music

Courtesy of Clarence Brewer

Clarence Brewer is many things. He’s a welder, sculptor, actor, musician, and songwriter, going by the name, “King Clarentz.” I called Clarence up for an interview to talk about what it was like growing up Black in Springfield during the 1950s and 60s.

As a child, Clarence went to Timmons Temple with his mother and recalls the music of that church having a big impact on him.

“My mother was in the Pentecostal church. But, the Pentecostal church was rockin’. It was very musical. With a really good backbeat, the place would erupt,” said Clarence.

Courtesy of Justin Larkin

This month for KSMU’s series SoundCheck, Jess Balisle interviews full-time musician Justin Larkin on how he is dealing with cancelled gigs, waning income and how to stay positive during the coronavirus pandemic. There will not be an April Studio Live, but we will reschedule Larkin for early next year.  

 

Courtesy of Violet Vonder Haar

Violet Vonder Haar has always had nautical themes in her life; her father was a riverboat captain. Last year, her Columbia-based band Violet and the Undercurrents released The Captain, a double album centered around these themes. 

Many of you are probably familiar with NPR’s Tiny Desk concerts. A musician or band performs at All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen’s desk at the NPR headquarters in Washington, DC and the videos are posted to YouTube. The sixth annual Tiny Desk Contest is open now for unsigned musicians ages 18 and up to enter and have the chance to perform at the iconic Tiny Desk.

Sister Lucille
Courtesy of Sister Lucille

It’s not out of line to say Sister Lucille is one of the hottest bands in Missouri right now. At the time of writing this, they hold the number three spot in the state on the Roots Music Report for their new album, Alive. The record was number 15 on the national Roots charts and debuted at number four on iTunes.

Sister Lucille is married couple vocalist Kimberly Dill and guitarist Jamie Holdren, as well as drummer Kevin Lyons and bassist Eric Guinn. Guinn is retiring from the band and will be replaced by Reed Herron.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

Jerry Buckner

Since the young age of five, Randy Buckner has been a fan of Merle Travis. Known for his unique thumbpicking guitar style, Travis stood out to the young Buckner when he would spend time at his grandparents’ farm on North Grant Avenue in Springfield.

“So, being the usual rambunctious kid, to get me to keep quiet, Grandpa would play Merle Travis records, like Walking the Strings and The Merle Travis Guitar. And just the sound of that guitar just totally fascinated me,” said Buckner.

Whitney Houseman

Songwriter Ryan Wallace had a band name tucked away long before he actually had a band.

“I can thank my mom for the name. I don’t remember exactly what she said. She was talking about someone that she didn’t hold in real high esteem and about how they spent their time always out in bars just talking to random strangers,” said Ryan

By the time 2010 rolled around, Ryan had written enough songs to record an EP.

“So, I went into a small studio in Nevada, Missouri, now defunct. The Armadillo Sound Studio,” he said.

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