SoundCheck

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.  

 

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 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.

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.

Jessica Balisle / KSMU

When you hear the name Ruell Chappell, what comes to mind? The Ozark Mountain Daredevils? Ozarks Writer’s Night at Friends Karaoke Pub? Maybe you’re like me and it’s Nick, Ruell and Ned the Band at McSalty’s in the 90s. Whatever it might be, now you can add Play It Forward to the list.

Jessica Balisle / KSMU

Nearly everyone in Springfield is familiar with the Sertoma Chili Cook-off. It’s the big celebration in February where local businesses and organizations compete for the best chili, all while helping support the Boys and Girls Clubs. Anyone who’s been to a chili cook-off knows that live music is a major part of the day’s events. This year’s event on February 23rd will again feature the KSMU Acoustic Stage, as well as the main stage in the big room of the downtown Expo Center.

I spoke with Sertoman Ken Childers about what makes live music such a vital part of this event.

Courtesy of Sunset to Burns

How much does a band have to change over time before it’s not the same band anymore? For Sunset to Burns, the answer is: a lot. When the band formed in 2011, things seemed stable – from their Polk County roots to their acoustic sound. Even their name was deeply tied to the county. Founding member and guitarist Lucas Roberts explains its origin.

“The name Sunset to Burns is two bridges:  it’s a float trip. It’s from Sunset Bridge on the Pomme de Terre River to Burns Bridge on the Pomme de Terre River,” said Lucas.

Courtesy of Joe Dillsrom

Childhood memories can be influential on our older selves. Looking through time passed, we find ourselves reminiscing for days gone by. For songwriter Joe Dillstrom, the ability to process and draw on these memories gives life to his songs.

Growing up in Springfield, Joe remembers his mother taking him to diners like Aunt Martha’s and Anton’s. The older crowd at these places stuck in his mind.

“A different part of our postwar Ozarks culture that was just fading away as I was getting older. The sort of remnants of the Route 66 mythology,” said Joe.

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