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Local Music

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.

St. Louis vocalist Erin Bode recently released her seventh album "Here and Now."
Erin Bode Group

In her recently-released seventh album “Here and Now,” St. Louis vocalist Erin Bode decided to try to something a little different.

“We’ve been getting requests for a few years now to do another record of standards, which goes back to the first album that I made,” she explained to St. Louis on the Air contributor Steve Potter.

For “Here and Now,” Bode’s group recorded songs originally written by artists such as Frank Loesser, Irving Berlin, and George Gershwin.

Kelly Moffitt, Wikimedia Commons

Everybody has that one song — that one song that immediately takes you back to a time, a place, a friend, a poignant memory. Now, try to imagine your life as told by a whole series of such important songs. That’s exactly what St. Louisan Dave Holmes, the runner-up in MTV’s inaugural “Wanna Be a VJ” contest in 1998, has done.

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.

St. Louis Public Radio's new arts and culture editor also edits our science and medical reporters.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Do you ever wonder why St. Louis Public Radio covers a particular concert but not an art show opening on the same night? Or a certain play but not a simultaneous music festival?

Editors are instrumental in these kinds of decisions. And we’ve got a new editor for our arts and culture team, who’s come to town with some new ideas. David Cazares (pronounced CAH-sar-ehs ) comes to us from Minnesota Public Radio, where he served as a web editor and music writer with an emphasis on jazz.

Stacey Crawford twirls flags with the color guard at a Band Together rehearsal.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Louis LGBT band will mark a milestone this Sunday, a happy commemoration at a time of mourning.

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.

Theresa Payne performs.
Provided by Theresa Payne

St. Louis singer Theresa Payne has been through a lot since 2014. She went through a devastating breakup. She lost her job. And she lost confidence in her voice after competing briefly in the reality TV show "The Voice."

But Payne regained her musical footing while working on a new project. When she thought about recording her album, she abandoned the inspirational, gospel-infused style of her past recordings. The result is “Get My Heart Back,” an album Payne says is raw and honest. 

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Lizzie Weber’s ‘Falling Like Fools’ Is Your New Favorite Song About Heartbreak,” read a Huffington Post story from September of 2014 about the Richmond Heights native’s first single from her eponymous debut album.

The singer-songwriter’s music has been lauded in the time since, with the music video for “Falling Like Fools,” screening at several film festivals and winning the “Best Music Video of 2016” from the Real Teal Film Festival in North Carolina.

Documentation of Reclamation 3
Provided by LBPhotography

When visual artist Basil Kincaid looked for a way to complete the Reclamation Project, a 4-year effort that creates art by remaking elements of St. Louis' black heritage, he turned to his grandmother for inspiration.

A quilter who passed her knowledge to her children, Eugenia Kincaid taught her grandson a lot about preserving cultural traditions. He decided to put the same focus into his work.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

In 1997, St. Louis jazz vocalist — legend, some do say — Denise Thimes lost her mother to pancreatic cancer. In the wake of that loss, Thimes launched the Mildred Thimes Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer. While she’s held an annual Mother’s Day concert for the past 20 years to pay tribute to her mother, her rock, the reason Thimes sings could be applied to anyone who has lost their mother: maternal sacrifice.

The local Songs of Africa ensemble is one of many groups performing in "A Tribute to African Composers."
African Musical Arts | Provided

A weekend concert in St. Louis pays homage to composers whose names are often left off lists that include Mozart, Bach and Britten.

“A Tribute to African Composers: Music Bringing People Together” features names like Adolphus Hailstork, Uzee Brown  and Tania Leon,  among a host of others with African roots.

Fans and camera crews surround the band Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear's performance
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s 9:30 on Saturday morning and there’s a garage rock band playing in a flower shop and plant nursery on Cherokee Street. Half an hour later another group performs in front of a group of kids in a chemical safety office.  By mid-afternoon bands have played in bike shops, feminist sex stores, micro-breweries and clothing stores along Cherokee Street. It’s all part of Lo-Fi Cherokee. 

“It’s like a marathon of shooting music videos,” said Lo-Fi attendee Adam Ballard.

National Blues Museum

Rob Endicott is a classically trained trumpeter and blues musician in his own right. For the forseeable future, however, he has donned a different hat: Board Chairman of the National Blues Museum, which has its grand opening on Saturday.

“It touches something deep in the American soul, this music,” Endicott told St. Louis on the Air contributor Steve Potter.

Illustrated by Susannah Lohr / St. Louis Public Radio

NPR's 2016 Tiny Desk Contest gives bands the chance to compete to play a concert at NPR’s headquarters, appear on the game show Ask Me Another, and tour across the country.


To bring that competition home, St. Louis Public Radio held our own Tiny Desk Contest. We collected submissions to the national contest and had you, our readers and listeners, vote on your favorite act. Voting is now closed, but you can still see all of the entries.

Mark Wallace, Alyssa Avery and Ian Lubar of Mt. Thelonious were great guests and played to a packed lobby, around our own version of a tiny desk, for close to an hour. Watch their performance below. and visit their website for more music and show dates.

Jake Leech
Provided Jake Leech

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Jake Leech doesn't have a draw.

As the industry defines it, a draw is what makes a performer or group worth booking, an estimate of how many people will attend a concert. Venues in larger cities will often ask potential entertainers what their draw is before they sign them on for a show.

Cosmic Cow (from Left) Ken Kase, Steve Mortellaro and Eric James
Provided by the band | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Cosmic Cow specialize in music recorded in the 1980s – by bands as diverse as the Clash, Talking Heads, Simple Minds, Elvis Costello, the Pretenders, Billy Idol and Devo. During a typical set, you’re likely to hear the trio of musicians play everything from “Should I Stay or Should I Go” and “Whip It” to blasts from the musical past by Timbuk3 (“The Future’s So Bright”), Soft Cell (“Tainted Love”) and Tommy Tutone’s “Jenny (867-5309).

Gypsy Jones
Provided by the band | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: For someone who grew up with an intense case of stage fright, vocalist Brianna Sabatini has most definitely overcome her issues with singing in public. Sabatini now is the lead singer for Gypsy Jones, a powerhouse rock band that can shift gears smoothly from spot-on covers of musical legends like Janis Joplin, Etta James and the Rolling Stones to contemporary stars such as Adele, Amy Winehouse and Joss Stone.

Photo provided Sarah Ulrich at right
Photo provided Sarah Ulrich at right

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Sarah Ulrich’s first working band came together back in the 1980s when she was a teenager and focused on what she now calls “very eclectic, new wave, dirge-y music.”

But these days, Ulrich has a much different musical direction as the lead singer for Sarah Jane & the Blue notes, a band that focuses on music from the 1920s to 1950s and the era of swing, jazz, big bands and the great American songbook.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: I got a crash course in DIY music at the Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center this weekend. Home to the incredible Orchestrating Diversity program, my only experience with LNAC had been listening to the young participants rehearsing classical pieces for their Spring Concert.

“Mud Bug” Mike Szwedo, “Bayou” Mike Waters, “Big Chief” Paul Jarvis, "Hurricane" Jimmie, “Rascally” Randy Reece
Provided by the band | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: For multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Paul Jarvis, playing music has always been part of his life. But it took a show on KDHX radio to turn his musical interests toward the brand of Louisiana music called Zydeco – and turn him into “Big Chief” Paul Jarvis, the leader of the popular area band, the Zydeco Crawdaddys.

Anita Jackson in performance
Provided to the St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Anita Jackson grew up hearing music at home and dreamed of becoming a performer. And the music that she listened to the most — the music her mother loved best — initially pointed her aspirations toward Broadway instead of the concert stage.

"My mother was a musical theater fan," Jackson said, in an interview. "She loved Barbra Streisand and played the music from ‘Funny Girl’ and her other musicals. And she also loved everything from ‘Chicago’ to ‘Dreamgirls.’So that was what I wanted to do!"

Provided by the band | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When it comes to delivering irresistible, non-stop funk that gets audiences up out of their seats and shaking it on the dance floor, few bands are better than FatPocket. Founded in 2004 as a six-piece group with a mutual love of finding that magical groove where R&B, blues and jazz come together, FatPocket has grown into a nine-piece ensemble that has plenty of instrumental firepower – and soulful vocals to match.

L-R: Kevin Schofield, Mae Soule, John Short, Toby Mechem, John Covelli, Khamali Moore, Bob Buckman (background), Mark Casey.
Provided by the band | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Mississippi River connects St. Louis with New Orleans geographically. But there’s also a strong musical connection between the two cities that goes back to the days when riverboats carried passengers – and musicians who transported jazz, blues and ragtime influences – up and down the Big Muddy.

Dean Christopher
Provided by Mr. Christopher

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Dean Christopher grew up in the rock and roll era, but the music that captured his heart came from stars of a previous generation. More specifically, Christopher fell in love with the personalities and music of that flamboyant group of entertainers known as the Ratpack – especially Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon - The St. Louis area has produced dozens of musicians who have grown up here and served their musical apprenticeships, then moved on to work in other cities where they gained international fame.

Jazz legends such as Miles Davis, Clark Terry, Lester Bowie, Oliver Lake, David Sanborn and others all paid their dues here, then left. The same happened with rock and pop stars such as Michael McDonald and Jeff Tweedy.

Tom Hall and Alice Spencer at the Royale
Carrie Zukoski | For the St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: In late 2012, guitarist Tom Hall fell down a flight of steps, broke his collarbone and had to sit out three months of live performance. Along with that injury came a series of benefit shows, including one by the group he calls one of “the best five acoustic acts to ever come out of St. Louis,” his own Geyer Street Sheiks.

The shoulder? Well, he’s back to playing, but there’s still pain.