WMM Playlist from Jan. 2, 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 2, 2019

Wednesday MidDay Medley Celebrates Iris DeMent

1. “Main Title Instrumental – It’s Showtime Folks”
from: Motion Picture Soundtrack to All That Jazz / Universal / Dec. 20, 1979
[WMM’s theme]

2. Greg Brown – “Let The Mystery Be”
from: Freak Flag / Yep Roc / May 10, 2011
[Iris Dement’s song “Let The Mystery Be” from her debut Infamous Angel, from 1992. This song was covered by David Bryne, 10,000 Maniacs, Bun E. Carlos, and many others, it also became the theme song for the 2nd season of The Leftovers.While Greg Brown was recording this album, lighting hit the studio where Greg Brown he was recording songs for his 24th album: Freak Flag, the title track was all that remained of the lost original album. Greg wrote ten new songs, recording them at Memphis, Tennessee’s legendary Ardent Studios. Produced by Bo Ramsey, the album also includes a cover of Pieta Brown’s song ”Remember the Sun.”]

Thanks for tuning into WMM, here on 90.1 FM KKFI – Kansas City Community Radio, 
I’m Mark Manning. Today we celebrate the birthday of Iris DeMent, born January 5, 1961, in rural Paragould, Arkansas. She was the youngest of 14 children. At the age of 3, her devoutly religious family moved to California, where she grew up singing gospel music. During her teenage years, Iris was exposed to country, folk, & R&B, drawing influence from Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, & Joni Mitchell.

Iris moved to the midwest, and after a series of jobs as a waitress and typist she wrote her first song at the age of 25. She moved to Kansas City and played Harling’s Upstairs and open-mic nights alongside Scott Hrabko and Howard Iceberg. Iris met producer Jim Rooney in Nashville, in 1988, who helped her land a record contract.

Iris Dement made her recording debut in 1992, with her independently produced album, “Infamous Angel.” The record won critical acclaim and John Prine mentioned Iris in his list of favorite recordings of the year published in Rolling Stone. Despite a complete lack of support from country radio, the word of mouth praise for Iris DeMent’s “Infamous Angel” earned her a deal with Warner Bros Records, which reissued “Infamous Angel” in 1993. The album also included the song, “Let The Mystery Be” a composition that has also been covered by David Bryne, 10,000 Maniacs, Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick, Greg Brown, and it was the theme song for the second season of HBO’s The Leftovers.

Today we feature music from Iris DeMent’s six full length albums, her vast collaborative studio work with artists such as: Greg Brown, John Prine, Nancy Griffith, Emmylou Harris, Tom Russell, Steve Earle, and Kansas City’s own, Gary Kirkland.

And we’ll also feature music from Iris DeMent’s inspirations: Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Joni Mitchell, Merle Haggard and Bob Dylan.

Please stay with us.

Full disclosure, I love Iris DeMent. I’ve seen her live in concert over 8 times. I met Iris DeMent when I was working at Kinkos at 39th & Rainbow in 1992. Iris came in to copy press clippings, she was in the process of releasing her debut album. I wasn’t familiar with her music until I saw her on Late Night with Conan O’Brien in 1995, where she performed her song, “My Life.” I was blown away. I had video-taped the show, and I would replay that song for everyone that came to visit. I wanted everyone to know about Iris DeMent.

I ran into Iris at Classic Cup in Westport. By this point I had become a big fan of her music and I was sort of star stuck, but she approached me and asked, “How do I know you?” Our friendship was able to continue because we shared a mutual friend named Anne Winter, who invited me to a holiday party in Iris Dement’s River Market condo where we sang old fashioned hymns, with members of The Wilders. Anne Winter had become a close friend of Iris and even went out “on the road” with her at one point. Because of Anne, I stage managed a show at the Uptown Theatre with Michael Moore, Iris deMent and the Wilders all performing. Anne Winter also helped arranged for Iris to play one of our Big Bang Buffet shows in 1999 at The Hobbs Building. In 2002 Iris agreed to do a benefit show for Friends of Community Radio. At this point she was living in Coleman Heights in Kansas City and invited Linda Wilson and I to a home cooked meal at her house, to talk aver the details of the show. In 2004 Iris and Greg Brown performed together in a show with Amy Goodman of “Democracy Now!” to raise over $10,000.00 for KKFI. Iris never took a penny from any of these shows, and has always been such a generous supporter of 90.1 FM. She recognized as a singer songwriter how important community radio is for independent artists like herself, and she has always given back, to help keep this radio station alive. Because of Iris DeMent’s generosity, and in honor of our dear friend Anne Winter, who we lost in 2009, I vowed to pay tribute to Iris on her birthday, each year, with this radio show.

Influences of Iris DeMent

3. Loretta Lynn & Jack White – “Portland Oregon”
from: Van Lear Rose / Interscope / 2004 [produced by Jack White of The White Stripes and Racontuers. It was initially intended as a musical experiment, blending the styles of country singer-songwriter Lynn and producer White, who performs on the whole album as a musician. At the time, Lynn was 69 and White was 28. The title refers to Lynn’s origins as the daughter of a miner working the Van Lear coal mines. The album was the most successful crossover music album of Lynn’s 45-year career. At the 2005 Grammy Awards, Lynn won: Best Country Album and Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for her duet with White.]

4. Johnny Cash & Joni Mitchell – “Girl From North Country”
from: The Best of The Johnny Cash TV Show / Columbia Legacy / 2007
[a TV music variety show that ran for 58-episodes from June 7, 1969 to March 31, 1971 on ABC. It featured many folk/country musicians of the time: Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt, Kris Kristofferson, Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, Merle Haggard, James Taylor and Tammy Wynette. It also featured other musicians such as jazz great, Louis Armstrong, who died 8 months after recording the show. Recorded at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, then home of the Grand Ole Opry. The first show featured Joni Mitchell, Cajun fiddler Doug Kershaw, Fannie Flagg and Bob Dylan. The show included a “Country Gold” segment that featured legends never seen on network TV such as Bill Monroe & his Blue Grass Boys. Cash refused to cut the word “stoned” from Kris Kristofferson’s “Sunday Morning Coming Down”, he stood by his Christian faith “despite network anxieties”, and persisted in bringing on Pete Seeger whose anti-Vietnam song on another network had “caused a firestorm.” He premiered his Man in Black song on an episode filmed at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University’s campus. The show was dumped in 1971 as part of ABC’s so-called “rural purge,” which also claimed that network’s The Lawrence Welk Show.]

5. John Prine w/ Iris Dement – “We’re Not The Jet Set”
from: In Spite Of Ourselves / Oh Boy / 1999
[In 1968 country superstar George Jones witnessed a fight between Tammy Wynette and her husband Don Chapel. At Jones’s urging, Wynette and her daughters drove away with him. Wynette and Jones married Feb. 16, 1969, and Wynette’s 4th daughter, Georgette, was born in 1970. Jones and Wynette, were nicknamed the “President and First Lady” of country music, and they recorded a string of hit duets that seemed drawn directly from their volatile relationship, which resulted in their divorcing in 1975. Their classic recordings included “Two Story House,” “Golden Ring,” and the humorous “(We’re Not) The Jet Set.” ]

6. Loretta Lynn – “You Ain’t Woman Enough To Take My Man”
from: Legends of Country Music / Columbis Legacy / 1997
[Live performance for Austin City Limits taped in 1983. Loretta Webb was the second of 8 children; grew up in Butcher Holler, a section of Van Lear, a mining community in Kentucky. Growing up with such humble roots had a huge effect on Lynn’s life and heavily influenced her music as an adult. Her autobiography describes how, during her childhood, the community had no motor vehicles, paved roads, or flush toilets. She married Oliver Vanetta Lynn, known as “Doo,” on Jan. 10, 1948, at age 13. In an effort to break free of the coal mining industry, at 14, Lynn moved to the logging community Custer, Washington, with her husband. The Lynns had 4 children – Betty Sue, Jack Benny, Cissy and Ernest Ray – by the time Loretta was 18, and in her early 20s she then had twin girls, Peggy & Patsy. No stranger to controversy, Loretta Lynn possibly had more banned songs than any other country music artist, prior to The Dixie Chicks, including “Rated X,” about the double standards divorced women face, “Wings Upon Your Horns,” about the loss of teenage virginity, and “The Pill,” lyrics by T. D. Bayless, about a wife and mother becoming liberated via the birth control pill. Her song “Dear Uncle Sam,” released in 1966 during the Vietnam War, describes a wife’s anguish at the loss of a husband to war. It has been included in live performances during the US – Iraq War.]

7. Merle Haggard – “Workin’ Man Blues”
from: Oh Boy Classic Presents Merle Haggard / Oh Boy Records / 2000 [Originally released in 1969, a tribute to a core group of his fans: The American blue-collared working man. Backed by an electric guitar that typified Haggard’s signature Bakersfield Sound, he fills the role of one of those workers expressing pride in values of hard work and sacrifice, despite the resulting fatigue and the stress of raising a large family. Included on Haggard’s 1969 album “A Portrait of Merle Haggard.” Included in this collection on John Prine’s Oh Boy Records.]

10:25 – Underwriting

Influences of Iris DeMent

Iris DeMent represents that place in the road, where Country and Folk music merged with honest stories, of working class people, not afraid to tell the truth about the times they are living through. Iris DeMent grew up singing gospel music. During her teenage years she was first exposed to country, folk, and R&B, drawing influence from Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, and Joni Mitchell.

8. Johnny Cash – “Ring of Fire”
from: 16 Biggest Hits / Columbia Legacy / 2007
[co-written by June Carter (wife of Johnny Cash) and Merle Kilgore. The song was recorded on March 25, 1963 and became the biggest hit of his career, staying at #1 on the charts for 7 weeks. “Ring of Fire” refers to falling in love – which is what June Carter was experiencing with Johnny Cash at the time. Some sources claim that June had seen the phrase, “Love is like a burning ring of fire,” underlined in one of her uncle A. P. Carter’s Elizabethan books of poetry. She worked with Kilgore on writing a song inspired by this phrase as she had seen her uncle do in the past. In the 2005 film, Walk the Line June is depicted as writing the song while agonizing over her feelings for Cash despite his drug addiction and alcoholism as she was driving home one evening. She had written: “There is no way to be in that kind of hell, no way to extinguish a flame that burns, burns, burns”. Cash claims he had a dream where he heard the song accompanied by “Mexican horns”. Four years after the song was released, Carter and Cash were married which Cash states helped to stop his alcohol and drug addictions. Cash’s daughter, Rosanne has stated, “The song is about the transformative power of love and that’s what it has always meant to me and that’s what it will always mean to the Cash children.]

9. Bob Dylan – “I Shall Be Released”
from: The Essential Bob Dylan / Columbia – Sony / 2000
[Originally recorded October, 1971. ]

10. Joni Mitchell – “For The Roses”
from: For The Roses / Asylumn / 1972
[Released between her 2 biggest commercial and critical successes – “Blue” and “Court & Spark”. In 2007 it was one of 50 recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry. The title song “For the Roses” was Mitchell’s farewell to the business; she took an extended break for a year after. The album was critically acclaimed with The New York Times saying “Each of Mitchell’s songs on For the Roses is a gem glistening with her elegant way with language, her pointed splashes of irony and her perfect shaping of images. Never does Mitchell voice a thought or feeling commonly. She’s a songwriter and singer of genius who can’t help but make us feel we are not alone.” A nude photograph of Joni Mitchell was included on the inside cover of the original LP and is included in the CD booklet. The photograph shows the singer from the rear and was taken from a considerable distance; she is shown standing on a rock and staring out at the ocean. This created some controversy at the time.]

Iris DeMent’s first three releases, all on Warner Brothers records, were critically acclaimed, and she received two Grammy nominations during this time, in the “Folk Music” category. Meanwhile country radio completely overlooked her original songs, and amazing voice that has been compared to Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette. For her 1992 debut record, John Prine wrote the liner notes.

[Read the liner notes from John Prine]

“One night after receiving a copy of “Let the Mystery Be,” I was listening to the tape while frying a dozen or so pork chops in a skillet. Well Iris DeMent starts singing about “Mama’s Opry,” and being the sentimental fellow I am, I got a lump in my throat and a tear fell from my eyes into the hot oil. Well the oil popped out and burnt my arm as if the pork chops were trying to say, “Shut up, or I’ll really give you something to cry about.” Of course, pork chops can’t talk. But Iris DeMent’s songs can. They talk about isolated memories of life, love and living. And Iris has a voice I like a whole lot, like one you’ve heard before— but not really. So listen to this music, this Iris DeMent. It’s good for you. And if pork chops could talk, they’d probably learn how to sing one of her songs. Then we’d all have something to cry about.”

– John Prine, Songwriter, musician & president Oh Boy! Records

11. Iris DeMent – “Infamous Angel”
from: Infamous Angel / Warner Brothers / 1992 / 1993

Iris followed up her debut record with the autobiographical, “My Life,” released in 1994 and quickly followed with her third Warner Brother’s release, “The Way I Should,” released in 1996, which contains some of Iris DeMent’s most political songs.

12. Iris DeMent – “My Life”
from: My Life / Warner Brothers / 1994

13. Iris DeMent – “The Way I Should”
from: The Way I Should / Warner Brothers / 1996
[Produced by Randy Scruggs]

Collaborations

14. Nanci Griffith w/Iris & Emmylou – “Are You Tired of Me Darling”
from: Other Voices Other Rooms / Elektra / 1993
[High Harmony – Iris / Low Harmony – Emmylou Harris]
[Nanci Griffith’s 10th album. Here she pays homage to other songwriters who have influenced her own career.]

15. Gary Kirkland w/Iris – “Just For Me”
from: Shootin’ The Works on Love / Dark Horse / 2003

11:00 – Station I.D.

16. John Prine w/ Iris – “In Spite of Ourselves”
from: In Spite of Ourselves/ Oh Boy / 1999
[written by John Prine]

17. Steve Earle & The Del McCoury Band w/Iris – “I’m Still In Love With You”
from: The Mountain / E – Squared / 1999
[Released February 23, 1999. Songs were written by Earle as a tribute to the founder of bluegrass music, Bill Monroe, who had died in 1996.]

18. Tom Russell w/Iris – “Love Abides”
from: The Man From God Knows Where / Hightone / 1999

11:13 – Underwriting

Greg Brown

In the 2002 Iris DeMent did a benefit concert for The Friends of Community Radio at Unity Temple on The Plaza. I remember when Iris asked us if it was okay that she have a musician friend open the concert for her, we agreed because Iris was donating her talent to the cause of community radio. And then she told us that this musician friend was Greg Brown, who at this point was known all over the country, but had never before played KC.

Later that year, on November 21, 2002 Greg married Iris DeMent in a private ceremony in the office of Rev. Sam Mann of St. Mark Church in East KC.

Grammy Nominated Greg Brown is one of the most repected singer songwriters working in music today. He started singing professionally at the age of 18 organizing early folk concerts in New York City, Portland, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. In the 1980s, he worked and toured extensively as musical director for Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion radio program. He also founded his own record label, named Red House Records after a home in which he lived in Iowa.

Greg Brown has released over 30 recordings and has allowed much of his music to be used to raise funds and awareness for environmental and social causes. His songs have been performed by Willie Nelson, Jack Johnson, Carlos Santana, Michael Johnson, Ani DiFranco, Shawn Colvin, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Iris DeMent and Joan Baez.

19. Greg Brown w/Iris -“Jacob’s Ladder”
from: Honey in The Lion’s Head / Trailer / 2003

20. Greg Brown – “Wippoorwill”
from: Evening Call / Red House / 2006
[The Washington Post writes, “The singer-songwriter from Iowa has a baritone as rough and chunky as Thanksgiving gravy with the turkey bits still in, and that’s just how his words drip out on his album, “The Evening Call.” on “Whippoorwill” he sing as sweetly as his lover down in Kansas City. That’s his wife, Iris DeMent, and on “Joy Tears,” he tells her, “When you start your singing, honey, the heavens open up with grace.”]

21. Greg Brown – “Bucket”
from: Evening Call / Red House / 2006

In 2004 Iris DeMent independently released her 4th album, and her first in 8 years. It was a collection of protestant gospel hymns that she grew up hearing her mother sing. The album is called “Lifeline” and includes one original song called, “He Reached Down,” a song inspired by a sermon delivered by Rev. Sam Mann at St Mark Church in Kansas City.]

22. Iris DeMent – “He Reached Down”
from: Lifeline / Flariella / November 2, 2004
[Lifeline is the fourth album released by singer-songwriter Iris DeMent, released in 2004, eight years since her previous recording The Way I Should. Lifeline contains many traditional Protestant gospel songs DeMent describes as finding comfort in playing and singing. In her liner notes, DeMent recounts how her mother sang these songs in times of stress looking straight at the sky, “as if she were talking to someone.” DeMent’s rendition of “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” accompanies the closing credits of the Coen brothers’ True Grit (2010). Thom Jurek of Allmusic writes: “… [DeMent] claims that for her, too, the music contained here became her lifeline through a season of hardship… While this is far from a full return to form for Dement, it is truly good to have her back.” Music critic Robert Christgau wrote “Her heart cherishes Jesus’ memory, but her mind, voice, and soul remain her own.”]

After Lifeline it would be 8 more years before Iris DeMent would release another album.

Iris gave audiences a taste of her new music during a sold out benefit concert at The Folly Theatre with Greg Brown on November 11, 2011. The benefit was organised by friend Rev. Sam Mann for the St. Mark Child and Family and Development Center. Iris and Greg helped Rev Mann raise over $50,000.00 for the center that serves children and families on the east side in Kansas City.

Iris DeMent’s 2012 album “Sing The Delta” received glowing reviews from the UK publication UNcut, The New Yorker, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, and was in many Top Ten Lists of KC music affictionados, including being #1 on our list of WMM’s The 112 Best Recordings of 2012.

23. Iris DeMent – “Livin’ On The Inside”
from: Sing The Delta / Flariella / October 2, 2012
[Her first full-length release of original songs since 1996. Iris was our special guest on our Oct 10, WMM.]

In 2015 Iris DeMent released her 6th album, with national acclaim, and a #5 spot on WMM’s 115 Best Recordings of 2015. The Trackless Woods sets 18 poems by acclaimed 20th century Russian poet Anna Akhmatova to life. Hailed as one of Russia’s finest poets, Akhmatova survived the Bolshevik Revolution, both World Wars and Stalin. When Iris randomly stumbled upon Akhmatova’s work in a book of poetry a friend sent as a gift, she was immediately taken by the sorrow and burden of the poems. Iris recorded the album with co-producer Richard Bennett in her living room over a five-day period. The project also fulfilled a long yearned-for desire to connect with her adopted daughter’s culture and history. Iris and her husband Greg Brown adopted their daughter from Siberia in 2005, when she was 6, and Iris says ”I’d never have made this record were it not for her.”

24. Iris DeMent – “Listening to Singing”
from: The Trackless Woods / FlariElla / August 7, 2015
[6th album from Grammy nominated Iris DeMent who NPR said was ”one of the great voices in contemporary popular music.” The Trackless Woods sets 18 poems by acclaimed 20th century Russian poet Anna Akhmatova to life. Hailed as one of Russia’s finest poets, Akhmatova survived the Bolshevik Revolution, both World Wars and Stalin. She lost family, friends & fellow writers to political killings and labor in the gulags. When Iris randomly stumbled upon Akhmatova’s work in a book of poetry a friend sent as a gift, she was immediately taken by the sorrow and burden of the poems, juxtaposed with Akhmatova’s lightness and transcendence in the face of inhumanity. ”Anna’s gift of song is so strong, about alI I had to do was get really quiet and listen,” says Iris. After reading that first poem the melodies began pouring out of her, and before she even fully understood what was driving her, Iris was gathering musicians & friends, including co-producer Richard Bennett (Emmylou Harris, Neil Diamond, Steve Earle), to record ‘The Trackless Woods’ in her living room over a 5-days. The result is a pairing of piano and voice in Iris’ style with timeless melodies that are rooted in the American South.]

Like Russian poet Anna Akhmatova, Iris DeMent has never shied away from lending her voice to justice and social causes. On March 2, 2017 in response to the election and policies of current President Donald Trump, Iris released her latest song “We Won’t Keep Quiet” on You Tube. Written and performed by Iris DeMent with members of the Iowa City community who sang with her, and participated in the Lift the Ban Rally in Iowa City, the Women’s March in Des Moines, and the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. The song has not been released anywhere other than You Tube.

25. Iris DeMent – “We Wont Be Quiet”
from: We Wont Be Quiet – Single / Unreleased / March 2, 2017
[Recorded and mixed by Deb Talan and Steve Tannen. The video was made by Mei-Ling Shaw with DC footage by Jordan Sellergren. RESIST!]

In his review for WHYY’s Fresh Air, Entertainment Weekly Music Editor – Ken Tucker wrote: “Iris DeMent possesses one of the great voices in contemporary popular music: powerfully, ringingly clear, capable of both heartbreaking fragility and blow-your-ears-back power. Had she been making country albums in the ’70s and ’80s and had more commercial ambition, she’d probably now be considered right up there with Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette. Instead, she’s lived a contemporary life, a somewhat private life. As she recently told an interviewer, “There’s a lot that goes into life besides songwriting.” And she’s taken her time in composing songs that fit into no genre easily.”

Happy Birthday Iris DeMent! Thank you for all of the great music and thank you for donating your talents to raise thousands of dollars for non-for-profit charities in Kansas City including 90.1 FM – KKFI. We love you Iris DeMent!

For Wednesday MidDay Medley I’m Mark Manning. Thanks for listening!

26. Iris DeMent – “That’s The Way Love Goes”
from: NPR Studio Cuts / NPR / 2000
[Written by Lefty Frizzell, recorded in NPR Studios Dec. 16, 1997. Iris DeMent learned to sing and play this song from a Merle Haggard record.]

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

Next Week on January 9, Wednesday MidDay Medley Celebrates David Bowie featuring short stories about David Bowie from nine of his biggest fans: Michelle Bacon, Barry Lee, Ben Grimes, Cody Wyoming, Krystle Warren, Jesse Bartmess, Marion Merritt, Ian Michael Flanagan Johnson, and Nico Gray. We’ll feature representative tracks from some of the 27 studio albums of Bowie’s career, including songs he wrote or produced for: Lou Reed, and Mott the Hoople, and Bowie songs performed by: Joan As Police Woman, Col. Chris Hadfield, Nile Rodgers and James Murphy and the KC bands: Soft Reeds, and The Band That Fell To Earth. ALSO, Michelle Bacon joins us to share details about The Band That Fell To Earth and the 4th annual tribute to David Bowie with TWO nights of music: Friday, January 18 and Saturday, January 19, at recordBar, 1520 Grand.

Wednesday MidDay Medley in on the web:
http://www.WednesdayMidDayMedley.org
http://www.facebook.com/WednesdayMidDayMedleyon90.1FM
and http://www.kkfi.org

Show #767

Advertisements

Wednesday MidDay Medley Celebrates Iris DeMent

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 2, 2019

Wednesday MidDay Medley Celebrates Iris DeMent

WMM presents our annual celebration of Iris DeMent, born January 5, 1961, in rural Paragould, Arkansas. She was the youngest of 14 children. At the age of 3, her devoutly religious family moved to California, where she grew up singing gospel music. During her teenage years, Iris was exposed to country, folk, & R&B, drawing influence from Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, & Joni Mitchell.

Iris moved to the midwest and after a series of jobs as a waitress and typist, she wrote her first song at the age of 25. She moved to Kansas City and played Harling’s Upstairs and open-mic nights alongside Scott Hrabko and Howard Iceberg. Iris met producer Jim Rooney in Nashville, in 1988, who helped her land a record contract.

Iris Dement made her recording debut in 1992, with her independently produced album, “Infamous Angel.” The record won critical acclaim and John Prine mentioned Iris in his list of favorite recordings of the year published in Rolling Stone. Despite a complete lack of support from country radio, the word of mouth praise for Iris DeMent’s “Infamous Angel” earned her a deal with Warner Bros Records, which reissued “Infamous Angel” in 1993. The album also included the song, “Let The Mystery Be” a composition that has also been covered by David Bryne, 10,000 Maniacs, Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick, Greg Brown, and it was the theme song for the second season of HBO’s The Leftovers.

We’ll feature music from Iris DeMent’s six full length albums, her contributions to film, her vast collaborative studio work with artists such as: Greg Brown, John Prine, Nanci Griffith, Emmylou Harris, Tom Russell, Steve Earle, and Kansas City’s own, Gary Kirkland.

We’ll also feature music from Iris DeMent’s inspirations: Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Joni Mitchell, Merle Haggard and Bob Dylan.

On your local radio dial 90.1 FM or
STREAMING LIVE at: kkfi.org

Show #767

WMM Playlist from January 9, 2013

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 9, 2013

A Birthday Tribute to Iris DeMent

1. Iris DeMent -“Mama’s Opry”
from: Infamous Angel / Warner Brothers / 1992 / 1993

2. Iris DeMent – “Mama Was Always Tellin’ Her Truth”
from: Sing The Delta / Flariella / Oct. 2, 2012
[Iris Dement previewed many of her new songs when she was in concert with husband Greg Brown, last year for their 11-11-11 show at The Folly Theatre to benefit St. Mark Child and Family Development Center. Now those songs are part of her brand new release that includes a total of 12 new songs. It is her first full-length release of original songs since 1996. The new record has been critically acclaimed by the music press on both sides of the Atlantic. Iris DeMent was our special guest on our October 10, Wednesday MidDay Medley.]

Wednesday MidDay Medley celebrated the Birthday of Iris DeMent, born January 5, 1961, in rural Paragould, Arkansas. She was the youngest of 14 children. At the age of three, her devoutly religious family moved to California, where she grew up singing gospel music. During her teenage years, Iris was exposed to country, folk, and R&B, drawing influence from Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, and Joni Mitchell.

After a series of jobs as a waitress and typist, Dement wrote her first song at the age of 25. She played open-mic nights in Kansas City, until she moved to Nashville, in 1988, and met producer Jim Rooney, who helped her land a record contract.

Dement made her recording debut in 1992, when her independent label offering, “Infamous Angel” won critical acclaim. Despite a complete lack of support from country radio, the record’s word-of-mouth praise earned her a deal with Warner Bros. records, which reissued “Infamous Angel” in 1993.

We featured the music from all five of Iris DeMent’s full length recordings, plus her additional work with Greg Brown, John Prine, John McCutcheon, Emmylou Harris, Tom Russell, Nancy Griffith, Steve Earle, and Gary Kirkland.

10:12 – Influences of Iris DeMent

3. Loretta Lynn & Jack White – “Portland Oregon”
from: Van Lear Rose / Interscope / 2004
[Produced by Jack White of The White Stripes and Racontuers. It was initially intended as a musical experiment, blending the styles of country singer-songwriter Lynn and producer White, who performs on the whole album as a musician. At the time, Lynn was 69 and White was 28. The title refers to Lynn’s origins as the daughter of a miner working the Van Lear coal mines. The album was the most successful crossover music album of Lynn’s 45-year career. At the 2005 Grammy Awards, Lynn won: Best Country Album and Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for her duet with White.]

4. Johnny Cash & Joni Mitchell – “Girl From North Country”
from: The Best of The Johnny Cash TV Show / Columbia Legacy / 2007
[A TV music variety show that ran for 58-episodes from June 7, 1969 to March 31, 1971 on ABC. It featured many folk/country musicians of the time: Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt, Kris Kristofferson, Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, Merle Haggard, James Taylor and Tammy Wynette. It also featured other musicians such as jazz great, Louis Armstrong, who died 8 months after recording the show. Recorded at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, then home of the Grand Ole Opry. The first show featured Joni Mitchell, Cajun fiddler Doug Kershaw, Fannie Flagg and Bob Dylan. The show included a “Country Gold” segment that featured legends never seen on network TV such as Bill Monroe & his Blue Grass Boys. Cash refused to cut the word “stoned” from Kris Kristofferson’s “Sunday Morning Coming Down”, he stood by his Christian faith “despite network anxieties”, and persisted in bringing on Pete Seeger whose anti-Vietnam song on another network had “caused a firestorm.” He premiered his Man in Black song on an episode filmed at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University’s campus. The show was dumped in 1971 as part of ABC’s so-called “rural purge,” which also claimed that network’s The Lawrence Welk Show.]

5. John Prine w/ Iris Dement – “We’re Not The Jet Set”
from: In Spite Of Ourselves / Oh Boy / 1999
[In 1968 country superstar George Jones witnessed a fight between Tammy Wynette and her husband Don Chapel. At Jones’s urging, Wynette and her daughters drove away with him. Wynette and Jones married Feb. 16, 1969, and Wynette’s 4th daughter, Georgette, was born in 1970. Jones and Wynette, were nicknamed the “President and First Lady” of country music, and they recorded a string of hit duets that seemed drawn directly from their volatile relationship, which resulted in their divorcing in 1975. Their classic recordings included “Two Story House,” “Golden Ring,” and the humorous “(We’re Not) The Jet Set.”]

6. Loretta Lynn – “You Ain’t Woman Enough To Take My Man”
from: Legends of Country Music / Columbis Legacy / 1997
[Live performance for Austin City Limits taped in 1983. Loretta Webb was the second of 8 children; grew up in Butcher Holler, a section of Van Lear, a mining community in Kentucky. Growing up with such humble roots had a huge effect on Lynn’s life and heavily influenced her music as an adult. Her autobiography describes how, during her childhood, the community had no motor vehicles, paved roads, or flush toilets. She married Oliver Vanetta Lynn, known as “Doo,” on Jan. 10, 1948, at age 13. In an effort to break free of the coal mining industry, at 14, Lynn moved to the logging community Custer, Washington, with her husband. The Lynns had 4 children – Betty Sue, Jack Benny, Cissy and Ernest Ray – by the time Loretta was 18, and in her early 20s she then had twin girls, Peggy & Patsy. No stranger to controversy, Loretta Lynn possibly had more banned songs than any other country music artist, prior to The Dixie Chicks, including “Rated X,” about the double standards divorced women face, “Wings Upon Your Horns,” about the loss of teenage virginity, and “The Pill,” lyrics by T. D. Bayless, about a wife and mother becoming liberated via the birth control pill. Her song “Dear Uncle Sam,” released in 1966 during the Vietnam War, describes a wife’s anguish at the loss of a husband to war. It has been included in live performances during the current Iraq War.]

10:29 – Underwriting

10:30 – Influences of Iris DeMent

Iris DeMent represents that place in the road, where Country and Folk music merged with honest stories, of working class people, not afraid to tell the truth about the times they are living through. Iris DeMent grew up singing gospel music. During her teenage years she was first exposed to country, folk, and R&B, drawing influence from Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, and Joni Mitchell.

7. Johnny Cash – “Ring of Fire”
from: 16 Biggets Hits / Columbia Legacy / 2007
[Co-written by June Carter (wife of Johnny Cash) and Merle Kilgore. The song was recorded on March 25, 1963 and became the biggest hit of his career, staying at #1 on the charts for 7 weeks. “Ring of Fire” refers to falling in love – which is what June Carter was experiencing with Johnny Cash at the time. Some sources claim that June had seen the phrase, “Love is like a burning ring of fire,” underlined in one of her uncle A. P. Carter’s Elizabethan books of poetry. She worked with Kilgore on writing a song inspired by this phrase as she had seen her uncle do in the past. In the 2005 film, Walk the Line June is depicted as writing the song while agonizing over her feelings for Cash despite his drug addiction and alcoholism as she was driving home one evening. She had written: “There is no way to be in that kind of hell, no way to extinguish a flame that burns, burns, burns”. Cash claims he had a dream where he heard the song accompanied by “Mexican horns”. Four years after the song was released, Carter and Cash were married which Cash states helped to stop his alcohol and drug addictions. Cash’s daughter, Rosanne has stated, “The song is about the transformative power of love and that’s what it has always meant to me and that’s what it will always mean to the Cash children.]

8. Bob Dylan – “I Shall Be Released”
from: The Essential Bob Dylan / Columbia – Sony / 2000
[Originally recorded October, 1971. ]

9. Joni Mitchell – “For The Roses”
from: For The Roses / Asylum / 1972
[Released between her 2 biggest commercial and critical successes – “Blue” and “Court & Spark”. In 2007 it was one of 50 recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry. The title song “For the Roses” was Mitchell’s farewell to the business; she took an extended break for a year after. The album was critically acclaimed with The New York Times saying “Each of Mitchell’s songs on For the Roses is a gem glistening with her elegant way with language, her pointed splashes of irony and her perfect shaping of images. Never does Mitchell voice a thought or feeling commonly. She’s a songwriter and singer of genius who can’t help but make us feel we are not alone.” A nude photograph of Joni Mitchell was included on the inside cover of the original LP and is included in the CD booklet. The photograph shows the singer from the rear and was taken from a considerable distance; she is shown standing on a rock and staring out at the ocean. This created some controversy at the time.]

10:44

Iris DeMent’s first three releases on Warner Brothers Records, were all critically acclaimed, she received two Grammy nominations during this time, in the “Folk Music” category. Meanwhile country radio completely overlooked her original songs, and amazing voice, that has been compared to Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette.

[Mark read the liner notes of “Infamous Angel” written from John Prine.]

10. Iris DeMent – “Our Town”
from: Infamous Angel / Warner Brothers / 1992 / 1993

11. Iris DeMent – “My Life”
from: My Life / Warner Brothers / 1994

12. Iris DeMent – “The Way I Should”
from: The Way I Should / Warner Brothers / 1996
[Produced by Randy Scruggs]

10:55 – Collaborations

13. Randy Scruggs w/Iris & Emmylou – “Wildwood Flower”
from: Crown of Jewels / Reprise / 1998

14. Nanci Griffith w/Iris – “Ten Degrees and Getting Colder”
from: Other Voices Other Rooms / Elektra / 1993
[Written by Gordon Lightfoot]

15. Nanci Griffith w/Iris & Emmylou – “Are You Tired of Me Darling”
from: Other Voices Other Rooms / Elektra / 1993
[High Harmony – Iris / Low Harmony – Emmylou Harris] [Nanci Griffith’s 10th album. Here she pays homage to other songwriters who have influenced her own career.]

16. John McCutcheon w/Iris – “Over The Garden Wall”
from: Sprout Wings and Fly / Rounder / 1997 [written by AP Carter]

17. Gary Kirkland w/Iris – “Just For Me”
from: Shootin’ The Works on Love / Dark Horse / 2003

11:15 – Collaborations

18. Steve Earle & The Del McCoury Band w/Iris – “I’m Still In Love With You”
from: The Mountain / E – Squared / 1999
[Released February 23, 1999. The songs were written by Steve Earle as a tribute to the founder of bluegrass music, Bill Monroe, who had died in 1996.]

19. John Prine w/ Iris – “In Spite of Ourselves”
from: In Spite of Ourselves/ Oh Boy / 1999 [written by John Prine]

20. Tom Russell w/Iris – “Love Abides”
from: The Man From God Knows Where / Hightone / 1999

11:29 – Underwriting

11:30 – Greg Brown

In the 2002 Iris DeMent did a benefit concert for The Friends of Community Radio at Unity Temple on The Plaza. I remember when Iris asked us if it was okay that she have a musician friend open the concert for her, we agreed because Iris was donated her talent to the cause of community radio. And then she told us that this musician friend was Greg Brown, who at this point was know all over the country, but had never before played KC.

Later that year, on November 21, 2002 Greg married Iris DeMent in a private ceremony in the office of Rev. Sam Mann of St. Mark Church in East KC.

Grammy Nominated Greg Brown is one of the most respected singer-songwriters working in music today. He started singing professionally at the age of 18 organizing early folk concerts in New York City, Portland, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. In the 1980s, he worked and toured extensively as musical director for Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion radio program. He also founded his own record label, named Red House Records after a home in which he lived in Iowa.

Greg Brown has release over 30 recordings and has allowed much of his music to be used to raise funds and awareness for environmental and social causes. His songs have been performed by: Willie Nelson, Jack Johnson, Carlos Santana, Michael Johnson, Ani DiFranco, Shawn Colvin, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Iris DeMent and Joan Baez.

21. Greg Brown w/Iris -“Jacob’s Ladder”
from: Honey in The Lion’s Head / Trailer / 2003

22. Greg Brown – “Bucket”
from: Evening Call / Red House / 2006 [The Washington Post writes, “The singer-songwriter from Iowa has a baritone as rough and chunky as Thanksgiving gravy with the turkey bits still in, and that’s just how his words drip out on his album, “The Evening Call.” on “Whippoorwill” he sing as sweetly as his lover down in Kansas City. That’s his wife, Iris DeMent, and on “Joy Tears,” he tells her, “When you start your singing, honey, the heavens open up with grace.”]

23. Greg Brown – “Let The Mystery Be”
from: Freak Flag / Yep Roc / May 10, 2011
[While recording what was to be his next album lighting hit the studio where he was working, and Greg Brown lost the recordings. Greg, used the experience to turn inward and write more songs that comprise his 24th album: Freak Flag, the title track is all that remains of the lost original album. Greg wrote ten new songs, recording them at Memphis, Tennessee’s legendary Ardent Studios. Produced by Bo Ramsey, the album also includes a cover of Brown’s daughter Pieta’s song ”Remember the Sun.’]

11:45

The musical score for the Coen Brothers film “True Grit” was created by Carter Burwell. Much of the music was adapted from old public domain gospel hymns. The very last song heard in the film, during the closing credits, is the only piece on the soundtrack that includes vocals. The song was originally written by Elisha A. Hoffman and Anthony J. Showalter, and originally published in 1887. Copyright is now Public Domain. Iris also included an earlier version of this song on “Lifeline” her 2004 independently released album of protestant gospel hymns, she grew up hearing her mother sing. “Lifeline” does include one original song called “He Reached Down” was this song inspired by a sermon delivered by Rev. Sam Mann.

In his review for WHYY’s Fresh Air Entertainment Weekly Music editor Ken Tucker wrote: “Iris DeMent possesses one of the great voices in contemporary popular music: powerfully, ringingly clear, capable of both heartbreaking fragility and blow-your-ears-back power. Had she been making country albums in the ’70s and ’80s and had more commercial ambition, she’d probably now be considered right up there with Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette. Instead, she’s lived a contemporary life, a somewhat private life. As she recently told an interviewer, ‘There’s a lot that goes into life besides songwriting.’ And she’s taken her time in composing songs that fit into no genre easily.”

Her new album “Sing The Delta” has received glowing reviews from the UK publication UNcut, The New Yorker, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, and was in many Top Ten Lists of KC music lovers, including being #1 on our list of The 112 Best Recordings of 2012.

24. Iris DeMent – “Livin’ On The Inside”
from: Sing The Delta / Flariella / Oct. 2, 2012
[Her first full-length release of original songs since 1996. Iris was our special guest on our Oct 10, WMM.]

11:55

25. Iris DeMent – “Go On Ahead and Go Home”
from: Sing The Delta / Flariella / Oct. 2, 2012
[Iris Dement previewed many of her new songs when she was in concert with husband Greg Brown, last year for their 11-11-11 show at The Folly Theatre to benefit St. Mark Child and Family Development Center. Now those songs are part of her brand new release that includes a total of 12 new songs. It is her first full-length release of original songs since 1996. Iris DeMent’s new record has been critically acclaimed, by the music press on both sides of the Atlantic. Iris DeMent was our special guest on our October 10, Wednesday MidDay Medley.]

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

Wednesday MidDay Medley in on the web:
http://www.WednesdayMidDayMedley.org
http://www.facebook.com/WednesdayMidDayMedleyon90.1FM
http://www.kkfi.org

Show #455

A personal note:

I first met Iris DeMent when I was working at Kinko’s at West 39th & Rainbow Blvd. in the early 1990s. Iris came in to copy a few of her press clippings and on another visit to make her wedding announcements. Later I discovered her as a singer on Late Night with Conan O’Brien where she performed her song “My Life.” A few weeks later I ran into her at the old Classic Cup Restaurant in Westport. I was nervous and wanted to approach her to let her know how much I loved her music, but she approached me and asked, “How do I Know You?” Our paths crossed again and we bumped into each other at a Patti Smith concert in Lawrence.

Iris performed her song, “Wasteland of the Free,” on stage at The Uptown Theatre to open for Michael Moore, because it was one of his favorite songs.

Iris DeMent played three songs for one of our Big Bang Buffet shows back in 1999, at one of the very first “First Fridays,” at a big show we did at the Hobbs Building during Culture Under Fire. Iris took the stage after an incredible dance performance by David Ollington that ended with his body being absent of all clothing. Iris also volunteered her talent for a benefit for Friends of Community Radio in 2002, at Unity Temple on the Plaza. In 2004, Iris and Greg Brown opened for Amy Goodman (of Democracy Now!), at Community Christian Church, in a benefit for KKFI. Amy is also a huge fan of Iris and Greg. Iris helped raise over $10,000.00 in both benefit concerts she gave for community radio. Iris never took a penny.

A big part of the reason Iris did all of these things, was because Anne Winter was her friend, and Anne asked Iris. Anne was a true mentor who gently challenged us all to rise above life’s mediocrity, and DO something. She challenged us all. But she also LOVED helping to make her friend’s dreams come true. Having Iris play on stage with us at a Big Bang Buffet show was one of those moments for me. Asking me to serve a stagemanager at the Michael Moore show at the Uptown Theatre, was another. Inviting me to sing old time hymns with Iris and Anne, and Ike Sheldon of The Wilders, at Iris’s River Market loft was another. Anne helped to make all of these connections. Anne even went on tour with Iris at one point, to support her friend.

Thank you Iris! …and thank you Anne! I love you both so very much!

WMM Playlist from January 4, 2012: Celebrating Iris DeMent

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
 
Playlist from: Wednesday, January 4, 2012
 
Celebrating Iris DeMent & Her Influences

Iris DeMent


 
1. Loretta Lynn  & Jack White – “Portland Oregon” 
from: Van Lear Rose / Interscope / 2004    
[produced by Jack White of The White Stripes and Racontuers. It was initially intended as a musical experiment, blending the styles of country singer-songwriter Lynn and producer White, who performs on the whole album as a musician. At the time, Lynn was 69 and White was 28. The title refers to Lynn’s origins as the daughter of a miner working the Van Lear coal mines. The album was the most successful crossover music album of Lynn’s 45-year career. At the 2005 Grammy Awards, Lynn won: Best Country Album and Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for her duet with White.]  
 
2. Johnny Cash & Joni Mitchell – “Girl From North Country” 
from: The Best of The Johnny Cash TV Show / Columbia Legacy / 2007  
[a TV music variety show that ran for 58-episodes from June 7, 1969 to March 31, 1971 on ABC. It featured many folk/country musicians of the time: Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt, Kris Kristofferson, Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, Merle Haggard, James Taylor and Tammy Wynette. It also featured other musicians such as jazz great, Louis Armstrong, who died 8 months after recording the show. Recorded at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, then home of the Grand Ole Opry. The first show featured Joni Mitchell, Cajun fiddler Doug Kershaw, Fannie Flagg  and Bob Dylan. The show included a “Country Gold” segment that featured legends never seen on network TV such as Bill Monroe & his Blue Grass Boys.  Cash refused to cut the word “stoned” from Kris Kristofferson’s “Sunday Morning Coming Down”, he stood by his Christian faith “despite network anxieties”, and persisted in bringing on Pete Seeger whose anti-Vietnam song on another network had “caused a firestorm.” He premiered his Man in Black song on an episode filmed at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University’s campus. The show was dumped in 1971 as part of ABC’s so-called “rural purge,” which also claimed that network’s The Lawrence Welk Show.]
 
3. John Prine w/ Iris Dement – “We’re Not The Jet Set”
from: In Spite Of Ourselves / Oh Boy / 1999  
[In 1968 country superstar George Jones witnessed a fight between Tammy Wynette and her husband Don Chapel. At Jones’s urging, Wynette and her daughters drove away with him. Wynette and Jones married Feb. 16, 1969, and Wynette’s 4th daughter, Georgette, was born in 1970. Jones and Wynette, were nicknamed the “President and First Lady” of country music, and they recorded a string of hit duets that seemed drawn directly from their volatile relationship, which resulted in their divorcing in 1975. Their classic recordings included “Two Story House,” “Golden Ring,” and the humorous “(We’re Not) The Jet Set.”]   
 
10:15 – Influences of Iris DeMent
 
4.  Johnny Cash  – “Ring of Fire” 
from: 16 Biggets Hits / Columbia Legacy / 2007   
[co-written by June Carter (wife of Johnny Cash) and Merle Kilgore. The song was recorded on March 25, 1963 and became the biggest hit of his career, staying at #1 on the charts for 7 weeks.  “Ring of Fire” refers to falling in love – which is what June Carter was experiencing with Johnny Cash at the time. Some sources claim that June had seen the phrase, “Love is like a burning ring of fire,” underlined in one of her uncle A. P. Carter’s Elizabethan books of poetry. She worked with Kilgore on writing a song inspired by this phrase as she had seen her uncle do in the past. In the 2005 film, Walk the Line June is depicted as writing the song while agonizing over her feelings for Cash despite his drug addiction and alcoholism as she was driving home one evening. She had written: “There is no way to be in that kind of hell, no way to extinguish a flame that burns, burns, burns”. Cash claims he had a dream where he heard the song accompanied by “Mexican horns”. Four years after the song was released, Carter and Cash were married which Cash states helped to stop his alcohol and drug addictions. Cash’s daughter, Rosanne has stated, “The song is about the transformative power of love and that’s what it has always meant to me and that’s what it will always mean to the Cash children.]
 
5. Loretta Lynn – “You Ain’t Woman Enough To Take My Man”
from: Legends of Country Music / Columbis Legacy / 1997 
[Live performance for Austin City Limits taped in 1983. Loretta Webb was the second of 8 children; grew up in Butcher Holler, a section of Van Lear, a mining community in Kentucky. Growing up with such humble roots had a huge effect on Lynn’s life and heavily influenced her music as an adult. Her autobiography describes how, during her childhood, the community had no motor vehicles, paved roads, or flush toilets. She married Oliver Vanetta Lynn, known as “Doo,” on Jan. 10, 1948, at age 13. In an effort to break free of the coal mining industry, at 14, Lynn moved to the logging community Custer, Washington, with her husband. The Lynns had 4 children – Betty Sue, Jack Benny, Cissy and Ernest Ray – by the time Loretta was 18, and in her early 20s she then had twin girls, Peggy & Patsy. No stranger to controversy, Loretta Lynn possibly had more banned songs than any other country music artist, prior to The Dixie Chicks, including “Rated X,” about the double standards divorced women face, “Wings Upon Your Horns,” about the loss of teenage virginity, and “The Pill,” lyrics by T. D. Bayless, about a wife and mother becoming liberated via the birth control pill. Her song “Dear Uncle Sam,” released in 1966 during the Vietnam War, describes a wife’s anguish at the loss of a husband to war. It has been included in live performances during the current Iraq War.] 
 
6. Bob Dylan – “I Shall Be Released”
from: The Essential Bob Dylan / Columbia – Sony / 2000  
[Originally recorded October, 1971. ]  
 
7. Joni Mitchell  – “For The Roses” 
from: For The Roses / Asylumn / 1972 
[Released between her 2 biggest commercial and critical successes – “Blue” and “Court & Spark”. In 2007 it was one of 50 recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry.  The title song “For the Roses” was Mitchell’s farewell to the business; she took an extended break for a year after. The album was critically acclaimed with The New York Times saying “Each of Mitchell’s songs on For the Roses is a gem glistening with her elegant way with language, her pointed splashes of irony and her perfect shaping of images. Never does Mitchell voice a thought or feeling commonly. She’s a songwriter and singer of genius who can’t help but make us feel we are not alone.” A nude photograph of Joni Mitchell was included on the inside cover of the original LP and is included in the CD booklet. The photograph shows the singer from the rear and was taken from a considerable distance; she is shown standing on a rock and staring out at the ocean. This created some controversy at the time.]
 
10:30  
 
8. Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash – “If I Were A Carpenter” 
from: Classic Country Great Duets / Time Life – Sony / 2004  
[written by Tim Hardin.  Johnny Cash proposed to June Carter Cash during a live show in 1968. Flustered and egged on by 5,000 people in the audience, June finally said “yes.’  The couple then launched into “If I Were A Carpenter” that was then recorded in 1969 after the couple was married] 
 
9. Merle Haggard – “Workin’ Man Blues” 
from: Oh Boy Classic Presents Merle Haggard / Oh Boy Records / 2000  [Originally released in 1969, a tribute to a core group of his fans: The American blue-collared working man. Backed by an electric guitar that typified Haggard’s signature Bakersfield Sound, he fills the role of one of those workers expressing pride in values of hard work and sacrifice, despite the resulting fatigue and the stress of raising a large family. Included on Haggard’s 1969 album “A Portrait of Merle Haggard.” Included in this collection on John Prine’s Oh Boy Records.]
 
10. Johnny Cash – “I’m Leaving Now” 
from: American III Solitary Man  / American Recordings / 2000  
[written by Johnny Cash with vocals and guitar by Merle Haggard. 3rd album in the American series by Johnny Cash. Between “Unchained” and “Solitary Man,” Cash’s health declined due to various ailments, and he was even hospitalized for pneumonia. His illness forced Cash to curtail his touring. The album American III: Solitary Man (2000) contained Cash’s response to his illness, typified by a version of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down”, as well as a version of U2’s “One” produced by Rick Rubin, it was a Grammy winner, for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for Cash’s version of the Neil Diamond song “Solitary Man”.]  
 
11. Greg Brown  – “Blues Go Walking” 
from: Covenant / Red House Records / 2000 
[his 17th album. NPR wrote that “Greg Brown is both a road poet and a keen observer of the natural world.” Greg Brown says that he likes to think about his work as stories sanded down into songs.]
 
10:45
 
12. Victoria Williams -“Early” 
from: Going Driftless An Artist’s Tribute to Greg Brown / Red House / 2002   [features female songwriters incl.: Lucinda Williams, Ani DiFranco, Iris Dement, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Greg Brown’s three daughters & more, who’ve joined forces to record a tribute album, each selecting their own favorite song by Brown to benefit The Breast Cancer Fund.  Iris married Greg Brown on November 21, 2002. ]
 
13. Greg Brown w/Iris -“Jacob’s Ladder” 
from: Honey in The Lion’s Head / Trailer / 2003
 
14. Steve Earle & The Del McCoury Band w/Iris – “I’m Still In Love With You”
from: The Mountain / E – Squared / 1999 
[Released February 23, 1999. Songs were written by Earle as a tribute to the founder of bluegrass music, Bill Monroe, who had died in 1996.]
 
11:00
 
Iris DeMent was the youngest child of Pat DeMent and his second wife, Flora Mae. (As the baby of the family, she was Pat DeMent’s fourteenth child, and Flora Mae’s eighth.) She was born near the town of Paragould, Arkansas but grew up in Cypress, California, where she grew up singing gospel music.  
 
Iris DeMent grew up singing gospel music. During her teenage years she was first exposed to country, folk, and R&B, drawing influence from Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, and Joni Mitchell who we featured in our first hour.
 
In this hour, we will feature music from her debut recording, “Infamous Angel,” as well as its follow-up, the autobiographical, “My Life,” released in 1994 and we’ll play from her third Warner Brother’s release, “The Way I Should,” released in 1996, which contains some of Iris DeMent’s more political songs.
 
Also this hour we’ll feature more of Iris DeMent’s collaborations with other artists, singing harmony w/ John Prine, John McCutcheon, Emmylou Harris, Tom Russell, Nancy Griffith, Randy Scruggs, and Kansas City Bus Driver – Gary Kirkland.
 
After a series of jobs: as a waitress and typist, Iris Dement wrote her first song at the age of 25. She played at open-mic nights in Kansas City, before moving to Nashville, in 1988, where she contacted producer Jim Rooney, who helped her land a record contract. Dement did not make her recording debut until 1992, when her independent label offering, Infamous Angel, won almost universal acclaim. Despite a complete lack of support from country radio, the record’s word-of-mouth praise earned her a deal with Warner Bros., which reissued “Infamous Angel” in 1993. 
 
15. Iris DeMent -“Let The Mystery Be” 
from: Infamous Angel / Warner Brothers / 1992 / 1993
 
16. Iris DeMent – “Easy’s Getting Harder Everyday” 
from: My Life / Warner Brothers / 1994
 
17. Iris DeMent -“The Way I Should”  
from: The Way I Should / Warner Brothers / 1996 
[Produced by Randy Scruggs]
 
11:15  – Collaborations
 
18. Nanci Griffith w/Iris – “Ten Degrees and Getting Colder”
from: Other Voices Other Rooms / Elektra / 1993 
[written by Gordon Lightfoot]
 
19. Nanci Griffith w/Iris & Emmylou -“Are You Tired of Me Darling”
from: Other Voices Other Rooms / Elektra / 1993  
[High Harmony – Iris / Low Harmony – Emmylou Harris]  [Nanci Griffith’s 10th album. Here she pays homage to other songwriters who have influenced her own career.] 
 
20. John McCutcheon w/Iris – “Over The Garden Wall”
from: Sprout Wings and Fly / Rounder / 1997  
[written by AP Carter]
 
21. Gary Kirkland w/Iris – “Just For Me”
from: Shootin’ The Works on Love / Dark Horse / 2003 
 
11:30 – Collaborations
 
22. Randy Scruggs w/Iris & Emmylou  – “Wildwood Flower” 
from: Crown of Jewels / Reprise / 1998
 
23. John Prine w/ Iris – “In Spite of Ourselves”
from: In Spite of Ourselves/ Oh Boy / 1999   
[written by John Prine]
 
24. Tom Russell w/Iris – “Love Abides”
from: The Man From God Knows Where / Hightone / 1999
 
11:45
 
25. Greg Brown  -“Good Morning Coffee” 
from: If I Had Known – Essential Recordings, 1980 – 1996 / Red House / 2003
[Iris married singer-songwriter Greg Brown on November 21, 2002. They now both live together in Iowa.]
 
26. Greg Brown – “Bucket”
from: Evening Call / Red House / 2006   
[The Washington Post writes, “The singer-songwriter from Iowa has a baritone as rough and chunky as Thanksgiving gravy with the turkey bits still in, and that’s just how his words drip out on his album, “The Evening Call.” on “Whippoorwill” he sing as sweetly as his lover down in Kansas City. That’s his wife, Iris DeMent, and on “Joy Tears,” he tells her, “When you start your singing, honey, the heavens open up with grace.”] 
 
27. Iris DeMent – “Leaning on The Everlasting Arms” 
from: True Grit (Sountrack to the Motion Picture) / Nonesuch Records / Dec. 17, 2010   
[The musical score for the Coen Brothers new interpretation of the True Grit was created by Carter Burwell. Much of the music was adapted from old public domain gospel hymns.  The very last song heard in the film, during the closing credits, is the only piece on the soundtrack that includes vocals.  The track is not available on the CD release, but is available if you download the entire album through I-tunes.  The song was originally written by Elisha A. Hoffman and Anthony J. Showalter, and originally published in 1887. Copyright is now Public Domain. Iris also included an earlier version of this song on “Lifeline” her 2004 independently released album of protestant gospel hymns, she grew up hearing her mother sing.]
 
11:59:30
 
27. Noel Coward – “The Party’s Over Now”
from: Noel Coward in New York / drg / 2003 
[orig. 1957]
 
A Personal Note:
 
I first met Iris DeMent when I was working at Kinko’s at 39th & Rainbow in KC, KS, in the early 1990s.  Iris came in to copy a few of her press clippings, and on another visit to make her wedding announcements.  Later I personally discovered her as a singer on Late Night with Conan O’Brien where she performed her song “My Life.”  Then I ran into her at the old Classic Cup in Westport.  I was nervous and shy, but she approached me and asked, “How do I Know You?”  Our paths crossed many times again and we bumped into each other at a Patti Smith concert in Lawrence.
 
Iris DeMent played three songs for one of our Big Bang Buffet shows back in 1999, at one of the first First Fridays,  at the Hobbs Building during Culture Under Fire. She took the same stage as the incredible dance performance by David Ollington that ended with his body being absent of all clothing.  Iris also did a benefit for Friends of Community Radio in 2002, and for KKFI in 2004, both times Greg Brown joined Iris in concert.  We were all surprised when Iris and Greg were married several months after their 2002 show at Unity Temple on the Plaza.
 
Iris performed her song, “Wasteland of the Free” on stage at the Uptown, to open for Michael Moore, because it was one of his favorite songs.  She played with Greg at Community Christian Church before Amy Goodman (of Democracy Now), took the stage.  Amy is also a huge fan of Iris.  Iris helped raise over $20,000.00 in both benefit concerts she gave for Community Radio.  She never took a penny. 
 
One of the biggest reasons Iris did all of these things was because Anne Winter was a mutual friend, and Anne asked Iris. Anne was like that really incredible mentor who challenged us all to rise above life’s mediocrity, and DO something.  She challenged us all.  But she also LOVED helping to make her friend’s dreams come true.  Having Iris play on stage with us at a Big Bang Buffet show was one of those moments for me.  Asking me to stage manage at the Michael Moore show at the Uptown Theatre, was another.  Inviting me to sing old time hymns with Iris and Anne, and Ike Sheldon of The Wilders, at Iris’s River Market loft was another.  Anne helped to make all of these connections.  Anne even went on tour with Iris at one point, to support her friend.  
 
Thank you Iris! and thank you Anne!  I love you both so very much!
 
Sources for Notes: Artist’s websites noted above and wikipedia.org

Show #402

The 111 Best Recordings of 2011*

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

* The 111 Best Recordings of 2011 are based on the playlists of Wednesday MidDay Medley. In 2011 Wednesday MidDay Medley has featured hundreds of New & Local Releases, we’ve featured dozens of LIVE in-studio performances from area performers, and we’ve interviewed over 150 local and national artists. Over 40 recordings on our list are from the KC & Lawrence area. Tune in Wednesdays in December, on 90.1 FM, for our annual 4-week special event. We’ll play nearly 8-hours of representative tracks from our favorite recordings.

The 111 Best Recordings of 2011

1. Howard Iceberg & The Titanics – Welcome Aboard / Independent / June 26, 2011
[7-CD set, includes over 100 new songs, featuring The Titanics: Gary Paredes on lead guitar, Dan Mesh on rhythm guitar, Scott Easterday on bass, Pat Tomek on drums. With contributions from over 70 local artists, who’ve joined in on Howard’s “never-ending recording project” conducted in Pat Tomek’s home studio. Howard Iceberg, Pat Tomek, Scott Easterday, Elaine McMilian and Danny Alexander joined us LIVE on June 22, just days before the huge tribute to Howard Iceberg and his music at Crosstown Station on June 26.]

2. The Wilders – The Wilders
/ Free Dirt Records / June 21, 2011
[The 10th release from Ike Sheldon- Guitar, Lead Vocals, Betse Ellis- Fiddle, Vocals, Phil Wade- Dobro, Banjo, Mandolin, Vocals, Nate Gawron- Bass, Vocals. On December 6, Ike and the band announced that they would be taking a hiatus in 2012, after 12 years of almost constant touring. We absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE this band and each of the members who are some of the most amazing musicians and as well as being really great human beings. Betse Ellis was with us on WMM on March 2 as our guest producer and host in a show that celebrated Cajun Music.]

3. Hidden Pictures – Synchronized Sleeping / Hidden Pictures / April 1, 2011
[Richard Gintowt and Michelle Sanders first met at the Record bar and performed together in OK Jones before starting Hidden Pictures. This is their debut full length.]

4. Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey – Race Riot Suite / Kinnara – The Royal Family / Aug. 30, 2011
[from Tulsa, Oklahoma, their 20th album, Race Riot Suite, written by Chris Combs for the current quartet of Brian Haas on piano & keyboards, Josh Raymer on drums, Chris Combs on lap steel and Jeff Harshbarger on upright bass. For this recording the band is accompanied by a horn section consisting of Sex Mob’s Steven Bernstein, Jeff Coffin (of Dave Matthews and Bela Fleck fame), Mark Southerland (Snuff Jazz, Malachy Papers), Peter Apfelbaum, and former JFJO member Matt Leland. The album is dedicated to the victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot, the largest race riot in United States history. Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey joined us LIVE in the studio on March 30.]

5. Everyday/Everynight – Etc. / Golden Sound Records / May 3, 2011
[Nominated for a Pitch Music Award for “Best Emerging Act”. Evan Ashby on Guitar, Mat Shoare on Guitar/Keyboard/Vocals, Austin Lyon on Drums, and Jerad Colton Tomasino on Guitar/Keyboard/Vocals of Everyday/Everynight. The band includes three members who sing and write songs. Golden Sound Records is a new local recording company who also released the music of Oriole Post, The Fullbloods, and The Empty Spaces, as well as the solo works of Jerad Colton Tomasina and Mat Shoare.]

6. Atlantic Fadeout – Better Run of Bad Luck / Flyover Records / May 23, 2011
[Debut album of Atlantic Fadeout featuring: the great…Abigail Henderson on lead vocals and guitar; Chris Meck lead guitar, steel guitar, vocals; Dutch Humphrey on bass, vocals; and Amy Farrand on drums. The new band was created from the ashes of The Gaslights, combined with the super powers of Amy Farrand who plays bass in American Catastrophe (amoung several other bands) and Dutch Humphrey who sings lead in Cherokee Rock Rifle.]

7. Mr. Marco’s V-7 – Sparkin’ Your Mama / Independent / 2011
[Drummer Kent “Precious Metalz’ Burnham, bassist Johnny “License Bolt” Hamil, guitarist Marco “Hair Party” Pascolini and console/steel / Theremin / moog man Mike “Creeping Death” Stover. 3 of the 4 members were our guests, February 16, on Wednesday MidDay Medley.]

8. Sara Swenson & The Pearl Snaps – Never Left My Mind [EP] / Indep. / Nov. 19, 11
[The Pearl Snaps are: Ian Davidson, John Flynn, Brandon Graves, Sarah Magill and Roger Strong. Their new EP, “Never Left My Mind,” features five tracks recorded and produced in Kansas City by Mike Crawford and Beau Davidson. Sara Swenson & The Pearl Snaps EP Release was November 19 at The Brick.]

9. Greg Brown – Freak Flag / Yep Roc / May 10, 2011
[Accomplished songwriter, co-founder of the influential indie roots label Red House, and former musical director for Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion radio program. While recording what was to be his next album lighting hit the studio where he was working, and Greg Brown lost the recordings. Greg, used the experience to turn inward and write more songs that comprise his 24th album: Freak Flag, the title track is all that remains of the lost original album. Greg wrote ten new songs, recording them at Memphis, Tennessee’s legendary Ardent Studios. Produced by Bo Ramsey, the album also includes a cover of Brown’s wife Iris Dement’s ”Let the Mystery Be” and Brown’s daughter Pieta’s song ”Remember the Sun.” Greg Brown played LIVE on our November 9 WMM.]

10. The I’ms – Second MIXES / Independent / 2011
[from The I’ms Facebook Page – Collin Rausch, Kyle Rausch. Collin Rausch & his cousin Kasey Rausch performed together at Barry Lee’s Beatles Tribute. Kyle Rausch also plays with The ACB’s.]

11. Cut Copy – Zonoscope / Modular / Feb. 8, 2011
[3rd studio album by electronic band Cut Copy, formed in 2001 in Melbourne, Australia. It was originally a solo-project of Dan Whitford, a DJ and graphic designer. The band now includes: Tim Hoey on guitar and sampler, Ben Browning on bass guitar and Mitchell Scott on drums. Zonoscope has also been nominated for Best Dance/Electronica Album at the 54th Grammy Awards.]

12. Cass McCombs – Wit’s End / Domino / April 26, 2011
[Born in Concord, California in 1977. Famed DJ John Peel called his music “unobtrusively brilliant.” Cass McCombs has received widespread critical acclaim. He has led a nomadic existence for most of his adult life, moving from one city to the next, living in cars, on couches and at campsites. McCombs spent time developing his music bouncing between NYC, San Francisco, the Pacific Northwest, England and Baltimore. McCombs has stated that his tombstone will read “Home At Last.”]

13. The Empty Spaces – Low Noise / Golden Sound Records / 2011
[Debut EP from a KC based band formed from a studio band that recorded Mat Shoare’s solo album: The Empty Spaces in 2010. The three piece began to collaborate more with song arrangements and came up with a kind of “retro-punk rock” that is fronted by an energetic, yelping vocal style. One writer described their sound as “charming fuzzed-out slacker rock.” The band has been touring to support the release. Mat Shoare is also a founding member of Everyday/Everynight and a founding partner in Golden Sound Records.]

14. John Vanderslice – White Wilderness / Dead Oceans / Jan 25, 2011
[9 new songs captured live over 3 days in a collaboration with the Magik*Magik Orchestra, a collective of classically trained musicians in the Bay Area led by artistic director Minna Choi who arranged and conducted White Wilderness with 19 members of the Magik*Magik playing strings and horns, vibraphone, pedal steel and piano, an assortment of reed instruments, and with the voice of Minna Choi singing backup at key moments throughout the album.]

15. tUnE- yArDs – W H O K I L L
/ 4AD Records / April 19, 2011
[2nd studio release by Merrill Garbus’ experimental solo-project tUnE-yArDs. When performing live, Garbus creates drum loops on the spot, and layers these w/ ukulele, voice, & electric bass played by Nate Brenner. tUnE-yArDs played The Jackpot Lounge in Lawrence on November 7.]

16. Deer Tick – Divine Providence / Partisan Records / October 24, 2011
[from Providence, Rhode Island led by guitarist and singer-songwriter John McCauley]

17. Wire – Red Barked Tree / Pink Flag / Jan. 10, 2011
[12th studio album from Wire, formed in London in 1976 by Colin Newman (vocals, guitar), Graham Lewis (bass, vocals), Bruce Gilbert (guitar), and Robert Gotobed (drums). They were originally associated with the punk rock scene. Wire’s debut album, Pink Flag from 1977, is one of my all-time favorite recordings.

18. Low – C’Mon / Sub Pop / April 12, 2011
[9th full-length album from the band formed in Duluth, Minnesota, in 1993. C’mon was recorded in an old church in Duluth, MN and mixed in an apartment in Hollywood, CA.]

19. Pieta Brown – Mercury / Red House / September 27, 2011
[Born in Iowa City, Iowa in 1973, she is the daughter of two preachers’ kids. Her early upbringing in Iowa was in a rural outpost with no furnace or running water. There, Brown was exposed to traditional and rural folk music through her father, singer songwriter Greg Brown. Brown spent her childhood living in 17 different residences between Iowa and Alabama. While living with her mother in Alabama, Brown began writing poetry and composing instrumental songs on piano. She has released four critically acclaimed albums and three EPs in the last decade. She has performed with artists such as Mark Knopfler, John Prine, Amos Lee and Calexico. Collaborator Bo Ramsey produced her 2002 debut record, Pieta Brown and co-produced her 2005 album In the Cool which was named one of the year’s best by Amazon. Pieta and Bo are now married.]

20. Victor & Penny – Antique Pop / V & P Productions / December 9, 2011
[Victor & Penny performed LIVE on our Sept. 7 WMM. This Chicago / KC based duo is Jeff Freling of the Chicago Blue Man Group; and Erin McGrane of the cabaret group Alacartoona. Antique Pop contains 8 vintage songs plus 2 original songs written by Jeff Freling and a song written by Barclay Martin.]

21. Austra – Feel It Break / Domino Records / May 17, 2011
[Co-founder and lead singer, and songwriter Katie Stelmanis, draws upon her classical and operatic upbringing and mixes it up with drummer Maya Postepski and bassist Dorian Wolf to create what Amazon calls, “a stark, danceable masterpiece suitable for both ritual incantations and clubs.”]

22. Tom Waits – Bad As Me / Anti Records / October 21, 2011
[17th studio album and Waits’ first album consisting completely of new material in seven years since Real Gone (2004). Waits’ label, ANTI-, recently agreed on a distribution deal with Warner Music Group allowing them to release the album internationally. This marks Waits’ first release through the Warner organization since Heartattack and Vine (1980). Upon its release, Bad As Me received widespread critical acclaim.]

23. David Kilgour and the Heavy Eights – Left By Soft / Merge / April 26, 2011
[8th album from former leader of legendary New Zealand band, the Clean.]

24. Thee Oh Sees – Carrion Crawler – The Dream / In The Red Records / Nov. 8, 2011
[From San Francisco. It began as an outlet for John Dwyer to release his instrumental, experimental home recordings. Over the course of several albums a full band evolved. We first played The Oh Sees on Sept. 28.]

25. Dengue Fever – Cannibal Courtship / Concord Music / April 19, 2011
[Newest release from 6-piece band formed by brothers: Zac and Ethan Holtzman in 1981 after being inspired by a trip to Cambodia.]

26. The Low Anthem – Smart Flesh / Nonesuch / February 21, 2011
[The follow up to their critically acclaimed “Oh My God, Charlie Darwin” where the three original band members-Jocie Adams, Ben Knox Miller, and Jeff Prystowsky took over a Block Island cabin in the dead of winter. To record Smart Flesh, the group expanded to a quartet with the addition of drummer Mat Davidson and they found a former pasta factory in Central Falls, Rhode Island, a cavernous loft space that became crucial to the shape of the album. Says vocalist Miller, “We knew right away when we stepped into the factory that the space was really the main instrument for the whole record. The resonance was chilling. We were able to experiment with new recording techniques to capture the sound at different distances. Mics 100-200 feet away caught the sound barreling across the room.” Additional tracks were recorded in a garage that had previously been home to a reptile breeder, another unconventional studio space that the quartet dubbed “the gator pit.”]

27. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – It’s A Corporate World / Warner Brothers / June 3, 2011
[A project started by Detroit based Joshua Epstein and Daniel Zott, recording in a basement without the benefit of expensive microphones or big-name producers.]

28. Wilco – The Whole Love / dBpm Records – Epitaph Records / Sept. 23, 2011
[8th album by Chicago based band was formed in 1994 by the remaining members of Uncle Tupelo following Jay Farrar’s departure. Wilco’s lineup has changed frequently, with only singer Jeff Tweedy and bassist John Stirratt remaining from the original incarnation. Since early 2004, the other current members are guitarist Nels Cline, multi-instrumentalists Pat Sansone and Mikael Jorgensen, and drummer Glenn Kotche. Wilco has released 8 studio albums, a live double album, and three collaborations: two with Billy Bragg, and one with The Minus 5. Wilco played The Uptown on December 3, in a show that had been sold out for months.]

29. Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes / LL Records / March 1, 2011
[The second studio album by Swedish recording artist Lykke Li who spent six months writing and recording the album in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, while visiting the desert, and eventually coming up with songs she calls “hypnotic, psychotic and more primal”. In an interview with Pitchfork Media on November 18, 2010, she said, “I’m from Sweden so I don’t enjoy winter at all; there’s nothing cute about it. I was totally romanticizing the idea of Los Angeles when the Doors, Joni Mitchell, and Neil Young were hanging out there. I was trying to find David Lynch and Leonard Cohen with no luck. It was just more of a retreat. And Los Angeles is such a mysterious place because there’s so much evil in that city, but there’s also so much light. You can be totally alone on a hillside and I love that kind of secluded, deserted rawness.”]

30. Little Dragon – Ritual Union / Peace Frog / July 26, 2011
[From Gothenburg, Sweden. This is the 3rd release from the four-piece band that blends R&B, new wave, electronica and experimental pop with the lead vocals of Yukimi Nagano.]

31. Destroyer – Kaputt / Merge / Jan. 25, 2011
[9th album from the Canadian indie rock band fronted by singer-songwriter Dan Bejar (pronounced /ˈbeɪhɑr/) a singer-songwriter from Vancouver who formed Destroyer in 1995. Bejar is also a member of the supergroup: The New Pornographers. Last year we featured the Merge records reissue of 2001 release Streethawk: A Seduction on our list of the 100 Best recordings of 2010. ]

32. Radiohead – King of Limbs / Ticker Tape / Feb 18, 2011
[8th studio album by English rock band Radiohead, produced by Nigel Godrich. It was self-released on February 18, 2011 as a download in MP3 and WAV formats. The King of Limbs has been nominated for five categories in the 54th Grammy Awards: Best Alternative Music Album, Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package, Best Short Form Music Video (for “Lotus Flower”), Best Rock Performance (for “Lotus Flower”) and Best Rock Song (also for “Lotus Flower”).]

33. Vivian Girls – Share The Joy / Polyvinyl Records / April 12, 2011
[Third album by lo-fi/punk band Vivian Girls, the female trio from Brooklyn.]

34. Mary Fortune – Mary Fortune / Independent / May 6 2011
[Mary Fortune are: Jori Sackin- guitar, vocals, Laura Frank- vocals, singing saw, accordion; Billy Belzer- percussion; Andrew Connor- bass guitar, vocals; Liz Connor- violin. Mary Fortune played Midwestern Musical Company, 1830 Locust, Friday May 6 in a CD release concert with: Ghosty. Jori Sackin was out guest on WMM on September 28 joining us to discuss his film project with Pat Vamos called “Space Thang” that premiered at The Strand Theatre on Troost.]

35. Civil Wars – Barton Hallow / Sensibility Records / July 19, 2011
[First full length from singer-songwriters Joy Williams and John Paul White. The duo met during a Nashville, Tennesee songwriting session.]

36. Barnaby Bright – Gravity / Mishara / June 7 , 2011
[Brooklyn-based indie folk rock duo Barnaby Bright, have garnered high accolades for their lyrically captivating and impeccably balanced songwriting and sound. Finalists in the New York Song Circle Contest for two years in a row, Barnaby Bright was awarded the Grand Prize, winners in November 2010 for their song, “Don’t Look Down.”]

37. Spirit is the Spirit – Mother Mountain / Independent / February 26, 2011
[Folk-psychedelic-rock from Lawrence, Kansas. Austen Malone, Noah Compo, Wayne Zimmerman, Josh Landau, Brook Partain, Danny Bowersox. “a Lawrence band with a cosmic hippie vibe plus horns (trumpet, trombone), lots of percussion and supernal vocal harmonies”- Tim Finn]

38. Cherokee Rock Rifle – …and the plains are burning / Independent / Jan. 2011
[Debut EP from KC based band fronted by Dutch Humphrey. The 5-piece band also features: Douglas Nelson on lead guitar, Scott Reed on rhythm guitarr, Bert Northward on drum, and Evan John on bass. Cherokee Rock Rifle played the Crossroads Music Fest, on Sept 10 KC Uncovered II, and multiple shows through out the Mo/Kan region.]

39. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Unknown Mortal Orchestra / Fat Possum / June 21, 11
[Self-titled debut from Portland based band, initially conceived by New Zealand native, Ruban Neilson, who pieced a band together, with his producer, Jake, on bass, and a teenage drummer named Julien. Their facebook page describes them as, “bring(ing) break-beats together with 60’s/70’s Beatles sounding pop harmonies and a minimal Krautrock rhythm section.”]

40. The Sea and Cake – The Moonlight Butterfly / Thrill Jockey / May 10, 2011
[9th release from Chicago based band formed in the mid 1990s out of the ashes of local bands The Cocktails and Shrimp Boat. Archer Prewitt and Sam Precop have both also release several fine solo recordings.]

41. Times New Viking – Dancer Equired / Merge / April 26, 2011
[5th studio release from the lo-fi indie rock from Columbus, Ohio. With guitarist Jared Phillips, drummer and vocals from Adam Elliott, and Beth Murphy on keyboards and vocals. “Times New Viking,” is a play on the popular typeface Times New Roman.]

42. Joan As Police Woman – The Deep Field / 101 Distribution / Feb. 1, 2011
[Joan Wasser was a professional violinist, who after the death of her boyfriend Jeff Buckley, began to sing and write songs with some of Jeff’s band mates in a project called Black Beetle. Since assuming her current moniker in 2002 she assumed her new identity – a reference to the 70’s cop show, and has toured and collaborated with Rufus Wainwright and Antony and the Johnsons. She has received critical acclaim for her three studio albums REAL LIFE (2006), TO SURVIVE (2008) and a compilation of covers aptly titled COVER (2009).]

43. The Appleseed Cast – Middle States [EP] / GRAVEFACE RECORDS-RED / June 7, 2011
[Based in Lawrence, Kansas, with CHRIS CRISCI on guitar and vocals, TAYLOR HELENBECK on guitars, NATE WHITMAN on bass, NATHAN WILDER on drums. The Appleseed Cast played The Middle of The Map Festival on April 8, at The Riot Room, 4048 Broadway.]

44. King Creosote & John Hopkins – Diamond Mine / Domino / March 28, 2011
[Nominated for the Mercury Prize King Creosote is the stage name for Kenny Anderson, an independent singer-songwriter from Fife, Scotland, who has released over 40 albums. Anderson is also a member of Scottish-Canadian band, The Burns Unit.]

45. London Transit – Fake Figures [EP] / Independent / Jan 1, 2011
[Brian Schick – Vocals / Guitar / Keyboards, Rellemurd Jones – Keyboards / MPC / Vocals, Robert William Jarrett III – Drums / Percussion. Recorded from January 2010 to October 2010. All songs written and recorded by London Transit.]

46. Ha Ha Tonka – Death of A Decade / Bloodshot Records / April 5, 2011
[Originally formed in Springfield, Missouri their music is steeped in Ozark folk. They are currently signed to Bloodshot Records out of Chicago. Recently, Ha Ha Tonka was a guest on The Travel Channel’s flagship show, “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.” In March 2011, Ha Ha Tonka kicked off a year of touring with shows at the SXSW festival in Austin, TX. In April and May, the band toured the US with stops at Wakarusa in June. The band is named after Ha Ha Tonka state park in southern Missouri.]

47. Margo May – Space/Face / Independent / July 2011
[She grew up in Kansas City and worked as an actor at The Coterie Theatre. She studied Liberal Arts and English at UMKC and made her national network television debut on American Idol in 2010. Margo May, first appeared on our show on March 17, 2010 where she performed live, just a few days before she traveled to Austin, Texas for the SXSW Music Fest. Her debut recording “Summerof” was one of our favorite recordings of 2010 and has received critical acclaim. She was the winner of the 2010 Pitch Music Award for Best Emerging Act. 24-year-old singer-songwriter Margo May is now based in Portland, Oregon. Margo May played LIVE on our June 8 WMM.]

48. Cornershop – Cornershop & The Double-O Groove of / Ample Play / March 14, 2011
[The follow up to their 2009 album Judy Sucks a Lemon for Breakfast. The album had been six years in the making and is a collaboration album a previously unrecorded, New Delhi-born, Lancashire-raised housewife, Punjabi singer, Bubbley Kaur, who sings all the lead vocals. Uncut Magazine wrote, “[It] isn’t just great music, it fuses disparate cultures with such joyous irreverence that, for 40 inspirational minutes, entire notions of national borders and racial divides cease to exist”.]

49. Dirty Projectors & Bjork – Mount Wittenberg Orca / Domino Records / Oct. 24, 2011
[In 2009, Björk and Dirty Projectors, were asked to perform a charity concert of seven songs written just for the occasion. A year later they recorded the songs and released a digital-only format. Now over two years later the recording was released on CD and Vinyl by Domino Records. All proceeds from the digital sales at mountwittenbergorca.com go to the National Geographic Society for the project of creating international marine protected areas. Mount Wittenberg is located at Point Reyes National Seashore in California. The inspiration for the EP came when Amber Coffman of Dirty Projectors saw a pod of whales off the coast while hiking at that spot.]

50. The Republic Tigers – No Land’s Man [EP] / Chop Shop – Atlantic / April 18, 2011
[Formed in Kansas City, Missouri by Kenn Jankowski, a pastor’s son, who moved all over the US, and ended up in the Springfield, Missouri suburb of Republic. In 1999, he moved to KC where he began playing guitar in The People, a band that later changed their name to The Golden Republic. When the Golden Republic split in early 2006, Jankowski reached out to his friend Adam McGill and a new band was born. Jankowski explained on the Chopshop website that “‘The Republic Tiger was my high-school mascot,” “… I don’t like band names very much and I don’t like thinking about them either, so I just took something that I knew was timeless to me, and big enough that we could color it with our music and create its meaning with our songs.” guitarist/pianist Ryan Pinkston, bassist Marc Pepperman, and drummer Justin Tricomi all brought their multi-instrumentalist talents to the band who were the first act to sign with Chop Shop Records (an imprint of Atlantic Records). The song The Infidel was also featured on the Grey’s Anatomy Vol. 4 Soundtrack.]

51. Ford & Lopatin – Channel Pressure / Software / June 7, 2011
[Full length debut from Daniel Lopatin and Joel Ford who began working together early in 2010 on music heavily influenced by 1980s-era production techniques, including the use of digital and analog synthesizers, drum machines, and sequencers.]

52. Motorboater – Sport / The Record Machine / June 21, 2011
[Motorboater is Kansas City’s very own Dan Eaton who performs with one of his primary instruments: a Mac laptop. Mark Schoneveld in his music blog, yvynyl (‘why-vinyl’) describes Dan Eaton as making, “frenetic mellow music. It’s got that slow rumbling bass that you feel in your solar plexus on a big system, but is just chill enough for a late night makeout sesh. Throw in some 80s synth hooks and a warped glitch-art video and you’ll understand where he’s going with this.”]

53. Wild Flag – Wild Flag / Merge / Sept. 21, 2011
[Debut of the four-piece super group, of sorts, based in Portland, Oregon and Washington, D.C. that consists of Carrie Brownstein (formerly of Sleater-Kinney), Mary Timony (formerly of Helium), Rebecca Cole (formerly of The Minders) and Janet Weiss (formerly of Quasi and Sleater-Kinney). The band recently played the RecordBar on Oct. 5.]

54. Lazy – Lazy [EP] / The Record Machine / 2011
[Sarica Douglas, Brock Potucek, Matt Huff, and Zach Van Benthusen originally formed as Lazy K for late 2009 show in Lawrence, KS. The band eventually went on to write their own original material. In the summer of 2010 they recorded their self titled debut with the help of Mike Tuley of Ad Astra Arkestra. Local label The Record Machine signed on to release their debut ep just before the band took off on a summer tour down the west coast. Lazy is currently writing and working on material for the follow up release.The Pitch wrote: “The local art-rock band’s self-titled EP is sopped with Modern Loversbeats, Velvet Underground dissonance and lo-fi discord…” We first played Lazy back on March 23.]

55. Baby Teardrops – X Is For Love / Golden Sound Records / November 15, 2011
[KC native and former Doris Henson leader, Matthew Dunehoo’s new band, was formed in NYC with Megan Thomas and Gerry White. Golden Sound Records, of Kansas City, re-released “X is for Love” on November 15th, in digital, CD, and for the first time, vinyl formats. The release also included exclusive remixes of album tracks. Matt Dunehoo and a Kansas City version of Baby Teardrops performed in concert for a Vinyl release party on November 25 at The Brick, with Olivetti Letter opening the show.]

56. TV On The Radio – Nine Types of Light / DGC Records / April 12, 2011
[4th album from Brooklyn based band formed in 2011. It is also the final TV on the Radio album to feature bassist Gerard Smith, who died of lung cancer nine days after Nine Types of Light was released. ]

57. Gillian Welch – The Harrow & The Harvest / Acony Records / June 28, 2011
[Born October 2, 1967 in NYC, her biological mother was a freshman in college, and her father was a visiting musician. Alec Wilkinson of The New Yorker stated that “from an address they had been given, it appeared that her mother … may have grown up in the mountains of North Carolina”. Gilian was adopted by Ken and Mitzie Welch, comedy and music entertainers. When Welch was three, her adoptive parents moved to L.A. to write music for The Carol Burnett Show. As a youngster, Welch was introduced to the music of American folk singers Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, and the Carter Family. She performed folk songs with her peers at the Westland Elementary School in Los Angeles. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in photography, Welch attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she majored in songwriting. Welch met her music partner David Rawlings at a successful audition for Berklee’s only country band. Upon finishing college in 1992, She recalled, “I looked at my record collection and saw that all the music I loved had been made in Nashville—Bill Monroe, Dylan, The Stanley Brothers, Neil Young,” so she moved there. Rawlings soon followed. “The Harrow & The Harvest” on Acony Records, is her first record in over 7 years. Gillian Welch played Liberty Hall in Lawrence on Sunday September 4.]

58. Glen Campbell – Ghost On The Canvas / Surf Dog Records / August 20, 2011
[Intended as his farewell to studio recording due to his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. The album’s creation was made public in March 2010,but Campbell and his wife delayed informing the public about his illness until shortly before he embarked on the Glen Campbell Goodbye Tour. The duo decided to go public so fans of his would not be confused if the performer flubbed his lines or seemed erratic onstage.]

59. Elaine McMilian – The Messenger / Independent / July 22, 2011
[Elaine McMilian grew up in Independence, and graduated High School in 1973. She went to college as a vocal music major, but left after her first year to get married and start a family. In her mid thirties she went back to college a UMKC where she met Christian Hankel, who introduced her to a whole new generation of musicians in KC. She graduated in 1991 and answered an ad in The Pitch which led to her being involved in the band Swingin’ Six with Erin McGrane and Suzi Seigler. Elaine has performed in and around KC for almost 20 years as a solo artist and in the bands: Swingin’ 6, Easterday, Bonnys’ McGill, Toy Box, Sugar Plums and The Brannock Device. Elaine recently created EME LLC, a musician’s representation company to promote bands and solo artists. Elaine has appeared on WMM several times this year to talk about her work organizing the Howard Iceberg tribute show at Crosstown Station, and the reunion show of Easterday at The Recordbar on August 26. She also joined us prior to the release concert of “The Messenger,” on July 22 at The Record Bar, in a show that included Dollar Fox and one of the last performances of the great band, Expassionates.]

60. Jason Beers – Bangoism…Da / Independent / Late 2010
[Released in late 2010, this didn’t make it onto our playlists until 2011. Jason Beers has collaborated with many of KC’s best musicians. He writes, sings and plays bass with his band, The Brannock Device , made up of Jason, Elaine McMilian, Marco Pascolini, and Bernie Dugan. He is a father of two, who teaches children with special needs. The Brannock Device are currently working on their latesr recording expected in 2012. Banjoism…Da was recorded at Hideaway Studios.]

61. Folkicide – Devotional Hymns of the Church of the Darwinian Snuff Film / Indep. / 11
[After his band the Charge Droplets ended, Burnie Booth created his solo project: Folkicide, to “continue the exploration into the decaying frame of Western Civilization.” Burnie Booth grew up in Spring Hill, Kansas. In high school in the latter half of the 1980s, he was in a band called Big Toe, that played the Outhouse in Lawrence. He moved to Seattle in 1991 and played for four years with the Moogs, working days in pest control. He eventually married and moved back to Kansas City with his wife in 1999. Folkicide performed a CD Release concert at the RecordBar on September 9.]

62. Beirut – The Rip Tide / Pompeii Records / August 2, 1011
[Originally the solo musical project of Zach Condon, born in Santa Fe, New Mexico on February 13, 1986. He was brought up in Newport News, Virginia before moving back to New Mexico. Zach played trumpet in a jazz band as a teenager and cites jazz as a major influence. Condon attended Santa Fe High School, but dropped out at the age of 16. In Santa Fe he was exposed to Mariachi music. He also worked at a cinema showing where he was exposed to the international films of Fellini arias and Sicilian funeral brass as well Balkan music. He later enrolled in community college, but only attended for a short period before traveling to Europe at the age of 17 with his older brother, Ryan. Condon’s subsequent exploration of world music proved to be instrumental in the development of Beirut’s melodic sound. The Rip Tide was recorded in Upstate New York, Brooklyn and Condon’s hometowns of Albuquerque and Santa Fe.]

63. Seun Kuti – From Africa with Fury: Rise / Knitting Factory Records / June 21, 2011
[Nigerian musician, and the youngest son of legendary afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti. After Fela’s death of AIDS in 1997 Seun, then only 14 years old, became the lead singer of Egypt 80. While in school Seun had to choose between a career in music and one in American Football for which he has an outstanding talent. About three-fourths of the current Egypt 80 line-up consists of musicians that not only played with Fela Kuti, but often were arrested and harassed alongside the founder of the Afrobeat movement. Live sets consist of both new material and originals from Seun’s father. During his lifetime Fela Kuti never performed songs he had recorded, so for many fans this is their first chance to hear many Kuti classics.]

64. Canon Blue – Rumspringa / Temporary Residence Limited / August 16, 2011
[Blue Canon is Daniel James, from Nashville. His 2007 debut, Colonies, was a collaboration w/ Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor. Rumspringa was made partly in Copenhagen with Danish orchestral pop ensemble Efterklang and partly in Iceland withmembers of Sigur Ros, “Canon Blue (Des Moines)” is the album’s first single.]

65. Pulseprogramming – Charade Is Gold / Audraglint / May 3, 2011
[born as an experimental, concept in Portland, Oregon in 1998. Pulseprogramming is currently centered around Marc Hellner and new member Chanel Pease, but also includes art directors: John Schacter and Hans Seeger, a filmmaker/video artist: Eric David Johnson, aka DJ Bunny Ears, and a poet: Joel Craig. Their 1999, self-titled debut album was predominantly a work of ambient music, and was released on Chicago’s Aesthetics Records. The group’s current work leans towards the early 1980s and is more song-oriented.]

66. Digitalism – I Love You, Dude / V2 Records / June 21, 2011
[2nd studio album by German electro pop duo who met at a record store in Hamburg in 2004, and became friends. Later, the store’s owner asked them to DJ a party, and they then began mixing and recording. They record their music in a World War II bunker they own in Hamburg. They perform live using a Macbook Pro laptop as the heart of the act.]

67. Piney Gir – Geronimo! / Damaged Goods / Aug. 23, 2011
[Piney Gir is Angela Penhaligon who was born in Kansas and is now based in London, England. We had the chance to interview her on WMM. She was encouraged by her parents to learn the piano from the age of four, she wrote her first song at the age of nine. Having earned a degree in music, she moved to England in 1998 to study at the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. She released her debut solo electronica album, Peakahokahoo, in 2004 on UK label Truck Records (and licensed to Greyday Records for release in North America). She toured extensively, including opening for Erasure on a month long European tour. Geronimo! was recorded in early 2011 in Los Angeles.]

68. PJ Harvey – Let England Shake / Island / Feb. 15 2011
[8th studio album. Produced by Flood. Written between late 2007 and 2008, and recorded over a five-week period. Musically, Harvey dislikes repeating herself. She has experimented with rock, pop, electronica, and folk. She is also known for changing her appearance from album to album by altering her mode of dress or hairstyle. Each look is then incorporated into the album’s artwork, music videos, and live performances. One of the more unexpected British TV highlights of 2010 came when a black-clad PJ Harvey performed the title track, Let England Shake, in front of then prime minister Gordon Brown. As Brown sat soberly, Harvey played an autoharp, relishing the line “England’s dancing days are done.”]

69. Wanda Jackson – The Party Ain’t Over Yet / Third Man Records / Jan. 21, 2011
[Wanda Lavonne Jackson was born October 20, 1937. She is an American singer, songwriter, pianist and guitarist who had success in the mid-1950s and 60s as one of the first popular female rockabilly singers and a pioneering rock and roll artist. She is known to many as the First Lady of Rockabilly. She has been releasing albums since 1958. This year at age 74, she released her 33rd album, produced by Jack White.]

70. Exene Cervenka – The Excitement of Maybe / Bloodshot / March 8, 2011
[2nd solo release. Exene is a singer, artist and poet and cofounder of the legendary punk band X as well as The Knitters and The Original Sinners. Her spoken word performances with Lydia Lunch in the 80’s led to the publication of “Adulterers Anonymous” and another four volumes of poetry followed. Upon relocating to rural Missouri, Cervenka found inspiration in the simplicity of country living and began writing her first solo album in 19 years. The product, Somewhere Gone, recorded and produced in Springfield by Lou Whitney, was released in 2009. It was on of our favorite recordings of that year. In 2009 Exene Cervenka revealed that she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She continue writng new songs and recorded her second solo record, but on April 14 her tour was cancelled, due to a flare-up of her MS.]

71. Heather Thornton – Obvious / Saunders Street Records / April 28, 2011
[Heather Thornton moved with her family to KC from Arkansas. She has been singing and performing for over 10 years in KC. She plays keyboards and sings and plays on the first Saturday of every month at Jazz 1823 W 39th Street KCMO with Jeramy Johnston – guitar/bass, Brian Ruskin – guitar, Bree Plaster – drums. Heather’s background vocals can be heard on the Saunders Street Records releases of Jen Lawless and William Sauders. Heather has a new Christmas CD available at heatherthornton.com.]

72. Kirsten Paludan – All In / Independent / 2010
[Released late 2010. Kirsten Paludan’s worked for over a decade as a solo artist and with the band Olympic Size. As an actress she has appeared on FOX Television’s “Melrose Place.” In the Ang Lee film “Ride With The Devil,” the Spike Lee produced, Confederate States of America, directed by Kevin Wilmoth. Kirsten Paludan joined us LIVE on our January 26 WMM.]

73. Ruddy Swain – Ruddy Swain [EP] / Independent / November 13, 2011
[Ruddy Swain is David Regnier of Dead Voices and Lauren Krum of The Grisly Hand.]

74. Fruit Bats – Tripper / Sub Pop / Aug 2, 2011
[5th album since signing with Sub Pop Records in 2001. Formed in Chicago in 1997 by singer/songwriter Eric D. Johnson who has performed as a side man in the the band Califone and as the leader of I Rowboat.]

75. Sleepy Kitty – Infinity City / Euclid Records / July 12, 2011
[From Chicago and St. Louis. Paige Brubeck on vocals/guitar/keys, and Evan Sult on drums/vocals/tapes. More info at: sleepykittymusic.com]

76. Yellow Ostrich – The Mistress / Barsuk Records / August 16, 2011
[Barsuk records has re-released “The Mistress” originally put out on Vinyl by AFTERNOON RECORDS on February 15, 2011. It’s what they are calling “a bedroom project,” from Alex Schaaf, the individual behind the NYC based Yellow Ostrich, who now tours as a three piece band. Yellow Ostrich played the Bourbon Theatre in Lincoln, NE, on Nov. 16 with Ra Ra Riot + Delicate Steve.]

77. The Coathangers – Larceny and Old Lace / Suicide Squeeze Records / June 7, 2011
[3rd album from the all female punk uartet from Atlanta, Georgia, includes: lead vocalist – Julia Kugel, drummer – Stephanie Luke, keyboardist – Candice Jones and bassist – Meredith Franco. ]

78. Sour Babies – Morning Star / Independent / Mar 30, 2011
[Brent Jamison, Chas Felkins, Mark Harvey, Mary Sanders, Ben Hume and Jason Martinez of The Sour Babies, played live on our July 20 WMM.]

79. The Finsters – The Finsters / Independent / 2011
[The Finsters, are an old time Americana band, dedicated to playing the music of Harold Finster. The band includes: Andrew Connor on guitar and vocals, Liz Connor on fiddle and mandolin, Allan Winkler on accordion and percussion, and Jami Blakeley on banjo and vocals.]

80. Wild Beasts – Smother / Domino Records / May 10, 2011
[3rd album and follow up to their Mercury Award nominated “Two Dancers.” One critic wrote the band possesses, “oscillating falsetto and baritone vocals, lyrical wit, and a penchant for seedier topics.”]

81. Holy Ghost! – Holy Ghost! / DFA / April 4, 2011
[The brainchild of childhood friends Alex Frankel and Nick Millhiser, the Brooklyn-based band Holy Ghost! recently transformed from a duo into a 4-piece band that has spent the summer touring with LCD Soundsystem and Chromeo The tour culminated with Hot Chip and Hercules and Love Affair at Central Park Summerstage on August 4th. Holy Ghost uses a lot of vintage synths.]

82. Molly Picture Club – four on the floor [EP] / Independent / late 2010
[KC Based featuring: Aniko Adany- vocals, synths, keys, omnichord, Matthew Hayden- drums, drum sequencing, & Michael Tipton- vocals, guitar, bass.]

83. Prefuse 73 – The Only She Chapters / Warp Records / April 25, 2011
[Guillermo Scott Herren was born in Miami, Florida and grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. His father is Catalan and his mother is Irish and Cuban. At an early age his parents encouraged him to play piano and other instruments; his mother “forced” Herren to play a wide variety of instruments, even going so far as to teach him the Suzuki Method in order to “keep him out of trouble”. Growing up, Herren’s musical tastes branched out and he became interested in hip-hop, punk rock, and electronic music.]

84. Com Truise – Galactic Melt / Ghostly / July 2011
[Com Truise, is New Jersey based designer and musician named Seth Haley, who said he envisioned this record as a “sort of film score…from the mind,” chronicling the life and death of Com Truise, the world’s first robotic astronaut, from his creation and life on Earth to his subsequent mission to a newly discovered galaxy called “Wave 1.”]

85. Neon Indian – Era Extrana / Mom + Pop / September 13, 2011
[Recorded in Helsinki, Finland during the winter of 2010, Era Extraña translates: “Strange Era.” Neon Indian is an indie electronic band from Denton, Texas with music created by Mexican-born composer by Alan Palomo who was born in Monterrey, Mexico in 1988 and moved to San Antonio, Texas at the age of 5. He relocating to Denton, Texas for college. Neon Indian played The Record Bar on October 11 tour with Com Truise and Purity Ring.]

86. Mountain Man – Live At The Wiltern / Partisan Records / July 5, 2011
[Molly Erin Sarle, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig and Amelia Randall Meath met at Bennington College, in the small town of Bennington, Vermont. This fall the trio toured with Feist.]

87. Cadillac Fambe’ – Eli’s Porch / Independent / July 29, 2011
[KC based band dedicated to pushing the envelope and blending various styles to create a new class of blues. The band was featured at Murder Ballad Ball of 2011, a Benefit for the Midwest Music Foundation, Fri, Dec 9, at The Riot Room, 4048 Broadway, KCMO also appearing: American Catastrophe, Rural Grit All Stars, Tommy Donoho, Bob & Diana Suckiel, Sons of Great Dane, Cody Wyoming, Tony Ladesich, The Delighted, and others.]

88. Raphael Saadiq – Stone Rollin’ / Sony / May 10, 2011
[Born Charles Ray Wiggins in Oakland, California on May 14, 1966, Saadiq has been representing “old school” R&B since his early days as a member of the group Tony! Toni! Toné! He’s produced songs for TLC, Joss Stone, D’Angelo, Mary J. Blige, and John Legend. For his 4th studio album he pushed beyond the “classic soul revival” with more rock-inspiring funk, Chess Records-blues, and the more expansive orchestral sound of post-Detroit Motown and 1970s Philadelphia sound.]

89. Stephin Merritt – Obscurities / Merge Records / August 30, 2011
[In 1999, The Magnetic Fields’ three-CD collection 69 Love Songs established Stephin Merritt as one of this generation’s most talented songwriters. The LA Times called Merritt, “one of indie-rock’s most acclaimed figures.” “The Sun and the Sea and the Sky,” could be considered the 70th love song. Stephin Merritt writes that “this song didn’t go on 69 Love Songs because it wasn’t actually about romantic love. Now it sounds like a Germanic hymn to nature, as directed by Leni Riefenstahl.” This previously unreleased track is part of Stephin Merritt’s latest release, Obscurities, in his return to Merge Records, a collection of Merritt’s hard-to-find recordings dating back to his time on Merge (1994 1999) and prior, as well as 5 previously unreleased tracks. Pitchfork reports The Magnetic Fields will be releasing a new album on Merge in early 2012.]

90. Tom Russell – Mesabi / Shout! Factory Records / September 5, 2011
[Identified with the Texas Country music tradition, his music also includes elements of folk, Tex-Mex, and cowboy music of the American West. Mesabi includes songs about Bob Dylan, James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, Cliff “Ukulele Ike” Edwards, Jimmy Driscoll and Sterling Hayden. Furious Love (For Liz)” was the last song written for Mesabi. Following the recent death of Elizabeth Taylor, Russell says, “I married a Swiss lady and we have a place in Switzerland in the Alps, and Liz Taylor had a chalet right down the street. Then I found out she lived for a short while in a penthouse in El Paso, with her first husband, Nicky Hilton. That overlooks Juarez, Mexico, and I thought, I’d write a waltz about Liz looking out on Juarez.” Tom Russell played Knuckleheads on October 6, 2011.]

91. Robert Ellis – Photographs / New West / July 5, 2011
[The New York Times writes that Robert Ellis is “Equally inspired by Jackson Browne and George Jones.” Based in Houston, Texas, the 22 year old singer songwriter was first brought our attention by our Artist Joey Grimm, KCAI graduate from 2010, (now doing graduate work in Delaware) who played him on WMM back on August 10. Joey had just seen him live in Texas.]

92. St. Vincent – Strange Mercy / 4AD / September 13 , 2011
[Manhattan based Annie Clark’s 11-song follow up to her critically acclaimed release “Actor” from 2009. Strange Mercy was eecorded in Dallas, TX. St. Vincent played Lawrence, KS on October 7.]

93. Jenny Carr – Maybe Definitely Really For Sure / Independent / Dec, 2010
[A Missouri native, Jenny Carr has fronted the KC band the Waiting List and played bass for indie-rock bands: Anvil Chorus and Lights & Siren. She lists her influences as: The Beatles, The Kinks, Joni Mitchell, Elliott Smith and The Cranberries.]

94. Yuck – Yuck / Fat Possum Records / Feb. 15, 2011
[Indie rock from London, England. Critics have compared their self-titled debut album to Dinosaur Jr and Sonic Youth.]

95. Brian Eno – Drums Between The Bells / Opal – Warp Records / July 5, 2011
[40 years in music as an glam rocker, Ambient pioneer, producer, multimedia artist, technological translator, world beat drum-beater, and self-described non-musician. In the early years of Roxy Music, he set up a sound table off stage and turn knobs to create textures and echos.]

96. They Might Be Giants – Join Us / Idlewild Recordings / July 19, 2011
[15th studio album and the first non-children’s album from the band since “The Else” in 2007. They Might Be Giants playde Beaumont Club October 14.]

97. Jason Vivone – My Roaring Twenties / Independent / 2011
[Jason Vivone is the former Kansas City Blues Society’s International Blues Challenge solo winner. His band the Billy Bats were crowned KINGS OF THE ROOTS at the showdown at the Blue Note in Columbia, Missouri. In an annual event held by the Missouri Lottery and the Roots and BBQ fest, the Billy Bats beat out three other bands with their soulful, energetic live show. In January, Jason Vivone’s new solo CD “MY ROARING TWENTIES” was released to acclaim and terrific on-line sales. In March the new line up of the Billy Bats opened for Fishbone and also performed at the SXSW Festival in Austin. Jason Vivone performed LIVE on our Nov. 2 WMM show.]

98. William Saunders – Tales of Weathered Plains / Saunders Street Records / 2011
[Born in L.A. and raised in KC and Raymore, Missouri, he spent eight years in the U.S. Army and served in the first gulf war. In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia he first started singing and writing. After the military, he started his business career. In the early 90’s he formed a band called “The Decadent.”After 16 years in the corporate world he had written nearly seven hundred songs. In 2010, he left the corporate life to created Saunders Street Records and pursued a career in music and the development of other musical artists. William Saunders played LIVE on our March 23 WMM.]

99. Sterling Witt – Sounds of The Future [EP] / Bright Orange Records / 2011
[Born and raised in the rural countryside of Cass County he went to school in Harrisonville. At 15, he picked up the bass guitar, and taught myself how to play a right-handed instrument upside-down, left handed. Sterling Witt joined us LIVE on April 13 on WMM for the 90.1 FM Band Auction and again on August 31st.]

100. Jen Lawless – Runnin’ Hot / Saunders Street Records / April 8, 2011
[By day, the 5′ 3″ Kansas City Native, Jen Lawless, drives an ambulance for the Fire Department and is responding to emergencies and racing between hospitals. Her occupation is the inspiration for many of the original songs on her Saunders Street Records release. Jen appeared on our May 11th WMM.]

101. Poly Styrene – Generation Indigo / Future Noise Music / April 26, 2011
[On the verge of the release of her third solo release, singer Poly Styrene, former singer with the X-Ray Spex, died at the age of 53, after suffering from cancer. In February, in an interview published in The Sunday Times magazine, she revealed that she had been treated for breast cancer, and that it had spread to her spine and lungs. She died on April 25. She was one of the first female punk icons. She was very influential, with an unorthodox style. Poly Styrene formed her band the X-Ray Spex after watching the Sex Pistols perform on Hastings Pier on her 18th birthday. The band released just one album, “Germ Free Adolescents,” in 1978, before splitting up. The singer went on to record a solo album, Translucence, in 1980, before retreating from the music industry to join the Hare Krishnas. Singer Billy Bragg told a radio station that, “It’s always hard for women in rock music but it was particularly hard in the 70s,” he said. “I think she cut right through that. The work that she did and the things that she produced always stayed true to that original spirit of punk.”]

102. Marketa Irglova – Anar / Anti Records / October 7, 2011
[Solo debut from one-half of the Irish duo The Swell Season and co-star of the motion picture Once. Now at 23, she decided to branch out on her own after relocating to NYC and while The Swell Season were on hiatus.]

103. The Decemberists – The King Is Dead / Capitol / Jan. 14, 2011
[Recorded during the spring of 2010 in the Portland area. The album title has been speculated to pay homage to The Smiths The Queen Is Dead, due to front man, Colin Meloy’s long-touted influence from the band.Meloy has cited that a primary musical influence for much of The King Is Dead is R.E.M., and three songs, feature R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck including “Down By The Water.” The band played The Uptown Theatre Monday, February 7.]

104. Peter, Bjorn & John – Gimme Some / Star time / March 29, 2011
[Our “Best of…” lists always seem to include representatives from Sweden. Gothenburg is a music town that rivals Montreal, Brooklyn, Omaha, and Nashville. Lykke Li also appears on our list . Peter Morén from Dalarna in the North of Sweden and Björn Yttling from Västerbotten – even further to the North – had been playing music together for 8 years when they in 1999 met John – from Norrbotten – which is yet even further to the North! Peter, Bjorn & John are back in our playlists this year with their sixth album.]

105. Telekinesis – 12 Desperate Straight Lines / Merge / Feb. 15, 2011
[Telekinesis is Michael Benjamin Lerner, an indie rocker from Seattle. This is his 2nd album on Merge.]

106. The Middle East – I Want That You Are Always Happy / Spunk Records / April 2011
[debut studio album by Australian folk band The Middle East, released in Australia and New Zealand. Based in Townsville in Queensland, Australia. Formed in 2005, the group played locally and completed several East Coast tours of mainly Christian festivals throughout Australia. They played their last show on July 31, 2011.]

107. The Go Team – Rolling Blackouts / Memphis Industries / 2011
[3rd studio album from Brighton, England-based band that combine indie rock & garage rock w/ a mixture of blaxploitation & Bollywood soundtracks, double dutch chants, old school hip hop and distorted guitars. Their songs mix of live instruments and samples.]

108. Bootsy Collins – Tha Funk Capitol of The World / Mascot / April 26, 2011
[23rd studio album by funk musician Bootsy Collins, features an incredible line up of Bootsy’s friends including Chuck D, Snoop Dogg and Bootsy’s Parliament and P-Funk bandmates, George Clinton & Bernie Worrell.]

109. Veronica Falls – Veronica Falls / Slumberland Records / Sept. 20, 2011
[self-titled debut record from a UK band that daringly recruited a bass player that didn’t know how to play until joining the group. Their first live performance was opening for Pains Of Being Pure At Heart.]

110. Soley – We Sink / Morr Music / October 3, 2011
[From Iceland comes Soley, an introverted singer-songwriter who was recently featured in “Backyard” a documentary about the influential Iceland music scene.]

111. Raleigh Moncrief – Watered Down / Anticon Records / October 25, 2011
[Debut full length recording from Sacremento based, Raleigh Moncrief, who has collaborated with Dirty Projectors for their Bitte Orca recording that is also on our list of 111 Best Recordings of 2011.]

Note: Sources for notes: artist’s websites, wikipedia.org

WMM Playlist from Dec. 7, 2011 – The 111 Best Recordings of 2011 (Part 1 of 4)

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, December 7, 2011:

The 111 Best Recordings of 2011
(Part 1 of 4)

1. (111.) Raleigh Moncrief – “Lament for Morning”
from: Watered Lawn / Anticon Records / October 25, 2011
[Debut full length recording from Sacramento based, Raleigh Moncrief, who has collaborated with Dirty Projectors for their Bitte Orca recording that is also on our list of 111 Best Recordings of 2011.]

2. (110.) Soley – “Blue Leaves”
from: We Sink / Morr Music / October 3, 2011
[From Iceland comes Soley, an introverted singer-songwriter who was recently featured in “Backyard” a documentary about the influential Iceland music scene.]

3. (109.) Veronica Falls – “Veronica Falls”
from: Veronica Falls / Slumberland Records / Sept. 20, 2011
[self-titled debut record from a UK band that daringly recruited a bass player that didn’t know how to play until joining the group. Their first live performance was opening for Pains Of Being Pure At Heart.]

10:15

4. (108.) Bootsy Collins –“FreeDumb” w/ Dr. Cornel West
from: Tha Funk Capitol of The World / Mascot / April 26, 2011
[23rd studio album by funk musician Bootsy Collins, features an incredible line up of Bootsy’s friends including: Chuck D, Snoop Dogg and Bootsy’s Parliament and P-Funk band-mates: George Clinton & Bernie Worrell.]

5. (107.) The Go! Team – “T.O.R.N.A.D.O.”
from: Rolling Blackouts / Memphis Industries / 2011
[3rd studio album from Brighton, England-based band that combine indie rock & garage rock w/ a mixture of blaxploitation & Bollywood soundtracks, double dutch chants, old school hip hop and distorted guitars. Their songs mix of live instruments and samples from.]

6. (106.) The Middle East – “Jesus Came To My Birthday Party”
from: I Want That You Are Always Happy / Spunk Records / April 2011
[Debut studio album by Australian folk band The Middle East, released in Australia and New Zealand. Based in Townsville in Queensland, Australia. Formed in 2005, the group played locally and completed several East Coast tours of mainly Christian festivals throughout Australia. They played their last show on July 31, 2011.]

7. (105.) Telekinesis – “Car Crash”
from: 12 Desperate Straight Lines / Merge / Feb. 15, 2011
[Telekinesis is Michael Benjamin Lerner, an indie rocker based out of Seattle. This is his 2nd album on Merge.]

10:30 – Underwriting

10:31

8. (104.) Peter, Bjorn & John – “Breaker Breaker”
from: Gimme Some / Star Time / March 29, 2011
[Our “Best of…” lists always seem to include representatives from Sweden. Gothenburg is a music town that rivals Montreal, Brooklyn, Omaha, and Nashville. Lykke Li appears on our list as we continue the count down. Peter Morén from Dalarna in the North of Sweden and Björn Yttling from Västerbotten – even further to the North – had been playing music together for 8 years when they in 1999 met John – from Norrbotten – which is yet even further to the North! Peter, Bjorn & John are back in our playlists this year with their sixth album.]

9. (103.) The Decemberists – “Down By The Water”
from: The King Is Dead / Capitol / Jan. 18, 2011
[Recorded during the spring of 2010 in the Portland area. The album title has been speculated to pay homage to The Smiths The Queen Is Dead, due to front man, Colin Meloy’s long-touted influence from the band. Meloy has cited that a primary musical influence for much of The King Is Dead is R.E.M.,[21] and three songs, feature R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck including “Down By The water.” The band played Uptown Theatre Monday, February 7.]

10. (102.) Marketa Irglova – “Go Back”
from: Anar / Anti- Records / October 7, 2011
[Solo debut from one-half of the Irish duo The Swell Season and co-star of the motion picture Once. Now at 23, she decided to branch out on her own after relocating to NYC and while The Swell Season were on hiatus.]

11. (101.) Poly Styrene – “Kitsch”
from: Generation Indigo / Future Noise Music / April 26, 2011
[On the verge of the release of her third solo release, singer Poly Styrene, former singer with the X-Ray Spex, died at the age of 53, after suffering from cancer. In February, in an interview published in The Sunday Times magazine, she revealed that she had been treated for breast cancer, and that it had spread to her spine and lungs. She died on April 25. She was one of the first female punk icons. She was very influential, with an unorthodox style. Poly Styrene formed her band the X-Ray Spex after watching the Sex Pistols perform on Hastings Pier on her 18th birthday. The band released just one album, “Germ Free Adolescents,” in 1978, before splitting up. The singer went on to record a solo album, Translucence, in 1980, before retreating from the music industry to join the Hare Krishnas. Singer Billy Bragg told a radio station that, “It’s always hard for women in rock music but it was particularly hard in the 70s,” he said. “I think she cut right through that. The work that she did and the things that she produced always stayed true to that original spirit of punk.”]

10:45

12. (100.) Jen Lawless – “All Goes Down”
from: Running Hot / Saunders Street Records / April 8, 2011
[By day, the 5′ 3″ Kansas City Native, Jen Lawless, drives an ambulance for the KC Fire Department and is responding to emergencies and racing between hospitals. Her occupation is the inspiration for many of the original songs on her Saunders Street Records release. Jen appeared on our May 11th WMM.]

13. (99.) Sterling Witt – “Perfect Girl”
from: Sounds of The Future (EP) / Bright Orange Records / 2011
[Born and raised in the rural countryside of Cass County he went to school in Harrisonville. At 15, he picked up the bass guitar, and taught myself how to play a right-handed instrument upside-down, left handed. Sterling Witt joined us LIVE on April 13 on WMM for the 90.1 FM Band Auction and again on August 31st.]

14. (98.) William Saunders – “Undone”
from: Tales of Weathered Plains / Saunders Street Records / 2011
[Born in L.A. and raised in KC and Raymore, Missouri, he spent eight years in the U.S. Army and served in the first gulf war. In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia he first started singing and writing. After the military, he started his business career. In the early 90’s he formed a band called “The Decadent.” After 16 years in the corporate world he discovered that he had written nearly seven hundred songs. In 2010, he left the corporate life to created Saunders Street Records and pursue a career in music, and the development of other musical artists. William Saunders played LIVE on our March 23 WMM ]

15. (97.) Jason Vivone – “Lemme Come Up For Air”
from: My Roaring Twenties / Independent / 2011
[Jason Vivone is the former Kansas City Blues Society’s International Blues Challenge solo winner. His band the Billy Bats were crowned KINGS OF THE ROOTS at the showdown at the Blue Note in Columbia, Missouri. In an annual event held by the Missouri Lottery and the Roots and BBQ fest, the Billy Bats beat out three other bands with their soulful, energetic live show. In January, Jason Vivone’s new solo CD “MY ROARING TWENTIES” was released to acclaim and terrific on-line sales. In March the new line up of the Billy Bats opened for Fishbone and also performed at the SXSW Festival in Austin. Jason Vivone performed LIVE on our Nov. 2 show.]

11:00

16. (96.) They Might Be Giants – “Judy Is Your Vietnam”
from: Join Us / Idlewild Recordings / July 19, 2011
[15th studio album and the first non-children’s album from the band since “The Else” in 2007. They Might Be Giants played Beaumont Club on Oct. 14.]

17. (95.) Brian Eno – “Glitch”
from: Drums Between The Bells / Opal – Warp Records / July 5, 2011
[40 years in music as a glam rocker, Ambient pioneer, producer, multimedia artist, technological translator, world beat drum-beater, and self-described non-musician. In the early years of Roxy Music, he set up a sound table off stage and turn knobs to create textures and echos. ]

18. (94.) Yuck – “Get Away”
from: Yuck / Fat Possum Records / Feb. 15, 2011
[Indie rock from London, England. Critics have compared their self-titled debut album to Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth.]

19. (93.) Jenny Carr – “tease”
from: Maybe Definitely Really For Sure / Independent / Dec, 2010
[Missouri native, Jenny Carr has fronted the KC band the Waiting List and played bass for indie-rock bands: Anvil Chorus and Lights & Siren. She lists her influences as: The Beatles, The Kinks, Joni Mitchell, Elliott Smith and The Cranberries.]

11:15

20. (92.) St. Vincent – “Cruel”
from: Strange Mercy / 4AD / September 13 , 2011
[Manhattan based Annie Clark’s 11-song follow up to her critically acclaimed release “Actor” from 2009. Strange Mercy was recorded in Dallas, TX. St. Vincent played Lawrence, KS on October 7.]

21. (91.) Robert Ellis – “Comin’ Home”
from: Photographs / New West / July 5, 2011
[The New York Times writes that Robert Ellis is “Equally inspired by Jackson Browne and George Jones.” Based in Houston, Texas, the 22-year old, singer songwriter was first brought our attention by our Artist Joey Grimm, KCAI graduate from 2010, (now doing graduate work in Delaware) who played him on WMM back on August 10. Joey had just seen him live in Texas.]

22. (90.) Tom Russell – “Furious Love (For Liz)”
from: Mesabi / Shout! Factory Records / September 5, 2011
[Identified with the Texas Country music tradition, his music also includes elements of folk, Tex-Mex, and cowboy music of the American West. Mesabi includes songs about Bob Dylan, James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, Cliff “Ukulele Ike” Edwards, Jimmy Driscoll and Sterling Hayden. Furious Love (For Liz)” was the last song written for Mesabi. Following the recent death of Elizabeth Taylor, Russell says, “I married a Swiss lady and we have a place in Switzerland in the Alps, and Liz Taylor had a chalet right down the street. Then I found out she lived for a short while in a penthouse in El Paso, with her first husband, Nicky Hilton. That overlooks Juarez, Mexico, and I thought, I’d write a waltz about Liz looking out on Juarez.” Tom Russell played Knuckleheads on October 6, 2011.]

11:27 – Underwriting

11:28

23. (89.) Stephin Merritt – “The Sun and the Sea and the Sky”
from: Obscurities / Merge Records / August 30, 2011
[In 1999, The Magnetic Fields’ three-CD collection 69 Love Songs established Stephin Merritt as one of this generation’s most talented songwriters. The LA Times called Merritt, “one of indie-rock’s most acclaimed figures.” “The Sun and the Sea and the Sky,” could be considered the 70th love song. Stephin Merritt writes that “this song didn’t go on 69 Love Songs because it wasn’t actually about romantic love. Now it sounds like a Germanic hymn to nature, as directed by Leni Riefenstahl.” This previously unreleased track is part of Stephin Merritt’s latest release, Obscurities, in his return to Merge Records, a collection of Merritt’s hard-to-find recordings dating back to his time on Merge (1994 1999) and prior, as well as 5 previously unreleased tracks. Pitchfork reports The Magnetic Fields will be releasing a new album on Merge in early 2012.]

24. (88.) Raphael Saadiq – “Stone Rollin’”
from: Stone Rollin’ / Sony / May 10, 2011
[born Charles Ray Wiggins in Oakland, California on May 14, 1966, Saadiq has been representing “old school” R&B since his early days as a member of the group Tony! Toni! Toné! He’s produced songs for TLC, Joss Stone, D’Angelo, Mary J. Blige, and John Legend. For his 4th studio album he pushed beyond the “classic soul revival” with more rock-inspiring funk, Chess Records-blues, and the more expansive orchestral sound of post-Detroit Motown and 1970s Philadelphia sound.]

25. (87.) Cadillac Fambe’ – “Devil’s Branch”
from: Eli’s Porch / Independent / July 29, 2011
[KC based band dedicated to pushing the envelope and blending various styles to create a new class of blues. The band will be featured at Murder Ballad Ball of 2011, a Benefit for the Midwest Music Foundation, Fri, Dec 9, 6 to 2:00 AM, at The Riot Room, 4048 Broadway, KCMO also appearing: American Catastrophe, Rural Grit All Stars, Tommy Donoho, Bob & Diana Suckiel, Sons of Great Dane, Cody Wyoming, Tony Ladesich, The Delighted, and others.]

26. (86.) Mountain Man – “Animal Tracks”
from: Live At The Wiltern / Partisan Records / July 5, 2011
[Molly Erin Sarle, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig and Amelia Randall Meath met at Bennington College, in the small town of Bennington, Vermont. This fall the trio toured with Feist.]

11:45

27. (85.) Neon Indian – “Polish Girl”
from: Era Extrana / Mom + Pop / September 13, 2011
[Recorded in Helsinki, Finland during the winter of 2010, Era Extraña translates: “Strange Era.” Neon Indian is an indie electronic band from Denton, Texas from Mexican-born composer by Alan Palomo who was born in Monterrey, Mexico in 1988 and moved to San Antonio, Texas at the age of 5, relocating to Denton, Texas for college. Neon Indian played The Record Bar on October 11 tour with Com Truise and Purity Ring.]

28. (84.) Com Truise – “Futureworld”
from: Galactic Melt / Ghostly / July 2011
[Com Truise, is New Jersey based designer and musician named Seth Haley, who said he envisioned this record as a “sort of film score…from the mind,” chronicling the life and death of Com Truise, the world’s first robotic astronaut, from his creation and life on Earth to his subsequent mission to a newly discovered galaxy called “Wave 1.”]

29. (83.) Prefuse 73 – “The Only Recycled Intro”
from: The Only She Chapters / Warp Records / April 25, 2011
[Guillermo Scott Herren was born in Miami, Florida and grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. His father is Catalan and his mother is Irish and Cuban. At an early age his parents encouraged him to play piano and other instruments; his mother “forced” Herren to play a wide variety of instruments, even going so far as to teach him the Suzuki Method in order to “keep him out of trouble”. Growing up, Herren’s musical tastes branched out and he became interested in hip-hop, punk rock, and electronic music]

30. (82.) Molly Picture Club – “Satellites”
from: four on the floor [EP] / Independent / late 2010
[Kansas City Based band featuring: Aniko Adany- vocals, synths, keys, omnichord, Matthew Hayden- drums, drum sequencing, and Michael Tipton- vocals, guitar, bass.]

31. Owen/Cox Dance Group & The People’s Liberation Big Band – “Spanish Dance”
from: The Nutcracker & The Mouse King / TZIGANE / December 2011
[Owen/Cox Dance Group Presents: The Nutcracker and the Mouse King featuring: Fifteen musicians of the People’s Liberation Big Band, horn sculptor Mark Southerland, artist Peregrine Honig, and students from the Paseo Academy of the Performing Arts as well as the award-winning choreography of Jennifer Owen. Performances: Friday & Saturday, December 9 & 10 at 8:00 PM, Sunday, December 11, at 2:00 PM. Friday & Saturday December 16 & 17, at 8:00 PM, Sunday, December 18, at 2:00 PM at The City Stage in Union Station, 30 West Pershing Rd Kansas City, MO. Tickets: $20 per person, $15 for students, seniors, and groups of 15 or more, $10 for children, ages 12 and under. Tickets & Information: http://www.unionstation.org/Nutcracker%5D

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

Sources for notes: artist’s websites, wikipedia.org

Wednesday MidDay Medley is on the web:
http://www.WednesdayMidDayMedley.org
http://www.facebook.com/WednesdayMidDayMedleyon90.1FM
http://www.kkfi.org

Wednesday, December 14 we continue with part-2, of our 4-week special: The 111 Best Recordings of 2011

Show # 398

WMM Playlist from October 5, 2011

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 5, 2011

New & Local Releases + Laurie Anderson in Kansas City
+ Spinning Tree Theatre’s “Year of Magical Thinking”

1. The Coathangers – “Shake, Shake”
from: Shake, Shake (Single) / Suicide Squeeze Records / 2011
[all female punk group quartet from Atlanta, Georgia, includes: lead vocalist – Julia Kugel, drummer – Stephanie Luke, keyboardist – Candice Jones and bassist – Meredith Franco. They’ve recently released their 3rd album, Larceny and Old Lace.]

2. Veronica Falls – “Veronica Falls”
from: Veronica Falls / Slumberland Records / Sept. 20, 2011
[self-titled debut record from a UK band that daringly recruited a bass player that didn’t know how to play until joining the group. Their first live performance was opening for Pains Of Being Pure At Heart.]

3. Wilco -“Born Alone”
from: The Whole Love / dBpm Records – Epitaph Records / Sept. 23, 2011
[8th album by Chicago based band was formed in 1994 by the remaining members of Uncle Tupelo following Jay Farrar’s departure. Wilco’s lineup has changed frequently, with only singer Jeff Tweedy and bassist John Stirratt remaining from the original incarnation. Since early 2004, the other current members are guitarist Nels Cline, multi-instrumentalists Pat Sansone and Mikael Jorgensen, and drummer Glenn Kotche. Wilco has released 8 studio albums, a live double album, and three collaborations: two with Billy Bragg, and one with The Minus 5.]

10:13 – Underwriting

10:14

4. Soley – “Blue Leaves”
from: We Sink / Morr Music / October 3, 2011
[From Iceland comes Soley, an introverted singer-songwriter who was recently featured in “Backyard” a documentary about the influential Iceland music scene.]

5. St. Vincent – “Cruel”
from: Strange Mercy / 4AD / September 13 , 2011
[Manhattan based Annie Clark’s 11-song follow up to her critically acclaimed release “Actor” from 2009. Strange Mercy was recorded in Dallas, TX. St. Vincent will play Liberty Hall in Lawrence, KS on October 7.]

6. Little Dragon – “Ritual Union”
from: Ritual Union / Peace Frog / July 26, 2011
[From Gothenburg, Sweden. This is the 3rd release frpm the four-piece band that blends R&B, new wave, electronica and experimental pop with the lead vocals of Yukimi Nagano.]

7. Laurie Anderson – “The Beginning of Memory”
from: Homeland / Nonesuch Records / June 21, 2010
[Laurie Anderson will be in Kansas City to kick off the Vanguard Series at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, on Sunday, October 9, at 7:00 PM in Helzberg Hall. For more information kauffmancenter.org or 816-994-7222.]

10:30

8. Laurie Anderson – “Only An Expert”
from: Homeland / Nonesuch Records / June 21, 2010
[Laurie Anderson will be in Kansas City to kick off the Vanguard Series at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, on Sunday, October 9, at 7:00 PM in Helzberg Hall. For more information kauffmancenter.org or 816-994-7222.]

10:38 – Interview with Laurie Anderson (& Bess Wallerstein)

Bess Wallerstein joined us from the Kauffman Center for The Performing Arts. Bess has worked in the KC Theatre as an artist, administrator, producer & teacher. She has worked for The Heart of America Shakespeare Festival and for Theatre League. In 2005, she founded One Time Productions with KC visual artist, Johnny Naugahyde. In 2008, she directed True West by Sam Shepard in an airstream trailer outside in a backyard in Brookside. In 2009 she directed the KC Premiere of Arts or Crafts, at the Bloch Art Center, in collaboration with The Kansas City Art Institute. She is the founder of CounterClockwise Comedy, an experimental comedy group which performs comedy shows and live comedy movie roasts at Screenland Theatre. Last winter Bess also was a performer in “A White Nose Christmas” a show she created with David Wayne Reed and Heidi Van for The Fishtank Performance Space. The trio will be creating a new show this fall called Anchor Baby. Bess made our interview with Laurie Anderson possible. Thank you Bess!

Laurie Anderson is an American experimental performance artist, composer and musician. She began studying classical violin at five and performed with the Chicago Youth Symphony. In 1966 she moved to New York City, where she received her B.A at Barnard College in 1969 and her Masters in Fine Arts from Columbia University in 1972. For two years she taught art history at the City University of New York. One of her early performance art pieces was titled: Automotive (1972), for which she orchestrated car horns. In Duets on Ice, another early piece, she wore ice skates frozen in blocks of ice; and then proceeded to play a duet with herself on an altered violin. Laurie Anderson became widely known outside the art world in 1981 when her single “O Superman” reached number two on the UK pop charts. The success of O Superman, led to Laurie Anderson’s long and critically acclaimed recording career that has produced 8 studio albums, several live albums including the amazing 4 cd set of United States and her 2002 release Live in New York, her retrospective compilation: “Talk Normal,” several soundtrack albums, and musical collaborations with Brian Eno, William S. Burroughs, Peter Gabriel, John Zorn, Antony Hegarty and Lou Reed who she married in 2008. Laurie Anderson, performs her show “Transitory Life” as part of the Vanguard Series at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts this Sunday, October 9, at 7:00 PM, in Helzberg Hall. more information kauffmancenter.org

We talked with Laurie Anderson, on the phone, LIVE from Montreal where she was in rehearsals for a performance she would be doing in Montreal with Rufus Wainwright.

In the liner notes to “Talk Normal” the 2-CD retrospective collection of 35 songs from Laurie’s first seven studio albums, Laurie is quoted as saying: “I’m not really a professional anything,” “Well, maybe a professional storyteller. But all the music and the pictures are just ways to tell the stories.”

Laurie has called “Transitory Life” a survey of themes from her life, a mental movie that includes stories and characters from her adventures. Some of the stories in Transitory Life are inspired by Laurie Anderson’s “Happiness Project” where she worked on an Amish farm, at a McDonald’s in Chinatown in NYC, and when she hitch-hiked from her neighborhood in NYC to the North Pole.

“Transitory Life” is the opening track from Laurie’s critically acclaimed 2010 release: “Homeland” which she produced with Lou Reed and Roma Baran, and which was created over several years from improvisations on tour.

The themes explored in Homeland include: US foreign policy, torture, economic collapse, the erosion of personal freedom, medical malpractice, religion and cynicism. You approach these themes as journeys, asking where we are going, what we are doing, translating the headlines of today into perspectives that are haunting, but also demonstrate her great sense of humor.

Laurie Anderson is currently touring North America, performing her piece “Delusion” in Montreal and presenting your exhibition “Forty-Nine Days in The Bardo” in Philadelphia.

Laurie Anderson has described the violin as an alter ego of herself, where she does the talking and the violin does the crying. Another of her alter ego characters is achieved by her use of filters that alter her own voice to create what her husband, Lou Reed, has named: Fenway Bergamot. Fenway Bergamot appears on the cover of her critically acclaimed 2010 release HOMELAND. This character also played a role in the television series she did for PBS in the 1980s and he has made appearances in many of her live shows and recordings over the years. Laurie calls it: “Audio Drag”

You can learn more about Laurie Anderson’s release Homeland at: laurieanderson.com

The Vanguard Series at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts starts with Laurie Anderson, on Sunday, October 9, 2011 at 7:00 PM in Helzberg Hall. For more information kauffmancenter.org or 816-994-7222.

11:00

The Wilders, The Grisly Hand and Howard Iceberg will all be in concert TOGETHER that will be recorded LIVE on Friday, October 7 at Davey’s Uptown at 3402 Main Street, KCMO. More info at: daveysuptown.com.

9. The Wilders – “Things They Say About Home”
from: The Wilders / Free Dirt Records / June 21, 2011
[The 10th release from Ike Sheldon- Guitar, Lead Vocals, Betse Ellis- Fiddle, Vocals, Phil Wade- Dobro, Banjo, Mandolin, Vocals, Nate Gawron- Bass, Vocals. Sarah Carpenter also sings back-up on this track.]

10. The Grisly Hand – “The Good Wife”
from: Safe House [EP] / Independent / November 2, 2010
[The Grisly Hand are: Jimmy Fitzner, Johnny Nichols, Chas Snyder, Lauren Krum, Ben Summers, Mike Tuley & Kian Byrne. They played their first shows in January of 2009 and have since performed throughout the Kansas City/Lawrence area winning a 2010 Pitch Music Award. The entire band climbed into our studios and performed live on our Nov. 10 2010 show. Safe House was released on vinyl. For more info: myspace.com/thegrislyhand.]

11. Howard Iceberg & The Titanics – “Jacksonville”
From: Welcome Aboard! Vol. 2 / Independent / June 26, 2011
[7-CD set, includes over 100 new songs, featuring The Titanics: Gary Paredes on lead guitar, Dan Mesh on rhythm guitar, Scott Easterday on bass, Pat Tomek on drums. With contributions from over 70 local artists, who’ve joined in on Howard’s “never-ending recording project” conducted in Pat Tomek’s home studio. ]

12. Tom Russell – “Furious Love (For Liz)”
from: Mesabi / Shout! Factory Records / Septenber 5, 2011
[Playing Knuckleheads Thursday, October 6, at 8:00 PM]

11:15 – Interview with Peggy Friesen & Michael Grayman

Peggy Friesen & Michael Grayman joined us to discuss the KC premiere of Joan Didion’s “The Year of Magical Thinking,” produced by Spinning Tree Theatre, and running October 12-23, at The Living Room, 1818 McGee in KC.

Peggy Friesen has been a professional actress in the Kansas City for over 25 years. She received her masters of Fine Arts from Ohio State University and has performed in over 50 productions at Kansas City Repertory Theatre, and dozens of productions at the Unicorn Theatre where she won Best Actress Award from The Pitch in 2000 for the play “Wit.” On film, Peggy Friesen has appeared in many films and has worked with Directors: Robert Altman, Steven Soderbergh, and Ang Lee. Peggy is also a professional harpist, playing both concert and Celtic instruments. She shares an old house with her husband, musician, photographer, and T’ai Chi instructor, Royal Scanlon.

Michael Grayman is the Artistic Director at Spinning Tree Theatre. Michael most recently directed Spinning Tree Theatre’s inaugural production of “Make Me a Song: The Music of William Finn” at Kansas City Crown Center’s Off Center Theatre. As a resident director at The Barnstormers Theatre in New Hampshire he Directed A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Brigadoon and I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. In the Fall of 2010 he was represented as Associate Director of Sylvia at The New Theatre in Kansas City. He is a teaching artist for Coterie Theatre and Accelerated School Overland Park. As a member of Actors’ Equity Association, he made his national tour debut at age 14 with The King and I. Other Broadway national tours include Mamma Mia! and the 40th anniversary production of West Side Story. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Michael is a graduate of the Cincinnati School for Creative and Performing Arts. Michael holds a BFA from The Boston Conservatory and is also a member of Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

Michael Grayman, after many years working in New York City and in Delaware, started Spinning Tree Theatre, with his partner Andy Parkhurst, here in Kansas City. Michael told us that the name Spinning Tree after a long brainstorming session to find a name that evoked the spirit of their theatre vision.

Michael talked about seeing the Broadway production of Joan Didion’s “The Year of Magical Thinking” starring Vanessa Redgrave.

KC premiere of Joan Didion’s “The Year of Magical Thinking.” The play will run October 12-23, at The Living Room, 1818 McGee in Kansas City. Performances are Wednesdays through Sundays. For info: spinningtreetheatre.com for tickets: thelivingroomkc.com

The last time Peggy Friesen was a guest on Wednesday MidDay Medley was when she visited us to discuss “Nickel and Dimed” a show produced by The Unicorn Theatre, another play, based on a popular book, written by another fierce female author/journalist. Peggy Friesen has been able to bring to life on the stage, many amazing female characters. Michael talked about how this play seemed to be perfect for Peggy Friesen. Peggy Discussed the challenges of a one-woman-show and how she uses the audience, as a character, she plays to, in her performances.

The Year of Magical Thinking is written in a stream-of-consciousness style, in which ideas are introduced and repeated, images and memories get triggered unexpectedly, and information is processed in real time and then integrated into the overall narrative. In this book, Didion doesn’t simply tell us how she thinks: she shows us.

The Year of Magical Thinking documents Didion’s experience of grief after losing her husband John, and also serves as a memorial to their relationship and forty-year marriage. At the same time, she is dealing with her daughter Quintana Roo Dunne, who spends most of the book in either a coma or a state of slow recovery. Her daughter Quintana also eventually dies, in a tragic postscript.

In the 2005 NY Times review of this book, critic Robert Pinsky wrote, “”The Year of Magical Thinking” is not a downer. On the contrary. Though the material is literally terrible, the writing is exhilarating and what unfolds resembles an adventure narrative: a forced expedition. As in Didion’s previous writing, her sense of timing, sentence by sentence and in the arrangement of scenes, draws the reader forward. Her manner is deadpan funny, slicing away banality with an air that is ruthless yet meticulous.”

The Book won the National Book Award in November 2005 and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Biography/Autobiography.

On March 29, 2007, Didion’s adaptation of her book for Broadway, directed by David Hare, opened with Vanessa Redgrave as the sole cast member. The play expands upon the memoir by dealing with Quintana’s death. Redgrave reprised her role to largely positive reviews at London’s National Theatre.

Spinning Tree Theatre aims to produce works which celebrate and reflect the diversity of KC itself by exploring a variety of cultures & art forms through theatre, music and dance. Their goal is to present new, contemporary & classic pieces that are relevant, thought-provoking & entertaining. We hope to educate, challenge, stimulate & inspire audience & artist alike.

The KC premiere of Joan Didion’s “The Year of Magical Thinking,” produced by Spinning Tree Theatre, will run October 12-23, at The Living Room, 1818 McGee in KC. Performances are Wednesdays thru Sundays. For info: spinningtreetheatre.com For tickets: thelivingroomkc.com

11:35

13. Greg Brown – “Lovinest One”
from: Freak Flag / Yep Roc Records / May 10, 2011
[Greg Brown will be in concert in a rare KC performance with his wife Iris Dement, on 11-11-11 at The Folly Theatre to honor and benefit United Inner City Services home of St. Mark Child and Family Development Center. For more info you can call 816-994-5400 or visit: irisandgregbenefitconcert.com]

14. Jono McCleery – “Fears”
from: There Is / Counter Records / Sept. 26, 2011
[London based singer-songwriter new album opens with ‘Fears’ and includes collaborations with Fink and Vashti Bunyan.]

15. Kristie Stremel & The 159ers – “Clementine”
from: Color of Stars / Stremeltone / 2010
[Kristie Stremel & The 159ers will play the RecordBar Saturday Oct. 8 at 8:00 PM]

11:45 – New Electronica from: Neon Indian, Com Truise and Purity Ring

Neon Indian, Com Truise and Purity Ring will be in concert together, Tuesday October 11, at The RecordBar, 1020 Westport Road. in a show that starts at 8:30 PM

16. Neon Indian – “Hex Girlfriend”
from: Era Extrana / Mom + Pop / September 13, 2011

17. Com Truise – “Futureworld”
from: Galactic Melt / Ghostly / July 2011
[Com Truise, is New Jersey based designer and musician named Seth Haley, who said he envisioned this record as a “sort of film score…from the mind,” chronicling the life and death of Com Truise, the world’s first robotic astronaut, from his creation and life on Earth to his subsequent mission to a newly discovered galaxy called “Wave 1.”]

18. Purity Ring – “Ungirthed”
from: Ungirthed 7″ / Independent / Jan. 14, 2011

11:59:30

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

Sources for Notes: Artist’s websites noted above and wikipedia.org

Show #389