Jessica Balisle

Administrative Specialist/Studio Live

Jessica Gray 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 produces arts and culture stories. 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, CT and Ellie, and way too many house plants. 

Ways to Connect

Courtesy of Steve Ames

Steve Ames will perform on KSMU's Studio Live Friday, December 13, 2019 at noon. He'll be at Tie & Timber Beer Co. that same evening from 6-8 pm for Studio Live Social Hour. 

What happens when you take a classically trained opera singer and introduce him to folk music? You get the music powerhouse Steve Ames. Our story starts in Decatur, Illinois, where a young Ames began his vocal journey.

Courtesy of The Kursk

This month’s SoundCheck episode takes a look at the musical evolution of the Kursk. The band will be on KSMU’s Studio Live Friday, November 8, 2019 at noon, followed by Studio Live Social Hour at Tie & Timber Beer Co. from 6-8 pm that same evening.

Jessica Balisle / KSMU

This month’s SoundCheck episode looks at the heartbreaking and heartwarming story of the weird sounds of Equal Sponge 22.0. The duo will be on KSMU’s Studio Live Friday, October 11 at noon, followed by Studio Live Social Hour at our new location, Tie & Timber Beer Co. from 6-8 that same day.

The year is 1996. The Springfield music scene is full of classic acts such as the Skeletons and the Smarties. Big Smith is beginning to take the town by storm.

Jessica Balisle / KSMU

In this segment of KSMU’s Sense of Community series “Take It Outside: 10 Unique Spots to Enjoy the Natural Ozarks,” Jess Balisle takes listeners to the top of White Rock Mountain for a weekend of driving dirt roads, swimming and sunset watching.

We've just hit the dirt road on our way to White Rock. I’m so excited to be taking you guys to this very special place that I have grown up going to.

White Rock Mountain is situated in the middle of the Boston Mountains on the west end of the Ozark National Forest in Northwest Arkansas. It’s become my second home over the years.

Jessica Balisle / KSMU

In this segment of KSMU’s Sense of Community series “Take It Outside,” Jess Balisle takes us to Blanchard Springs Caverns, just north of Mountain View, Arkansas.

Courtesy of Avery Mann

KSMU’s series SoundCheck takes a sneak-peak at the bands of Studio Live. This month, the young songwriter Avery Mann lets us in on how he learned to play the guitar. Catch him on Studio Live on Friday, September 13, 2019 at noon, followed by Studio Live Social Hour at the Backlot at Alamo Drafthouse from 6-8 pm that same day.

Courtesy of Queen City Shout

The Queen City Shout Festival kicks off Wednesday evening, August 21, 2019 with 93 music acts, an art gallery and film festival. The five-day event is held on historic Commercial Street in Springfield, and organizers say proceeds go toward alleviating poverty here in the Ozarks. 

Music, art, film, poverty relief. These are the elements that make up this year’s Queen City Shout.

I first learned about the festival when one of my bands played there years ago. I’m back this year with another band.

File Photo / KSMU

Editor's note:   an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Mercy Springfield checks the immigration status of its patients.  The story has been updated to reflect that Mercy Springfield does not check the immigration status of its patients. We sincerely regret this errror.

As the immigrant community grows, public health officials and hospitals are trying making sure everyone is vaccinated from disease, including undocumented immigrants. 

Courtesy of Andy Havens

Andy Havens is scheduled to perform on KSMU’s Studio Live August 9 at noon.

“I like character-driven songs. I can get into the mind of a character and explore some things that I find interesting,” said Havens.

Havens has been writing songs since he was 14 years old. That’s long enough for him to know what he’s after when he sets out to write.

Jessica Balisle / KSMU

The Margins, a Springfield-based band scheduled to perform on KSMU's Studio Live July 12 at noon, is comprised of musicians Todd Balisle, Jody Bilyeu, Jonathan Keeney, Mike Rumsey and Jacob "Toad" Wyrick. 

For our monthly series SoundCheck, the band members dissect three songs to give us a look at what inspires them and what they think makes a good rock ‘n’ roll song. The Margins also have strong opinions on candy. Their discussion on the subject is below in the bonus audio. 

Jessica Balisle / KSMU

For Fayda Pires Bown, the path to America has been unexpected and complicated. It was never her dream to live here.

Bown grew up in the big city of Goiânia, Brazil where she had a difficult childhood. She tells me she had an emotionally and physically abusive mother. By the time Bown was seventeen, she had come to the end of her rope.

Jennifer Moore / KSMU

In 1991, civil war broke out in Somalia. It’s a relatively young country, with only 59 years of independence since British rule. At the time, Abdi Tarey was five years old. His father was in the military and things became very dangerous for his family.

“And my mom said, ‘We have to run to Kenya because so many people has been killed.’ And there was chaos and escalation. The government was fighting. The people were saying that the need to overthrow the president. And then, there was too much killing and looting,” said Tarey.

Courtesy of Dream Ritual

Dream Ritual has been a band for five years. In that time, they’ve released two studio EPs. This year, they have a new eight-song album out that differs quite a bit from their previous two offerings. I sat down with the band to explore their musical journey to this new sound.

As guitarist and vocalist Jason Nunn explains, Dream Ritual had an idea in the beginning of what they wanted the band to sound like – particularly a heavy 90s alternative sound.

Jessica Balisle / KSMU

Environmental sustainability is on the rise across the nation – with increases in sustainability practices through corporations and individuals alike, according to Nielson. Here in the Ozarks, we’re seeing the same thing on a local level.

Ashley Krug is with Springfield Environmental Services.

“At our recycling centers, even our household chemical collection center and yard waste facility, we’ve seen a trend in more and more people using them all of the time,” said Krug.

Krug says that millennials are currently the least likely to recycle in our community.

Courtesy of www.theozarkmountaindaredevils.com

Since 1971, The Ozark Mountain Daredevils have been a favorite band in the region and across the country. Now, a new album with a familiar feel will be released next week.  

HEAVEN 20/20, the new six-song album from the Daredevils, will be released May 17th, available on CD and digital download.

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