Jessica Balisle

Administrative Specialist/Studio Live

Jessica Balisle, a Springfield native, grew up listening to KSMU. She now commands the front desk, taking your calls and greeting you at the door. Jessica co-hosts live music show Studio Live and is heavily involved with the station’s membership office. In 2006, she earned her BA in Applied Anthropology from Missouri State University. When she’s not at KSMU, Jessica plays bass in local bands the Hook KnivesBrother Wiley and the Ozark Sheiks, and sings in Shattered and JM Buttermilk.  She and her husband Todd live with their two cats Cory And Trevor and Elle Driver.

Ways to Connect

Jessica Balisle / KSMU

For Randy Buckner, the sounds of Merle Travis’ guitar picking would fill his grandparents’ home on North Grant Avenue, where he spent the week from time to time when he was a young child. These records were a pivotal point for Buckner’s music. At 9, he picked up his first guitar. By the time he was 15, he had the opportunity to join Travis onstage.

To many people in Springfield, Molly Healey is known as a fiddle player. Over the last few years, she has developed her style into folk-inspired orchestral looping. She uses a looping pedal to overlay different instruments and rhythms, creating a sound that feels like an entire ensemble rather than just one musician.

On Studio Live, Healey demonstrated how she creates each sound – layering them one at a time, to build up an impressive wave of music. She performs without shoes, in order to work the array of pedals with her feet, much like a pipe organist would do.

Jessica Balisle / KSMU

Traditional Ozarks music is steeped in old fiddle tunes from the British Isles, France, Germany, and French Canada, among other places. Over time, the style evolved, giving us bluegrass. According to Roger Matthews, if you boil down a bluegrass band to its core, you are left with Fiddle and Banjo – the name of KSMU’s Studio Live group for July.

Fiddle and Banjo is Michael Smartt on fiddle and Matthews on banjo. The duo shared several old-timey tunes with hosts Mike Smith and Jess Balisle, along with a history lesson about each song and the genre it came from.

Jessica Balisle / KSMU

Andy Havens was in the Studio to perform original songs with his backing band - Johnny Strickler on electric guitar, Larry Cataldo on bass, David Nace on drums, Alisha Thomas on violin and backing vocals, and Kat Rueda-Lynn on backing vocals. 

Brett Miller

The Hook Knives (Ran Cummings, Mike Henderson, Alisha Schroeder, Jessica Balisle) were on Studio Live with their unique blend of original tunes. The band then played Studio Live Social Hour at the Backlot. 

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