of Bowling Green, Kentucky.  Their first album came out in 2008, and they've released a new studio record approximately every two years since then.  The new one is Tell Me I'm Pretty.  This time out the band recruited Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys to produce.  Cage The Elephant recorded the new songs at Auerbach's Easy Eye Sound studio in Nashville in the spring of 2015.

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New Kingdom is the second full length release from the Lafayette, Louisiana band Givers.  Two of the group's members, Tiffany Lamson (vocals and percussion) and Taylor Guarisco (vocals and guitar) began playing music together following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  They were forced to leave school and their New Orleans apartment due to the conditions there.  Returning to Lafayette, the duo found they had little to do.  That led them in the direction of making music, and eventually they recruited the other members of Givers.

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El Vy (press material on the band helpfully indicate it's pronounced like "hell pie" or a plural form of Elvis) is a collaboration between Matt Berninger of The National, and Portland-based Brent Knopf, formerly of Menomena and now in Ramona Falls.  The two met about ten years ago when their respective bands were touring together.  Since then, musician/producer Knopf had occasionally been sending Berninger musical ideas, and Berninger had been writing lyrics with this project in mind.

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