Studio Live

Courtesy of SALT

Salt. It’s a mineral that is essential to life on earth. As humans, we cook with it, preserve our food with it, and sometimes even light our rooms with it. But there’s a different salt here in the Ozarks. The power trio SALT is a band made up of guitarist Bobby Gardner, bassist Kim Painter and drummer Ryan Fannin. They describe their sound as raw and original rock. It can be edgy and at times heavy, but coated in melody and thick, glorious harmonies. Be sure to check out the band’s music videos on YouTube.

Courtesy of molly.

Poet molly. has been writing since her teen years, but she’s new to performing music. Her first gig was just two years ago.

Courtesy of Jimmy Reā

The pandemic has been hard on all of us. We’re all doing our best, trying to get by. For musician Jimmy Re­­ā of the Hillbenders, he saw the pandemic as an opportunity to work on a project he previously didn’t have much time for.

Balisle: What is the recording club?

Jesse Tyler

This month’s episode of SoundCheck features the practice of exercising the earbone. Musician Calvin Todd explains.

“Kind of viewing the act of listening as a muscle that the body has, or that the mind has, or bone, and exercising that. Making it stronger or weaker and how we use that,” he said.

I told Todd that I had never heard the term earbone before when it comes to listening and playing music.

Courtesy of Barak Hill

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a seismic shift for so many of us, including musicians. This month on SoundCheck, we hear from singer/songwriter Barak Hill and his pandemic project. It all started when he and his partner Katy Frederick bought a house in August 2019.

“One of the things I loved about it was it had this shop out back that I could, I thought, very easily convert into a home office/studio,” Hill said.

It took the pandemic for dreams of the studio to actually begin taking shape, as Hill’s live music career has been stalled.  

Whitney Houseman

Guitarist Clinton Houseman took a departure during the pandemic from full band music to solo projects, including three (mostly) new records. Playing in bands including the Kursk and Grandma Strange, he has already released to solo projects since May 2020, with a third shortly on the way.

In early 2020 before the pandemic, he was already working on tracking a new solo project. He and the Kursk came back from a two week tour on the last day of February.

Courtesy of Brian Bulger

In 2019, singer/songwriter Brian Bulger released a full album that led to success, both playing shows and in his online presence with Spotify. He felt like he was doing well with his new music career until 2020 hit.

“Find a new way to do music,” he said. “I feel like one thing that was good, though, that I’ve seen more success with the online part of it than I had with playing shows, so, I was kind of already used to relying on that. So, when 2020 hit, I was like, well I guess I can just do what I’m doing now, but I just don’t play shows.

Courtesy of Jeff Arrigo

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted every aspect of our society these last few months. We all are feeling its lingering effects as we stay at home. We wear masks when we do go out. Groceries are delivered and shaking hands is out of the question. For musicians all over the country, the pandemic has meant lost gigs.

Fayetteville singer/songwriter Jeff Arrigo had a weekly Wednesday gig at the Pesto Café. With the onset of COVID, that quickly came to an end. But, Jeff is one of the lucky ones.

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. 

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.