Studio One

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Regina Spektor was born in Moscow in 1980, where at 6 years old she began classical training on the piano.  Her family left the Soviet Union in 1989, moving to New York City, where Spektor continued her classical training and also eventually broadened her musical tastes.  In time, she began writing her own songs and performing as part of the "anti-folk" scene in New York's East Village.  She began self-releasing CDs of her music in 2001.  She signed with Sire Records in 2004, and has gone on to great success in recording and touring.

Iowa City's favorite bluesman, Kevin B.F. Burt, will take up a familiar role on the Java Blend stage for another electrifying performance of his award-winning roots and blues. 

Stop by The Java House in downtown Iowa City at 2 P.M. this Friday, November 4th, to hear the booming voice and distinct guitar playing that has cemented Burt as legend in blues music. 

Twin Cities jam band Frogleg crammed all seven of its members onto a tiny Java House stage for this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," so it's no wonder why their music sounds so tight. 

Join Java Blend host Ben Kieffer and listen in to the free podcast below to hear the group's stellar musicianship, infectious grooves, and dazzling chemistry. 

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Husband and wife duo Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst are Shovels & Rope.  Both of them are very talented and capable songwriters, lead vocalists and multi-instrumentalists.  Watching them perform (you may have caught their great set at this past summer's Hinterland Festival), one never finds oneself pining for more band members.  Shovels & Rope are a solidly roots-based band, but for them that can mean anything from folk to rockabilly, alt-country to country-punk.

IPR/Tony Dehner

Brother Trucker played two live sets for Studio One Tracks as part of our live broadcast from the Des Moines Social Club on Oct. 27.  The band is celebrating their 20th anniversary in 2017, with a new album expected early next year.  Brother Trucker played songs from that forthcoming release, plus old favorites and some well-chosen covers.  Those covers included versions of songs by some of their fellow Iowa musicians.

You can hear both live sets right here!

IPR/Tony Dehner

It's a little later in the month than usual, but the Studio One team is heading back to the Des Moines Social Club this Thursday, and we'll be joined for the live broadcast by some old friends: the long-running Des Moines band Brother Trucker.

The Midwest-based duo The Matchsellers bring their "vaudevillian" form of bluegrass to the Java House stage in this goofy episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend" with host Ben Kieffer. 

Download and listen to the free podcast below to hear about the group's German adventures, quirky songs, superb musicianship, and even some hamboning. 

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The Pixies are a very influential band in the world of indie rock.  The band's primary songwriter and vocalist Black Francis, and lead guitarist Joey Santiago both attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where the began playing music together.  Bassist Kim Deal (who left the band a few years ago) joined them in early 1986, and the band Pixies was formed.  Even though the group has been around for 30 years, Head Carrier is only their sixth studio album.

Photo by Henryk Kotowski / Wikimedia

Iowa Public Radio’s staff has no idea whether Bob Dylan will show up to collect his Nobel Prize in Literature. (We realize he's been to Stockholm before - the photo is from a gig there in 1996 - and that he's accepted major awards, like this one in 2012, but this time?

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The three guitarists/vocalists in Local Natives met while attending Orange County High School in California. They recruited a drummer and bass player, completing the formation of the band in 2008, with the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles becoming their home base.  Sunlit Youth is the third full-length album from Local Natives.  It was recorded over a two year period- in Thailand, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Hawaii and Ojai, California.  The new record continues to provide the three-part vocal harmonies fans have come to expect from Local Natives.

Folk duo Famous October is half Iowan, half Swiss, and all talent.

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," hear host Ben Kieffer chat with the couple on how they first met, how they became musical partners, and hear tunes off their newly released record, "One Day Baby.

Check out the free downloadable podcast below.

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

The long-running public radio program A Prairie Home Companion will sound much different beginning this Saturday, as new host Chris Thile takes the reins on a permanent basis.

IPR/Tony Dehner

The Des Moines-based singer-songwriter made Dan Tedesco stopped by our Cedar Falls studios recently for a live performance and interview. Dan has appeared on Studio One twice before: this was his second appearance on Studio One Tracks, and he's also performed on the IPR program Java Blend.

In addition to performing songs from his double album, Dan talked about the recording and songwriting processes, and also cited one of his biggest musical influences. Dan will be debuting a full backing band at his upcoming show at the Vaudeville Mews in Des Moines.

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Iowa City bluegrass troop Slewgrass shows its tight harmonies and dazzling stringwork. 

Download the free podcast below to hear Java Blend host Ben Kieffer chat with the  group about their many other projects, as well as some high-energy original songs. 

IPR/Al Schares

The eclectic quintet of female multi-instrumentalists known as Awful Purdies are celebrating their tenth anniversary as a band this year.   Group members take turns stepping up as songwriter and lead singer when they perform.  The Iowa City band played a live set at the Kum & Go Theatre venue of the Des Moines Social Club on Oct. 7, opening for Gaelynn Lea.  The show was broadcast live on IPR's Studio One Tracks.

You can listen to their wonderful set right here!

IPR/Mark Simmet

Duluth, Minnesota native Gaelynn Lea is attracting notice as the winner of NPR's second annual Tiny Desk Contest, traveling around the U.S and abroad treating listeners to her songs and her unique style of playing the violin.  The singer-songwriter's video of "Someday We'll Linger In The Sun" emerged as the winner from the 6,100 entries in the contest.  She played that song during her performance at the Kum & Go Theatre venue of the Des Moines Social Club on Oct. 7.  Gaelynn Lea's set was broadcast live on Studio One Tracks.

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Signs Of Light​ is the third album from The Head and The Heart.  The six-piece folk-rock band began in Seattle in the summer of 2009.  Vocalist and guitarist Josiah Johnson explained the band's name, and also gave an indication of difficult decisions involved in the group's formation when he said:  "Your head is telling you to be stable and find a good job, (but) you know in your heart that this (the band) is what you're supposed to do even if it's crazy."  This is their first release for Warner Brothers Records, and that could be taken as a sign of their growing success.

Chelsey Hager

This Friday, October 7th, Twin Cities jamband Frogleg will pack their many members onto the stage in the Java House in downtown Iowa City. 

Join Java Blend host Ben Kieffer at 2 p.m. to hear about Frogleg's inception in 2012 and listen to their improvisational style. 

Back in August, we previewed several albums that would be headed our way in the coming months that we were especially looking forward to. Of course, it's impossible to list everything, and something always comes along that wasn't on our radar immediately, but catches our ears in a big way. This happened several times last month, and nothing makes us happier! Here's a few of our favorite albums from September.

Angel Olsen - My Woman

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Iowa City singer-songwriter Elizabeth Moen shows off her dynamic vocals and heartfelt songwriting at The Java House in downtown Iowa City. 

Download the podcast below to hear Java Blend host Ben Kieffer chat with Liz about her writing process, the family she has found in the Iowa City music scene, and the new tracks Liz is working on. 

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Schmilco​ is the tenth studio album from the Chicago-based band Wilco.  Wilco began in 1994, rising from the ashes of the alternative country band, Uncle Tupelo.  There have been several personnel changes along the way, with frontman Jeff Tweedy and bassist John Stirratt the only original members still in the lineup.  Alt-country remains a part of Wilco's sound, but they have ventured far beyond that description over the course of their career, with a definite adventurous and experimental side emerging from time to time.

On Friday, September 30th, Midwestern bluegrass group The Matchsellers will perform on IPR Studio One's "Java Blend." 

Stop by The Java House in downtown Iowa City at 2 P.M. to hear Java Blend host Ben Kieffer chat with the duo and listen to tunes off the group's new album, Songs We Made Up. 

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

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Angel Olsen was born in St. Louis, lived for a time in Chicago, and currently resides in Asheville, North Carolina.  She has recorded and toured with Bonnie "Prince" Billy as a backing singer, and has been releasing her own music since 2010.

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Innocence Reaches is the 14th album from Of Montreal, the band founded by songwriter and frontman Kevin Barnes twenty years ago in Athens, Georgia.  It doesn't seem like Of Montreal has been around for two whole decades, and that's due in part to the fact that there is no other band quite like this one.  Barnes named his group after a woman he had been in a releationship with who was "of Montreal."  Many players have come and gone through the ranks of the band over the years, but the psychedelic pop/glam rock sound has always remained true to Barnes' vision.

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Ryan Stier performed a solo Extravision set for Studio One Tracks on Sept. 11, opening for Margaret Glaspy at Octopus on College Hill in Cedar Falls.  The Des Moines-based songwriter, vocalist and guitarist played songs from Extravison's two recent EPs.  Stier's songs have been accurately described as "psychfolk."  

You can listen to Extravision's set right here!

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Brooklyn-based Sharon Jones and her longtime backing group The Dap-Kings (along with other artists on their Brooklyn label, Daptone Records) have a lot to do with the soul revival of recent years.  Miss Sharon Jones! is a new documentary film, telling the story of the singer's 2013 battle with cancer, and her triumphant return to the stage around the time of the 2014 release of the Grammy-nominated album Give The People What They Want.  The soundtrack album of the film is our Featured Release this week.

Margaret Glaspy/ATO Records

On Sunday, Sept. 11, Margaret Glaspy is making a stop in Cedar Falls at Octopus College Hill, and we’ll be broadcasting the show live on Studio One Tracks.

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Freetown Sound, the new album from Blood Orange, is named after Freetown, Sierra Leone. The talented songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Devonte Hynes records and performs as Blood Orange, and Freetown is where his father was born.  Hynes himself was born in London, where he began his music career as a part of the edgy punk-dance group Test Icicles.  He moved to New York City in 2007, and began releasing music as Lightspeed Champion.  By late 2009, he was Blood Orange.  Freetown Sound is the third full-length Blood Orange release.

IPR/Al Schares

Singer-songwriter Liz Moen played two generous sets for Studio One Tracks on Sept. 1.  We were broadcasting live from the Des Moines Social Club, and the audience was treated to Moen's impressive voice and solid guitar playing.  As a songwriter, she draws on her experiences living and working in Iowa City to inform many of her songs.  In addition to songs from her self-titled debut release, Moen also played some new songs she's written, plus some well-chosen covers.  

Enjoy these sets from Liz Moen!

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