Music and Musicians

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. 

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Iowa blues fixture Matt Woods wows a packed Java House with his versatile guitar work and powerful vocals. 

Listen in below to hear host Ben Kieffer chat with Woods about his impressive day job and the genesis of his latest release, "Sawdust and Gasoline."

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Cedar Falls native and Twin Cities transplant Ben Cook-Feltz catches up with host Ben Kieffer about turning 30, getting married, and more. 

Listen in below to hear all this plus tracks from Cook-Feltz new album, "She Doesn't Believe Me." 

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Hip-hop artist Dahlak Brathwaite was arrested after being caught with magic mushrooms as a youth.  During a show he calls Spiritrials, he raps about his arrest and how he was treated by the criminal justice system. 

"The way the criminal justice system is set up, if you are caught with drugs, you are labeled as a drug addict who needs help," he says.

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Doug Collins' Receptionists are out, but Collins' acoustic treatment of his cleverly written songs proves just as pleasing. Listen in to host Ben Kieffer as he chats with Collins about dog sitting and papal miracles. 

Check out the podcast below for some tracks off of Doug Collins and the Receptionists' new release, "Complicated Compliments.

courtesy of the The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra

Wacky costumes, ukuleles and confetti are not usually a part of orchestral performances. The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra is trying to change that, and they’re touring Iowa this week. Age Pryor, the band's co-founder, says that when the group got started, they were really just a ukulele jam band meeting at the local cafe. 

Christina Lynn Johnson, / Wikimedia Commons

His instrument was small, but his persona was not. Herbert Khaury, known as “Tiny Tim,” was born in New York in the late 30s, became a star in the 60s and later moved to Iowa for a time before he died in 1996.

Justin Martell, author of a new biography about Tiny Tim, says that he first became aware of the musician at a Halloween theme park.

On this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Milwaukee singer-songwriter Jay Matthes joins host Ben Kieffer for a solo acoustic set.

Listen to the podcast below for some of Matthes' clever lyrics and award-winning vocals. 

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host Ben Kieffer is joined by Lyons, Colorado-based artist Arthur Lee Land, whose eclectic and dizzying use of live looping has been mesmerizing audiences across the nation. 

Listen in below to hear the story of Arthur's ability to re-frame what many deem a disability into a gift, and tap your feet to the joyous music that results. 

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host Ben Kieffer welcomes Iowa's own hot new soul group The Maytags. 

Listen in to the podcast below to hear the group's unhurried, inconspicuous brand of soul music that is putting the genre back on the map in the Midwest. 

Bruno Bollaert / Flickr

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Karen Impola and Barney Sherman to look back at some of the best things to come out of the year in folk and classical music.

On this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Iowa City's very own Burlington Street Bluegrass Band takes the stage at the Java House in downtown Iowa City with host Ben Kieffer. 

Listen in to hear some of the group's impressive playing, as well as some amusing insight into their 200 years of collective experience playing music. 

Canceled: The Pines, December 4th

Dec 3, 2015

Unfortunately, The Pines' live performance on IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," scheduled for Friday, December 4th, has been canceled due to short staffing. The Pines' "Java Blend" performance will be rescheduled for February 2016 in conjunction with the release of their new album, "Above the Prairie." 

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," North Carolina folk duo Lowland Hum stops by the Java House and talks with host Ben Kieffer about their extensive traveling and how it has influenced their music.

Listen in to hear tracks from the group's new self-titled album. 

On this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Iowa City's own Soul Phlegm takes the stage with their special brand of "blues roots outlaw funk." 

Listen in to hear host Ben Kieffer catch up with the band on their upcoming project, as well as tracks from their debut EP, "Phlourish." 

On this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Iowa City native songwriter Nathan Bell talks with host Ben Kieffer about how he blends literary and industrial influences to create relatable, powerful songs. 

Listen in to the podcast below for tracks from Nathan Bell's upcoming project, "I Don't Do this for Love, I Do this for Love," as well as special poetry readings from Nathan's father and Iowa's first poet laureate, Marvin Bell. 

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host Ben Kieffer catches up with Dickie, the newest musical project of Java Blend frequenter Dick Prall and classically trained violinist Kristina Priceman. 

Listen in below to hear some tracks off Dickie's self-titled debut album. 

John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation / Wikimedia Commons

Every once in a while we hear about a child musical prodigy who can play an instrument better than most of us could ever dream of playing.  Few of these prodigies become adult stars, but Chris Thile is an exception. 

Thile started playing mandolin with the band Nickel Creek when he was only 8 years old, and he won his first Grammy at age 16.  Today, he fronts the band Punch Brothers and has been named a MacArthur Genius. Starting in early 2016, he’s going to be taking over as host of A Prairie Home Companion for Garrison Keillor.

On this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," hear Dan Tedesco seamlessly meld Bob Dylan-esque lyrics with powerful guitar work straight from a Motorhead album. Join host Ben Kieffer as he chats with Tedesco about his contrasting influences and high-energy stage show. 

Listen to the podcast below to hear tracks from Tedesco's new self-titled album. 

Courtesy of Joseph Firecrow

Joseph Firecrow remembers growing up on the reservation and listening to the elders play the flute. He started learning the instrument when he was 18 and says a true Cheyenne flute player hasn’t mastered the craft until he can both play and make a flute.

On this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host Ben Kieffer explores the many musical facets of Dan DiMonte and the Bad Assettes. 

Listen in below to hear tracks off the group's latest studio effort, "The Runner, the Ends, and the Space Between." 

On this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host Ben Kieffer catches up with Iowa blues-rockers Wooden Nickel Lottery. 

Lend an ear to hear the group's blistering guitar work, powerful vocals and solid bottom from their debut record, "On My Way." 

Gretchen Dehner

Walter and Wagner Caldas grew up in the slums of Rio de Janeiro. Their parents introduced them to classical music, urging them to stay away from drugs and violence. That push was the start of a remarkable journey.

"We started by ourselves," says Walter Caldas. "People would make fun of us. But then, this guy in Brazil started teaching music for the kids in the community, so they don't go through the same pattern of drug dealing and stuff. So that made it a little easier for us; we are not alone."

On this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host Ben Kieffer chats with Iowa City folk group The Awful Purdies. 

Listen in to hear stories and songs from their new album, "All Recipes are Home." 

On this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host Ben Kieffer catches up with legendary Iowa City songwriter Dave Moore. 

Listen in below to hear what Moore's been up to lately. 

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