Tag Archive for 'csps'

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The Ragbirds’ Bio-Diesel Van Rolls Up to CSPS on Sunday 2/8

Ragbirds

Ypsilanti, Michigan folk rock band The Ragbirds are a family-affair. Fronted by Erin Zindle on vocals, violin, mandolin, accordion, banjo and percussion (whew!) she is joined by her husband, percussionist Randall Moore and her brother T.J. Zindle on guitar. The current lineup is rounded out by Loren Krantz on drums and Brennan Andes on bass guitar and percussion.

With this many members of the band playing percussion you might imagine that The Ragbirds are a polyrhythmic sort– and you’d be right. The band calls their sound an “infectious global groove”– a mix of Eastern folk, afro-cuban, Celtic and African all poured into the funky stew. It sounds like a cross between Rusted Root, Camper Van Beethoven and Edie Brickell and New Bohemians to me.

The Ragbirds will be taking over the stage at CSPS in Cedar Rapids on Sunday night at 7PM. Shaking it to the grooves of The Ragbirds would be a great way to shake off the winter cold– so you should make a point of heading down to NewBo, and while you’re down there you should check out the restaurants, book store and the Farmer’s Market before the show!

In addition to their musical endeavors, the band also conducts workshops on “Eco-Touring.” The band has a diesel Ford F-350 van converted to use waste vegetable oil– using cooking grease from local restaurants and preparing it for use in their van. They won’t be conducting a workshop in Cedar Rapids, but I’m sure they’d be happy to talk about it after the show.

More details and ticket information HERE:

  • Sun Feb 9 2014 – 7:00 pm • CSPS Hall
  • $15 advance | $18 door

(Upcoming Show) PHOX and Har-di-Har at CSPS 11/24/13 – Lots of links to audio and video

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Back in June, Wisconsin six-piece band PHOX opened up for six-piece Seattle band Hey Marseilles at CSPS. Hey Marseilles was gaining some critical attention at the time and were on a run of dates in support of their new album Lines We Trace which included the great single “Heart Beats.” The band asked PHOX to open for this run of shows and the show I saw at CSPS had me enthralled– lead singer Monica Martin has a beautiful voice and the whole band has an astonishing amount of talent and skill. Monica is just getting her bearings as a frontwoman, but her stage banter with the audience the band was funny and heartfelt. It’s great to see this band getting more attention and it is clear it hasn’t gone to their heads.

Since PHOX played in Cedar Rapids, they have had some high-visibility gigs including a wonderful Daytrotter session (a vinyl LP of which has Hey Marseilles on the flip) and playing the iTunes Festival in London opening for The Lumineers.

 

You should watch this really great session PHOX did at Audiotree.tv, too!

Har-di-Har

We are really lucky to get PHOX back at CSPS– this time as the headliner with former Cedar Falls, IA-now-Twin Cities husband and wife duo Har-di-Har— another favorite band of 2013 for me.  Julie and Andrew Thoreen have put together what amounts to a full band by sharing the percussion duties with a split trap kit while they take on guitar, keyboards and bass duties as well as vocals. And, what vocals they are! Very tight harmonies sounding a lot like British Folk from the 60’s and 70’s.  I reviewed their three EP’s over the last year for Little Village including their latest Hard Parent/Thick Child:

Album Review : Har-di-Har – Words of Whim/Feudal Kind EP’s

Album Review : Har-di-Har – Hard Parent/Thick Child EP

Har-di-Har also did a wonderful Daytrotter Session, too!

This not-to-miss show will be on Sunday, November 24th at 7PM. Tickets are a VERY REASONABLE $9 in advance and $13 at the door. Get the details at the Legion Arts Website.

(Upcoming Show) Grant Lee Phillips Brings His Lone Star Songs to CSPS in Cedar Rapids on 5/15

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I think it must have been a compilation CD that came with CMJ Magazine that included a song from the 90’s band Grant Lee Buffalo that lured me to purchase Mighty Joe Moon in 1994 or so. The album kicks off with the searing guitars of “Lone Star Song” and proceeds to swing bipolar between sweet folky acoustic and burning electrics all housed in HUGE unabashed reverb like only the 90’s could deliver. Needless to say this was exactly what my then 26-year-old self thought was the best thing ever! Playing though that CD this evening and writing this article, it is still surprisingly an exciting and emotional album for me.

I bought Fuzzy and Jubilee and listened to them quite a bit, but by the end of the last century I was listening to much different music and didn’t continue to follow what frontman Grant Lee Phillips was up to. As it turned out, he kind of abandoned the band in pursuit of a solo career, and has eclipsed the band in releases.

His most recent release came out in October, 2012 and is called Walking in the Green Corn. The album, which concerns itself with the extensive research that Phillips did regarding his Native American roots was recorded very quickly over the winter months leading into 2012. “I do my best work when nobody’s paying attention – including myself,” he recalls. “That’s what happened: it really snuck up on me. By the end of the year, I had most of the album written and recorded.” The resulting album leans more towards the thoughful folk acoustic sound than the often blistering electrics of his previous band, but doesn’t abandon the emotion and sentiment distilled from his mixed heritage. “Connecting to my ancestry is like having this deep trunk that’s embedded in the earth, with deep roots. It was always something that was important to my grandmother, who was Creek, and to my mother.”

Phillips is on tour right now and is bringing his show to the crown of the NewBo district, CSPS on Wednesday night at 7PM. Tickets are $17 in advance and $20 at the door. This is a rare chance to catch him– I don’t remember the last time he was in the area!

Click Here for information about the show at the Legion Arts website and how to get tickets.

The player on Phillip’s website has most of the new album in it if you want to check it out.

Last year Grant Lee Phillips was on tour with another CSPS alum Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket and WPA. Here are the two of the performing the title track:

(Upcoming Show) Pieta Brown and the Sawdust Collective Live at CSPS Friday 1/18/13 – Boulevard & Wires Photograph Exhibition This Week

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Pieta Brown is kicking of the 2013 year of shows with a return to CSPS on Friday, January 18th. She’s bringing with her The Sawdust Collective which is her regular collaborators Bo Ramsey on guitars and backing vocals and Jon Penner on bass. The last time I saw Pieta at CSPS was during the Acoustic Cafe show in January of last year along with Kelly Joe Phelps and Carrie Rodriguez (my pictures here).

Since then, both Pieta and Bo contributed songs to the Iowa City Song Project album– a local-artists tribute to the Englert in celebration of the venue’s 100th birthday. I wrote a review of that album for Little Village back in October. You can check out her contribution “Doesn’t Take Long” here:

Martina by Pieta Brown

Martina by Pieta Brown

Boulevard & Wires by Pieta Brown

Pieta also lent a hand with Greg Brown’s new album Hymns to What Is Left and Iris DeMent’s new album Sing the Delta. Pieta also contributed the photographs for the cover art of both albums. These photographs will be part of an exhibit of photographs that will be opened in conjunction with the show Friday night. Titled Boulevard & Wires, it’s a selection of shots she’s taken on the road that she shows on her Blue Streak section of her website. “The communion takes place in just a blink, no flash,” she says.  “The simple process lends itself to chasing the gritty and mysterious essence of any given moment.” The exhibition will be in the Commons Gallery and will continue through February 28th– admission to the exhibit is free.
The performance on Friday night will start at 8PM and will be $17 in advance and $21 at the door.

Information on the Legion Arts Website HERE for the performance, and HERE for the gallery exhibition.

Power Pop Descends Upon CSPS in the Form of Chicago Rocker Dick Prall

Well, it’s been a pretty great week for acts at CSPS! The Duncan Sheik show on Thursday night was pretty damn amazing, and I found a couple of acts I want to keep an eye on– that new Alpha Rev album coming out next year will be one that I’m looking forward to.

Tonight the big stage at CSPS will be graced by Dick Prall who used to live in Iowa, but now crafts his Brit Pop-influenced Midwestern Rock from the Windy City. He’s put out a solid run of pop rock masterpieces since his first release Somewhere About Here in 1998.

This year he is kicking off a new project that is a little different than his standard album releases. He is working with Pat Sansone of Wilco and The Autumn Defense to release a series of digital singles which will culminate in a full release with bonus material next year. In an e-mail exchange with Prall he said, “We’re trying a different methodology this time around to hopefully keep folks interested and engaged on a monthly basis – that’s the theory, anyway. All the songs are being done with Pat Sansone, who digs the idea, so I’m in good company.”

If the first single “Wanted Blue” is any indication, it will be one for the “Best of” list for 2013! Prall also said that they are considering vinyl for this release! Listen for yourself and download:

Dick is bringing a band with him tonight that he describes as “drums, bass, violin, & hollow-bodied guitar put together in a sort of laid-back Buddy Holly & the Crickets meets Elvis Costello backed by Spoon sort of way.” Sounds like my kind of lineup!

The show is at 8PM at CSPS, and tickets are $17 in advance and $21 at the door. The opener is Stolen Silver. Details at the LegionArts.org site.

Listen to Dick Prall’s acoustic session on Daytrotter.com (it’s a free trial if you don’t have a subscription)

Here are upcoming shows (from dickprall.com)

Duncan Sheik Returns to CSPS Thursday 11/15 With Sunset Sessions Lineup

Holly, Gerry & Duncan

Duncan Sheik is making a return to Cedar Rapids tomorrow night. He is making a stop in the area as part of the Sunset Sessions Live tour and also in support of the fact that his Tony and Grammy winning musical Spring Awakening is going to be put on by U of I Arts. Sheik is going to speak at the UI Theatre from Noon to 1 and then he’s performing at CSPS at 7PM along with Austin band Alpha Rev and New Jersey singer/songwriter Laura Warshauer.

I saw Duncan in 2009 at CSPS when he came through Iowa in support of his Whisper House album. He apparently likes to tour with an ensemble– as in 2009, he’s bringing other bands with him. This tour is sponsored by The Sunset Sessions which is an organization that puts on events which are specifically designed to draw together musicians with radio programmers and music supervisors (the people who put your new favorite songs into TV shows, movies, advertising and video games). These days, music supervisors are up there as the leading tastemakers (next to music blogs, ‘natch 🙂 ). This tour is designed as a showcase for some bands that have been featured in these events, so we get to hear some new music from Duncan Sheik, as well as Alpha Rev (who has music all over TV on VH1, Bravo, ABC, The CW as well as film, and Laura Warshauer (who has been recently signed to Def Jam/Island).

Duncan is touring in support of his latest album, Covers 80’s Remixed, which, as the title implies, is a remix album of his 2011 release Covers 80’s, which has him delivering interpretations of his favorite songs from bands like Japan, Psychedelic Furs, The Smiths, The Cure and Tears for Fears.

This promises to be a pretty spectacular evening, frankly– some up-and-coming acts coupled with some 80’s nostalgia delivered from a great songwriter. It can’t miss.

Duncan Sheik, Alpha Rev and Laura Warshauer will hit the CSPS big stage at 7PM. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Details at the Legion Arts Website.

HERE is the Facebook Event for the show.

Landfall Festival Alumni Ani Cordero Brings Her Band Back to CSPS on Saturday 10/6

A Young Fan Watches Ani Cordero at Landfall Music Festival
One of the great things about Legion Arts is their annual Landfall Music Festival. They manage to fill their stages some of the best world music acts touring the nation. Back in 2010, I had the opportunity to catch one artist that really captured my heart with her boisterous Latin-infused pop, folk and rock.

Ani Cordero has a really colorful history in the music business. In addition to recording a few solo albums as bilingual band Cordero, she has also been a member of Man or Astroman?’s associated band the Gamma Clones and as a founding member of Pistolera. Since 2010, she has been working on her most personal work to date with Sergio Dias of Os Mutantes. Titled Recordar, the self-released album is comprised of covers of songs that were part of the Nueva Cancion movement. Including songs from Latin activists and musicians such as Victor Jara and Violeta Parra the album exhibits the inspiration she found in the movement from her friend and mentor Dr. Juan Allende, nephew of Chilean President, Salvador Allende, who was overthrown in a military coup d’état in 1973.

The album is clearly a labor of love for Ani, and the effort pays off. She tapped in some friends with great musical pedigree to help bring the beautiful recording to fruition: Charles Giordano of The E Street Band, Kelly Pratt from Arcade Fire and Beirut, percussionist for Malian musician Vieux Farke Toure, Tim Keiper, long-time associate of Wynton Marsalis, Omar Akil Little, who also collaborates with world-renowned producer Lee Scratch Perry, and Brent Arnold of Modest Mouse. The album is a fitting tribute to the songs she chose as she delivers the emotion and passion of the songs as if they were her own.

On Saturday night Ani will be bringing the six-piece band she is touring though the midwest to CSPS in Cedar Rapids! When Ani and band played at the 2010 Landfall Festival, some of the crowd in Green Square Park got up and danced– maybe she can coax the usually reserved crowd at CSPS to get up, too?

The show will be this Saturday night, October 6th at 8PM. Tickets are $14 in advance and $18 at the door. For more information and how to order tickets visit the Legion Arts Website.

Here is the Facebook Event for the show.

Here is some video I shot of Ani and band at the Landfall Music Festival in 2010:

(Upcoming Show) Nellie McKay at CSPS in Cedar Rapids on 9/27

Nellie McKay
It’s difficult to summarize Nellie McKay’s very diverse career. Since the release of her first double album Get Away From Me– which is how I first heard her- she’s released four more albums, had a painful breakup with her record label, starred on Broadway, acted in a couple of films, and generally exhibited her resistance to staying in any one place for very long. Irrepressible, unsinkable, unbelievable Nellie McKay.

When I saw her in 2008 at The Dakota in Minneapolis with my wife and daughter (where the above picture was taken) she stayed primarily at the piano with a few ukelele tunes and performed a few songs from a proposed politically-themed musical that I’m not sure was ever produced.

So, when I heard that she was coming to our wonderful CSPS Hall, I was very excited to see her again– she draws from a very rich palate and Cedar Rapids will be guaranteed a very unpredictable and rich musical experience. Not to be missed, frankly.

The show will be at 7PM, and tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Visit the Legion Arts website for more details.

And, if Nellie’s flight gets in on time, she’ll be doing an interview with Gordon Paulsen on KCCK at approximately 4:20PM. Tune in on the radio at 88.3 FM in Cedar Rapids, or online at KCCK.org.

While you’re at it, you should check out Nellie’s Daytrotter.com session!

 

 

(Upcoming Show) Surf Zombies “Lust for Rust” Release Show at CSPS 6/16/2012

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I reviewed the latest release from Cedar Rapids Surf Czars The Surf Zombies Lust for Rust in Little Village Magazine last month.

The latest incarnation of the Zombies has bit bit more edge than the previous albums thanks to the production and engineering of Ian Williams (guitars for the Zombies and also in The Wheelers) and lineups, and I think that Lust for Rust is by far the best release from the band to date.

Tonight at CSPS, the Surf Zombies are taking over the big stage at CSPS for their record release show at 8PM. Tickets are $15 at the door. I can’t think of a more enjoyable way to take in the Surf Zombies– galloping drums and bass, gigantic reverbby guitars and a fantastic selection of beer and wine in the recently-opened bar which is operated by the fine folks at Brewed Awakenings.

More details here.

(Upcoming Show) California Guitar Trio Returns to CSPS 3/23/12

California Guitar Trio at CSPS on 10/9/2008
The over-the-top classical-slash-progressive-slash-surf instrumental guitar group California Guitar Trio is making a return visit to Legion Arts/CSPS on 3/23. Their last visit to our fair city was in October of 2008, and marked the first show following the devastation of the 2008 Flood.

For that show, CGT was touring in support of their covers album Echoes (named after the jaw-dropping cover of the Pink Floyd song). The trio played on the small risers in front of the stage to a very receptive house– everyone in attendance aware of the miracle which was the reopening of CSPS in such a short time. The band graciously donated part of the proceeds of the show to Legion Arts which goes to show how much they appreciated being part of the resurrection.

Four years later and the venue is again following a period of being closed, but this time it is due to a major overhaul of the facility that finds it even more a center of the arts for Cedar Rapids with new creative spaces created in the century-old brick building. CGT is on tour for their 13th album Andromeda which is the first release that is comprised completely of original pieces and they bring in some guest musicians to help round out the album. Incidentally, Andromeda marks the first release on vinyl for the band (that hopefully they will bring so I can get one signed!).

 

I’ve been a big fan of California Guitar Trio dating back to their work with Robert Fripp (of King Crimson). The trio met in one of Fripp’s Guitar Craft schools and he asked them to be part of his Robert Fripp String Quintet along with Chapman Stick player Pat Mastellato. Mastellato would become part of the “double trio” reformation lineup of King Crimson in the late 90’s, and it was during that tour in Minneapolis that I saw California Guitar Trio for the first time. Their mixture of classical, surf and sheer virtuosity and mind-blowing synchronized guitar work still amazes me to this day.

So, I’m pretty excited to announce that they will be back in Cedar Rapids Friday night, and I’ll be there. Tickets are $17 in advance and $21 at the door.

Click Here to get more information about the show from the Legion Arts Website.

Click Here for the band’s website.

Click Here to visit the band’s current record label Karate Body, who had the sense to press Andromeda on vinyl.

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