Studio One

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Last summer, Des Moines-based singer, songwriter and performer Christopher The Conquered was sharing a stage with Natalie Prass.  He handed her an early copy of his new album I'm Giving Up On Rock & Roll.  She in turn passed it on to Ryan Adams.  After hearing it, Adams expressed his enthusiasm about the record on various online platforms.  Adams called Christopher "the real deal," and the album "crazy and incredible."  I'm Giving Up On Rock & Roll was recorded at famed Ardent Studios in Memphis, with Patrick Tape Fleming producing.

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

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. 

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The Jayhawks began in Minneapolis in the mid-1980's as an alternative country rock band.  Since then, the band has gone through changes and had periods of hiatus.  Founding member Mark Olson has left The Jayhawks a couple of times (this time perhaps for good).  Founding member Gary Louris currently leads the band, and Marc Perlman is the other remaining member from the original lineup.  Paging Mr. Proust is the ninth Jayhawks album, with Peter Buck, Tucker Martine, and Louris producing.

IPR/Tony Dehner

 On June 2, the Studio One Tracks broadcast was live from the Kum & Go Theatre at the Des Moines Social Club.  It was the Iowa Music Project Showcase, with all of the performers featured on the new Iowa Music Project release (on CD and limited edition vinyl via Iowa record label Maximum Ames Records this summer). All Iowa artists (27 in all) are heard on this new album, representing a variety of genres.  Find out more at iowamusicproject.com.

IPR/Tony Dehner

The Cedar Falls band Peas And Carrot stopped by our Cedar Falls studios recently for a performance an interview. It was the band's second time performing live on Studio One Tracks, and a few things have changed since then. Peas And Carrot is now a four-piece band, and vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Audrey Robinson is the band's only remaining original member.

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Fruit Bats is yet another instance of an actual band evolving from the starting point of the musical alias of a solo singer/songwriter.  In this case, the musician is Eric D. Johnson, who started as Fruit Bats in 1997.  By 2000, Johnson was the guitarist in various bands, including Califone and The Shins.  He was also a banjo instructor at the famed Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago.  By 2001, Fruit Bats was a band, with their debut full-length record released that year.  In recent years, Johnson had continued making music, but had put the Fruit Bats name to rest.

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. 

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City Sun Eater In The River Of Light is the ninth album from the Brooklyn-based band Woods.  They formed in 2005, so that's nearly an album a year.  Songwriter, vocalist and guitarist Jeremy Earl leads the band, and also runs Woods' label, Woodsist Records.  Woods is a band that have made their name in the realm of lo-fi psych folk (or freak folk, if you prefer).  Their new album is only the second to be recorded in a proper studio.

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. 

Gretchen Dehner

It was a great night of Midwest soul at the Des Moines Social Club, as we welcomed two great bands to the Kum & Go Theatre: from Minneapolis, Sonny Knight & The Lakers, and Des Moines' own The Maytags!

A retired truck driver, Sonny Knight joined forces with The Lakers and toured nonstop, earning rave reviews for their performances at the Monterey Jazz Festival and the Rochester Jazz Festival. The band released a live double-LP, Do It Live, in 2015 and will release  their first studio album this year.

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Radiohead formed in 1985 (originally using the band name On A Friday), while the five band members were attending Abingdon School, a school for boys in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.  The lineup of Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Colin Greenwood, Phil Selway and Ed O'Brien has remained remarkably unchanged throughout their career.  Radiohead released their debut album in 1993, and within a few years they became, arguably, the most critically acclaimed band of the nineties and early 2000's.

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Scottish vocalist and guitarist Scott Hutchison began performing as Frightened Rabbit in 2003.  His mother had given him the name in childhood due to his shyness.  The solo act grew into a band with his brother Grant Hutchison joining on drums in 2004, and guitarist Billy Kennedy coming aboard in 2006.  That was also the year Frightened Rabbit released their debut full-length.  For album number 5, Painting Of A Panic Attack, producer Aaron Dessner (of The National) worked with the group at his home studio in New York City.

IPR/Tony Dehner

The Des Moines-based group The Well Pennies played a set with the full band in IPR's Cedar Falls studios on April 28.  The Well Pennies played songs from their album Endlings, featuring the beautiful vocal harmonies of Bryan and Sarah Vanderpool, and fine playing from all five members.

Enjoy this live set!

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. 

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Love Letter For Fire is a collaborative record from songwriters Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop.  Vocalist and guitarist Jesca Hoop has recorded several albums under her own name.  Sam Beam has performed and recorded for many years as Iron and Wine, and for some time he has contemplated doing a male/female duets record.  He found the vocalist he was looking for (and more) in Hoop.  According to Beam:  "I was looking to work with another songwriter because I had never shared the songwriting responsibility with anyone.

IPR/Tony Dehner

The final Wednesday of the month isn't our normal night for our live broadcast from the Des Moines Social Club, but we'll happily make an extra trip when the music is this good! Iowa native Julie Christensen and her band Stone Cupid were in the area for a string of performances, and managed to squeeze us in for a couple of great live sets. Check out their performance right here!

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Good Grief is the second full-length album from the Brooklyn-based band Lucius.  The group is currently a five-piece, but began in 2005 with just the core of lead vocalists Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig.  The two met while attending Berklee School Of Music in Boston.  They eventually moved to Brooklyn and spent time honing those wonderful vocal harmonies.  The other band members eventually joined up, and the debut album from Lucius was released in 2013.  Perhaps you caught their visually arresting and sonically gorgeous set at last year's Hinterland Festival.

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. 

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Andrew Bird is from the North Shore area of Chicago (Lake Forest), and that's where he learned to play the violin.  He was a Suzuki student beginning at age four.  In 1996, Bird graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in violin performance.  He soon began recording, including three albums with the band Squirrel Nut Zippers and three more with his own group, Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire.  At this point, Bird is well into a successful solo career, with many quirky and intriguing albums to his credit.

Photo courtesy of Iris DeMent

During the 4:00 hour of The Folk Tree on Sunday, April 17, Iris DeMent talks with IPR's Karen Impola about her roots in the Arkansas Delta, her emergence as a songwriter, and her most recent album, The Trackless Woods, on which she put music to the poems of Russian writer Anna Akhmatova. Iris will be performing on Thursday, April 21 at the Temple for Performing Arts in Des Moines; opening the show will be her daughter-in-law, Pieta Brown.

Click here to hear a song from The Trackless Woods.

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More Rain is the eighth solo album from Portland, Oregon's M. Ward.  The singer-songwriter and guitarist is also known for being half of the duo She & Him, a member of the group Monsters Of Folk, and a producer who has worked with many other artists.  Ward began working on More Rain in 2012, originally intending to layer his vocals and make a doo-wop record.  In time, the album went in a different direction.

IPR/Tony Dehner

 The Des Moines-based band The Well Pennies played two acoustic sets for Studio One Tracks on April 7.  The venue was The Basement of The Des Moines Social Club.  It was a preview of what's to come on May 1st when The Well Pennies will bring their music upstairs to the Des Moines Social Club Theater.  On that night, the band will be joined by the Valley High School Orchestra.  Here's your chance to hear the beautiful harmonies of Bryan and Sarah Vanderpool in an intimate acoustic setting!  

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. 

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A Man Alive is the fourth studio album from the San Francisco-based band Thao & The Get Down Stay Down.  The group's origin dates to 2003, when band leader Thao Nguyen met drummer Willis Thompson.  Thompson has since left, as has the former group member who came up with naming the band "The Get Down."  Nguyen expanded on that idea for "The Get Down Stay Down."  A Man Alive was recorded in San Francisco, with Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs  producing.  Garbus brought a lot of tUnE-yArDs energy to this infectious and creative new album. 

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."

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Quilt arose out of the Boston music scene in 2009.  Guitarist and vocalist Anna Fox Rochinski is the daughter of Berklee College of Music faculty member Steve Rochinski.  A jazz guitarist himself, he began teaching  Anna the basics of the instrument when she was 13 years old.  She later met guitarist and vocalist Shane Butler.  A year after that, drummer Taylor McVay joined them (he has since left the band) and Quilt was born.  The group released their first full-length album in 2011, moved to new York City in 2013, and recorded Plaza (album number three) in Brooklyn.

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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Chicago-born Mavis Staples has been singing rhythm & blues and gospel music for decades, beginning as a child with her family's band The Staple Singers.  In recent years she has been a solo act, touring (with old friend Bob Dylan this summer) and steadily releasing new music.  Staples' latest album is Livin' On A High Note, produced by M. Ward.  Ward and ten other songwriters wrote new songs just for this project.  Ben Harper, Justin Vernon, Neko Case, Valerie June, Nick Cave, Benjamin Booker and others wrote the material specifically for Mavis Staples to record.

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