Wednesday MidDay Medley
TEN to NOON Wednesdays – Streaming at KKFI.org
90.1 FM KKFI – Kansas City Community Radio
Produced and Hosted by Mark Manning
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Spinning Records With Marion Merritt
+ Holly Near
Today, we welcome back to the show, Marion Merritt as our special “Guest Producer.” For 14 years now she has been sharing her sonic discoveries and information from her musically encyclopedic brain. Marion is the creator of Records With Merritt, a small, independent, minority owned business, at 1614 Westport Rd. in Kansas City, Missouri.
Marion Merritt, Thanks for being with us on Wednesday MidDay Medley
1. “It’s Showtime Folks”
from: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to All That Jazz / Casablanca / Dec. 20, 1979
[WMM’s theme song]
2. Dimitri From Paris – “Prologue”
from: Sacrebleu / Atlantic / 2001
3. Tunde Mabadu – “Amupara Ko Ma Dara”
from: Viva Disco / Mr. Bongo / July 27, 2018 [Reissue]
[Viva Disco one was of two albums that Mabadu recorded as Tunde Mabadu & His Sunrise during the 1970s, the second of which was called Bisu. By this time, Mabadu was “already a fanciful and continental saxophonist of any language,” shares Femi Ewetade in Viva Disco‘s liner notes. Originally released on Afrodisia – and fetching upwards of £500+ – Viva Disco’s euphorically funky, horn-filled six tracks have been remastered for this new reissue.]
4. Femi Kuti – “One People One World”
from: One People One World / Knitting Factory Records / February 23, 2018
[Olufela Olufemi Anikulapo Kuti was born June 16, 1962 and is popularly known as Femi Kuti, a Nigerian musician born in London and raised in Lagos. He is the eldest son of afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, and a grandchild of a political campaigner, women’s rights activist and traditional aristocrat Funmilayo Ransome Kuti. Femi’s musical career started when he began playing in his father’s band, Egypt 80. In 1986, Femi started his own band, Positive Force, and began establishing himself as an artist independent of his father’s massive legacy. His first record was released in 1995 by Tabu/Motown, followed four years later by Shoki Shoki (MCA), which garnered widespread critical acclaim. In 2001 he collaborated with Common, Mos Def and Jaguar Wright on Fight to Win, an effort to cross over to a mainstream audience, and started touring the United States with Jane’s Addiction. In 2004 he opened The Shrine, his club, where he recorded the live album Africa Shrine. After a 4-year absence due to personal setbacks, he re-emerged in 2008 with Day by Day and Africa for Africa in 2010, for which he received two Grammy nominations. In 2012 he was both inducted into the Headies Hall of Fame (the most prestigious music awards in Nigeria), was the opening act on the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ European arena tour and became an Ambassador for Amnesty International.]
5. Still Corners – “In the Middle of the Night”
from: Slow Air / Wrecking Light / August 17, 2018
[Still Corners are a London-based dream pop/synthpop musical project consisting of songwriter/producer Greg Hughes and vocalist Tessa Murray. Still Corners self-released their debut EP, Remember Pepper?, on 13 June 2008, followed by a 7″ single, “Don’t Fall in Love”, released by UK label The Great Pop Supplement on 30 August 2010. The duo signed with record label Sub Pop in 2011 and issued their first full-length debut, Creatures of an Hour, to favourable reviews. In October 2012, the band released a new single, “Fireflies”, which was named “Best New Track” by Pitchfork. In February 2013, Still Corners announced that their second album, Strange Pleasures, would be released on Sub Pop in May 2013. The second single, “Berlin Lovers”, received widespread coverage.On 29 June 2016, the band announced the 16 September release of their third album, Dead Blue, on their own Wrecking Light Records label; Still Corners also shared the video for the album’s first single, “Lost Boys.]
6. Cowboy Junkies – “All That Reckoning, Pt. 1”
from: All That Reckoning / Latent Records / July 13, 2018
[The Cowboy Junkies are an alternative country and folk rock band formed in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1985. The group was formed in 1985 by Alan Anton (bassist), Michael Timmins (songwriter, guitarist), Peter Timmins (drummer) and Margo Timmins (vocalist). The three Timmins are siblings, and Anton worked with Michael Timmins during their first couple of bands. John Timmins was initially a member of the band but left the group before the recording of their first album. The band line-up has never changed since, although they use several guest musicians on many of their albums, including multi-instrumentalist Jeff Bird who has performed on every album except the first. The Junkies’ 1986 debut album, produced by Canadian producer Peter Moore, was the blues-inspired Whites Off Earth Now!!, recorded in the family garage using a single ambisonic microphone. The Junkies gained worldwide fame and recognition with their second album, The Trinity Session, recorded in 1987 at Toronto’s Church of the Holy Trinity. Their sound, again using the ambisonic microphone, and their mix of blues, country, folk, rock and jazz earned them both critical attention and a strong fan base. The Los Angeles Times named the recording as one of the ten best albums of 1988. The Cowboy Junkies have gone on to record a total of sixteen studio albums and five live albums, and remain an active band for over thirty years.]
7. Cowboy Junkies – “All That Reckoning, Pt. 2”
from: All That Reckoning / Latent Records / July 13, 2018
10:32 – Underwriting
8. Blood Orange – “Orlando”
from: Negro Swan / Domino Recording Co / August 24, 2018
[Devonté Hynes aka David Joseph Michael Hynes,was born December 23, 1985, better known as Blood Orange and formerly Lightspeed Champion, is a British singer, songwriter, composer, producer, dancer and director. From 2004 to 2006, Hynes was a member of the band Test Icicles, playing guitar, synth, and occasionally performing vocals. They released one full-length album in 2005. Hynes went on to release two solo studio albums as Lightspeed Champion and subsequently four more as Blood Orange, between 2008 and 2018. He has written, played or produced for artists such as Tinashe, Solange Knowles, Sky Ferreira, FKA twigs, Haim, Florence and the Machine, Carly Rae Jepsen, Diana Vickers, The Chemical Brothers, Kylie Minogue, A$AP Rocky and Blondie. Hynes was voted the 49th ‘coolest person in rock’ in NME’s 2007 Cool List, jumping to position 20 in the following year’s list]
9. Bosley – “I Just Can’t Stand It”
from: Unreal Fire / Bosley Music / June 15, 2018
[Bosley Brown is the soulful alter-ego of American singer, songwriter and producer Thomas Mayer. Bosley has performed alongside Sharon Jones and the Dapkings, Galactic, Dr. Dog, and many other contemporary rock/soul acts. His music has been featured in series on HBO, Comedy Central and in several feature ﬁlms. With the release of his debut album Honey Pig in 2011, Bosley was born. Honey Pig showcased a talent for pop songwriting and a stylistic range from early James Brown to Waits-ian jazz ballads, all channeled through Mayer’s dynamic and powerful voice. Adopting a 70’s Soul Review format, Bosley began touring and performing with an immaculately dressed 9-10 piece band complete with a horn section and choreographed back up singers. The music and band were gaining popularity, but as the party raged on, behind the scene things for Mayer were on a personal decline. In 2012, Thomas came clean about a decade long struggle with Alcohol and drug addiction. After taking time off to seek treatment, he reassembled a new band and began writing and performing again. Seeing a second chance for a life beyond the grip of addiction, Mayer embraced sobriety and dedicated himself back to his music career. The result of these struggles was 2015’s deeply personal and hysterically fun follow up album, The Dirty Dogs Radio Show. TDDRS serves as a personal testament to loving the party and knowing it can’t last. Bosley’s 3rd album, Unreal Fire dances between the old and the new taking the vintage sounds of Stax and Motown and combining it with contemporary Pop appeal. UF is at once an tribute to the bygone days of analog recording and a retrospection of the music of that era. Recorded meticulously live in analog, Bosley delivers the best synthesis to date of his unique knack for danceable, melodic pop and heartfelt human experience. \]
10. Ural Thomas & the Pain – “Slow Down”
from: The Right Time / Tender Loving / September 26, 2018
[If life was at all fair Ural Thomas would be a household name, his music slotted into countless sweet, seductive mixtapes between James Brown, Otis Redding, and Stevie Wonder (all of whom Thomas has performed with.) Straddling the line between hot soul shouter and velvety-smooth crooner, Thomas released a few singles in the late 60’s and early 70’s; most notably “Can You Dig It”, which featured backing vocals from soul luminaries Merry Clayton, Mary Wells and Brenda Holloway. Thomas played over forty shows at the legendary Apollo Theater before turning his back on an unkind business and heading home to Portland, OR. It goes without saying that a man practically built out of rhythm would never stop playing music. Thomas began hosting a regular Sunday night jam session at his home that ran for nearly twenty years. A de facto mentor to many of the younger players, Thomas reminds us all that “If you care about what you’re doing, you need to build those muscles and do the work. Don’t get discouraged, do it for love. Even if you’re digging ditches, do it with passion.” In 2014, local soul DJ Scott Magee sat in on drums. The two became fast friends and at Magee’s urging Thomas decided to give his musical career another shot. Magee became the musical director, they put together a band, and in 2016 released a self-titled album on Mississippi Records. In 2017 Thomas signed with Tender Loving Empire and began work on what, in many respects, will be his debut full length. Diving deep into lifetime of melodic creativity, Thomas and his band got to work. Recorded in Magee’s studio Arthur’s Attic, The Right Time features the air-tight work of Magee on drums, percussion, and backing vocals, Bruce Withycombe (The Decemberists) on baritone sax, Portland jazz scene fixture Brent Martens on guitars and vibraphone, Arcellus Sykes on bass, Steve Aman (Lady Rizo) on piano and organ, Dave Monnie on trumpet, Willie Matheis (Cherry Poppin’ Daddies) on tenor sax, and Jasine Rimmel, Joy Pearson, Sarah King, Rebecca Marie Miller on backing vocals. The Arco Quartet performed the strings, and the record was engineered and mixed by Jeff Stuart Saltzman (Blitzen Trapper) and mastered by JJ Golden (Sharon Jones, Ty Segall). One might think after a sizeable taste of early success Thomas would be more than a touch bitter – yet the opposite is true. “We have to be positive if we want the world to get better” Thomas advises. “We’ve come a long way, but if you carry a grudge with the whole world you’ll stop your growth. We’re a family, all just brothers and sisters, descendants of Adam. You can’t get anywhere without an open heart.” A developing artist at nearly eighty years old, for Thomas music has always been about bringing people together. “If we play for twenty people we cook it like it’s twenty thousand” says Thomas. “If we make someone smile we’re satisfied. They’re ain’t no difference between us. It’s all love and brotherhood. If folks listen to my record and feel that I’ll feel very blessed.” Standing in bold defiance of the idea that aging is a reason to slow down and stop living, for Thomas the right time to get down is the next time someone plugs in a guitar or puts on a record. Ural is ready – are you?]
11. Spiritualized – “The Morning After”
from: And Nothing Hurt / Fat Possum Records / September 7, 2018
[Spiritualized are an English space rock band formed in 1990 in Rugby, Warwickshire by Jason Pierce (often known as J. Spaceman), formerly of Spacemen 3. The membership of Spiritualized has changed from album to album, with Pierce—who writes, composes and sings all of the band’s material—being the only constant member. Spiritualized have released eight studio albums. The best known and most critically acclaimed of these is 1997’s Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space, which NME magazine named as their Album of the Year, beating other critically acclaimed albums such as Radiohead’s OK Computer and The Verve’s Urban Hymns.]
12. Spiritualized – “The Prize”
from: And Nothing Hurt / Fat Possum Records / September 7, 2018
11:01- Station ID
13. Cat Power – “Stay”
from: Wanderer / Domino Recording Co / October 5, 2018
[10th studio album by Cat Power. The album was produced entirely by Marshall herself and was written and recorded in Miami and Los Angeles over the past few years, she stated: “The course my life has taken in this journey—going from town to town, with my guitar, telling my tale; with reverence to the people who did this generations before me. Folk singers, blues singers, and everything in between. They were all wanderers, and I am lucky to be among them.” The album includes a collaboration with Lana Del Rey, whom Marshall opened for on the European leg of her LA to the Moon Tour. It is her first album to not be released on Matador since 1996. In support of the release, Marshall has embarked a world tour, that began in September. Charlyn Marie “Chan” Marshall was born January 21, 1972, She is better known by her stage name Cat Power. She is a singer-songwriter, musician, occasional actress, and model. Cat Power was originally the name of Marshall’s first band, but has become her stage name as a solo artist. Born in Atlanta, Marshall was raised throughout the southern United States, and began performing in local bands in Atlanta in the early 1990s. She was discovered opening for Liz Phair in 1994 by Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth and Tim Foljahn of Two Dollar Guitar, with whom she recorded her first two albums, Dear Sir (1995) and Myra Lee (1996), on the same day in 1994. In 1996 she signed with Matador Records, and released a third album of new material with Shelley and Foljahn, What Would the Community Think. Following this she released the critically acclaimed Moon Pix (1998), recorded with members of Dirty Three, and The Covers Record (2000), a collection of sparsely-arranged cover songs. After a brief hiatus she released You Are Free (2003), featuring guest musicians Dave Grohl and Eddie Vedder, followed by the soul-influenced The Greatest (2006), recorded with numerous Memphis studio musicians. A second album of cover tracks, Jukebox, was released in 2008. In 2012 she released the self-produced Sun, which debuted at number 10 on the Billboard 200, the highest charting album of her career to date. Critics have noted the constant evolution of Cat Power’s sound, with a “mix of punk, folk and blues” on her earliest albums, and elements of soul and other genres more prevalent in her later material. Her 2012 album Sun incorporated electronica, in a self-proclaimed move from the “slower” guitar-based songs she initially wrote for the album.]
14. Adrianne Lenker – “symbol”
from: abysskiss / Saddle Creek / October 5, 2018
[Adrianne Lenker has been writing songs since she was 10 years old. Her “back story” has been well documented in various interviews and profiles for Big Thief over the last 3 years. Despite, or more likely because of, the constant touring and studio work, the last few years have been some of the most prolific for Lenker as a writer. Songs pop out at soundcheck. They pop out on late night drives between cities. They pop out in green rooms, hotel stairwells, gardens, and kitchens around the world. In the hands of Lenker, songwriting is not an old dead craft. It is alive. It is vital. With little regard for standard album cycle practice or the idea of resting at all, Lenker set out to make a document. Songs can be slippery and following 2+ years on the road with Big Thief, Lenker felt a growing need to document this particular time in her life in an intimate, immediate way. The result is her new album, abysskiss, out October 5th via Saddle Creek. “I want to archive the songs in their original forms every few years,” explains Lenker. “My first solo record I made was Hours Were the Birds. I had just turned 21 and moved to New York City where I was sleeping in a warehouse, working in a restaurant and photographing pigeons. Now five years later, another skin is being shed.” Following a two week road trip through the southwestern United States, Lenker headed into the studio with longtime friend Luke Temple. Temple put on his loosely fitting, bright orange, 100% wool producer hat and for one week they made music. The songs chosen for this collection were the songs that felt the most alive in the room. These are not castaways or B-sides. Some of these songs have been alive for years while some were written just days before the session. Some will appear in different future forms, some will not. The thread that connects these songs is not something that can easily be put down in words. Intuition connects these songs. They are a record of a time. With this collection, Lenker further illuminates to the listening public what those close to her already know; here we have a songwriter of the highest order, following her voice and the greater Voices that pass through her with an unflinching openness and clarity of translation.]
15. The Holydrug Couple – “I’ll Only Say This”
from: Hyper Super Mega / Sacred Bones / September 14, 2018
[The Holydrug Couple is a psychedelic rock duo from Santiago, Chile. The Holydrug Couple began in 2008. They released their first album in 2011 titled Awe via BYM Records. Shortly after the release, the band caught the attention of Sacred Bones Records, who signed the band to their label. Later that year, the band released an EP titled Ancient Land. In 2013, the band released their second full-length album and major label debut, Noctuary via Sacred Bones. In 2014, the band released a 7″, with Everyone Knows All on the A side and Quetzal on the B side. In 2015, The Holydrug Couple released their third full-length album (second on their label) titled Moonlust on May 12. In 2016, the band released their fourth full-length album (second on their chilean label BYM Records) titled Soundtrack for Pantanal. Band members include: Ives Sepúlveda (Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Keys) and Manuel Parra (Drums) In the studio: Ives Sepúlveda (Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Keys, Drums, Production, Engineering) Manuel Parra (Drums). Studio albums include: Awe (2011, BYM); Noctuary (2013, Sacred Bones); Noctuary Demos (2013, BYM); Moonlust (2015, Sacred Bones); Moonlust Demos (2016, BYM); Soundtrack for Pantanal (2016, BYM); and Hyper Super Mega (2018, Sacred Bones).]
16. Anemone – “Why Do I Worry”
from: Silver Star / Music On Vinyl / August 31, 2018
[Debut album. Raw and psychedelic soundscapes, Madchester grooves and nineties Pop songs, Anemone started combining these elements in the spring of 2017. The band from Rotterdam played dozens of shows in their first year and recorded their debut album ‘Silver Star’ in August with Patrick Delabie, who also recorded the first The Afterveins LP of frontman Xander van Dijck. Beside the Afterveins, band members also played in The Medics and Moon Tapes. In the record collections of the band members, you’ll find some nice albums of The Brian Jones Town Massacre/Oasis and during live shows you can hear people whisper about the Smiths.]
17. Waxahatchee – “Singer’s No Star”
from: Great Thunder – EP / Merge / September 7, 2018
[Waxahatchee is an American indie music project, formed in 2010 by American singer-songwriter Katie Crutchfield, previously a member of P.S. Eliot. The band is named after Waxahatchee Creek, in Alabama. Originally an acoustic solo project, her recordings tend to now involve a backing band and the music has increasingly more often been performed in this way. Crutchfield, as Waxahatchee, has released 4 albums to date; American Weekend (2012), Cerulean Salt (2013), Ivy Tripp (2015), and Out in the Storm (2017).]
Marion Merritt thanks for being with us on Wednesday MidDay Medley. Marion is the creator of Records With Merritt, a small, independent, minority owned business, at 1614 Westport Rd. in Kansas City, Missouri. More info at: http://www.recordswithmerritt.com
11:29 – Underwriting
18. Holly Near – “Are You Kidding Me”
from: 2018 / Calico Tracks Music / June 29, 2018
11:34 – Interview with Holly Near
Earlier this month a new documentary film about Holly Near‘s life called “Holly Near Singing For Our Lives” from award winning director Jim Brown premiered at the Mill Valley Film Festival. On June 29th, legendary singer songwriter, actress, teacher and activist – Holly Near released her 31st album, titled “2018.” Born in Ukiah, CA in 1949, Holly started performing at the age of 8, then acting and soing in school plays and musicals and studiing theatre at UCLA. She built her performing career with acting parts on 1970s television shows like Mod Squad, Room 222, All in The Family, and The Partridge Family as well as work in motion pictures. In 1970 she was a cast member of the Broadway musical Hair. Following the Kent State shootings in May of that year, the entire cast staged a silent vigil in protest.
In 1971, Holly Near joined the Free The Army tour, an anti-Vietnam War road show organized by antiwar activist Fred Gardner, Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland. In 1972, Holly was one of the first women to create an independent record company Redwood Records. Often cited as one of the founders of the Women’s Music movement, Holly led the way for outspoken women in the music world, and worked for peace and multicultural consciousness. Throughout her long career Holly has continued working in film, stage, and music where she has collaborated with: Pete Seeger, Ronnie Gilbert, Arlo Guthrie, Mercedes Sosa, Bernice Johnson Reason, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Joan Baez, Phil Ochs, Harry Belafonte, Cris Williamson, and many others. This Sunday, October 14, 7:00 PM, Willow Productions presents Holly Near w/ Jan Martinelli & Tammy Hall at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, 4501 Walnut, KCMO.
Holly Near Thanks for being with us on WMM
Holly Near’s new record “2018” is a direct response to the times we are currently living through: including environment, aging, domestic violence and the unresolved storm damage in Puerto Rico. Her career as a musician has been intrinsically woven into the fabric of our times, the Vietnam War, Kent State, Women’s Equality, Safe Energy, the rights of LGBTQ people.
On Sunday night at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church She will be performing with Jan Martinelli on electric and acoustic bass and Tammy Hall on keyboards. Both of these musicians play with her on “2018,” and have collaborated with her on past projects.
Holly Near’s professional career began in 1969 with a part on the television show The Mod Squad, followed by appearances in other shows, such as Room 222, All in the Family, and The Partridge Family. She also appeared in films such as Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, Minnie and Moskowitz, and had a prominent role in the 1991 film Dogfight.
In 1970, Near was a cast member of the Broadway musical Hair. On May 4, Ohio National Guard opened fire on unarmed Kent State students protesting the bombing of Cambodia by the United States Military forces. The 28 guardsmen fired over 67 rounds, killing four and injuring nine. Following the Kent State shootings, the entire cast of Hair staged a silent vigil in protest. Holly wrote the song, “It Could Have Been Me” (released on A Live Album, in 1974), was her heartfelt response to the shootings.
In 1971, Holly Near joined the FTA (Free The Army) Tour, an anti-Vietnam War road show of music, comedy, and plays that performed for soldiers, many of whom were resisting war and racism from within the military. The tour was organized by antiwar activist Fred Gardner and actors Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland. Near was only 21 and the youngest member of the troupe.
In 1972, Near founded an independent record label called Redwood Records to produce and promote music by “politically conscious artists from around the world”. She was one of the first women to found an independent record company. Near’s record company went out of business in the mid-1990s due to financial difficulties.
In 1978 Holly Near wrote, “Singing For Our Lives” in the immediate wake of the assignation of openly gay San Francisco Board of Supervisors Member Harvey Milk, and Mayor George Moscone on November 27, 1978. “Singing For Our Lives” appears in Singing the Living Tradition, the official hymnal of the Unitarian Universalist Association, under the title “We Are A Gentle, Angry People” (Hymn #170). The hymn was also performed by Quaker Friends in an episode of the TV series Six Feet Under.
Elizabeth Anderson wrote: It urges us to follow Harvey’s imploring words: “Gay brothers and sisters, you must come out.” Kansas City’s Heartland Men’s Chorus sang this song two years ago.
Lee Hartman wrote: “Singing for Our Lives, written by Holly Near as she attended Harvey Milk’s memorial, was the most moving moment of the evening and even more so in retrospect. Audience members, at least those from my vantage point in the balcony, stood and joined in the singing of this unofficial anthem of the LGBTQ movement. Many held their loved ones closer and most were teary eyed. Rightfully, HMC reportedly repeated this piece at the (Pulse Orlando shootings) vigil following its Sunday performance.”
During her long career in folk and protest music, Holly Near has worked with a wide array of musicians, including Ronnie Gilbert, Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Mercedes Sosa, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Meg (Shambhavi) Christian, Cris Williamson, Linda Tillery, Joan Baez, Phil Ochs, Harry Belafonte, and many others, as well as the Chilean exile group Inti-Illimani.
Near has been recognized for her work for social change, including honors from the ACLU, the National Lawyers Guild, the National Organization for Women, NARAS, Ms. Magazine (Woman of the Year), and the Legends of Women’s Music Award. In 1989 Holly Near received a Dr of Humane Letters at World College West in California.
Holly Near (born June 6, 1949 in Ukiah, California) is an American singer-songwriter, actress, teacher, and activist. Holly Near was raised on a ranch in Potter Valley, California. She was eight years old when she first performed publicly, and she auditioned for Columbia Records when she was ten. She sang in all the high school musicals, talent shows and often was invited by local service groups to sing at their gatherings. Groups like the Soroptimist Club, Lions Club, and Garden Club. Her senior year she played Eliza Doolittle in Ukiah High School production of My Fair Lady. In the summer Holly attended performing arts camps such as Perry-Mansfield in Colorado and Ramblerny Performing Arts where she studied with jazz musicians Phil and Chan Woods and modern dancer/choreographer Joyce Trisler.
After starting high school in 1963, Holly Near began singing with three boys who called themselves the Freedom Singers, a folk group modeled after the Kingston Trio. When Holly joined, they began to sound more like The Weavers, three male voices and one female. Near learned later of the original Freedom Singers who sang as part of the Civil Rights Movement. Unbeknownst to her, Holly would soon meet one of the founding members of that group, Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, an artist who would be a great influence for the next 40 + years. She would also meet and work with the female singer in The Weavers, Ronnie Gilbert.
After high school, Near enrolled in the Theatre Arts program at UCLA; her freshman year she got the lead in the UCLA production of Guys and Dolls playing soprano Sarah Brown. Because Near was trained in a lower range she got nodules on her vocal chords and had to leave the show. She entered in to a long period of silence until her voice healed. After one year, she left UCLA and began to work in film and television as well as with anti war groups such as Another Mother for Peace.
She was briefly a member of the musical comedy troupe, “First National Nothing”, and appeared on the troupe’s only album, If You Sit Real Still and Hold My Hand, You Will Hear Absolutely Nothing (Columbia Records – LP C 30006).
Near wrote an autobiography in the early nineties called Fire in the Rain, Singer in the Storm. Later, with her sister Timothy, Near co-wrote a one-woman show based on the stories in the book. The show was presented at The San Jose Rep and in Los Angeles at The Mark Taper Forum, as well as productions in San Francisco and off Broadway in NYC. In April 2004, Holly performed at the March for Women’s Lives in Washington, DC where she sang “We Are Gentle Angry People” and “Fired Up” a capella.
The following year, Near was named among the “1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize”. Near continues an active tour schedule and as of 2012 had a discography of 29 albums. She is still active as a performer and composer, and she has begun issuing CDs available through her website that include tracks from her out-of-print albums.
Holly Near was named an Honoree for National Women’s History Month for 2015. She continues performing concerts, music festivals & rallies. Near hosted many of the tributes to both Pete Seeger & Ronnie Gilbert, members of the seminal folk group The Weavers.
Holly has been an honored guest at several of the GALA Gatherings, a conference of GLBTQ choirs and choruses. In her work with the choruses she focuses on diction, drama, and understanding the intention of the lyric. She also appears as a soloist with several of the choruses and many of her songs have been arranged for choral singing.
In 2018, Holly released a new recording called, 2018 reflecting some of the issues of the day including environment, aging, domestic violence and the unresolved storm damage in Puerto Rico. In October of 2018, a documentary film about Near’s life and work made by award winning director Jim Brown premiered at the Mill Valley Film Festival and received standing ovations and high acclaim.
As a result of her travels in the Pacific with the FTA show, Near became a feminist, linking international feminism and anti-war activism. In 1976, Near came out as a lesbian and began a 3-year relationship with musician Meg Christian. Near was probably the first out lesbian to be interviewed in People Magazine. She added LGBT issues to her international peace work as she continued to present social change music around the world and at home. Although Holly was one of the most visible artists in the lesbian community, she was also becoming aware that “monogamous” defined her sexuality more than any other title.
Near is dedicated to the rights of LGBTQ+ communities and works to create a cultural forum for diversity. Near writes, “For many, sexual identity and/or gender identity is the primary door through which they walk. It is what politicized them. It is what feeds their emotional and spiritual perspectives. I totally honor this. Even though sexual preference is maybe 5th or 10th on my personal list of priorities now, I will always work for all of us to have self determination over our bodies, our identities, our relationship choices.”
Near spent a year traveling across the US camping out of her car and staying with friends. She went to Argentina and Chile to study & write. She currently rents a 1 bedroom apartment in Sonoma County, Ca. and she spends time in NYC. She drives a 2003 VW. “auntie” & “grandma” to several young people even though Near never had children.
Holly Near Discography
Hang in There, Redwood Records (1973) (support of the people of Vietnam)
A Live Album, Redwood Records (1975)
You Can Know All I AM, Redwood Records (1976)
Imagine My Surprise, Redwood Records (1978) (with Meg Christian)
Fire in the Rain, Redwood Records (1981) produced by June Millington
Speed of Light, Redwood Records (1982)
Journeys, Redwood Records (1983)
Lifeline, Redwood Records (1983) (with Ronnie Gilbert)
Watch Out!, Redwood Records (1984) (with John McCutcheon and Trapezoid)
Sing to Me the Dream, Redwood Records (1984) (with Inti Illimani)
HARP, Redwood Records (1985) (w/ Pete Seeger, Ronnie Gilbert & Arlo Guthrie)
Singing With You, Redwood Records (1987) (with Ronnie Gilbert)
Don’t Hold Back, Redwood Records (1987)
Sky Dances, Redwood Records (1989)
Singer in the Storm, Chameleon Music Group (1990) (with Ronnie Gilbert)
Musical Highlights, Redwood Records/Calico tracks (1993) (Fire in the Rain written by Holly Near & Timothy Near)
This Train Still Runs, Abbe Alice Music (1996) (with Ronnie Gilbert)
With a Song in My Heart, Calico Tracks Music (1997) (songs of 30s & 40s)
Edge, Calico Tracks Music (2000)
Cris & Holly, HC Recordings (2003) (w/Cris Williamson, pianist John Bucchino)
Show Up, Calico Tracks Music (2006)
Sing to Me the Dream, Calico Tracks Music (2008) (historic live recording of 1984 Peace in the Americas Tour w/ Inti Illimani)
We Came to Sing, Calico Tracks Music (2009) (with emma’s revolution)
Peace Becomes You, Calico Tracks Music (2012)
2018, Calico Tracks Music (2018)
Holly Near Filmography
Angel, Angel, Down We Go (1969), Tara Nicole Steele
The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart (1970), Fran
The Todd Killings (1971), Norma
Minnie and Moskowitz (1971), Irish
F.T.A. (1972), Herself
Slaughterhouse-Five (1972), Barbara Pilgrim
The Weavers: Wasn’t That a Time! (1982), Herself (documentary interview)
Women of Summer (1985), Herself (documentary; performance at reunion)
Dogfight (1991), Rose Sr.
Heartwood (1998), Lucille Burris
Holly Near Singing For Our Lives (2018) Herself (documentary by Jim Brown)
Mr. and Mrs. Cop (1974), Mrs. Salmon
Holly Near TV appearances
The Bold Ones: The Senator, Sylvia – in the episode “Power Play” (1970)
Room 222, Esther – in the episode “The Lincoln Story” (1970)
All in the Family, Mona – in the episode “Gloria Has a Belly Full” (1971)
The Partridge Family, Phyllis – in the episode “The Selling of the Partridges” (1973)
L.A. Law, Lucille Skerritt – in the episode “Spleen It to Me, Lucy” (1991)
Earlier this month a new documentary film about Holly Near’s life called “Holly Near Singing For Our Lives” from award winning director Jim Brown premiered at the Mill Valley Film Festival.
Holly Near, Thanks for being with us on WMM
Willow Productions presents Holly Near with Jan Martinelli & Tammy Hall at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, 4501 Walnut, KCMO, on Sunday, October 14, at 7:00 PM. Tickets at http://www.brownpapertickets.com
19. Holly Near – “Singing For Our Lives”
from And Still We Sing: The Outspoken Collection / Calico Tracks Music / Sept 17, 2002
[Written in the immediate wake of Harvey Milk’s assassination in 1978. “Singing For Our Lives” appears in Singing the Living Tradition, the official hymnal of the Unitarian Universalist Association, under the title “We Are A Gentle, Angry People” (Hymn #170). It was also performed by Quaker Friends in an episode of the TV series Six Feet Under.]
20. Leela James – “A Change Is Gonna Come”
from: A Change Is Gonna Come / Warner Brothers – WEA / 2005
[Ms. James first burst onto the scene with her 2006 debut album A Change is Gonna Come, introducing audiences to her considerable vocal chops and garnering nominations for Outstanding New Artist at the NAACP Image Awards and Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist of 2008 at the Soul Train Music Awards. James has gone on to record three subsequent albums including My Soul, which reached #7 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop Albums Chart and #37 on the Billboard 200 chart, and earned acclaim from critics for her songwriting skills. Fall For You has similarly climbed the charts, its single by the same name reaching the top 15 on the Urban AC charts in 2014/15.]
21. Noel Coward – “The Party’s Over Now”
from: Noel Coward in New York / drg / 2003 [orig. 1957]
[WMM Closing Theme]
Next week on October 17, Jennifer Owen of Owen Cox Dance Ensemble joins us to share information about their latest production, “Morena” with soprano Victoria Botero October 20 – 21 at Polsky Theatre at Johnson County Community College. Also Jake Wells joins us to share information about his show at recordBar, Monday October 22 with Calvin Arsenia & Duncan Burnett. Plus Marion Merritt and Betse Ellis join me as Guest Co-Hosts for our Fall Fund Drive to encourage you our wonderful listeners to donate to the Voice of The Community – 90.1 FM KKFI – Kansas City Community Radio.
Our Script/Playlist is a “cut and paste” of information.
Sources for notes: artist’s websites, bios, wikipedia.org
Wednesday MidDay Medley in on the web: