Author Archives: KC Cafe

Michael Johnathon’s WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour Joins the KC Cafe Radio Lineup

KC Cafe Radio is pleased to announce the addition of Michael Johnathon’s WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour to the KC Cafe Radio schedule.  The one-hour live-recorded show airs Sunday mornings at 9 (Central Time).

For nearly 20 years, WoodSongs has brought together a community of musicians and music fans to a virtual “front porch” that celebrates the spirit of the American experience through song.  Over those 20 years, that front porch has evolved from a small studio that could only seat about 20 people, to the 540-seat historic Lyric Theatre in Lexington, Kentucky.  Globally, WoodSongs has evolved from a single radio station in Georgetown, Kentucky, to an international TV and radio network including 515 American public radio stations, access to nearly 96 million American homes through public television, and to 173 countries through the Armed Forces Radio Network.   Earlier this month, WoodSongs announced its affiliation with the American cable television channel RFD-TV, adding nearly 50 million households to its audience.

WoodSongs host Michael Johnathon

WoodSongs host Michael Johnathon has a long-standing career in the arts as a songwriter, playwright, and composer of the opera, Woody: For the People. He grew up in upstate New York along the shores of the Hudson River. At 19 years old, he moved to the Mexican border town of Laredo, Texas and found a job working as the late night DJ on a small radio station. One night, he played ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’ by Roger McGuinn and The Byrds. As the song played, he recalled seeing the songs writer, his former neighbor Pete Seeger, performing in his Dutchess County hometown in New York. By the time the song had ended, he decided to pursue a career as a folksinger.

Two months later, he bought a guitar and a banjo and settled into the isolated mountain hamlet of Mousie, Kentucky. For the next three years, he traveled up and down the hollers of the Appalachian mountains knocking on doors and learning the music of the mountain people. Soon enough, he began performing concerts at hundreds of colleges, schools and fairs. Now settled in the foothills of Appalachia, the Kentucky-based songwriter is a prolific artist with twelve released albums, three published books and several national projects.

Recently, Michael helped organize the national WoodSongs Front Porch Association to help organize rural and community music and a massive educational program. Members of the WFPA are called “SongFarmers,” which is also the title of his recent album, the very first national CD release to be completely recorded on an iPhone. His new 176-page book WoodSongs III is being released September 2017.

In addition to his albums, books, concerts and other projects the Martin Guitar Company recently introduced the Michael Johnathon signature model 0000-28s “WoodSongs Quad” guitar.

He lives in a log cabin on a hill surrounded by meadows, streams and woods outside of Lexington, Kentucky with his wife Melissa and family.

Community of volunteers

WoodSongs is an all-volunteer-driven operation.  From its host, to the stagehands, technicians, engineers and even camera operators, everyone works collectively to produce a weekly program that, through its very core mission, is a living, breathing and outstanding example of community.

Perhaps the best example of this community effort is the educational component that WoodSongs produces, in collaboration with the University of Kentucky. Together, they provide educational classroom lesson plans and materials that revolve around the subjects of language, history and the arts, all while encouraging creativity.  Each episode of the show features a WoodSongs Kid, who, through creative inspiration, shares his or her passion and talent.

Sunday mornings at 9 (Central Time)

For nearly 10 years, KC Cafe Radio has provided a rare link to original music and the people who write and perform that music.  We are pleased that we are now also a part of the unique community that represents the WoodSongs values and passion. We encourage you to tune in join us every Sunday morning!

New Music on KC Cafe Radio: July 11, 2017

Jeff Kossack & Syd Straw: Too Little Time Jeff Kossack & Syd Straw: Too Little Time

  • Folk / Alt Folk

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Cindy Novelo - Stone's Throw Cindy Novelo – Stone’s Throw ~New Artist~

  • Folk

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Bill Scorzari - Through These Waves Bill Scorzari – Through These Waves ~New Artist~

  • Folk

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 Calvin Arsenia - Catastrophe  Calvin Arsenia – Catastrophe ~New Artist~

  • Urban / R&B Neo Soul

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Jodee Lewis - Whiskey Halo Jodee Lewis – Whiskey Halo ~New Artist~

  • Country / Alt. Country

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John L Keck - The Jack Moon Sessions John L Keck – The Jack Moon Sessions ~New Artist~

  • Alt. Folk

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Lazarus - Rock N Roll Heart Lazarus – Rock N Roll Heart

  • Folk / Folk Rock

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Mill's End - Follow the Money (single) Mill’s End – Follow the Money (single)

  • Rock

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Chuck Eaton - Lessons Chuck Eaton – Lessons

  • Pop

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Evan Silva - Out of the Shadows Evan Silva – Out of the Shadows ~New Artist~

  • Jazz / Latin Jazz

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The Tearaways - Keep You Knickers On (single) The Tearaways – Keep You Knickers On (single)

  • Rock

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The Tearaways - If I Had It (single) The Tearaways – If I Had It (single)

  • Rock

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Richard Byford - Born of Change Richard Byford – Born of Change

  • Folk

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Joseph Eid - Watch it Fall Joseph Eid – Watch it Fall

  • Folk / Pop

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Heather Platts - Runnin it Red Heather Platts – Runnin it Red

  • Pop

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Michael Gaither - Hey Karma Michael Gaither – Hey Karma

  • Folk

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Saoirse Casey - Carousel Saoirse Casey – Carousel ~New Artist~

  • Pop

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Roger Street Friedman releases second album

The last time we caught up with singer/songwriter and KC Cafe Radio Performing Artist Roger Street Friedman, he had just released his first album, The Waiting Sky. Now, he has a new project under his belt, the just-released Shoot The Moon. Still offering up the trademark”Roger Street Friedman sound,” this one steps things up, featuring Roger’s ever-evolving musical journey, offering up memorable melodies in a variety of genres ranging from Jazz, Blues, R&B and Rock.

Recently, KC Cafe Radio Music Director Kathy Forste talked with Roger via Skype about “Shoot The Moon.” They talk about the lessons he learned since producing his first project, the advantages of recording this project at his in-home studio, the variety of genres exhibited within the individual songs on the album, and his plans for more projects in the future.

Listen to the interview here:

Download the interview here: Interview: Roger Street Friedman 6/12/2017

Music by Roger Street Friedman on KC Cafe Radio:

FARMette 2017: Showcase Performances

Folk Alliance Region Midwest’s “FARMette 2017” conference was held June 24, 2017 at The Buffalo Room in Kansas City’s Westport entertainment district.  The day-long event culminated in a juried Showcase Performance, featuring seven Midwest musicians.

KC Cafe Radio broadcast the show live that evening.  Here we offer the archived recordings of each performance from that broadcast.


John Keck (Kansas City, Missouri)

John Keck is a Kansas City songwriter who creates lyrics with the intent of capturing emotion, depicting a moment in time. Much like a photograph define can define the light. With one foot in the south and one in the Midwest, John’s music is a modern blend of traditional American and a willingness to be undefined.

“I write songs for people who love Van Gogh’s paintings. I want to have a conversation about the emotions behind the songs with our eyes. I want to provoke thought and connect with people. I’d like to see if I can get you to dance, laugh and cry a little.” – John L Keck

John is currently rehearsing songs in the studio in preparation to record a new album this year. This will be a follow album to his “Jack Moon Sessions.” He is performing nearly every weekend this summer, somewhere in the Midwest.

Listen to John’s performance here:

Download John’s performance here: FARMette 2017: John Keck

Caleb Ryan Martin (Fayetteville, Arkansas)

Caleb Ryan Martin has, according to one reviewer, “a lonesome voice and rhythm that can at times invoke a lonesome ramblin’ man sound, a voice that will haunt you with some type of mysterious mountain holler sound, like a banshee singing in the nether woods.”

Caleb Ryan Martin hails from the hills of Fayetteville, Arkansas. Looking like a man from leaner and meaner times, Caleb has traveled and played music all across the Midwest and Gulf Coast region, singing with expressive vocals, playing guitar, and picking the banjo providing people with melodic medicine. Caleb currently averages between 150 – 200 shows a year.

Listen to Caleb’s performance here:

Download Caleb’s performance here: FARMette 2017: Caleb Ryan Martin

Bill Scorzari (Huntington, New York)

Often likened to Sam Baker, Tom Waits, and Kris Kristofferson, New York singer-songwriter, Bill Scorzari is “a force. His songwriting is stellar, his picking above par and his voice fits his songs perfectly” (No Depression).

Through These Waves (released 3/10/17), was produced by Jonah Tolchin and recorded at the Bomb Shelter (Nashville, Tennessee with musicians Joachim Cooder, Will Kimbrough, Chris Scruggs, Kim Richey, Laur Joamets and more. “Bill Scorzari has a lived-in voice that says, ‘Listen to these songs.’ They spring from the earth and the ocean with an open heart and the wisdom of experience.” (John Platt, WFUV).

Listen to Bill’s performance here:

Download Bill’s performance here: FARMette 2017: Bill Scorzari

Ryan Herrick (Chicago, Illinois)

Inspired by the raw, visceral power in traditional Delta blues and Appalachian folk music, Ryan Herrick allows his music to merge from within. His soulful songs express his passionate belief in human unity and the interconnectedness of all things with a percussive blend of rock, folk-blues, Celtic, and Indian raga.

Listen to Ryan’s performance here:

Download Ryan’s performance here: FARMette 2017: Ryan Herrick

Jeff Krause (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

Rooted in the tradition of classic Americana and folk storytelling with a tip of the hat to blues and southern soul, Jeff Krause pairs lyric-forward songs with a guitar style that moves from acoustic coffee house strums to dusty bar blues.

Jeff Krause got his start in the Midwest as a lead guitar player in the vast and ever growing songwriting culture of the Twin Cities. He says “I’m constantly inspired by the seemingly endless talent harbored in Minneapolis and working to create something worthy of that influence.” Jeff Krause writes original songs that are all too relatable about the lost and found of love with a common thread of the persevering spirit born from the highs and lows of life. Inspired by the lyric writing of greats such as Jason Isbell and John Prine and the acoustic grooves of Amos Lee and Ray LaMontagne, Krause crafts songs that are suited for an intimate acoustic show or a full stage.

Listen to Jeff’s performance here:

Download Jeff’s performance here: FARMette 2017: Jeff Krause

Jodee Lewis (Chicago, Illinois)

A native of the Missouri Ozarks, Jodee Lewis was raised on folk songs and honkytonk, and her music reflects the best of both worlds. The Chicago Tribune says she is “a singer-songwriter whose outsized talent is as big as her voice,” and calls her first album, “Whiskey Halo,” an “impressive solo debut.” Her song, “In The End,” took first place in the 16th annual Great American Songwriting Contest. Additionally, the 14th annual Independent Music Awards chose “Whiskey Halo” as country album of the year, and the single, “From A Bottle,” took top honors for a country song. Lewis plans to release a second album, “Buzzards Bluff,” in 2017.

Listen to Jodee’s performance here:

Download Jodee’s performance here: FARMette 2017: Jodee Lewis

Betse & Clarke (Kansas City, Missouri)

Their music is familiar…and totally different; a fiddle and banjo duo with a sense of adventure. Old time music and song celebrated alongside inventive new compositions: a passion for the depth of tradition and a look to new creative paths. “Betse and Clarke go together like peanut butter and jelly.” — Chuck Haddix, host of The Fish Fry, KCUR-FM. “Authentic…from the heart with plenty of soul. Betse and Clarke are as good as it gets.” — Daren Dortin, Ozark Highlands Radio Executive Producer/Music Director, Ozark Folk Center.

Listen to Betse & Clarke’s performance here:

Download Betse & Clarke’s performance here: FARMette 2017: Betse & Clarke

Joy Zimmerman releases 4th album, “Say My Name”

Joy Zimmerman was just 5 years old when she first became acquainted with music.   Her mother played piano and her grandmother was an organist.  Mom thought Joy would also take a liking to the piano, however it was the violin that piqued her interest.  There was something pure in the sound of the violin, a sound that would lure her in to a fascinating musical world.  

Joy grew up enjoying a very diverse exposure to music.  Thanks to St. Louis rock radio, she became influenced by the likes of Carol King, James Taylor, Earth, Wind and Fire, The Beatles, Sting, and Simon and Garfunkel.

Joy continued to play violin through her college years, performing in churches, for weddings and for funerals.  With all the love that she had for the violin, however, there never seemed to be a real connection between music and career.  She pursued studies for, and eventually a career in social work.

Her interest in music would again become piqued when her son began taking guitar lessons.  She became so intrigued that she asked if she could also begin taking lessons.  As she became better at learning chords, she discovered her own melodies springing forth from the strings. She would go on to join a Folk trio that allowed her to experiment between the violin and her newfound guitar interest.  She would go on to challenge herself with songwriting, and found that it came to her quite naturally.  From that fortunate discovery,  Joy went on to release 4 albums, the latest of which is titled Say My Name.

Recently KC Cafe Radio Music Director Kathy Forste talked with Joy about her journey of musical discovery, and the valuable lessons she has learned along the way.  She also talks about recording her latest album, Say My Name, and the decision to record this one in Kansas City.  And we hear her reaction to having received an Honorable Mention award from American Songwriter Magazine for her song, “Messy Girl.”

Listen to the interview here:

Download the interview here: Interview: Joy Zimmerman 5/31/2017

Music by Joy Zimmerman on KC Cafe Radio: