Music News

Folk duo Famous October is half Iowan, half Swiss, and all talent.

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," hear host Ben Kieffer chat with the couple on how they first met, how they became musical partners, and hear tunes off their newly released record, "One Day Baby.

Check out the free downloadable podcast below.

Frans Jansen

Wednesday at 7PM is your chance to hear a concert featuring a great new South African soprano and a young woman who is the talk of the conducting profession. Lithuanian conductor Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla just took the reins of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra; at 29, she is its first woman Music Director (a post previously held by Sir Simon Rattle and Andris Nelsons). Mirga.

If you haven't tuned in to our 24-hour Studio One music stream ... today is the day!

Iowa Public Radio Studio One is listener supported radio playing a carefully curated mix of new progressive music alongside nostalgic iconic tunes. Expect to hear great music by artists like Wilco, Mumford and Sons, Paul Simon, The Head and The Heart, as well as many Iowa musicians.

Today on Gas Monday at Noon and 6:00 p.m., you'll hear TWINS, Annaliberra, House of Large Sizes, Courtney Krause, The Host Country, and Wooden Nickel Lottery and more.

John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation / Wikimedia Commons

The long-running public radio program A Prairie Home Companion will sound much different beginning this Saturday, as new host Chris Thile takes the reins on a permanent basis.

IPR/Tony Dehner

The Des Moines-based singer-songwriter made Dan Tedesco stopped by our Cedar Falls studios recently for a live performance and interview. Dan has appeared on Studio One twice before: this was his second appearance on Studio One Tracks, and he's also performed on the IPR program Java Blend.

In addition to performing songs from his double album, Dan talked about the recording and songwriting processes, and also cited one of his biggest musical influences. Dan will be debuting a full backing band at his upcoming show at the Vaudeville Mews in Des Moines.

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Iowa City bluegrass troop Slewgrass shows its tight harmonies and dazzling stringwork. 

Download the free podcast below to hear Java Blend host Ben Kieffer chat with the  group about their many other projects, as well as some high-energy original songs. 

IPR/Al Schares

The eclectic quintet of female multi-instrumentalists known as Awful Purdies are celebrating their tenth anniversary as a band this year.   Group members take turns stepping up as songwriter and lead singer when they perform.  The Iowa City band played a live set at the Kum & Go Theatre venue of the Des Moines Social Club on Oct. 7, opening for Gaelynn Lea.  The show was broadcast live on IPR's Studio One Tracks.

You can listen to their wonderful set right here!

IPR/Mark Simmet

Duluth, Minnesota native Gaelynn Lea is attracting notice as the winner of NPR's second annual Tiny Desk Contest, traveling around the U.S and abroad treating listeners to her songs and her unique style of playing the violin.  The singer-songwriter's video of "Someday We'll Linger In The Sun" emerged as the winner from the 6,100 entries in the contest.  She played that song during her performance at the Kum & Go Theatre venue of the Des Moines Social Club on Oct. 7.  Gaelynn Lea's set was broadcast live on Studio One Tracks.

Des Moines Metro Opera

"An ideal introduction to the art form.... the most cogent [Manon] in memory" - that's what Opera News said about Des Moines Metro Opera's "meticulously crafted" Massenet. Hear it Saturday at 8PM or Sunday at 3PM on IPR's "Operas in October" series, hosted and produced by Jacqueline Halbloom.

Chelsey Hager

This Friday, October 7th, Twin Cities jamband Frogleg will pack their many members onto the stage in the Java House in downtown Iowa City. 

Join Java Blend host Ben Kieffer at 2 p.m. to hear about Frogleg's inception in 2012 and listen to their improvisational style. 

Back in August, we previewed several albums that would be headed our way in the coming months that we were especially looking forward to. Of course, it's impossible to list everything, and something always comes along that wasn't on our radar immediately, but catches our ears in a big way. This happened several times last month, and nothing makes us happier! Here's a few of our favorite albums from September.

Angel Olsen - My Woman

(c) Marco Borggreve / Juilliard School

Has classical music become a worldwide music culture in which non-Europeans are full, equal members and no nationality has special privileges? And does Japan scramble cultural storylines and stereotypes more than most countries? I make both cases in contemplating a giant of Bach interpretation, the keyboardist / conductor Masaaki Suzuki. 

Luther College Archives / Flickr

Last weekend, the National Museum of African American History and Culture opened its doors with these words from President Obama.

"As Americans, we rightfully passed on the tales of the giants that built this country, who led armies into battle, who waged seminal debates in the halls of Congress and the corridors of power. But too often, we ignored or forgot the stories of millions upon millions of others, who built this nation just as surely."

Courtesy of Gaelynn Lea

In March a singer, songwriter, and fiddler from Duluth, Minnesota won NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert contest. Now, Gaelynn Lea is embarking on her first solo tour and bringing her music to Iowa.

Margaret Glaspy/ATO Records

On Sunday, Sept. 11, Margaret Glaspy is making a stop in Cedar Falls at Octopus College Hill, and we’ll be broadcasting the show live on Studio One Tracks.

The Iowa floods of 2008 destroyed thousands of structures, including the University of Iowa's Voxman Music Building. The University decided to construct a new one, and - after eight years of work - it opened just this week. The new Voxman is better than its predecessor in every way. Its acoustics and aesthetics are both state-of-the art, its interior design makes collaboration easy, and its location couldn't be more convenient (it's at the corner of Clinton and Burlington in downtown Iowa City).

IPR/Tony Dehner

IPR's Studio One team returns to the Des Moines Social Club on September 1st to resume our series of live broadcasts. We've got a great slate of artists scheduled to perform over the next several months, beginning in September with Elizabeth Moen!

Based in Iowa City, Elizabeth Moen has joined us before at the Social Club, performing with Annalibera during IPR's collaboration with the Iowa Music Project. Her music has also been heard on both Studio One Tracks and Gas Money, Studio One's local music show that airs on our 24-hour web stream.

Clay Masters / Iowa Public Radio

After more than 10 years, Sean Moeller is leaving Daytrotter. He says it seems like the right time, and he’s ready for a new project. During this Talk of Iowa interview, he talks with host Charity Nebbe about why he’s moving on, what he’s built, and how Daytrotter began.

IPR/Tony Dehner

We add new music to our library at Studio One almost every week, and we're getting ready to enter one of the busiest times of year for new releases. Here are 12 albums coming in the next two months from some high-profile artists that we're especially excited about, and that you can pretty much count on hearing on Studio One Tracks. (Some of the songs included below include language that some listeners may find objectionable.)

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds - Skeleton Tree - September 9th

Song of the Day

Jul 27, 2016

Music lovers of Iowa unite! Iowa has a growing summer music festival scene. To get a handle on the happenings, we've compiled this handy guide. If you see something missing, tweet us @IPRStudioOne. TO learn more about these festivals, and to hear interviews with many of the organizers, check out The B-Side, IPR's music blog. 

John Frantzen

Tune in at 5PM to hear the Quad City Symphony premiere a work written for them by Maquoketa native John Frantzen  - broadcast on the nationally syndicated show, Performance Today with Fred Child. The piece is called "Beyond a Wild Dream," and Frantzen wrote it for the QCSO's 100th anniversary season; music director Mark Russell Smith conducted. Frantzen has won many awards for his music, has been performed at Carnegie Hall and by the Philadelphia Orchestra, and has written a piece you want to hear - tonight!

 When Martha Argerich plays piano, says Alex Ross, her “rivals become mere fans” and critics find their “well of superlatives running dry.” She combines qualities "seldom contained in one person":   "brain-teasing technical agility" meets "an unaffected interpreter whose native language is music....

Gretchen Dehner

80/35 2016 is right around the corner, and project manager Amedeo Rossi says there's a lot of elements to the festival that attendees will remember from previous years - free water bottle filling stations courtesy of Des Moines Water Works, for one. What's different from past years? The festival is not over the 4th of July weekend. 

"Having it the next weekend made it a little bit easier to book," says Rossi. "It was one of the reasons to switch it off of the 4th of July weekend."

Lindsey Moon / Iowa Public Radio

On starry summer nights in rural Maquoketa in Northeastern Iowa, you can hear the sounds of bands like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Norah Jones and Conor Oberst wafting from inside an old implement barn built in the 1950s. The barn sits next to an original farmstead house turned art gallery that has been in Tiffany Biehl’s family for more than 150 years.

MarKaus, Des Moines based artist

Des Moines based hip hop artist MarKaus (@MarKausMF), his record label, and the Des Moines Social Club are collaborating to produce a hip hop festival in Des Moines to highlight the Iowa hip hop scene.

After reading that, you might be thinking, “Iowa has a hip hop scene?” It does, and it’s growing.

Photo by John Pemble

For 20 years, the Red Cedar Chamber Music ensemble has been led by a husband and wife dedicated to performing classical music they commissioned in rural venues like the community center in Central City.  This is a town with less than 2,000  people near Cedar Rapids. On a Friday night, 50 people are listening to Red Cedar perform a new piece by Stephen Cohn titled “Curfew Shall Not Ring Tonight.”  

 

Janette Beckman (copyright Trio Settecento)

Violin superstar Rachel Barton Pine is in the headlines because a pilot refused to let her carry on her Guarneri -but that precious instrument is only the most famous of her fiddles. Rachel is also a master of its Baroque and Renaissance predecessors, and she brought one to Ames for a concert of Italian Baroque music with her Trio Settecento.  You can hear the result on this week's University Concert.

When Luke Benson started approaching other music lovers in the state about his idea for the Iowa Music Project, he did not anticipate that the end result would be a showcase where he and a committee would be trying to pick fewer than 30 songs from more than 250 submissions. 

"We were hoping for maybe 100, and we got that many in the last week alone. It was a tremendous response," says Benson. 

Simon Estes Foundation

  In the 1970s, Simon Estes - the son of an Iowa coal miner and grandson of slaves - was triumphing in Europe's most legendary opera houses. He starred at La Scala, Covent Garden, Salzburg, Glyndebourne, and the  Bayreuth Festival (where he was the first male of African descent to sing lead roles).  But here in his home country, top opera companies ignored him, and the reason was obvious: race. That slight could have embittered almost anyone, but not Estes. What saw him through was guidance from his mother - advice she had first given him when he was a child in Centerville, Iowa.

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