Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Somethin’ happenin’ here

And in the case it’s quite clear. Local Kansas City songwriters are writing great songs, home-growing a sound, performing frequently, and recording on their own. Look out Austin. Take notice, Nashville.

We receive tastes of this buzz often in our Kansas City Star from Tim Finn who champions our authentic music here. Michael Byars, your morning announcer on KCUR, is a loyal follower who documents performances with his photography. These two music lovers will agree that we have a rich tapestry of sound downtown, MidTown, and in Westport. Beneath the shadow of the Sprint Center, the Midland, the Lyric, the Folly, and the rising Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, there’s a strong steady stream of troubadours hard at work, courageously telling their stories, crafting an art form.

What does this matter in this age of YouTube and internet sounds? Why bother with a live performance when you can shuffle your tunes at will? Why do these people do what they do at open mic nights, for pittance at a club without a door fee?

I’m learning that they have to do it. Seriously, like some people have to eat and sleep, they have to write and sing. Some people have to paint and sculpt, dance, write, weave, design, and cook. What they must do is something that you can enjoy and be transported by. These are real people you can meet. It’s not a question of whether the music matters. The music is…

There’s something happening here, right here in Kansas City, right beneath your nose, accessible with free parking, a stone’s throw away from the stage where the Stones may reappear, where Mellencamp recently camped…

A few names… Farrand, Regnier, Bryan, Ashby, Tomasino, Paludan, Iceberg, Easterday, Hankel, Stremel, Ladesich, Harshbarger, Freling, Hamil, Wyoming, Beers, McMilian, Hendersen, Sprawl, Donoho, McKenna, Folkicide, Shoare, Kates, Hrabko, Smith, Stevenson, Keck, Griebel, Martin, Frame, Tummons, May, Davis, Carr, McMullan, Lowrey, Hamil, Southerland, Shapiro, Granner…there’s more, always more.

This is not a commercial or a shout out. It’s a sketch of what is, people who are real, music that is of this place, this time. This is art as artistic as any opera, ballet, symphony, or out-of-town overpriced roadshow that may have you ga-ga for a ticket and bragging rights. When the semi’s roll out of town this stuff sticks. Hello, Kansas City.

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