WMM Playlist from Jan. 30, 2019

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, January 30, 2019

Brad Cox, Jennifer Owen & Krystle Warren
+ Kim Stanton & Betse Ellis & 20 Years Rural Grit
+ Drew Black & Killer City

Kim Stanton, Betse Ellis, Krystle Warren, Brad Cox, and Jennifer Owen on the January 30, 2019 edition of Wednesday MidDay Medley on KKFI 90.1 FM

1. “It’s Showtime Folks”
from: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to All That Jazz / Casablanca / December 20, 1979
[WMM’s theme song]

2. Ex Hex – “Cosmic Cave”
from: It’s Real / Merge Records / Expected March 22, 2019
[Second album from three piece band formed in Washington DC in 2013. The band consists of Mary Timony lead vocals & guitar & songwriting, Betsy Wright on bass & songwriting, and Laura Harris on drums. Ex Hex released its first album, Rips, on October 7, 2014 on Merge Records. The band opened for Speedy Ortiz in Montreal in 2014. Ex Hex performed at Coachella 2016. The band takes its name from one of Timony’s solo albums. Mary Timony has been an important member of the bands: Helium, Wild Flag, Autoclave, and Mary Timony Band. She writes most of Ex Hex’s songs.]

3. Radar State – “Strays”
from: Strays / Wiretap Records / January 11, 2019
[Radar State features Josh Berwanger (The Anniversary, Berwanger) and Jim Suptic (The Get Up Kids, Blackpool Lights) trading off lead and rhythm guitar duties, with Matt Pryor (The Get Up Kids, The New Amsterdams) on bass, and Adam Phillips (The Architects, The Gadjits) on drums. Berwanger, Pryor, and Suptic all take turns on lead vocals.]

[Radar State play a Record Release Show at recordBar, 1520 Grand, KCMO, Friday, February 1, doors at 7:30 with The Whiffs, and Hip Shot Killer.]

4. Jeff Tweedy – “I Know What It’s Like”
from: WARM / dBpm Records / November 30, 2018
[Solo debut of Wilco frontman and producer of recent Mavis Staples albums. This new record was released just weeks after Jeff Tweedy’s memoir, “Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back)” was released.]

5. Sharon Van Etten – “Seventeen”
from: Remind Me Tomorrow / Jagjaguary / January 18, 2019
[5th studio album from Sharon Van Etten (born February 26, 1981 in Belleville, New Jersey and lived in Nutley, NJ before moving to Clinton as a pre-teen. Later, she moved to Tennessee to attend Middle Tennessee State University and studied recording, but dropped out of college after a year. Van Etten ended up working at the Red Rose, a coffee and record shop and music venue in Murfreesboro, for about five years. In 2004, she moved back to New Jersey, where she worked at Perryville Wine and Spirits. Van Etten moved to New York City in 2005. Van Etten self-released handmade CDs until 2009, when her debut studio recording was released. Before her studio debut, she worked at Astor Wines and as a publicist at Ba Da Bing Records. Van Etten’s debut, Because I Was in Love, was released on May 26, 2009, on Language of Stone, and was manufactured and distributed by Drag City. This is her third album from Jagjaguar]

6. Keaton Conrad – “I Think I Fell in Love with You”
from: I Think I Fell in Love with You – Single / Keaton Conrad / Jan. 11, 2019
[Keaton Conrad is a recording artist from Kansas City. He has been regarded as “exceptionally promising” (The Kansas City Star) and “making things happen on stages …with an engaging voice and passion for creating good music” (Ink Magazine). In 2015, Keaton Conrad released his debut EP, Panic & Blame, which contained five original songs that were heavily inspired by the pop rock sound he grew up on. His first full-length album, Waves, followed in January 2017 which ranged in style from pop rock to hip-hop to ambient. Conrad spent 2 years as the lead singer & keyboardist in the cover band ChangeUp, performing around KC. ]

[Keaton Conrad plays an Album Release show for his new record Nova, Friday, February 1, at 7:00 at the Rino, 314 Armour Road, North Kansas City with The Moose, and Eems.]

7. Miki P – “Home”
from: Dome of Swallows / Miki P/ September 1, 2018
[Debut full length album from Miki P containing 10 original songs. Kansas City, Missouri Miki P. She started playing guitar in middle school,. She taught herself to play the drums, while listening to Mitch Mitchell, Keith Moon and Ringo Starr. As a teen she played drums for various groups including the band American Slim. She wrote songs for their first full-length album Irreplaceable in the Spring of 2017, followed by a single “Queen of Hearts” released April 11, 2018. She also plays ukulele & piano, teaching herself how to play both the instruments and using them frequently in all projects she is involved in. She has played Middle of the Map Fest, Royal’s Kaufman Stadium, the Record Bar, Uptown Theater, Arrowhead Stadium, Nelson Atkins Museum, the Crossroads Music Festival and the SXSW Music Fest.]

[Miki P plays Voltaire, 1617 Genessee, Tonight, Wed, Jan 30, at 10 w/ Jackson Grimm, & Dylan Moses]

10:29 – Underwriting

8. Killer City – “Summer Drug”
from: Summer Drug / Killer City / November 16, 2018
[Kansas City based musician Drew Black joins us to share music from his new band creation, Killer City a Goth-glam, stoner rock band, with dense atmosphere, pulsed with a dance beat.]

[Killer City plays Fat Tuesday, Mar 5, at 8:00 pm at Knuckleheads Saloon with Black Mariah Theatre.]

9. Killer City – “Invisible Ship”
from: Summer Drug / Killer City / November 16, 2018
[Kansas City based musician Drew Black joins us to share music from his new band creation, Killer City a Goth-glam, stoner rock band, with dense atmosphere, pulsed with a dance beat.]

[Killer City plays Fat Tuesday, Mar 5, at 8:00 pm at Knuckleheads Saloon with Black Mariah Theatre.]

10. Mikal Shapiro – “Everybody’s Baby”
from: The Musical II / Mikal Shapiro / May 26, 2018
[“Everybody’s Baby” is her pop song she wrote, but all the songs on The Musical 11 are great. The sequel to Shapiro’s 2015 concept album “The Musical.” Mikal Shapiro, on vocals & guitar, Chad Brothers on vocals & guitar, Johnny Hamil on bass, and Matt Richey on drums. Special guests include: Hermon Mehari on trumpet, Tina Bilberry on viola & violin, Damon Parker on keyboards, and Lauren Hughes on vocals. Engineered and co-produced by Joel Nanos at Element Recording & Mastering Studios. Mikal Shapiro is a KC songwriter whose musical influences span popular songs, psych rock, lounge, classic country and old time spirituals. She has toured extensively across the U.S. and has recorded five critically acclaimed albums. KC Star and Tim Finn declared her album “The Musical” to be one of his top five releases of 2015. A third generation storyteller, she draws inspiration from her travels, love life, and the state of the Union.]

[Mikal Shapiro plays with Claire Adams and Betse Ellis at Ca Va, 4149 Pennsylvania Ave, Thurs. January 31, at 9:00 PM.]

[Mikal Shapiro & Musical Band play Californos, Sat, Feb 2, 9PM w/ Under The Big Oak Tree, Gullywasher.]

11:42 – Interview with Drew Black

Drew Black

We just heard new music from Kansas City based musician Drew Black who joins us to share music from his new band creation, Killer City a Goth-glam, stoner rock band, with dense atmosphere, pulsed with a dance beat. Killer City will be playing Fat Tuesday, March 5, at 8:00 pm at Knuckleheads Saloon with Black Mariah Theatre.

Drew Black, thanks for being with us on Wednesday MidDay Medley

Killer City formed in late 2017 as Drew Black and Dirty Electric dissolved.

Drew just felt it was time to move on from that band and force himself to write new songs. It was either going to be artistic suicide or a rebirth. Luckily, it was a rebirth.

Band members include:

Zach Hodson who played guitar in Drew Black and Dirty Electric now plays drums in Killer City.

Byron Humann, who also plays in Knife Crime and the Cure tribute band Magnificent, plays bass.

Alex Yoffie from Martian Martian Martian and Appropriate Grammar plays lead guitar.

Drew Black describes Killer City as goth stoner rock with a dance beat. He says “We sound rootsy and furious… and we’re loud.”

Drew Black, thanks for being with us on WMM.

Killer City will be playing Fat Tuesday, March 5, at 8:00 pm at Knuckleheads Saloon with Black Mariah Theatre.

10:55

11. Krystle Warren – “I Don’t Know”
from: Sing Me The Songs Celebrating The Works of Kate McGarrigle / Nonesuch / June 21, 13
[Features highlights from three concerts in honor of the late Kate McGarrigle. Proceeds from the concerts provided seed money for the Kate McGarrigle Foundation a non-profit organization dedicated to raising money in the fight against sarcoma and also to preserving her legacy through the arts. Net proceeds from the sale of Sing Me the Songs also will be donated to the Foundation. The double-disc set was produced by Joe Boyd, who curated the concerts, and features performances by Rufus and Martha Wainwright, Anna McGarrigle, Emmylou Harris, Antony, Norah Jones, and Teddy Thompson, among others. The New York concerts were filmed for a feature documentary entitled Sing Me the Songs That Say I Love You: A Concert for Kate McGarrigle, directed by Lian Lunson (Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man) and produced by Luson and Teddy Wainwright. Candid interviews with McGarrigle’s family and friends are paired with rousing performances of her music.]

11:00 – Station ID

12. Krystle Warren – “Station ID”

11:00 – Interview with Krystle Warren, Brad Cox and Jennifer Owen

Krystle Warren, Brad Cox, and Jennifer Owen on the January 30, 2019 edition of Wednesday MidDay Medley on KKFI 90.1 FM

Krystle Warren, Brad Cox & Jennifer Owen join us to talk about Owen/Cox Dance Group’s, “What Keeps Mankind Alive” from the darkly comic world of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht brought to life with dance, music and vocalists Krystle Warren, Shay Estes, and Leigh Adams. The program also features the Owen/Cox’s piece, Letterbox, described as “a beguiling union of music and dance.” All performances are on the main stage of the MTH Theater at Crown Center, 2450 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO. Performances are: Friday, February 1 at 8:00pm, Saturday, February 2 at 8:00pm, and Sunday, February 3 at 2:00pm. For Tickets or information: http://www.owencoxdance.org

Krystle Warren, Brad Cox & Jennifer Owen thanks for being with us on WMM

Krystle Warren began her musical career in KC in 2001 collaborating with area jazz and pop musicians. After living in San Francisco and NYC, Krystle was signed to a French label – Because Music, and moved to Paris to release “Circles” in 2009. Krystle played “Later with Jools Holland,” garnering critical acclaim and traveling all over the world with Rufus Wainwright, Nick Cave, Norah Jones, and Joan As Police Woman. Krystle created, Parlour Door Music to release her double album: “Love Songs,” from a 13-day session in Brooklyn, where she recorded 24 songs live with 28 musicians including her band, The Faculty. Krystle released, Three The Hard Way last year, co-producing by Ben Kane (D’Angelo). Three The Hard Way was #1 on WMM’s 117 Best Recordings of 2017.

Composer and arranger Brad Cox is co-founder of Owen/Cox Dance Group and founder and director of The People’s Liberation Big Band of Greater Kansas City, a musicians’ collective dedicated to the performance of new large ensemble jazz music. Cox’s musical influences range from liturgical chant and traditional folkloric music to popular music and free jazz, with a particular interest in the communal aspects of music making. A composer in the uniquely American Ellington tradition, he has dedicated his work to forming creative collaborative relationships with musicians and to writing music for those musicians. Cox studied composition at UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance under James Mobberley and Gerald Kemner and is a recipient of the 2010 Charlotte Street Foundation Generative Performing Artist Award and the 2009 Tanne Foundation Award.

Brad Cox is currently active with the following ensembles: The People’s Liberation Big Band of Greater Kansas City–a musicians’ collective dedicated to the creation and performance of new large ensemble jazz. //// Owen/Cox Dance Group–a contemporary dance ensemble lead by Jennifer Owen focussed on creative collaborations among dancers, musicians, composers and visual artists. //// Brad Cox Octet–an eight-piece ensemble made up of two saxophonists, two bass players, two drummers, and two keyboardists

Jennifer Owen is Artistic Director of Owen/Cox Dance Group, an ensemble she co-founded with composer Brad Cox in 2007. She has choreographed over fifty new works for Owen/Cox Dance Group, including two commissions by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and works commissioned by Island Moving Co. of Newport, RI, Kansas City Dance Festival, Kansas City Baroque Consortium, and Kansas City Chamber Orchestra. She has also created nine new works for Kansas City Ballet’s In the Wings choreographic workshop, and a winning entry for the 2006 Columbus Choreography Project. Owen is the recipient of a 2000 Princess Grace Honorarium. Prior to founding Owen/Cox Dance Group, Owen enjoyed a 13-year international ballet career. After training with Pacific Northwest Ballet School, San Francisco Ballet School, School of American Ballet, and the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, she went on to dance with the Russian State Ballet, Moscow Renaissance Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, BalletMet, and was a guest artist with the National Ballet of Turkmenistan. She has performed principal roles in Giselle, Don Quixote, George Balanchine’s Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux and Donizetti Variations, and the central pas de deux in Todd Bolender’s Arena.

Owen/Cox Dance Group is a 501 (c) 3 not for profit corporation with a mission is to create new music and dance collaborations, to present high-quality contemporary dance performances with live music, and to engage as wide an audience as possible through affordable live performance, education and outreach programs

11:14

13. Barclay Martin, Krystle Warren, Lauren Krum – “An Old Letter”
from: unreleased recordings of songs from the show / written by Brad Cox

We are talking with Krystle Warren, Brad Cox & Jennifer Owen join us to talk about Owen/Cox Dance Group’s, “What Keeps Mankind Alive” at the MTH Theater at Crown Center, Feb 1-3.

“What Keeps Mankind Alive?” is a song composed by Kurt Weill with lyrics by Bertolt Brecht for their music drama The Threepenny Opera (Die Dreigroschenoper) which premiered in Berlin in 1928 at the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm. The title refers to the central line from the finale of act 2, “Denn wovon lebt der Mensch?”. In the opera, the two stanzas of the strophic piece are sung by Macheath and Mrs Peachum and the final line is sung in fortissimo by the chorus. It is an agitprop socialist anthem expressing that the comfortable lifestyle enjoyed by the rich is paid for by the suffering of the masses. The lyrics begin: “You gentlemen who think you have a mission / To purge us from the seven deadly sins / Should first sort out the basic food position / Then start your preaching, that’s where it begins.” The song ends with the conclusion, “For once you must not try to shirk the facts / Mankind is kept alive by bestial acts.”

The song has been covered by Tom Waits (on the 1985 album Lost in the Stars: The Music of Kurt Weill, and again on the 2006 album Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards), the Pet Shop Boys (as a B-side on the single “Can You Forgive Her?” and on the 1995 compilation album Alternative), William S. Burroughs (in the 1994 documentary September Songs – The Music of Kurt Weill), and others. The opening chapter in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume III: Century is named “What Keeps Mankind Alive?”.

Owen/Cox Dance Group’s, “What Keeps Mankind Alive” from Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht is brought to life with dance, music and vocalists: Krystle Warren, Shay Estes, and Leigh Adams. The program also features the Owen/Cox’s piece, Letterbox, described as “a beguiling union of music and dance.” All performances at the MTH Theater at Crown Center, 2450 Grand Blvd., KCMO. Friday, Feb 1 and Saturday, Feb 2 at 8:00pm, and Sunday, Feb 3 at 2:00pm. For info: http://www.owencoxdance.org

11:29 – Underwriting

11:31 – Interview with Betse Ellis and Kim Stanton

Betse Ellis

Betse Ellis is originally from Fayetteville, Arkansas. She received her Bachelors of Arts in Music and a Bachelors of Arts in English, from the University of Missouri – Kansas City. She has been playing the Violin for over 40 years, with over 20 years playing fiddle and also working as a teacher of music. Betse was one of the founding members of the critically acclaimed and internationally known band, The Wilders. Betse has released two solo records, and for the last several years is recording and performing with her partner, multi-instrumentalist Clarke Wyatt, as Betse & Clarke. Their debut album, “River Still Rise” was in our Top Ten, of The 116 Best Recordings of 2016. In 2017 they released a special analog recorded collection of tunes released on cassette called, Tunes We Like, was in our 117 Best Recordings of 2017. Betse & Clarke play Westport Saloon TONIGHT, January 30 at 8:00 PM with the Urban Pioneers

Betse Ellis, Thanks for being with us on Wednesday MidDay Medley

KIm Stanton

Kim Stanton is Executive Director of Rural Grit who with Mark Smeltzer, Principle Musician of Rural Grit is the mom of Noah. Kim is also a teacher in Kansas City with over 25 years of experience in classrooms. Kim received her Bachelor in Science from Northwest Missouri State University in 1987. Kim is also an angel, who volunteers herself for many non-profit community organizations, and who helps so many of her friends, is a huge supporter of the area music community.

Kim Stanton, thanks for being with us on Wednesday MidDay Medley

Kim Stanton & Betse Ellis are with us to share details on The Rural Grit Happy Hour 20th Anniversary Opry Show is Monday, February 4, at 6:00 at the Brick 1727 McGee, KCMO.

Trouble in Mind, formed in Maryville, MO in 1990 created Rural Grit Records and produced shows at The Grand Emporium that led to the creation of “Brother Ike’s Rural Grit Happy Hour” starting Feb 1, 1999, until 2004 when the show moved to Mike’s Tavern, and then to The Brick where “Rural Grit Happy Hour” has been ever since.

Rural Grit is dedicated to the promotion, performance, and preservation of roots music.

For today’s show Betse & Kim have chosen 3 songs that represent the idea of collaboration or using the music that came before.

11:39

16. Betse Ellis – “Question to Lay Your Burden Down”
from: High Moon Order / Free Dirt Records / June 14, 2013
[2nd solo release from renowned fiddler, Betse Ellis, known by many as a founding member of The Wilders. This recording was number 3 on WMM’s list of The 113 Best Recordings of 2013.]

[Betse & Clarke play Westport Saloon TONIGHT, January 30 at 8:00 PM with the Urban Pioneers]

[Mikal Shapiro plays with Claire Adams and Betse Ellis at Ca Va, 4149 Pennsylvania Ave, Thurs. January 31, at 9:00 PM.]

11:42 – More Interview with Betse Ellis and Kim Stanton

Betse Ellis and Kim Stanton have a busy week

The Bridge 90.9 Tim Finn Thursdays – Thursday, January 31 from 4-5pm

Winter Potluck Gathering – Saturday, February 2 from 6-9pm @ First Lutheran Church (basement) 6400 Stateline Road, Mission, Kansas – Potluck. BYOB. Space for instruments. Stage for inpromptu performances. It’s a lowkey, winter Tick Fest.

Westport Saloon- Saturday, February 2 from 12-2am – Rural Grit All-Stars

Rural Grit Happy Hour 20th Anniversary Opry Show – Monday, February 4 from 6-9:30pm @ the Brick – Leo & Roger Eilts will host this Opry style evening. Wear your fancy duds, finery or superduper stage clothes. 20 slots available if you’d like to participate. Kim will finalize the playlist on Sunday, February 3. No guarantees for drop-ins. If you want to participate, let me know via email: kimruralgrit@gmail.com.

List of interested participants

Jason Beers // Betse & Clarke // Brett & Susan // David Regnier // Dually Jukes // Paul & Nancy // Val & Tim // Kasey Rausch // Mikal Shapiro // Sean Ewbank // Kelly Hunt // Howard Iceberg // John Greiner // Barry Lee // Scott Stanton // Bob & Diana // High & Dry // Grassfed

For today’s show Betse & Kim have chosen 3 songs that represent the idea of collaboration or using the music that came before.

11:50

14. Howard Iceberg & The Titanics – “Flowers in May”
from: Kansas City Songs / Independent / September 25, 2016
[26 new songs written by Howard Iceberg and Recorded by Phil Wade at Alluvial Fan Studio; and Pat Tomek at Largely Studios. Mixed by Pat Tomek at Largely Studios. Howard Iceberg on vocals, harmony vocals, guitar & harmonica; Chad Rex on guitar & vocals; Betse Ellis on violin, viola, cello, vocal, mandolin & tenor guitar; Clarke Wyatt on banjo, piano & organ; Chad Brothers on guitar & vocals; Brett Hodges on bass, vocals & mandolin; Phil Wade on dobro, guitar, mandolin, & lap steel, Johnny Hamil on bass; Mike Ireland on vocal & bass, Dan Mesh on guitar; Kasey Rausch on guitar & vocal; Mikal Shapiro on guitar & vocal; Josh Mobley on keyboards; Grisha Sandomirsky on violin; Erin Corriveau on vocals; Mary Pickert on vocals; Brendon Moreland on keyboards. Howard Iceberg writes in the liner notes to this collection: “You can hear a lot of these cats play most Monday nights at The Brick.”All songs written, performed, and recorded in Kansas City.]

We are talking with Betse Ellis and Kim Stanton about The Rural Grit Happy Hour 20th Anniversary Opry Show is Monday, February 4, at 6:00 at the Brick 1727 McGee, KCMO.

Betse Ellis and Kim Stanton thanks for being with us again on WMM

For today’s show Betse & Kim have chosen 3 songs that represent the idea of collaboration or using the music that came before.

11:55

15. Freight Train Rabbit Killer -“The Tree of the Knowledge of Good + Evil”
from: Old Man of the Mountain – 7″ Single / Haymaker Records / 2018
[Side A of Volume 2 of a 4-part 7″ vinyl release called, Wake Snake Death Dance. Written by Eve Sheldon. Arranged by Mark Smeltzer. Recorded, mixed and mastered at Organica Studios with Andrew Crowley who also played keyboards. Freight Train Rabbit Killer, a musical duet made up of Kristopher Bruders (Freight Train) and Mark Smeltzer (Rabbit Killer).]

16. Noel Coward – “The Party’s Over Now”
from: Noel Coward in New York / drg / 2003
[orig. 1957]

Next week on Feb 6 Betse Ellis will be back with us for the entire show with our other special co-host Marion Merritt of our Winter Fund Drive Show with guests Keaton Conrad, and Todd Albright.

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:
http://www.kkfi.org,
http://www.WednesdayMidDayMedley.org,
http://www.facebook.com/WednesdayMidDayMedleyon90.1FM

Show #771

History of Rural Grit Happy Hour

Rural Grit Happy Hour History- Rural Grit Happy Hour–What it started as…what it is today. – On August 23, 1998, the band Trouble In Mind was scheduled to play a Sunday night gig at the Grand Emporium. Three weeks before the gig, the other two scheduled bands cancelled and we were asked if we wanted to try and fill the night. What an exciting prospect…one whole night, designed by us, we couldn’t resist the lure. For a number of years, we had been putting on the legendary 15 hour Tick Festival out in the middle of nowhere, so we knew we could round up musicians and put on a show. In addition, we had also recorded the Tick Fest that summer and wanted to release the music. So, we moved into high gear, rounding up the musicians who had played at the Tick Fest, mastered a 90 minute cassette for release and advertised.

R.G. Records presented the 49th Annual Santa Rosa Tick Fest Tape Release Party, with Trouble In Mind, The Wilders, The Kemps, Sandoval, Rex Hobart & the Misery Boys, The Santa Rosa Stringband. It turned into a 5 1/2 hour show with main acts- acoustic & electric, in-between acts, to acts standing on chairs in the audience to battery powered amp wielding musicians mingling with the crowd.

Roger Naber, owner of the GE, asked us for a monthly show. After discussion, we decided that we could do it every 4 months. The next show was scheduled for Sunday, January 1, 1999. It was crazy to take on the odds of having a successful show on the day after New Year’s Eve but we decided to try. We even ended up competing with a snowstorm, but the musicians and audience still showed up to participate.

Not long after the success of the January 1st show, Roger, who had just returned from Austin where he had attended a variety of Happy Hour shows at clubs, like the Continental Club, contacted Kc, who had lived in Austin and was familiar with how the Happy Hour shows ran. They discussed Rural Grit putting on a weekly Happy Hour Show. We decided to do it—we’d have a weekly event at the GE, a reputable club; we would have a regular venue for our artists to perform; we could meet more musicians. After some discussion and sweet persuasion, Ike Sheldon (The Wilders and Trouble In Mind) agreed to host the weekly Happy Hour. ..Brother Ike’s Rural Grit Happy Hour at the Grand Emporium.. began on the first Monday of February in 1999.

..Brother Ike’s Rural Grit Happy Hour (RGHH) every Monday 6:00-8:00.. –In the beginning, we featured local bands–artists that were part of Rural Grit or networked with Rural Grit artists. Attendance was sparse during the first several months–what in the hell did we think we’re doing? We realized that what we were offering was too much like every other show offered in Kansas City. We decided to make the Happy Hour more like our big shows–constant music of a wide variety with some element of the unorthodox each night. We wanted to create a situation where musicians and music lovers were the regulars.

Our mission statement (Rural Grit is dedicated to the promotion, performance, and preservation of roots music and strives to provide opportunities for like-minded individuals to further their artistic causes.) provided the road map for the RGHH. We decided to keep the RGHH acoustic in nature and the focus on what we called Roots Music. The stage plot designed was a single mic set up, a large single diaphragm microphone. This eliminated the need for the full-time sound engineer (Randy, Little John, Jenna, Conrad, Mark) to take music time away using multiple mic set ups. We noticed that with the single mic, artists were placed in a situation where they had to listen to each other with out monitors and they were able to quickly get on and off the stage. There was usually a bass mic and an extra 57 as a spot for quiet instruments, however, these were seldom used.

To create a music, party-like atmosphere and check out booking prospects, the “Inbetweens” were created to allow artists who were not featured that evening to participate. “Duets & Trios” night (every 3rd Monday) was an opportunity for beginners to interface with skilled amateurs to professional road-dogs and for all artists to test new material/instruments. “Theme Nights” (to name a few popular ones were: Murder Ballads; Singer/Songwriter, Food; Death, Disaster and Destruction; Trainwrecks and Catastrophes; Outlaws and the Women Who Loved Them, Guilty Pleasures) and “VS” nights (as in Hank Williams Sr. VS Robert Johnson or Johnny Cash VS Muddy Waters) were created to add variety and encourage learning new material. “Electric Freakout” (every 5th Monday) was a night for our musicians who also played electrically to rock out. Occasionally we had touring bands featured, which opened the need for opening acts, in response the “Rural Grit All-Stars” were created. This is a changing group of artists who frequent the RGHH and can be tailored to compliment the touring band. We also put on two 6 hour shows a year–The Winter Tick Fest and The Anniversary Show.

By the end of 2002, the consistent touring of The Wilders kept Ike and company at the Happy Hour less, but by that time, we had met another wave of crazy, musician types who sure did like getting together and exploring musical roots firsthand. All the time The Wilders were beginning to trek across the country, spreading Rural Grit recordings far and wide. At this time we changed the name officially to the Rural Grit Happy Hour.

At the beginning of 2003, the Rural Grit Happy Hour was still in full swing, providing musicians with a unique networking opportunity and the audience with variety each week. Roger extended our hours and the RGHH was the only gig of our format offered on Monday nights. The RGHH had become a place where musicians connected and created new bands, where young bands came to spread their wings, and old timers came back to reconnect with the young. In addition, there was a core loyal following among musicians, patrons and staff. Amazing Grace was there each Mondays feedin’ us soul food; it went well with the soul of the music. It was real, honest, it was music from the heart for the heart. We felt like we had actually done something good, something to be proud of and something that was continuing to grow.

In May of 2004 a series of unforeseen events took place: Roger had cut a deal to sell the Grand Emporium. The new owners planned to rip out everything, down to the studs–nothing would remain the same except the stage. We did not want the RGHH to end but where to go after 5 years and 3 months. Memorial Day- a day we usually take off-would be the last day the GE’s doors would open and the RGHH would be the final event at the GE. We decided to put on a Big Show–Memoriam at The Grand Emporium–everyone was coming together for the last show, flyers were posted, radio and print interviews. Everything was high energy, people were exited. Musicians and fans alike had begged, pleaded, demanded that the RGHH go on somewhere else. We thought , “o.k. but where?” Where indeed. Venues from across the city were courting us. We didn’t want to make a decision in such a short period of time, so it was decided that we would “take a summer vacation” at Mike’s Tavern playing theme shows and scout out a permanent venue.

The Saturday night before the last show at the GE was when the second of a series of unforeseen events took place. A F4 tornado cut a deadly path through Daviess County MO, home of the Santa Rosa Tick Festival and the magical Tick Ranch studio. Dale, Mary and cousin Jeff made it out alive, but some folks just down the road did not. As for the studio, (really an old farm house) the main record room was amazingly just fine but the roof above the engineer’s room was ripped off and 7 inches of rain was dumped inside. It would rain 5 more inches that week and another funnel cloud would threaten two weeks later. However, 40 yards away an earth contact home was destroyed. Now not only were we looking for a new venue, but we had less than 2 months to repair the studio and clean up the debris to get ready for Tick Fest. Ever cleaned up after a F4 tornado–it’s one hell of a job! The final RGHH at the GE was a huge success–over 150 patrons and 50 musicians closed the GE in Rural Grit style.

At the end of our summer vacation at Mike’s Tavern, we decided to move to The Brick. So the RGHH continues on Monday nights from 6-9 p.m. at The Brick. We keep to the same format that we used in the past. There are featured bands/artists with “Inbetweens”. Every third Monday of the month is Duets & Trios night. Every fifth Monday is the Electric Freakout. We still have theme nights or vs nights. We still use a single mic. We still encourage the networking between musicians.

The Rural Grit All-Stars are regular participants of the Rural Grit Happy Hour. Their consistent attendance and participation at the Rural Grit Happy Hour has honed their ability to easily connect musically with each other. At the RGHH we use a single mic and no monitors—artists need to listen to each other to connect. Quite often I witness a combination of artists that hit a musical “zone”. Magical-beautiful-inspiring. These moments create a bond that musicians crave to create again and again. It draws them together. It draws their music together. It strengthens their sense of a musical community, parlaying into an extended family that provides support in a multitude of ways for each artist’s existence.

As time has gone on our core group of participants has decreased then altered due to touring, raising families, moving and various other life crop ups. However, we still have a small group of folks that show up every week to create a bit of magic. Old-timers drop in occasionally and newbies give it a whirl. Over the last few years there have been numerous happy hour shows started throughout the city. It’s quite a different story now then when we began this adventure. It has been exciting to see artists who started at the RGHH, networked with the musicians there and went on to create their own band/scene. Most of them are still playing out today. The goal of the RGHH is to continue to network like-minded musicians together and provide opportunities for a little musical magic to occur.

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