A Summer with the Best of Java Blend

May 16, 2014

This summer, June through September, we'll be looking back at some of our favorite Java Blend broadcasts of 2012.

Tune in every Saturday starting June 14 at 2 PM to catch these special encore broadcasts featuring locally grown and nationally known artists. 

6/14/14 Dave Olson is a Twin Cities-based singer-songwriter with a John Prine disposition, a heartfelt delivery, and a knack for catchy melodies. In his seasoned voice, Olson sings about old friendships, restless hearts, lost loves, and ordinary people trying to find meaning. He started writing and performing in Iowa, where he released #80 in 2001. His latest album, No October, was released in 2012.

6/21/14 Bright Giant is composed of Des Moines' Josh Davis, Will Locker, Noah Mass, and Justin Goes. Formerly, the Josh Davis Band, Bright Giant's music is the soundtrack to an as-yet unconceived documentary of every individual’s struggle between humanity and lesser desire, as seen through the disturbed eyes of front-man, Josh Davis and interpreted by his brotherhood of the strangest souls in the American Midwest.

6/28/14 Cornmealformed over 10 years ago, now has grown from humble beginnings into a nationally recognized live music institution. 10 years together is no simple task these days, especially when the last five have seen the band spending over half the year on the road. Heavily influenced by American roots and folk music, Cornmeal blends lightning fast tempos and impeccable harmonies into an unrivaled live performance that continues to expand upon the five-piece acoustic-electric groups’ vast musical repertoire. 

7/5/14 Joe and Vicki Price bring their energetic country blues back to the stage of The Java House to showcase Joe’s new release “Rain or Shine”.  Joe has been performing his rough and tumble blues for over 35 years. While Price inhabits classic blues standards as if they were favorite shirts, his own deep and varied bag of original music is so formidable that noted Grammy-award nominated singer-songwriter Greg Brown has long referred to Joe as “the Buddha”. Vicki Price is a distinctive, blues-belting guitarist who is as earthy, unique and seductive as a greenhouse orchid. 

7/12/14 Christopher the Conquered has always been the primary outlet for the musical explorations of Iowa songwriter Chris Ford, but The Fate Of A Good Man marks an important moment in the evolution of the project, as it is the first album to feature a full band, with Ford staying firmly seated at The Piano. He’s backed strongly by The Black Gold Brass Band, which is featured heavily on the album, with songs arranged to rise and fall with the energy of the five-piece horn section. Joining them is a rhythm section built with bass, drums, and guitar, along with Ford’s keys. 

7/19/14 The Feralings are Benj Upchurch, Nicole Upchurch, Patrick Bloom, and Stacy Webster, but the name is a bit of a misnomer, as the members of the band are far more likely to invite you to sit down and enjoy a cup of tea than they are to jump you and steal your beer money. After much moving around and finding new friends, the result is The Feralings as they can be seen now, a rare collaboration in which all members write, sing, laugh, engage in general naughtiness, and genuinely like each other. They travel a vast musical landscape, combining bully musicianship, sparkling harmonies, and evocative songwriting. And hey, they don't bite.

7/26/14 Mike Mangione & The Union is a touring group that combines a folk-rock sound with an orchestrated string section, soulful vocals and literate sensibility. In 2011 they released Offering on their own imprint, RODZINKA Records, with sync and digital licensing by DUALTONE Records. The album and band were nominated for “best of the year” by RadioMilwaukee (88.9 FM), along with receiving other kind and warm accolades. At the beginning of 2013 they released yet another album, Red-Winged Blackbird Man, produced by Grammy-nominated producer, Bo Ramsey ( producer of Lucinda Williams, Greg Brown, Pieta Brown.)

8/2/14 Matthew Santos has established himself as one of the most exceptional talents to emerge from the Chicago music scene in decades. With a voice consistently compared to that of the late Jeff Buckley and likened to a male version of Adele, he has been the subject of praise from such artists as Kimbra, Eddie Vedder, and John Legend. His highly acclaimed collaborations with Lupe Fiasco for which he received two Grammy nominations, have served to broaden international awareness of Santos whose own style is a unique, homegrown hybrid touching on alternative/indie-rock/soul and folk genres. The Chicago Sun-Times recognized Santos as an artist who is “organic and soulful and moody, full of interesting musical ideas and dripping with serious vocal talent.”

8/9/14 Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys are giving a nod to American traditional music, while boldly taking their own songs in new directions. Distinct vocals, tight harmonies, instrumental expertise, and creative arrangements are all essential characteristics of their unique sound. The group focuses on the original tunes of Lindsay Lou Rilko, which include true-life tales of bank-robbing aunties, moonshinin' grandpas, and celebrations of love, life, and nature.

8/16/14 Danika Holmes funded her second album entirely through a Kickstarter campaign. The record, entitled “Living Your Dream,” was recorded in Nashville, TN and released in early 2012. This collection of songs offers an optimistic take on life. Now more than ever, Danika is happy to be creating. Her passion for music and her life experiences lend the inspiration for her songs that reverberate with hope. Onstage Danika delivers her tunes with extreme vibrance, both inspiring and entertaining.

8/23/14/ Tony Bohnenkamp The release of Side 2 exposes a different view of Des Moines musician Tony Bohnenkamp. For nearly twenty years Tony has been active in the music industry, but Side 2 marks the life-long musician’s debut solo album. Tony has played just about every role — owner of a successful recording studio, well-known dueling pianist, drummer for The Nadas, singer for Lunchbox, not to mention producer/songwriter/composer — but now it’s time for Tony to showcase his own material. “Every project I’ve ever worked on has been for someone else. I wanted to produce something that was mine; that I had complete control over,” shares Tony.

8/30/14 Caroline Smith & the Good Night Sleeps began with just Caroline Smith as an 18-year-old songwriter in 2006, who quickly earned her beloved place in the Midwest music community. This past summer, Caroline and Jesse Schuster toured as a duo, appearing at a small handful of intimate shows hosted in people's houses and living rooms across the Midwest. She began her career with a residency at Minneapolis’ 400 Bar, a venue pivotal in shaping the careers of Elliott Smith, Conor Oberst, and local hero, Mason Jennings, who less than a decade before began his own career with the same residency. A year later, Caroline befriended drummer Arlen Peiffer (Cloud Cult), bassist Jesse Schuster, and multi-instrumentalist David Earl and the boys joined forces to support Caroline’s folk tunes as “the Good Night Sleeps.” 

9/6/14 The Giving Tree Band's third full-length and most recent release, "The Joke, The Threat & The Obvious," spent multiple weeks on various radio charts (peaking at #15 on the Roots Music Report and #39 on the Americana Airplay Chart).The songwriting has been best described as having "Dylanesque imagery, John Prine-like aphorisms, and Abbey Road-era Beatles overtones" (The Bluegrass Special). The group has shared the stage with dozens of top acts such as The Avett Brothers, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, and more.