Folk Music | St. Louis Public Radio

Folk Music

From left, David Pulkingham, Buddy Miller, Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, and The Milk Carton Kids (Joey Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale) perform during the Lampedusa: Concerts for Refugees at the Rococo Theater in Lincoln, Neb., Oct. 9, 2016.
Christian Fuchs | Jesuit Refugee Service

Emmylou Harris and Steve Earle are two of the most revered American singer-songwriters performing today. The two longtime friends and performing buddies have also never been hesitant to express their political views — or throw their generous musical weight behind causes they believe in.

The two have recently reunited, along with several other musicians such as the Milk Carton Kids, Buddy Miller and David Pulkingham, to tour the country hosting benefit concerts, titled “Lampedusa,” to raise money for Jesuit Refugee Service. The Christian organization’s mission is to “accompany, serve and advocate for rights of refugees and other displaced persons.” JRS works in 45 countries across the globe to assist refugees’ educational, health and social needs.

Tonight, the benefit makes a stop in St. Louis at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

Jack Grelle (left) poses with Patrick Haggerty, who wrote and performed Lavender Country
Jess Luther | St. Louis Public Radio

The first song off Patrick Haggerty’s 1973 album “Lavender Country" proudly proclaimed the recording’s intentions. It’s gay. It’s country. And it makes no apologies. 

“We were making it for ourselves, which allowed a certain freedom of expression because we weren’t cow-towing to anybody,” said Haggerty, who performs Friday in St. Louis.

Four decades ago, the country-music industry greeted the album with hostility. Haggerty’s recording career came to an end. But his seminal work is finding a receptive country music audience today. Two years after a small Philadelphia label re-released the album to critical acclaim, Haggerty is on his first-ever tour.

A Make Music Piano near the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.
Provided by Make Music St. Louis

There’s music in the streets of St. Louis on Tuesday. Well, more music than usual.

More than 40 performers in more than 15 locations will take part in Make Music Day — an international attempt to inspire joy in communities through public performance.

Ron Campbell's Blue Meanie reclines on the words "all you need is love" whith the Yellow Submarine in the background.
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

The Beatles seem to be invading St. Louis once again. This summer Paul McCartney will perform at Busch Stadium, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Beatles's legendary performance at the old stadium. This weekend provides a chance to meet an artist who helped build the group's legacy, Ron Campbell.

“The Beatles fans, they spend their whole life remembering,” said Campbell, who also worked on popular kids cartoons. “Then there’s all the fans of the cartoons; the "Scooby-Doo" fans and all the childhood memories that they have.”

Texas Room recording Session
Provided by Jarred Gastriech

Last year local musician Louis Wall decided to record and produce an album pairing St. Louis-born with immigrant musicians. At the time, he didn’t know it would expand to include roughly 50 people from 15 countries across five continents. Wall says the key to making an album with that many contributors is keeping it accessible to everyone.

“I mean, this is probably just pop music 101, but it’s having people relate to many broad things,” he said.

Members of Blank Generation play Marquette Pool opening this summer. The group headlined a Play for the Cause show at Off Broadway yesterday.
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Louis nonprofit called Playing for the Cause is trying to connect philanthropic musicians and their fans to causes they care about. Lynn Cook founded the organization on one simple idea.

“If you have 3,000 happy people in front of you every night, all you have to do is ask and of course they’re going to support you,” said Cook.

Anne Tkach performs with The Skekses
Courtesy of the band

It seems as though everyone in the St. Louis music scene knew Anne Tkach. In April, Tkach died tragically in a house fire. Ellen Herget, 30, played with Tkach in the band The Skekses. She said Tkach’s loss was felt throughout the music community.

“It was immeasurable,” said Herget, “she was everywhere, she was so active, and she was so enthused.” 

Photo Flood Photographer Jeni Kulka's September 20th Image in Tower Grove Park
Photo Flood Photographer Jeni Kulka

With the way the weather has been going on the weekend, just pick what you're interested in and head out. The rain seems to come for a bit but not necessarily wipe things out. Hope that statement isn't a jinx.

Fair Saint Louis enters its 35th year with a line-up that includes acts from Chris Young to Kool & the Gang. PR Chairman for Fair St. Louis Alonzo Byrd says organizers strive to acknowledge St. Louis is a music city.

Part of Adria and Her Treasures record "Unde Dragoste (Where Love)?" for The Texas Room
Willis Ryder Arnold/St. Louis Public Radio

Local music producer and sound engineer Louis Wall thinks challenging area international and local musicians to produce a collaborative album will help push artists beyond their social boundaries. 

“I kind of like that element of putting people out in their own place - if you stick with someone else’s culture then you might realize ‘I’ve got one too and I need to discover what that is and where I come from,’” said Wall.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Fall weekends in the St. Louis area are filled with an array of festivals and events, and this coming weekend is no exception. Taste of St. Louis downtown will draw most of the media coverage, but another major three-day festival will take place Sept. 27 through Sept. 29 at several locations in the Grand Center area – ranging from the Sheldon Concert Hall, the Grandel Theater, and Urban Chestnut, Strauss Park and the KDHX Folk School on Washington Avenue.