If you're a fan of live music, or a performing musician, you might not think of a stranger's living room as a good choice for a performance venue. But that's exactly what's been happening in one Cedar Falls home for about six years.
Since 2008, Cedar Valley House Concerts has provided traveling singer-songwriters with a place to perform, along with a warm bed, an opportunity to do laundry, and other comforts that artists often miss while on tour. Open to the public, guests are asked for a small donation that goes directly to the artist, plus a side dish or snack to share.
When it comes to compiling a Halloween playlist, there are the staples like Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” and “The Monster Mash” sung by the theatrical Bobby Boris Pickett. Oddly enough the 60s and 80s created a lot of the music that has ended up being played at nearly every Halloween event, but then every decade has produced some uncanny tracks. And for inspiration we’ve brewed up a short list of some of our favorites to spice up your Halloween festivities.
The Des Moines band Hazer brought their unique brand of guitar-driven rock to the Cedar Falls studios of Iowa Public Radio on September 17th. Originally from the Cedar Valley, the band recorded their first full-length album, Something Rational, last year and now performs regularly in Iowa. Listen to this high-energy set from Hazer right here!
Listeners of Iowa Public Radio's Studio One know that Iowa has a thriving music scene, and that bringing the music of these talented artists to a larger audience is a key part of IPR's mission. And now, some of those artists are receiving recognition from outside our home state.
It takes a special group of musicians to be able to combine a variety of influences and create a sound that only they could have come up with. The North Carolina band Reigning Sound have been doing it since 2001, and they've done again on Shattered, their first album since 2009 and first for the legendary Merge label. Classic soul/R&B, '60s garage rock, country and more are all in the mix here, and vocalist Greg Cartwright is in top form throughout the whole record.
House Of Spirits is the fifth full-length album (and 8th release overall) from the San Francisco band The Fresh & Onlys. Written partly at a horse ranch in the Arizona desert, the album has a dreamy feel to it, and features huge arrangements that still offer a lot of space. It rarely makes any sort of literal sense, but at the same time, that’s what makes it relatable. Listeners will notice a definite ‘80s guitar pop/New Wave influence.
In 1950 famed architect Franck Lloyd Wright completed constructing one of his most comprehensive Usonian-styled homes called Cedar Rock. The house, perched high above the Wapsipinicon River is located in the Cedar Rock State Park outside of Quasqueton. Agnes and Lowell Walter, former owners of the Iowa Road Building Company, commissioned Wright to build a “modest home to be designed and built on a limestone bluff” on the Wapsi River. Lowell wanted to show that a beautiful house could be constructed in his home town without having to go to Florida or California.
Jon Hogan and Maria Moss were not on my radar until about a week before the show. A friend of a friend was organizing their concert in southern Minnesota, and knew they'd be passing through Iowa on Easter Sunday, on their way back home to Texas. A few Facebook messages and e-mails and it was a done deal. Looking like they'd be right at home in a Bonnie and Clyde movie, Jon and Maria gave us some high-energy renditions of early country music and shared their historical knowledge of the genre.