“An Iliad” & “Lasso Of Truth”

Today on Arts Magazine, actor Kyle Hatley will once again join host Michael Hogge to speak about the new show at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, An Iliad, a re-telling of Homer’s epic poem.

Later, the director and actors from the Unicorn Theatre will be with us to talk about their latest adult comedy, Lasso Of Truth. Join us for all this, plus the latest reviews from Russ Simmons on Freeze Frame!

God and Government Turkish Music, and Remembering Marcus Borg

Controlling Religion in Secular Turkey

On paper, Turkey’s government is secular. But the state controls nearly every aspect of religious life–and seems to prefer the Sunni Muslim variety.  The founders of modern Turkey thought the best way to keep Islam from competing with government was to take it over. Now critics say the country’s president is using his power not to control religion, but to promote the religion of the majority: Sunni Islam. We begin with the story of ‘Fatma,’ an Alevi Muslim teenager who was automatically enrolled in a state-run Sunni school.

In the Studio with Guitarist Celil Kaya

Celil Refik Kaya was born in Turkey and moved to Austin, Texas, to study classical guitar when he was 19. He’s also a master of the rebab, a three-stringed instrument that’s played with a bow. He came to the studio to play for us, and to explain how music can connect the listener and performer to the divine.

Celebrating the Life of Marcus Borg

Marcus Borg looked for the larger message in scripture. He used to say, “The Bible is true, and some of it actually happened.”  Although not a literalist, he handled scripture with reverence, curiosity  and rigor.  And it showed. The revered liberal theologian and Biblical scholar passed away on January 21st, so this week, we’re listening back to his final interview with us, from last June.


Grant Peeples

Folk/Roots artist Grant Peeples is known for his axe-sharp socio-political tunes as well as Roger Miller type humor and heart gigging ballads. Music News Nashville called him “a guitar-slinging poet.” Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange described his voice “laced with Cohen, Cash, and Waits.” Peeples tours have included performances at The Woody Guthrie Folk Festival in Okemah, OK, The Living Room in New York City, and The Triple Door in Seattle. His records, produced by Gurf Morlix (Lucinda Williams, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Robert Earl Keen) have topped Folk/Roots charts in the US and in Europe.  He and his band, The Peeple’s Republik will be in KC on February 17th at the Olathe Library at 6:30 and at Knuckleheads on Feb 18th at 7:30.

Americana Reliability: Chip Taylor, Doyle Lawson, Kristin Andreassen and The Malpass Brothers

by Craig Havighurst, Music City Roots Producer

One of the toughest (and greatest) challenges for a show like ours is balancing the new with the familiar. How often should we invite back favorite artists? Should there be a “cast” that defines the ethos of the show? We’ve never wanted to be Opry-like, with some artists appearing most weeks. But more or less without trying we’ve collected a group of Americana stalwarts who embody what we believe in, and any regular fan will recognize them: Sam Bush, Mike Farris, John Cowan, 18 South, etc. This week we’ve invited back two more – an enthralling songwriter/storyteller and an icon of traditional bluegrass music.

Chip Taylor proves that adage that people may not remember what you tell them but they remember how you make them feel. Because Chip always leaves us feeling elevated. Whether in the Loveless Barn working with his fiddling protégé Kendel Carson and a full band or solo at the Empire Music Hall during our Belfast Nashville Songwriter Festival special edition, he’s always been a guy who could make us laugh and cry in the space of a few minutes. He delivers his hits (like the wildly different “Wild Thing” and “Angel of the Morning”) with great context and humility. He’s always bringing in new material that shows an empathic relationship to people. His song cycle reflecting on a terrible mass killing of children in his beloved Norway called Block Out The Sirens Of This Lonely World is one of the bravest and contemplative albums I know. And there are of course his classic mid 70s  albums Last Chance and This Side of the Big River. They were a glancing blow at country music stardom but keepers anyway. He was close to becoming another Kristofferson, and in many ways he did, with scads of cuts by legends and a catalog of great recordings as an artist. Our musical hero Buddy Miler has said “Chip Taylor could’ve rested on his laurels years ago and still been way ahead of everybody else today. Lucky for us he didn’t, and he’s making some of the most relevant music out there.”

Our other returning MVP this week is Doyle Lawson, whose induction to the International Bluegrass Hall of Fame in 2012 was a landmark in a fascinating, unpredictable career. He came from Kingsport, Tennessee and took his first instrument – the mandolin – into the top tiers of the professional world when still a teenager. He worked for the demanding, irascible Jimmy Martin (the greatest singer in bluegrass history in some people’s estimation) and with J.D. Crowe, the great and open-minded post Scruggs banjo master. In the 70s, Lawson was a member of the Country Gentlemen, a band that set the table for the progressive bluegrass movement without upsetting the core fans much at all. I have a favorite piece of video from the documentary Bluegrass Country Soul in which that great quartet rehearses for a set in the  parking lot of a 1971 North Carolina festival. Wearing wild pink silk shirts with gigantic collars, they run through the unlikely mountain climbing ballad “Matterhorn” with Charlie Waller singing lead. It’s just one of those perfect moments.

Lawson became a band leader in 1979 and he’s been one of the great ones, mentoring and graduating major bluegrass talents and honing a sound that’s precise yet undeniably soulful. Especially through gospel music, Lawson has established Quicksilver as a beacon of traditional bluegrass. But within the stretched canvass of the music, there are many surprising lines and colors for those listening closely. Or you could just dance to the driving grooves, which can be some of the fastest in the business. The newest album of Lawson’s ultra-prolific career is coming out this week with the title In Session. The cover is a school chalk board that reads “33 Strings + 6 Pickers + 6 Voices = Reading, ‘Righting and Rhythm.” That’s new math we can get behind.

Doyle Lawson is also the producer of another one of our acts this week, the very exciting Malpass Brothers from Goldsboro, NC. Christopher and Taylor are hot items among the cognoscenti of classic country music right now. Their updated Louvin Brothers sound is striking, soulful and infectious. They’ve opened for Merle Haggard, Ray Price, Marty Stuart and many others of that ilk. With fabulous hair and a timeless formality of presentation that evokes the best of the 1960s, this is retro-cool at its finest. And rounding out the evening we’ll hear from Kristin Andreassen, a widely traveled and highly regarded multi instrumentalist and songwriter in the old-time and neo-folk music community. Her band resume includes the cherished all-female string band Uncle Earl and innovative trio Sometymes Why. She’s a working colleague of such greats as Dirk Powell and Aoife O’Donovan, and she has a couple of fine solo albums under her guitar strap. This will be a Roots debut for the brothers Malpass and for Kristin and we’re excited to hear them both. They may well become MCR stalwarts.

ARTSPEAK PRESENTS, Judith G. Levy and Caitlin Horsmon

Artists Judith G. Levy and Caitlin Horsmon discuss how they use history, found materials and research in their work.

Judith G. Levy is a multidisciplinary artist, whose work explores history, culture and identity. She creates videos, installations, two-dimensional work, public art and performance. Her work has been presented in solo and group exhibitions both nationally and internationally and her public art has been shown in Indianapolis, Chicago and Kansas City. Her feature film, NV in KC: A Story About Artists and Envy in Kansas City premiered in Kansas City and Lawrence, Kansas in 2013, was included in The H & R Block Artspace Performance Now Film series and screened at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Levy was awarded a Charlotte Street Fellowship and an ArtsKC Inspiration Grant in 2014 to attend Art Omi, a month-long international artist residency, where she created a site-specific installation and a video documented performance piece. Her work was recently included in the group show, Loving After Lifetimes of All This at la Esquina in Kansas City. This show opens at the Benchspace Gallery in Asheville, North Carolina January 30 and will be on exhibition until the end of May.

Caitlin Horsmon is an artist, teacher and curator based in Kansas City, Missouri who makes films, videos and installations. Her work has been exhibited around the world in wildly diverse venues from micro cinemas to the Centre Pompidou. She has received numerous awards and grants including a Rocket Grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Charlotte Street Foundation and Spencer Museum of Art. Caitlin was trained in Cinema & Comparative Literature and Media Production at the University of Iowa and graduated from Oberlin College.  She is one of five artists who make up the curatorial collaboration Plug Projects and an Associate Professor of Film & Media Arts at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.  Her work is distributed by The Collectif Jeune Cinéma.

Will you miss me when I’m gone?

tumblr_mxst0gNZnZ1rnheglo1_r1_500Mark & Valerie’s annual show honoring those we’ve lost in the previous year. Music from Manito de Plata, Paco de Lucia, Pete Schutler, Sean Potts, Jean Redpath, Maggie Boyle, Buddy Macmaster, Becky Pringle, George Donaldson, Clive Palmer, Stan Kelly, LarryPenn, Pete Seeger, Father Joe Faizer, Finbarr Dwyer, Jerry Corbitt, Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith, Lester Armistead, George Hamilton IV and Jesse Winchester.