Local Music | St. Louis Public Radio

Local Music

Jess Luther / I Went to a Show

Jess Luther, a music expert who’s among the founders of the local music blog I Went to a Show, continues to highlight local musicians across several genres.

Luther, who also works in business operations at St. Louis Public Radio, featured up and coming artists with producer Alex Heuer on Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air. Luther premiered songs from local musicians and talked about their collaborations with each other.

Paige Alyssa’s “Worth It”

 

Brit Daniels of Spoon played at LouFest. Sept. 9, 2017
Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

LouFest 2017 reached another set of milestones, selling out Saturday.

Music Record Shop handled sales of the performers' recordings and provided space for festival-goers to meet artists.

The festival also held its first concurrent art exhibition, overseen by TechArtista. It featured wooden triangle constructions to be repurposed after the festival. Check out our photos of LouFest highlights.

Chuck Berry
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | file photo

The annual LouFest music festival will be anchored in part this year by a celebration of St. Louis rock 'n' roll legend Chuck Berry.

A tribute Saturday, titled “Hail! Hail! Chuck Berry!” will feature musicians from national acts The Roots, Spoon, Huey Lewis, and St. Louis’s own Pokey LaFarge, Bryan Greenberg and Chris Chew. Berry’s grandsons Charles Berry III and Jahi Eskridge also will share the stage. The event will take place on the main Bud Light Stage from 8 to 9 p.m., before headliner Snoop Dogg performs.

John Henry discussed this year's Open Highway Music Festival.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Next week, the Open Highway Music Festival will return to St. Louis for its sixth year at Off Broadway.

John Henry, a local musician and talent buyer at Off Broadway, is one of the festival organizers. He joined St. Louis on the Air contributor Steve Potter to discuss how the festival has evolved over the years and what to expect this year.

Poster detail created for the event has the title of event.
Provided by Andrew Gibson

Music played an important role in the civil rights movement that helped transform the nation. Songs such as Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” and “We Shall Not Be Moved” by Mavis Staples inspired black people to push for change — and moved the hearts of others.

Charles Berry, Jr. stands behind a podium with a giant image of Chuck Berry behind.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

For more than 40 years, bassist Jim Marsala toured with Chuck Berry. They played together in the Kremlin in Moscow, on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, and at Berry’s regular Duck Room show at Blueberry Hill in the Loop.

In the early 2000s, Berry’s son Charles Berry Jr. joined the band. Berry then began music, writing piano lines, lyrics and guitar parts for what would be his final work — tapping Marsala and his son on guitar.

Those recordings will be released today in the rock icon’s final album, “CHUCK.” The younger Berry says it’s a classic, and shows that late in life his father remained a gifted songwriter with a knack for making people dance.

This week marks the 21st annual Twangest, a local music festival celebrating Americana music at Old Rock House.
Twangfest

This year marks the 21st for Twangfest, a local music festival drawing national and local bands to Off Broadway in south St. Louis to celebrate Americana music.

For organizer John Wendland, this year’s festival (featuring bands like Black Joe Lewis, Chuck Prophet and Erika Wennerstrom of Heartless Bastards) feels like it has finally matured.

“You know, it took a while, but here we are,” Wendland told St. Louis on the Air contributor Steve Potter.

Pokey LaFarge joined St. Louis on the Air contributor Steve Potter to discuss his new album, "Manic Revelations."
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

This week marks the release of St. Louis-based singer-songwriter Pokey LaFarge’s seventh album “Manic Revelations,” which has a decidedly different feel and hits close to home.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, LaFarge shared with contributor Steve Potter some of the inspirations for three of the songs on the album and the meaning of the title.

Bassist Andrea Morse, drummer Vijay Roy and guitarist Dave Anderson debut improvisational music at the new performance series, The Lab
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Dave Anderson’s small basement workshop in south St. Louis is a way station for instruments used by some of the city's best guitarists. Over years, he’s developed the trust of dozens of top-notch players, tuning and rebuilding their instruments. Some play clubs around the city, some tour and some are relatively unknown, content to just do their thing.

A picture of vinyle tops and stacked records from Euclid Records' upstairs which is filled with old pressings of jazz, country, ambient and rock
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Saturday is Record Store Day, an international event developed in the age of the internet to build awareness for brick and mortar music shops. The music-buying public has embraced the event and many stores use the day to host live music, have cookouts and generally adopt a party atmosphere.

Gene Jackson started his professional performing  career at 15 when his mom signed a waiver allowing him to perform at the Midnight Lounge on Dr. Martin Luther King Drive in the mid-1970s.

Older musicians took him under their wings, showing him the ins and outs of St. Louis’ rhythm and blues, and initiating him into a fellowship of performing musicians determined to keep soul music alive.

Roland Johnson entered the scene years earlier, started his career singing with groups at sock hops and youth dances before entering the realms of bars and clubs.

Two eyes peer out of a red field and an alligator rests below celestial machinery in the collaged cover of Rhizomatic St. Louis 5
Provided by Nathan Cook

For electronic musician Nathan N. Cook, abstract soundscapes, nature recordings interwoven with voices, and harsh noises, aren’t just intellectual experiments in audio editing. Instead, he finds them places of human connection.

Five years ago, Cook decided to mix those elements into recordings that capture a community of local musicians — and to share that connection with others. He launched the Rhizomatic St. Louis series, an annual album release of 10 distinct, avant-garde and experimental musicians.

The Rise & Scream poster gives the date and depicts a closed fist raised in the air.
Provided by Vincent Saletto

When Vinnie Saletto and his wife considered adopting a child from overseas, they turned to the International Institute of St. Louis to learn more about how immigrants fare in St. Louis.

As Saletto learned more about the Institute’s mission — and noticed an increasing wave of anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States — he felt compelled to support to the organization. So he turned to his passion, music, and began organizing a benefit concert for the institute.

The concert “Rise and Scream” will take place Saturday at 2720 Cherokee Performing Arts Center. About 90 people are contributing to the event —  from bands to artists, cooks to vendors. Many will voice opposition to the Trump administration's immigration policies.

Bruiser Queen (Morgan Nusbaum and Jason Potter) stand before a giant mural
Provided by Bruiser Queen

Today's the day! We've reached the end of our local Tiny Desk Contest countdown. Our final favorite to highlight? Bruiser Queen

This week, we highlighted the favorite local Tiny Desk Contest submissions ahead of a Tiny Desk STL Happy Hour concert on Thursday,  at Anew, the rooftop venue above the Big Brothers and Big Sisters building in Grand Center.

Kenny DeShields sits at a wooden table smiling wryly
Provided by Kenny DeShields

This week, we're counting down favorite local Tiny Desk Contest submissions ahead of a Tiny Desk STL Happy Hour concert on Thursday,  Anew, the rooftop venue above the Big Brothers and Big Sisters building in Grand Center.

More than 50 St. Louis area acts submitted to NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest this year. There were more than  6,000 entrees nationally.

After an intense voting round, we've narrowed down the top five local submissions to the contest, which we are highlighting on our website and on St. Louis on the Air this week. Earlier this week, we brought you interviews with Monkh and the People and Roland Johnson. Yesterday, we heard from Augusta Bottoms Consort.

Today, we turn our attention to Kenny DeShields.

Band members stand holding various stringed instruments from left to right are Gloria Attoun, Michael Bauermeister, Paul Ovaitt, Rebecca Mayer.
Provided by Augusta Bottoms Consort

This week, we're counting down favorite local Tiny Desk Contest submissions ahead of a Tiny Desk STL Happy Hour concert on Thursday, March 16, at Anew, the local rooftop venue above the Big Brothers and Big Sisters building in Grand Center.

More than 50 local acts submitted to NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest this year. There were over 6,000 entires nationally.

Tiny Desk Saint Louis logo rooftop concert
Susannah Lohr

More than 50 local acts submitted to NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest this year. There were over 6,000 entires nationally.

While the winner of the national contest, Tank and The Bangas,  has been crowned, we decided here at St. Louis Public Radio to ask for your help selecting a few local favorites. After an intense voting round, we've narrowed down the top five local submissions to the contest, which we'll be highlighting on our website and on St. Louis on the Air this week.

Magic City plays a show Feb 19, 2011 at the Schlafly Tap Room. The band is performing seated on the group bathed in yellow light
Provided by Dana Smith and Magic City

When St. Louis bassist Anne Tkach died in a house fire in 2015, the members of her band, Magic City, found themselves adrift. The group had been working on a follow-up to Les Animaux Épouvantables, their 2011 driving rock ‘n’ roll album.

Tkach and drummer Sam Meyer kept the group anchored. Without her, the band members weren’t sure how to keep working on the album. Her death made every possibility seem out of the question.

Eventually, the musicians pulled themselves together. This month, they’ll release the album “Le Vie Est Chere” in Tkach’s honor.  It will be their last release as a band. They’ll play one last show at Off Broadway on March 31.

Artwork designed by organizer Charles Purnell for the St. Louis artists event depicts the words not my presidents day laid over official portraits of United States presidents with an X over Donald Trump's face.
Provided by Charles Purnell

It’s rare that people find comfort in admitting their fears.  It’s even more unusual to admit those  fears to a group of strangers.

But finding strength in fear, frustration and confusion in a starkly divided nation is one of the aims of This Is Who I Am Now: Artists on Politics,” which takes place today at The Monocle, 4510 Manchester Ave., in St. Louis.

“That’s been one of the biggest things for me, being able to say I’m scared and I have no idea what I’m going to do in the next couple years," organizer Charles Purnell said. "I don’t know what’s going to change, I don’t know what’s going to happen — and knowing that’s OK. It’s OK to be afraid and to admit that.”

Detail from Winter Wolves concert poster designed by Lauren Gornik
Provided by Lauren Gornik

For many people, conservationists and heavy metal fans may not seem to have much in common. But for Simon Koch, they're a natural combination. 

That's why for the third year in a row Koch has organized a “Winter Wolves: a benefit for the Endangered Wolf Center.”

American Wrestlers, photographed in August 2016 by Jess Luther.
Jess Luther | I Went To A Show

When St. Louis Public Radio Business Operations Specialist Jess Luther founded the live, local music blog I Went to a Show in 2010, she had three goals: get St. Louis fans to come to local shows, have them buy tickets and buy merchandise.

She wanted to help foster a community of live music lovers in a city she knows and loves.

Jack Grelle's album cover. (Nov. 2, 2016)
Provided by Jack Grelle

Jack Grelle wrote some of his first country songs as he hitchhiked across the Midwest, meeting people from around the country with life experience far beyond his own. Nearly a decade ago, he spent time with strangers in cramped cars — sometimes for days — and gained a strong sense of compassion for a shared, but diverse, humanity.

St. Louis rapper and producer Muhammad Austing poses with a picture of himself on his laptop.
Provided by Muhammad Austin

Muhammad Austin doesn’t have top of the line equipment or a world-class studio. He records most of his music in the basement of his parents Spanish Lake home. But that hasn’t stopped him from making some of the most innovative hip-hop in St. Louis — and people are starting to notice.

Over the past two years Austin, who goes by the stage name Mvstermind, has risen through the St. Louis music scene to become one of the dominant voices in the young hip-hop community. Today, he performs at Delmar Hall in support of his new album, “The Cusp.”

Melinda Cooper performs with her band Town Cars
Jess Luther | St. Louis Public Radio

Local musician Melinda Cooper remembers the exact moment she fell in love with songwriting.  Decades ago, it was snowing outside and she was driving down Interstate 44 when Stephen Merritt’s song “Falling Out Of Love (With You)” began playing on her car radio.  She immediately changed course and drove to Vintage Vinyl to buy the album.

Cooper hopes submitting her music to the St. Louis County Library’s new local music initiative — which will allow music fans to stream local music on computers and eventually an app — gives someone else a similar feeling.

Local guitar duo Fine to Drive play onstage at a preview show at Delmar Hall the night before its grand opening.
Jess Luther | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis’ newest concert venue opens tonight in the Delmar Loop neighborhood. With Delmar Hall, Joe Edwards and Pat Hagin, co-owners of the Pageant concert hall next door, continue their push to make the neighborhood an entertainment hub.

“This is the live music corridor, center, of St. Louis and this just cements that,” Edwards said.

Delmar Hall will seat up to 800 people and focus on concerts, comedy and private business events. Edwards said up to 25 percent of the acts will be local performers with national touring groups making up the remaining shows. The opening weekend features Stir, Jay Farrar, and Hippie Sabotage.

Lonely Mountain String Band played last year's An Under Cover Weekend and came back for this year as well.
Provided by Corey Woodruff and Michael Tomko

As Libby Swanger raised her viola and began Jimmy Page’s solo from Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” there was no way for her to anticipate the crowd reaction.

“People were like screaming for me, and as a violist, that has never happened ever," she said. "People don’t scream for us, and it was just like a shining moment that came out of last year.”

Swanger’s performance took place with the bluegrass group The Lonely Mountain String Band during An Under Cover Weekend, St. Louis’s annual tribute band festival.  This weekend, the event celebrates its 10th anniversary.

Earlier this year, iLLPHONiCS released a new album titled "Gone With the Trends."
Provided by iLLPHONICS

Updated Sept. 7 with additional information about producing entities. Updated Sept. 9 with audio from St. Louis on the Air.

The seventh annual LouFest will bring hip-hop, rock, and jazz acts to Forest Park this weekend.

LouFest has grown steadily since its debut in 2010 and the last three years have seen a marked increase in attendance.


The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra performs in Lucerne, Switzerland, 2012
Provided by Dilip Vishwanat and the St. Louis Symphony

The St. Louis Symphony will be launching its third tour in almost two decades in Europe this February.

The Symphony will perform Feb. 8-11 in the Spanish cities of Madrid, Oviedo and Valencia. The musicians will present works by composers John Adams, Antonin Dvorak, Aaron Copland, and others.

St. Louis residents will have a chance to hear those works in January before the group leaves for Spain.

Provided by The Maness Brothers
Provided by The Maness Brothers

The Whiskey War Festival, a homegrown day of music celebrating contemporary Americana, blues and rock groups from the Midwest, turns 5 on Saturday.

This year the festival is moving from its home base in St. Charles to the South Broadway Athletic Club in the Soulard neighborhood. Jake Maness, who founded the festival with his brother David, said the show is a chance to share the music they’ve found while touring the Midwest.

Courtesy Avarty Photos

In a show of support for survivors of sexual assault and harassment, members of the St. Louis music scene will meet tonight to speak out against rape culture.

The term "rape culture" defines an environment where sexual violence is normalized, sexual assault is trivialized, and survivors are blamed. The discussion in St. Louis takes place during a time of increasing awareness of sexual assaults at concerts.

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