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Country Music

Musicologist Jake Cohen talked about the musical style of Vermont-based rock band Phish on Monday's talk show.
Courtesy of Jake Cohen

Phish, the Vermont-spawned jamband will open its summer tour with two shows at Chaifetz Arena this month. For a band that’s one of the country’s top touring acts, Phish remains strangely misunderstood. 

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio reporter Jeremy D. Goodwin explored the popularity and nuances of Phish with musicologist Jake Cohen, who just last month presented at the first-ever Phish Studies Conference at Oregon State University. He’s also attended about 180 of their shows.

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.

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.

In our weekly "Behind the Headlines" segment, St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh discussed the top news stories that caught St. Louisans’ attention this week, with the people who produced them and contributed to them.  

Duhart Band
White-Klump Photography / Courtesy Duhart Band

Colleen Duhart has a 20-something story that many can commiserate with. When she returned to St. Louis from school at Southeastern Missouri State University in 2011, she found a full-time day job at local nonprofit Forest Releaf and moved from her parents’ house and out on her own. But something was missing.

Funk Fest in St. Louis turns into blues along Broadway

Sep 17, 2015
Marquise Knox at the Reykjavik Blues Festival in 2011
Olikristinn | Wikipedia

When the funk comes to St. Louis, it sounds a lot like the blues. The city is known for blues and jazz, not the classic funk sounds of James Brown and George Clinton. Art Dwyer plays with the Soulard Blues Band and says funk isn’t easily defined. For him funk is a visceral reaction.

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.

‘Country Boy’ Ricky Skaggs returns to St. Louis

Feb 20, 2015
Country and bluegrass artist Ricky Skaggs will perform in St. Louis on Feb. 28, 2015.
Skaggs Family Records

Ricky Skaggs started playing the mandolin in the hills of Kentucky at age 5. Fifty-five years later, he’s still in love with what he calls “old-time mountain music.”

“That real traditional thread running through the fabric of the music scene, I’ve always been drawn to that,” Skaggs told “Cityscape” guest host Jim Althoff. “I’ve always felt, too, that if that particular thread ever gets pulled out, I think the whole piece of cloth can just unravel. It’s a very important part of what we need desperately to hold on to and honor.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Brad Paisley released a song featuring LL Cool J. 

The song is called "Accidental Racist" (off of Paisley's new album, Wheelhouse).

The internet has exploded.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 24, 2011 - A little over 20 years ago, on March 16, 1991, seven members of country star Reba McEntire's band as well as her road manager and two pilots died in a plane crash in the mountains just east of San Diego.

Three of the band members -- band leader and keyboard player Kirk Cappello, bassist Terry Jackson and drummer Tony Saputo -- were St. Louisans. And all of them attended Webster University where they studied music and became close friends.

This article first appeared in the S. Louis Beacon, Sept. 26, 2011 - Singer/songwriter Rosanne Cash will be appearing at Blueberry Hill's Duck Room this Tuesday evening, but don't expect her to sing any of the 11 number-one hit country singles she's recorded since she first began releasing albums in 1978.

And Cash won't be performing other classic songs from her critically acclaimed albums "Seven Year Ache," "King's Record Shop," "The Wheel," "Black Cadillac" (the 2005 musical elegy to her legendary father, Johnny Cash; her mother, Vivian, and her stepmother, June Carter Cash).

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 21, 2009 - It's a bold step to schedule a CD release party on a major holiday such as, say, Independence Day. But the Fourth of July proved kind to the cause of the Red-Headed Strangers, who saw hundreds of their friends, family members and fans move through the doors of Off Broadway for the band's epic, 46-song, night-long engagement at the South Side venue. And as the eight-piece group worked through its third and final set, the best sight of all was a packed dance floor, with folks swaying to original material and time-honored classics, such as the Rolling Stones' "Tumbling Dice."

Pearl Heart comes home for First Night

Dec 23, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 23, 2008 - St. Louis' country music sweethearts, Pearl Heart (formerly Me Too), are returning to their hometown to headline and perform their original material at 6:30 p.m. on the main stage of the city's largest alcohol-free New Year's Eve celebration, First Night . This performance will be the group's second First Night appearance since 2004 and their first since being finalists on Nashville Star.

Mickey Raphael: Harmonica man

Jun 10, 2008
mickey raphael 300 pxls. 2008
Photo by John Chiasson

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 10, 2008 - At some point in his concert at the Fox on June 14, Willie Nelson will be winding up a riff on his beat-up guitar and he’ll say, “Let me hear it, Mickey.”

The next notes will be plaintive and passionate, cutting sharply through the softer guitar chords. Mickey Raphael’s harmonica will give a different voice to the blues, accent the exuberance of the country rock and tug at your heart in “Georgia on my Mind.”