KC Cafe Radio returned to Gusto Coffee Saturday, December 16 for our annual Christmas show, broadcast live on KC Cafe Radio. This year’s show opened with a Kansas City-area musical favorite, Steve Sterner and Sundown, and featured a new voice for the KC Cafe Radio microphones, Joy Zimmerman.
For several years, Gusto Coffee has been the social hub of the Longview area of Lee’s Summit, Missouri. Events from community meetings to live local music performances are regular occurrences. Gusto Coffee has also been a corporate underwriter and supporter of KC Cafe Radio, and our mission to present unique, original music. We are pleased to have returned to bring you this unique holiday music event.
Steve Sterner and Sundown
With smooth vocals, Steve Sterner & Sundown (Mark Nelson & Ron Brammer) deliver a relaxed mix of original folk songs, and popular and lesser known covers. Steve tells stories about life and love in his original compositions, interspersed with songs by favorite folk artists like John Denver, Gordon Lightfoot, and Jim Croce.
Joy Zimmerman is known for compelling vocals, inventive songwriting, and engaging performances. Her music is shaped by diverse musical taste, violin lessons starting before kindergarten, and plenty of soulful moments. Joy’s lyrics reflect a deep understanding of human experience. Having met few genres she didn’t embrace, Joy’s music is eclectic and chock-full of vocal and instrumental versatility.
Joy has five albums of original music — two recorded and co-produced with Jimmy Dykes in Kansas City at Weights and Measures Soundlab, and three recorded in Nashville at Azalea Studios. Joy’s songwriting awards include American Songwriter Lyric Contest Honorable Mention and five Walnut Valley Festival New Song Showcase wins.
Here are the archived recordings of the performances
Dennis Warner, (Minnesota)
As a Folk/Americana artist, Dennis Warner has established a well-deserved reputation for captivating audiences with his smooth vocals, distinguished songs, enthusiastic personality and stellar playing, on both six and twelve string guitars. Playing in 100 cities every year, he cleverly blends ballads, up-tempo songs and humor. Dennis has a contagious energy and a collections of songs that ring true.
The musical synergy from Sarah Cole and Dylan McCarthy is highlighted by spellbinding harmonies and creative arrangements. Their sound is distinctive and alluring. Soulful harmonies, captivating guitar, and mandolin leads give way to musical energy that will keep you listening from the very first note. From heartbreaking ballads to hard-hitting bluegrass, this Colorado-based duo has incredible musical chemistry.
Forged from a socially adventurous acoustic music scene on the west coast of Canada, the band play a key role in a new generation of grassroots folk music. The wealth of musical experience and classical training in the group creates an interesting backdrop for their songwriting, allowing for levels of detail, intricacy, and counterpoint balanced with moments of musical simplicity.
This talented troubadour is a Crow Tribal member who blends the great traditions of American music. His deft fingerstyle guitar and vocals convey an earthy melodic tone, combining bluegrass, blues and jazz in a unique and captivating style. His seemingly effortless guitar picking is nimble, yet soulful. Humility shines through his music, as he weaves a magical musical tapestry.
Reggie Garrett performs mostly original songs mixed with pop covers and more traditional style folk ballads. He is the creative purveyor of a unique urban strain of mostly acoustic music, incorporating a number of diverse influences, including: Folk, Latin rhythms, Blues, Gospel, Celtic, Rock, Jazz and more. The result is a musical blend that has excited and touched audiences throughout the US and Canada.
Americana artist Kelly Brightwell and folk-rocker Woody Moran have fused their talents, and the results are nothing short of amazing! They deliciously mix detailed observations of a world traveler with captivating storytelling, which brings emotional landscapes to life. They deliver harmonies that lock in rhythmically. Their unique talent is especially evident in a live setting.
KC Cafe Radio’s microphones were there for the kickoff concert at the 2017 Folk Alliance Region-West music conference in Bellevue, Washington, with the Venues Choice Concert. Five venues from around the FAR-West region, dedicated to presenting acoustic music, each presented an artists of their choice.
Here are the archived recordings of the performances:
The Triple Door Presents Lydia Ramsey
Her songs convey both the wildness and free nature of the great northwest and are steeped in the fingerpick-guitar rudiments of folk music. A multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, Lydia Ramsey has been praised for the almost vintage quality of her voice. Her songs feature ancient music making devices in unique arrangements to back up her beautiful voice.
Jeffrey Martin‘s music is not widely known, which is a shame, because he might be the best songwriter in Portland. With lyrics that read like Raymond Carver stories and a voice that’s one breath away from breaking completely apart, Martin’s songs are beautiful, sparse, and utterly devastating. . . . If there is any justice in the world, Martin’s music will soon reach a wider audience and inflict devastation on a much larger scale.
This band is a hot example of Celtic music and jazz fused together by superb musicians. The group is centered around violinist Gabriel Dubeuil, a well-established session player, who has recorded on dozens of pop, jazz and rock albums and music videos with local and international bands.
Olalla Community Club & Americana Festival Presents Leroy Bell
Sometimes a songwriter has to take the plunge and express what’s really on his mind. In these turbulent times the emotions of the moment can overwhelm you … and then we witness a natural cycle of renewal. Leroy Bell is a songwriter who brings the optimistic part of our humanity to the center stage.
Alex Guy (as Led to Sea) is one of those artists, like St. Vincent or Andrew Bird, who approaches pop music with the eye of a classical composer, breaking down and rebuilding pop tropes into something resembling fine art. It’s a constant balancing act, combining classical and pop. Her layered viola melodies coupled with an incredible voice are enough to hold any audience in thrall.
Here are the archived recordings from the Friday night Official Showcase performances at the 2017 FAR-West Music Conference in Bellevue, Washington. The first of two nights of juried showcase performances included the talents of Larry Murante, The Singer And The Songwriter, Rupert Wates, Alice Howe, The Talbott Brothers, The Wardens, and Nathaniel Talbot.
Larry Murante (Washington)
Beautifully woven stories set the stage for a truly amazing artist who writes and sings about everyday folks, combining compassionate, socially conscious lyrics and an upbeat, joyful, folk/rock style. Larry is known for his soaring, mellifluous tenor, a strong rhythmic guitar style and an engaging stage presence. He was a Grand Prize Winner in the International John Lennon Songwriting Contest.
Rachel Garcia and Thu Tran create music as vibrant and diverse as their multiracial backgrounds. Their music and melodies cut across decades of classic American song forms, bending and blending genres to produce a unique sound with a fresh, clever and distinct approach to the classic traditions of American folk, jazz and blues.
Listen to The Singer And The Songwriter’s performance here:
This marvelous musician combines lyrics that are rich with social commentary, accented by phenomenal guitar work. He blends provocative lyrics with unforgettable melodies, wrapped around captivating stories. He writes from the heart about life, love, sorrow and sweetness. His songs are built on the foundation of fluid finger picking that are quietly powerful.
At once timeless and original, this Boston-based singer/songwriter combines a soulful, impeccably tuned voice with crafted poetry. A lifelong songwriter, Alice’s musical sensibility lies in ’60s folk and ’70s Southern California songwriters, with comparisons drawn to the pure, distilled sounds of Joan Baez and Kate Wolf. Her 2017 EP You’ve Been Away So Long features the original song Homeland Blues, #1 on the April Folk Radio Chart.
Balanced harmonies from this exciting folk/rock act ignite an amazing sound that is both optimistic and captivating. The Portland-based brothers blend guitars, mandolin, harmonicas and percussion to perfection. This talented duo is driven by warm, melodic vocals, diverse instrumentation and authentic storytelling. They are known for charming and energetic performances that blend singer/songwriter styles with folk, rock and pop.
These master musicians are a Banff National Park-based trio whose music and stories emanate from the very land they’ve protected for decades. Blending folk, roots and western styles, The Wardens reflect the pristine wilderness of the Rocky Mountains. Their music drips with Canadian authenticity, depicting a rich depth of truthfulness and stems from a life lived in the deep wilderness of the Canadian Rockies.
He is a singer, songwriter and organic farmer, whose music has ‘dirt under its fingernails,’ the product of decades of hard work and crafting – retuning, replanting, and retelling musical stories. He truly embraces the crafts of songwriting and guitar playing. His style is true American roots music, combining the soulful edge of tradition with the Pacific Nortwest’s legacy of freedom and innovation.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.