Music and Musicians

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An area of north Des Moines that holds a nostalgic place in the hearts of many central Iowans is being remade into a site where future generations can build memories.

Riverview Park sat on an island near the Des Moines River and operated from 1915 until 1978.

Plans are now in place to convert it into an outdoor concert venue large enough for 10,000 people.

Des Moines Parks and Recreation Director Ben Page says in designing the project, it was important to celebrate the future while honoring the past.

In this episode of IPR Studio One's Java Blend, host Ben Kieffer chats with Des Moines singer-songwriter Christopher the Conquered. 

Tune in to the downloadable podcast below for a taste of Christopher's catchy melodies, soulful vocals and tasteful piano playing, showcased in tunes off his new record, I'm Giving Up on Rock 'n' Roll

Airing originally in December of 2014, this encore episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend" features Celtic-Soul group Switchback. 

Tune in below to hear the group showcase their uniquely Midwestern sound and learn about their creative process.

In this encore episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," originally aired in December of 2015, host Ben Kieffer chats with Greg Klyma. 

Listen in below for songs that will make you laugh and sing.

Clay Masters / Iowa Public Radio

After more than 10 years, Sean Moeller is leaving Daytrotter. He says it seems like the right time, and he’s ready for a new project. During this Talk of Iowa interview, he talks with host Charity Nebbe about why he’s moving on, what he’s built, and how Daytrotter began.

In this encore episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host Ben Kieffer chats with the activist-rock group the Muckrockers. 

Tune in below to hear the group's mission themed lyrics, set to a backdrop of catchy melodies. 

Local roots rock group The Mayflies join IPR Studio One's "Java Blend" in this special encore broadcast. 

Lend an ear to the downloadable podcast below to hear "Java Blend" host Ben Kieffer talk with the group- and to listen to the pickin' and grinnin' style of The Mayflies. 

In this summer encore podcast of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Indianapolis rock band Hero Jr. strip down their sound for an intimate, acoustic set. 

Download the podcast, originally aired on November 8, 2014, to hear "Java Blend" host Ben Kieffer learn about the band's then-brand new record, "Mixed Race Indiana Marriage." 

In this encore episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host Ben Kieffer welcomes Des Moines indie-reggae group Mighty Shady to the Java Blend stage. 

Download the podcast, which first aired on October 25, 2014, to bring Mighty Shady's grooves wherever you go. 

In this special encore episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Iowa City blues-rock icon David Zollo and his band, the Body Electric, stop by The Java House for a boogie-woogie filled afternoon. 

Download the podcast below to hear "Java Blend" host Ben Kieffer catch up with Zollo. This podcast originally aired on October 18, 2014. 

Music lovers of Iowa unite! Iowa has a growing summer music festival scene. To get a handle on the happenings, we've compiled this handy guide. If you see something missing, tweet us @IPRStudioOne. TO learn more about these festivals, and to hear interviews with many of the organizers, check out The B-Side, IPR's music blog. 

In this encore episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Minnesota-based artist Jack Klatt shows off his rolling Mississippi music. 

Lend an ear below to hear Java Blend host Ben Kieffer talk with Klatt about his extensive travel and the influence it has had on his songwriting. 

  In this encore episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Des Moines indie-pop band In Rooms enchants listeners with their blend of Latin rhythms and pop melodies. 

Download the podcast below to hear Java Blend host Ben Kieffer chat with the group about their wide range of influences. 

In this encore episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host Ben Kieffer chats with Bonnie Finken

Download the podcast below, originally aired in September 2014,  to find out more about the powerful vocalist who was born and raised in Iowa.

Gretchen Dehner

80/35 2016 is right around the corner, and project manager Amedeo Rossi says there's a lot of elements to the festival that attendees will remember from previous years - free water bottle filling stations courtesy of Des Moines Water Works, for one. What's different from past years? The festival is not over the 4th of July weekend. 

"Having it the next weekend made it a little bit easier to book," says Rossi. "It was one of the reasons to switch it off of the 4th of July weekend."

Lindsey Moon / Iowa Public Radio

On starry summer nights in rural Maquoketa in Northeastern Iowa, you can hear the sounds of bands like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Norah Jones and Conor Oberst wafting from inside an old implement barn built in the 1950s. The barn sits next to an original farmstead house turned art gallery that has been in Tiffany Biehl’s family for more than 150 years.

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host Ben Kieffer does his best pirate impression with Nashville pirate singer Tom Mason.

Listen in to hear Mason's sea-worthy tunes and lots of piratey banter. 

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host Ben Kieffer goes back to ska-llege with Quad Cities Ska group Fairhaven.

Listen in below to hear Kieffer chat with the group about their new split album and their upcoming national tour, as well as some raucus Ska numbers to get your energized. 

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Iowa City-based tenor saxophonist and composer Jeff Miguel unveils the latest installment of his group, the Jeff Miguel Quartet. 

Lend an ear to the podcast below to hear Java Blend host Ben Kieffer chat with Miguel, as he plays tunes off his debut record, Perseverance. 

ACE Foundation / Flickr

The University of Northern Iowa's Jazz Hall of Fame has a new inductee - Roger Maxwell. Maxwell is a talented trombone player, in addition to a teacher and composer. He's also a trailblazer and advocate for the African-American community in Iowa. 

During his childhood in Marshalltown, segregation was very real. He couldn't go to the pool, except for a two hour period on Sunday mornings, and blacks weren't allowed to stay in local hotels. 

"We just accepted the conditions. We knew where we could not go, and we just accepted that," he says. 

MarKaus, Des Moines based artist

Des Moines based hip hop artist MarKaus (@MarKausMF), his record label, and the Des Moines Social Club are collaborating to produce a hip hop festival in Des Moines to highlight the Iowa hip hop scene.

After reading that, you might be thinking, “Iowa has a hip hop scene?” It does, and it’s growing.

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Illinois-based blues band Kilborn Alley, fresh off their European tour earlier this year, burns through their original blues tunes on The Java House stage in downtown Iowa City. 

In the downloadable podcast below, you'll hear host Ben Kieffer get the low down on the group's time abroad, as well as their interesting songwriting process. 

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host Ben Kieffer catches up with singer-songwriter Bob Hillman after his decade-long break from music. 

Listen to the podcast below to hear tracks from Hillman's new album, "Lost Soul," as well as several of his old hits. 

Peter Tea / Flickr, Licensed Under Creative Commons https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/legalcode

Rock icon Prince died April 21, 2016 at his home and studio in Minneapolis. He was 57.

Since the news of his death, fans from all over the country gathered to play his music, including Des Moines native Corey Taylor, frontman for the bands Slipknot and Stone Sour who played "Purple Rain" and "Little Red Corvette" at Minneapolis' First Avenue Club.

When Luke Benson started approaching other music lovers in the state about his idea for the Iowa Music Project, he did not anticipate that the end result would be a showcase where he and a committee would be trying to pick fewer than 30 songs from more than 250 submissions. 

"We were hoping for maybe 100, and we got that many in the last week alone. It was a tremendous response," says Benson. 

Paul Starnes

While it wasn't written about the Vietnam War, the song "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" by The Animals became an iconic song at the time, and now signifies the era.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Craig Werner and Doug Bradley, co-authors of the new book, We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam Warwhere they explore the role of music in connecting veterans both during combat and after they returned home. 

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Iowa City Latin-jazz group Ritmocano brings infectious grooves and soaring solos to the stage in The Java House. 

Lend an ear below for some insight into the group's songwriting process and Latin influences, as well as some original tracks. 

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host Ben Kieffer chats with local acoustic-rockabilly group Cedar County Cobras. 

Check out the podcast below to hear about the group's familial ties, as well of some tracks off their new record, "Delta Ave Juke Joint."

Iowa photographer Danny Wilcox Frazier and Benson Ramsey and David Huckfelt of the Pines are working together on a new project that merge art, music and a concern for a blighted rural landscape. Wilcox Frazier says the collaboration began when the three connected on their Iowa roots.

“If you grow up as an artist or a musician, you see this rich cultural heritage in Iowa and you begin to wonder as your travel around how things became the way they are. For us, this is a longing for home,” he says.

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Ben Kieffer hosts Iowa City bluegrass group Flash in a Pan and their high-octane, witty brand of music. 

Check out the podcast below for some pick-me-up tracks from the outfit's new record, Antidote to Sell, and some stories from the band's time on the road. 

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