Groove Juice Heroines

This Sunday morning’ family special pays tribute to ladies, girls, mamas, grrls, mothers, and females of free spirit.   Hear songs and such from inspiring women for folks of all ages!   Only on KKFI’s Groove Juice Special!

Listen Yankee: Why Cuba Matters and Baltimore and the Human Right to Resistance

Listen Yankee: Why Cuba Matters

As relations between the United States and Cuba are radically changing, Tom Hayden’s new book Listen Yankee! Why Cuba Matters is especially timely. It offers thoughtful analysis and insights into the efforts of intellectuals, social justice activists and politicians that helped bring about normalization efforts.

Listen Yankee is both a historical account and personal memoir of Hayden as a revolutionary student leader and SDS founder whose own early work to spur poetical change mirrored the transformation going on in Cuba. His book is based in part on conversations with Ricardo Alarcon, one of the leaders of the revolution,. UN representative and a former guest of Law and Disorder.

Guest ” Tom Hayden was a leader in the student, antiwar, and civil rights protests in the 1960s. He took up the environmental cause in the 1970s, leading campaigns to shut down nuclear power plants and serving as California’s first solar energy official. He was elected to the California legislature in 1982, serving for eighteen years. He continues to write as an editor for The Nation, and has taught at many campuses from Harvard’s Institute of Politics to UCLA’s labor studies

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Baltimore and the Human Right to Resistance: Rejecting the framework of the Oppressor

Events continue to unfold within Baltimore, Maryland in response to the police murder of Freddie Gray. Today we examine how stereotypes are perpetuated of the rebels in the streets. The mainstream press, pundits and elected officials black and white call them thugs.

Guest – Ajamu Baraka is a human rights activist, organizer, geo-political analyst and editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report. Baraka serves as the Public Intervenor for Human Rights as a member of the Green Shadow Cabinet and coordinates the International Affairs Committee of the Black Left Unity Network. An Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Washington, D.C., Baraka s is also a contributor to Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence and Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA.

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Updates:

Heidi Boghosian:The Committee To Save Mumia Abu-Jamal Places Ad In New York Times – “Mumia Abu-Jamal Is Dying In Prison From Medical Neglect”

God & Gov: Lebanon Edition and Sordid Secrets in the Vatican Bank

Lebanon: Where Religious Clout and Political Power Collide

This week, Maureen is back from her travels to Lebanon for the latest in our God and Government series. We’ll meet a host of people whose lives have been shaped by the country’s close connection between religion and state, including the first couple to officially marry in a non-religious ceremony; the archbishop of Beirut, who uses his religious clout to help citizens find government jobs; and a woman in Beirut who relies on the militant Muslim group Hezbollah to keep her lights on.

Dirty Dealings at the Vatican Bank

We open the vaults of the Vatican Bank, an institution that may be blessed by God, but has been manipulated by the hands of men since its establishment in the early 1940s. We’ll wade through the bank’s backroom dealings with a host of unseemly characters, from the Nazis to Italian mobsters, who have made good use of this secretive, tax-free hideout inside a holy institution. Pope Francis has now ordered a major reform.

Best of the Merlefest! Honeycutters, Baillie and the Boys, The Ragbirds, and The Spinney Brothers

by Craig Havighurst, Music City Roots Producer

We schemed up our special Merlefest show concept two years ago, and they’ve been superb, with stars like Sierra Hull and Peter Rowan included on the bills. We work with the organizers of Merlefest to identify bands and artists who are positioned to play Roots on Wednesday and then drive over to the Appalachian town of N. Wilkesboro NC where their Merlefest stages await.

I hope you’ve attended this wonderful event, but just in case this is news to you, Merlefest is among the nation’s leading music festivals, setting the gold standard for big-tent Americana/roots gatherings in the early 90s. I’ve written at length about this awesome gathering in the past, because I got a large part of my roots music education at Merlefest starting in about 1991. It was launched as a simple gathering of star bluegrass musicians to honor the memory of Merle Watson after his tragic accidental death in 1985. Doc Watson’s son was a great player and an anchor in Doc’s life. Doc has been an anchor in the lives of anyone who’s followed traditional American music since the 60s.

On this year’s Merlefest celebration, two of our acts are returning favorites. And we’re hearing from a couple of veteran acts who perhaps should have been on Roots a while ago. Let’s start with them.

I discovered The Spinney Brothers recently when they performed on the IBMA Awards in Raleigh. It was one of those ‘what took me so long?’ moments. Their song was a driving, witty tribute to the father of bluegrass called “My Music Comes From Bill.” Allan and Rick Spinney’s voices locked together with sibling simpatico. There was a bright force about them, and I wanted to know more. Turns out they’re from Nova Scotia, Canada. They’ve made somewhere around a dozen albums together going back to the early 90s, when the guys looked very young indeed. A few years ago the Spinneys started getting substantial U.S. airplay, and in 2013 they were nominated as the IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year (only twenty years into their recording career!). With the punchy and emotional sound captured on the current release Tried & True, I have a new frame of reference, and I expect to include the Spinneys in any future spin through what’s good in today’s bluegrass scene.

The other veterans on the bill making a Roots debut is a band that our own Keith Bilbrey’s had experience with, because Baillie And The Boys were prominent in Nashville and on country radio as the 80s gave way to the 90s. Built around the married couple of Kathie Baillie and Michael Bonagura, they made pop country with strong ties to L.A. folk and country rock, a la the Desert Rose Band. Kathie’s voice strikes me as a blend of Emmylou Harris and Suzy Bogguss. The spare trio format leaves lots of room for harmonization and a pure focus on the song. The group released ten top ten country hits and contributed to a diverse era on the radio. They performed or worked with Vince Gill, Randy Travis, George Strait and others. They took some time apart but released a very nice Unplugged album in 2011, whose clean, breezy tone likely foreshadows the sound they’ll bring to our stage.

From the department of creative re-scheduling comes the wonderful Asheville, North Carolina roots/country band The Honeycutters. They first joined us in August 2010 and then came back in October 2012, delivering a performance we were proud to include in our first season on American Public Television. Then we had them on the books for a mid-February show, but that got cancelled due to ice and snow. But we have warm feelings for these guys, so they’re all set to play their bittersweet mountain country music for you all on Wednesday. Vocalist Amanda Platt has a voice that’s complex, sweet and aching. Even more potently, she writes songs that folks are citing as up there with the best of the field, such as Mary Gauthier and Lucinda Williams. The group was named best Americana band in the Smoky Mountain region by the cultural beacon Mountain Xpress three years running. Since then they’ve grown and deepened, and it’s high time for a check-in as they climb further up the ladder of Americana music. 

I’ve saved our show closing artists for last here, but only by way of saying that your anticipation meter ought to be trembling near the red line for The Ragbirds. Fond MCR Alums, this band tickles our fancy for world music, gypsy, Cajun, folk and jazz. They’re highly skilled and always searching for new textures and timbres to involve in their kinetic, seductive amalgam. Fiddler/singer Erin Zindle is the focal point, but it’s truly an interlocked, polyrhythmic sound that could only be achieved by five people working in syncopation. Founded as a street band playing Celtic and gypsy music, they’ve been based out of Ann Arbor, MI and widening their reach over the course of half a dozen albums and intense touring. I’m definitely looking forward to another flight by these birds.

It’s not as easy for me to get to Merlefest as it was when I was younger and singler. But it’s awesome that a little piece of Merlefest comes to us each year. Let’s pick one for Merle, sing one for Doc and have a big time at Liberty Hall.

PINE HILL PROJECT

As solo artists, Lucy Kaplansky and Richard Shindell have been making critically acclaimed albums since the early 1990s, and each have contributed harmonies to every one of those albums. But with the exception of 1998’s one-off Cry Cry Cry album with Dar Williams, the two songwriters have never made an album together – that is, until now. And it’s been worth the wait. As The Pine Hill Project, Lucy and Richard have released Tomorrow You’re Going, (Signature Sounds), an Americana masterwork produced by multi-instrumentalist and two-time Grammy Award winner Larry Campbell.

Tomorrow You’re Going is an evocative, sometimes rollicking, deeply moving collection of 11 songs from writers as diverse as Greg Brown (“Lately”), Nick Lowe (“I Live on a Battlefield”), even U2 (“Sweetest Thing”), and Elizabeth Ziman (“Open Book”). There’s also the lovely, wistful country twang they bring to Little Feat’s “Missing You”, and Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton’s “Making Plans” from which the album’s title is culled.

Pine Hill Project is an opportunity to see Kaplansky and Schindell revisit the chemistry that made Cry Cry Cry’s self titled album a modern folk classic.

Lucy Kaplansky and Richard Shindell have enjoyed singing together for 25 years. And they’ve talked about making a record together for just as long. In summer 2014 an extraordinarily successful Kickstarter campaign raised the initial goal of $40,000 in 24 hours, going on to ultimately reach over $85,000, to bring that desire to fruition under the band name “The Pine Hill Project.”

What We Heard at the Folk Alliance Conference, Day 1 (plus some new releases from local artists)

“But wait a minute!” I hear you say. “Wasn’t the FAC way back in Feb?”  Why, yes it was! And we’re had five related shows in the can for the last few months which you’ll be hearing over the next few.    ——  Mark & Valerie

Tune in today to hear cuts from: Little Joe McLerren,  Kate & Bill Isles;The Roe Family Singers, Sin and Swoon, Dana Falconberry, Harpeth Rising, Phillip Henrt and Hannah Martin, Durham Counts Poets, Josienne Clark & Ben Walker, Jacquelyn Hynes, Brother Sun, Carrie Elkin, the latest release from The Shortleaf Band and the upcoming release by KKFI’s own Mikal Shapiro.

“Sticky Traps” & “Dances Daring”

On this edition of Arts Magazine, performers Mark Robbins and Blair Sams stop by the KKFI studios to tell us about the Kansas City Repertory Theatre production of Sticky Traps.

Later, Devon Carney (Artistic Director) and Bruce Wells (Ballet Master In Residence) will talk about the Kansas City Ballet production of Dances Daring. All this, plus a new edition of Russ SimmonsFreeze Frame, right here on YOUR community radio station, 90.1 FM!

Marjorie Cohn on Drones, Beverly Bell on Honduran Environmental Resistance

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This week on CounterSpin: The killing of two Western hostages by a CIA drone strike in Pakistan led some US media to re- engage debate over US drone policy. But media’s discussion is over how and where drones should be used—not whether they should be. We’ll talk to law professor Marjorie Cohn, author of, most recently, Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral and Geopolitical Issues.  

Berta Caceres & COPINH members (photo: Goldman Environmental Prize)Also on the show: Sometimes called the Green Nobel, the Goldman Environmental Prize is given to grassroots environmental activists from each of six world regions. This year’s winners, including Honduran indigenous rights leader Berta Caceres and the group COPINH, are fighting not just governments but some of the world’s most powerful corporations to protect their land and livelihood. That’s why Caceres and her colleagues face death threats and repression. And it surely has something to do with why you can read all of the US media coverage of Caceres and the Goldman Prize in the time of an elevator ride. We’ll hear from Beverly Bell of the group Other Worlds about this story.

As usual, CounterSpin also looks back on the week’s news, including the Baltimore protests and the Supreme Court’s consideration of marriage equality.

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