Category Archives: News

News about KC Cafe Radio and our Performing Artists

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!

FAI 2016: Conversations at Folk Alliance

KC Cafe Radio's booth at the 2016 Folk Alliance International ConferenceThe 2016 Folk Alliance International Conference and Music Fair was held for the third year in a row in Kansas City, Missouri February 17-21.  KC Cafe Radio was there once again, providing live coverage of the conference from our booth at the exhibit hall.

This year turned out to be a significantly rewarding year for us.  Not only did we have the opportunity to catch up with several old friends, we made several new ones as well.  Stay tuned to KC Cafe Radio, over the next several weeks and months you will begin hearing new music and voices, a direct result of these new friendships.

Louis MeyersSince the conference, we were saddened to learn of the passing of a very good friend to KC Cafe Radio and Folk Alliance International, Louis Meyers.  Louis had served as Executive Director of Folk Alliance International for several years, and had co-founded the South By Southwest (SXSW) festival.  Louis died on Friday, March 11, the first day of the 2016 SXSW festival.

Louis is also responsible for connecting us at KC Cafe radio with Folk Alliance International.  He had personally invited us to one of the regional conferences.  The following year we returned to the Folk Alliance Region Midwest conference with our live microphones.  Since then, we have attended and covered two regional and two international conferences.  Our involvement with this outstanding organization may not have happened without his invitation.

Here are archived recordings of the conversations we had during the conference:

International Folk music conference brings music professionals together

fai_2016_banner_450x75The 2016 Folk Alliance International Conference returns to the Westin Crown Center in Kansas City, Missouri for the third year in a row, February 17-21.  Folk music musicians, industry professionals, presenters, media and fans of the genre gather at this 28th annual event.

Keynote speaker at this year’s conference is folk legend Judy Collins, who will speak and perform on Friday February 19th.  Other events include nightly music showcases, late night private showcases, mentoring sessions and workshops.

KC Cafe Radio will be set up in the Exhibit Hall at the conference, located in the Century Ballroom, booth 204, 10AM to 1PM Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  If you are attending the conference, please drop by and say “hello.”  We are looking forward to catching up with many KC Cafe Radio Performing Artists at the conference, as well as meeting new friends that would like to share their musical talents on The Cafe. Listen for conversations from the conference daily here on KC Cafe Radio!

KC Cafe Performing Artists Featured in Roots Music Best of 2015

Roots Music ReportRoots Music Report, the music chart representing Independent music, recently released its list of top played artists of 2015.  Approximately 34 KC Cafe Radio Performing Artists were among those receiving the “top honors” on the Roots charts.

Receiving top honors in the Folk category were Dan Weber for his album, What I’m Lookin’ For, which ranked 39.  Other 2015 top Folk artists/albums (and their ranking) included The Stray Birds/Best Medicine (42), John Roy Zat/Who’s Zat? (48), Young Novelists/Made Us Strangers (83), Johnathan Byrd/You Can’t Outrun the Radio (146), and Fiddle Whandiddle/Old School Old Time (153).

Several KC Cafe Radio Performing Artists also made top 2015 ranking in the Americana Country category, led by Tracy Newman and The Reinforcements for her album I Just See You, which ranked 35.  Also appearing were Lucy Billings/Carry The Water (39), Kerry Patrick Clark/In A Perfect World (52), Susie Glaze and The Hilonesome Band/Not That Kind of Girl (62), Hilary Scott/Freight Train Love (124), Sarah Pierce/Barbed Wire (132), Sky Smeed/Drive All Night (133), The Keller Sisters/Shine (135), Truckstop Honeymoon/The Madness of Happiness (153), Well Worn Soles/Country/Folk (165), Brad Colerick/When I’m Gone (182), and Stephanie Urbina Jones/The Texicana Sessions (195).

The Enzymes with The Active Ingredients received Root’s top 2015 billing in the Rock category for their single Doowapadoodle, which ranked 86th, while their self-titled album ranked 113, and other single Kill Yourself First ranked 133rd in the same category.  Enzymes also received recognition in the Alternative Rock and Roots Rock categories.  Other KC Cafe Radio Performing Artists appearing in Root’s Rock category was Roger Street Friedman for his album The Waiting Sky (149 – also appearing in the Roots Rock category at #63).

KC Cafe Radio Performing Artists also appeared in some of Root’s more eclectic categories.  In the Pop category, John M ranked 38th place for his album, M-VI, followed by Victor & Penny and Their Loose Change Orchestra for their album, Live at the Living Room Theatre, which ranked 169th.  In the Electronic category, Surreal Realm ranked 14th place for their single Endeavors.  Appearing in the Religious category were Pastor Brad/Lemonade (91), Bob Sima/Putalittlemoreloveintheworld (94), Project 15:16/The Way, and Granger Lofton/Demos (102).

Several KC Cafe Radio Performing Artists had singles that fared well in 2015, including Judy Nazemetz for her songs, Yesterday I Was So Tired , What’re We Gonna Do About Judy Wyner?, and We Got No Love Today.  Other artists with top 2015 singles included Doug Adamz, Joey Curtain, John Batdorf, Chappell and Dave Holt, John Zipperer, and Folding Mr. Lincoln.

Since 1998, Roots Music Report has been collecting radio station airplay data to create its weekly airplay charts.  KC Cafe Radio has been a Roots Music reporting station since 2011.

FARM Offers Outstanding Talent In Iowa City

FARM 2015 Conference

Tuesday, September 22, 2015Folk Alliance Region Midwest (FARM) opens its 2015 regional conference in a new city this year, convening at the Sheraton Hotel in Iowa City, Iowa beginning Thursday, October 22.  In addition to the standard fare of workshops, industry panels, mentoring sessions and networking opportunities for music professionals and others involved in the music industry, This year’s conference will offer several performance opportunities that everyone will enjoy.

Smitty Smith, co-Coordinator for this year’s conference said the choice of Iowa City as the conference location became an obvious one.  “We were in St. Louis for 3 years, and before that we were in Chicago.   We looked at many locations around the Midwest, from St. Paul/Minneapolis to locations in Wisconsin, Nebraska, Ohio and Iowa.  Between the facilities available, the local interest in hosting the conference and economic considerations, Iowa City won out.  That is where we will be this year, and the next two years following.”

The new location also brings a fresh set of talent to the conference, which will be featured in showcase performances throughout the 3-day event.  Official showcases begin at 8 p.m. nightly, presenting approximately 31 acts over the course of the conference.  Smith said the talent selected to appear in the Official Showcases are the cream of the crop, so-to-speak.  “Approximately 130 acts applied to appear in the Official Showcases, and only about 1 in 10 make the cut.”  A panel of 8 judges representing music venues, radio DJs and other “well-known people  in the music scene” made the selection.

While the conference itself is designed for those with ties to music and the music industry, Smith said the general public is also invited to attend the Official Showcase shows.  “We call it ‘Taste Of Farm.’ The public can come in and enjoy the Official Showcases, which include the DJ Presenter’s Showcase, the keynote address, as well as performances later in the evening.”  Tickets are $20 for any single-night show, or $50 for all three nights of the conference.  More information on attending the Offical Showcase shows is available here.

Although early-bird registration has ended, Smith said it is not too late to register for the conference, and walk-in registration is available.  “It is not prohibitively expensive.  If you walk up the day of the conference and want to register for the entire conference it is just $130.”  More information on conference registration is available here.

Recently, Smith talked with KC Cafe Radio’s John Dutton previewing the 2015 conference.   They discussed the decision to locate the conference in Iowa City, and new features on this year’s agenda.  Smith also highlighted some of the acts that will appear in the Official Showcases, and describes the process of selecting from the region’s finest performers for the show.

Listen to the interview here: