Music and Musicians

Florida Grand Opera

Growing up outside of Kalona, Jessica Faselt didn't come from a particularly musical family. She sang in choir when she was a child, but didn’t realize the power of her voice until a concert in high school where she sang "O Holy Night" and brought the crowd to tears. 

After this experience, Faselt went on to study vocal performance at the University of Iowa. It was there that she discovered her passion for opera.

"To me, opera brings together so many art forms," Faselt says. "It's the human voice talking about the human experience through song and music."

Phil Thomson

In this Talk of Iowa segment, host Charity Nebbe is joined by Mark Simmet and Tony Dehner of IPR's Studio One to look at some of the music you can hear at Iowa's 2018 summer music festivals. Scroll down for Tony and Mark's lists of suggested listening.

callesur.com

He is from Panama and she is from Columbia, they met in Iowa, and they are musical partners that make up the duo Calle Sur. In this Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Karin Stein and Ed East. Stein grew up in a rural area of Columbia, and East lived in the busiest corridor of the cosmopolitan Panama City.

They talk about their musical influences, experiences growing up, coming to the U.S., and being Latino and Hispanic in Iowa.

Calle Sur is performing in Grinnell on April 5.

The End of CDs

Mar 6, 2018
Pixabay

From old 78s and 45s on vinyl to 8 track tapes and cassettes, our methods of listening to music have undergone a number of significant evolutions in the last century. Most recently, the music industry has seen a major decline in CD sales as digital downloads and streaming services continue to dominate our music consumption. Best Buy and Target both recently announced that they plan to stop selling CDs in their stores.

But despite the increasing role of digitized music and the dwindling market for CDs, the demand for vinyl has seen a surprising resurgence.

John Pemble

Many symphony orchestras are branching out in an effort to attract new music fans. Even if someone has never been to a orchestra concert before, they might want to go to Harry Potter Night at the Des Moines Symphony or enjoy an evening of “A Night of Symphonic Rock” as interpreted by Orchestra Iowa.

“I think it’s wonderful,” says Des Moines Symphony music director Joseph Giunta. “I think it’s a great way to expand audiences, and I think it’s a great way to stay in touch with your community.”

Mike Weber

Photographer Mike Weber has been photographing Iowa musicians at live shows for the last eight years. During this Talk of Iowa interview, host Charity Nebbe talks to Weber about his photography, the Iowa music scene, and his upcoming exhibit at Raygun in Cedar Rapids March 1-8.

Weber is passionate about providing an accurate representation of Iowa’s music culture through his photography. He wants to see more photographers coming out to local shows.

The Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was founded in 1997 in Arnold’s Park, Iowa. Just over 10 years old, the hall has named a number of prominent Iowa musicians, music lovers and promoters to be a part of its legacy. Every year, there is a vote to induct people who have made a significant contribution to music in Iowa.

David Wilson / Wikimedia Commons

The annual Winter Dance Party in Clear Lake and the Surf Ballroom, which commemorates the anniversary of a plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, "the Big Bopper," and Richie Valens, is this weekend. This year, it will be a special celebration Saturday night.

This is the first year in a long time that Dean Snyder, whose family saved the Surf from being demolished, and Darryl Hensley, aka The Mad Hatter, who founded the Winter Dance Party, won't be in attendance. 

Emily Woodbury

Kevin "B.F." Burt of Coralville has been performing the blues for more than 20 years. He's beloved in Iowa, and has performed around the world.

This month, he won three first place awards at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Burt about his humble solo performance origins at Baldy's Wraps in Iowa City, what it's like to be discovered after his performance in Memphis, and where he's focusing his energy next. 

American Libraries / — https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/legalcode

A few years ago, jazz vocalist Keri Johnsrud was talking with another musician about the role of music in children's television programs. 

"We started talking about Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, and how the music in that program was so integral to the advancement of the stories and messages that he was telling on the program. And how jazz was especially was an important part of the show," she says.

Photo Courtesy of Justin Roberts

There is a lot of children's music out there, and some of it is really bad. But over the course of the last two decades, children's music as a genre has become a home for many smart, funny, and talented musicians. Iowa native Justin Roberts is one of them. 

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, he talks with host Charity Nebbe about his newest album Lemonade, which has been nominated for a Grammy this year. It's his third time being nominated. 

On this album, he has several laugh out loud funny songs, including one called "Valentine."  

Courtesy of Bob Dorr

Rock and roll babies, here's your best of list for 2017, according to Bob Dorr! He talked about his favorite releases and re-releases of the year with Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe. 

Elvin Bishop - Big Fun Trio

Elvin Bishop's Big Fun Trio combines Elvin's signature good humor song writing and guitar playing with Bob Welsh, the keys player in Elvin's regular band and Willy Jordan on Cajon, a South American percussion instrument. That disc came out in early 2017, I expect it to win some major awards.

Tony Dehner / Iowa Public Radio

Lots of new music was released in 2017; here at Iowa Public Radio, we received more than 2,000 albums. If wading through all of that sounds overwhelming, never fear. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Tony Dehner and Mark Simmet of Iowa Public Radio's Studio One about their favorite albums of the year. 

We've also had our most musically-minded staff curate their top five favorite albums of this year, including Morning Edition host Clay Masters. Check out our Spotify playlist and read album reviews below. 

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode – cropping and lighting changes made
Peter Shanks

As you ponder what to give as gifts for the music-lovers in your life, consider the expertise of some Iowa Public Radio music hosts. In this hour of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe hears about the notable releases and recordings of 2017 from the host of IPR's The Folk Tree Karen Impola, as well as classical music host Barney Sherman.

Karen Impola's top folk music picks for 2017

1. Catfish Keith – "Shake Sugaree" – Mississippi River Blues

2. Al Murphy – "Steamboat Quickstep" – Hogs in the Cornfield

Camera Eye Photography / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

Stefan Shepherd remembers listening to ABBA and Herb Alpert as a kid; he did not grow up with "kids music." But now he has kids and he started reviewing kid's music on his blog, Zooglobble. In this segment of Talk of Iowa, Shepherd joins host Charity Nebbe to present a few options for good music for kids.

Here are three examples with some thoughts about the music from Shepherd.

Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band, "Paletero Man" from the album Out of LA.

Image courtesy of IPTV

Music is a powerful medium, allowing us to access and experience an entire spectrum of feelings. For children, music is an important educational tool as well, and all too often, children's music has a tendency to become bland. Host of IPTV's Kids Club Dan Wardell and musician Jim Sieck are on a mission to create interesting kids music, while also teaching them valuable lessons. One song in particular teaches kids about the alphabet.

Photo submitted

Michelle Droe is the music teacher at Lincoln Elementary in Cedar Falls, Iowa. For a long time her students and colleagues have known that she’s a remarkable teacher, but now she’s receiving national recognition for her work. She’s a semi-finalist for a music educator Grammy award.

One special exercise Droe does involves sixth grade students pretending to be street musicians.  They work with a partner or come up with a performance on their own. 

www.theblueband.com

Since 1981, Bob Dorr and the Blue Band have played about 100 gigs per year all around Iowa and the Midwest. Over their 30-plus year run, they have become one of Iowa's most celebrated bands, playing their beloved, self-described brand of blues/soul/rockabilly/reggae/Creole/rhythm music at festivals and venues across eastern Iowa, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Omaha, and Chicago. They have shared the stage with such icons as B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, and Bobby Rush.

University of Iowa Press

Bix Beiderbecke was a self-taught cornet player from Davenport, a white kid from the corn belt born in 1903.  He only lived to be 28 years old, but against all odds his musical influence has lasted for generations.  This hour, host Charity Nebbe speaks to author Brendan Wolfe, who grew up in Beiderbecke's hometown.  Wolfe's new book is called "Finding Bix: The Live and Afterlife of a Jazz Legend." (University of Iowa Press)

Phil Roeder / Flickr

This program originally aired November 18, 2015.

Jazz is American music. It was born in New Orleans around the turn of the 20th century, and it continues to evolve. During this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe hosts a discussion about Iowa's jazz scene in the past, present, and future. 

Lisa Dondlinger

In high school and college, Lisa Dondlinger was seriously involved in music and academics, and at first, she hesitated when asked to participate in the Miss Iowa Pageant in 1998. She did so and won that competition. Later, she says she turned down offers to work as an orchestral violinist and instead moved to L.A. where she became a studio musician. She is included in recordings for many movies, and she has played with musicians like Celine Dion, Paul McCartney, and the band Kiss.

This time on IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Eastern-Iowa funkers Meteor Cat bring their rowdy, cosmic sound (all nine members of it!) to the coffee house. 

Check out the free podcast below to hear cuts off the group's debut album, "Earth Family Elixir," and gain insights on how the group crafts its distinct brand of funk. 

Ben Kieffer

Iowa singer-songwriter and children's book author Chad Elliott brings his knack for simple-yet-profound songwriting to The Java House stage in this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend." The accomplished creative also provides glimpses of his forthcoming album, "RINGGOLD." 

Download the free podcast below and hear Elliott's rootsy, gravely growl and impressive, tasteful guitar work. Plus, peek inside the artist's creative process with Studio One host Ben Kieffer. 

On this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Iowa City singer songwriter Nic Arp graces the stage with his band of top-shelf Iowa musicians. 

Download the free podcast below to hear the group tear through a set of songs ripe with Arp's emotive, wise lyrics and propelled by the band's tight sound. Studio One's Ben Kieffer hosts. 

Hear Iowa City's premier heartland rock group, Crystal City, play through a set of rich and universal songs on this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend." 

Download the free podcast, lay back, and listen to the group's feel-good tunes plus interviews and insights from Studio One host Ben Kieffer. 

Jordan Mayland and the Thermal Detonators rip through a set of infectious tunes in this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend." The Des Moines group— one of Mayland's many musical projects— released a new record, This Mess, in March.

Download the free podcast to listen to a live, stripped down version of the Detonators. Studio One's Ben Kieffer hosts. 

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Des Moines psych-folk singer Extravision brings his mesmerizing 12-string guitar work and existential lyrics to the Java House stage. 

Download the free podcast to hear host Ben Kieffer navigate Extravision's ambitious lyrical topics and distinct delivery. 

Iowa City's favorite Heartland rock group, Crystal City, will be gracing the Java Blend stage this Friday, April 28th, at 2 P.M. at The Java House in downtown Iowa City. 

Stop by to catch an intimate performance with Crystal City's entertaining "duo" installation, comprised of Dave Helmer and Sam Drella, all hosted by IPR Studio One's Ben Kieffer. 

The Java House stage in downtown Iowa City will be full of seasoned, top notch musicians this Friday, April 21, at 2 P.M. The Nic Arp Band, led by one of Iowa City's finest and most storied songwriters, will play tunes from throughout Nic's prolific writing career. 

Stop by Friday afternoon to catch this special performance from IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," with host Ben Kieffer. 

Iowa songwriting power-duo Society of Broken Souls— comprised of multi-instrumentalists Lauryn Shapter and Dennis James— shares vivid stories against lush musical backdrops on this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend." 

Download the free podcast above to hear the group's raw, fearless songs, as well as the story of their difficult-but-necessary decision to leave their day jobs behind and pursue music full time. IPR Studio One's Ben Kieffer hosts. 

Pages