Focus

WILL - Focus - October 31, 2013

Champaign-Urbana Folk and Roots Festival and Stephen Wade on music and community

This hour on Focus, we’ll hear from Brenda Koenig, founder of the Champaign-Urbana Folk and Roots Festival. Then we’ll check back in with musician and author Stephen Wade and talk with him about going back to the communities where he researched his book “The Beautiful Music All Around Us.”

Listen

(Duration: 51:39)

Stephen Wade

When Brenda Koenig founded the Champaign-Urbana Folk and Roots festival, she wanted to inspire a place where people could dance, tell stories and enjoy the rich tradition sense of community that she says folk music creates. As a folk musician and fiddler herself, she says appreciating how the audience is enjoying the music, not being “the musician” in the spotlight is vital to performing folk music. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Koenig about why she and 80 volunteers put in the work to organize the festival. We’ll also hear from Matt Winters, a member of the C-U Folk and Roots Festival’s steering committee, about what’s new this year at the festival.

Then, during the second half of this hour on Focus, we’ll check in with author, banjo player and music researcher Stephen Wade. Wade is author of the book “The Beautiful Music All Around Us,” which documents the contributions to folk music made by everyday people – from prisoners to housewives to farm laborers. Meadows talks with Wade about going back to the communities where he did his research for the book. We’ll also hear a few banjo tunes and talk with Wade about why he’s dedicated his life to folk music.

Are you a folk music fan? What do you like about it? Maybe you’re a volunteer for the festival, why do you dedicate your time? Post a comment in the comments section below or find us on Facebook.

Categories: Music

WILL - Focus - October 03, 2013

Are Orchestras in Crisis?

It’s no secret that classical music’s listener base has been shrinking over time, and there’s no easy answer to why. One thing is for certain, attendance at orchestral concerts is down. But what's the best way to reverse the trend? Classical musicians, conductors and fans tend to disagree.  

Listen

(Duration: 51:50)

The Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra performing under the direction of Stephen Alltop.

Symphony orchestra performance attendance has always been a mixed bag, but what’s the best way to draw in new listeners? Some argue orchestras should perform more popular music at concerts in hopes of drawing people who might not necessarily exclusively listen to classical, and in East Central Illinois, pops concerts are better attended than strictly classical shows. But some devoted listeners only want to hear classical pieces by composers like Beethoven or Brahms and frown upon the idea of their orchestras performing more popular arrangements.

This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Stephen Alltop, the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra's new music director; Jeremy Swerling, maestro for the Danville Sympohny Orchestra and Kevin Kelly, music director for the Prairie Ensemble and the Eastern Illinois Youth Orchestra. We'll talk with them about how they make decisions about what to perform at concerts, trying to balance the concerns of dedicated listeners while trying to increase attendance and introduce new listeners to the genre.

Categories: Art and Culture, Music

WILL - Focus - September 19, 2013

George Harrison’s First Trip to America…was to Benton, Illinois

Before the Beatlemania that started in the US in early 1964, a member of the band visited the states, played a few sets with a band in Benton, Illinois and was interviewed by a young radio broadcaster named Marcia.

Listen

(Duration: 51:26)

A photo of the Beatles George gave Marcia back in the 1960's. He autographed the back "Love from George Harrison."

When she was 17 years old, Marcia Raubach got a phone call to come into the station where she hosted a weekend morning teen music show because there was a musician there who wanted to personally thank her for being one of the first to play his band’s record on the radio in America. That musician was none other than the late George Harrison, and 50 years later, when she looks back on it, Raubach kicks herself for not recording the interview she did with Harrison on WFRX in West Frankfort, Illinois in the fall of 1963.

It was the first interview with a member of the band that aired on American radio, and this hour on Focus, we’ll talk with Marcia about what she asked Harrison all those years ago. We’ll talk with her about meeting him and how the interview has remained a part of her life ever since.

We’ll also talk with Jim Kirkpatrick, author of the book “Before He Was Fab,” a book about Harrison’s visit to Illinois in 1963 and Bob Bartel, a Beatles memorabilia collector and the man responsible for the “Beatles house” in Benton, where George stayed when he first visited, being named an Illinois historical landmark.

Categories: Music

WILL - Focus - August 14, 2013

Encore: I Want My MTV

Did video kill the radio star? If so, it was with a lot of help from MTV. This hour on Focus, we’ll listen to a conversation Jeff Bossert had with Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum, authors of “I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution.”

Listen

(Duration: 49:28)

MTV logo

It's hard to remember that the initials MTV, now better known for reality programming, actually stand for "Music Television." In its first decade, MTV lived up to its name - it played music videos all day, the way a radio station played records. Though music videos had been played on television since the 1960s, MTV was the first outlet specifically programmed around music videos. We'll talk with Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum, authors of "I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution" about the tumultuous first decade of MTV and the videos that made the 1980s and early 1990s memorable.

Categories: Music
Tags: mtv, music

WILL - Focus - August 05, 2013

Encore: Record Sales Continue to Climb in US, Illinois

“Vinyl sounds warmer….it’s about the experience….I like the crackle….” Do you enjoy listening to music on a turntable? This hour on Focus, we’ll listen back to a conversation about music in the 21st century and if vinyl’s “comeback” really means anything to the future of the music industry.

Listen

(Duration: 51:35)

Vinyl record album covers standing in a row

According to Nielsen Soundscan, a company that tracks the sale of music in the US, vinyl sales are up by more than 30% over this time last year; more than two million vinyl albums have sold in 2013. Nielsen says their data shows that vinyl sales started climbing in 2007 and have kept on going ever since. Interesting considering music hasn’t been released solely on vinyl albums for decades... This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about the resurgence of records and record stores and will talk about what makes old-fashioned records so appealing in an era largely defined by digital culture.

Greg Kot, music critic for the Chicago Tribune and co-host of the podcast “Sound Opinions,” Jenn Pelly of Pitchfork and Jeff Brandt, the owner of Exile on Main Street in Champaign join us. Maybe you didn’t grow up in the vinyl era but still enjoy listening to albums. What is the appeal?

Categories: Music
Tags:

No tags were found.


WILL - Focus - August 01, 2013

Encore: Pretty Good For a Girl

We’ve all heard someone say “she’s pretty good for a girl,” and according to Murphy Henry, that’s especially true when it comes to women who play bluegrass music. This hour on Focus, Chris Berube talks with Murphy about the history of women in bluegrass.

Listen

(Duration: 51:26)

Murphy Henry

Before she started writing her new book “Pretty Good for Girl: Women in Bluegrass” Murphy Henry thought she was one of only a few women trying to make bluegrass music. But as she found out, there are lots of women who have had successful careers, they just hadn’t gotten any attention for it. This hour on Focus, guest host Chris Berube talks with Murphy about the history of women in bluegrass, why these musicians have slipped under the radar and why, before now, there’s been so little conversation about their contributions to the genre. We’ll also talk with Murphy about her own musical career, her love for playing the banjo and the “Murphy Method,” a technique she pioneered to teach banjo.

We also talk with her about Champaign-Urbana native Alison Krauss and her career and contributions to bluegrass music.”

Categories: Music

WILL - Focus - June 10, 2013

Pretty Good For A Girl

We’ve all heard someone say “she’s pretty good for a girl,” and according to Murphy Henry, that’s especially true when it comes to women who play bluegrass music. This hour on Focus, guest host Chris Berube talks with Murphy about the history of women in bluegrass.

Listen

(Duration: 51:20)

Murphy Henry

Before she started writing her new book “Pretty Good for Girl: Women in Bluegrass” Murphy Henry thought she was one of only a few women trying to make bluegrass music. But as she found out, there are lots of women who have had successful careers, they just hadn’t gotten any attention for it. This hour on Focus, guest host Chris Berube talks with Murphy about the history of women in bluegrass, why these musicians have slipped under the radar and why, before now, there’s been so little conversation about their contributions to the genre. We’ll also talk with Murphy about her own musical career, her love for playing the banjo and the “Murphy Method,”a technique she pioneered to teach banjo.

We also talk with her about Champaign-Urbana native Alison Krauss and her career and contributions to bluegrass music.

Read more for a video of Murphy playing the banjo and explaning why she wrote the book. 

Categories: Music

WILL - Focus - May 02, 2013

Record Sales Continue to Climb in US, Illinois

“Vinyl sounds warmer….it’s about the experience….I like the crackle….” Do you enjoy listening to music on a turntable? We’ll talk about music in the 21st century and if vinyl’s “comeback” really means anything to the future of the music industry.

Listen

(Duration: 51:35)

a stack of records

According to Nielsen Soundscan, a company that tracks the sale of music in the US, vinyl sales are up by 35% over the same time last year; nearly two million vinyl albums have sold so far in 2013. Nielsen says their data shows that vinyl sales started climbing in 2007 and have kept on going ever since. Interesting considering music hasn’t been released solely on vinyl albums for decades... This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about the resurgence of records and record stores and will talk about what makes old-fashioned records so appealing in an era largely defined by digital culture. 


WILL - Focus - April 26, 2013

Coming up on Focus: Boston Marathon Media Coverage, Record Resurgence and Biking to Work

Do you bike to work? Do you like listening to music on vinyl? Is the media doing a good job of reporting on the Boston Marathon bombing case?  Find out more about what’s coming up next week on Focus and join our conversation.

records

Coming up next week on Focus, we’ll talk about cycling and how strong biking communities and cultures are fostered, why records are coming back and if they’ll stick around. We’ll also talk about nanotechnology and the exciting possibilities for the future.


WILL - Focus - November 09, 2012

The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience

Listen

(Duration: 42:43)

In the 1930s and 1940s, the Library of Congress commissioned audio recordings of amateur singers and songwriters throughout the United States. These have come to be called "field recordings," and the recordists travelled the country in search of them. Musician, recording artist, and writer Stephen Wade tells the story of thirteen of these recordings made across the United States between 1934 and 1942 in locations reaching from Southern Appalachia to the Mississippi Delta and the Great Plains. Working 18 years on this project, Wade travelled the country, seeking out the original artists, their families or friends present at the recordings and interviewed more than 200 people for the book. Most of the original artists were amateur singers or musicians who were being recorded for the first and only time; many of their famililes were not even aware that the recordings were made. And yet many of the songs have enjoyed long afterlives, influencing musicians and featuring in films. 

Stephen Wade is a musician and writer whose latest album is Banjo Diary: Lessons from Tradition, out on Smithsonian Folkways Records.


Page 1 of 8 pages  1 2 3 >  Last ›