As an exciting feature of our spring radio pledge drive, we've asked Urbana-born buddies vocalist Geoff Poor and pianist David Thies to join us live in the studio for our first-ever call-in request show, hoping to raise lots of money in support of "Live and Local" and Illinois Public Media. Geoff and David specialize in songs from the Great American Songbook. Call in your requests during the show, or get your requests in early by going to our pledge website and clicking on "WILL-FM." In the comments section, say you're supporting "Live and Local" and tell us the song you're requesting. Please join us!
Live and Local
I’ve twice had the chance to talk with Southern California—and Canadian-born—singer-songwriter Steve Poltz. He’s funny, satirical and charming. One writer called his live shows “frenzied, aggressive, hilarious and heartbreakingly sincere.” Steve Poltz is a regular at Sleepy Creek Vineyards in Fairmount. He’ll return there Wednesday night, and I’ll be pleased to welcome him live in our studio on the Wednesday edition of “Live and Local.”
Champaign Central High School has one of the stronger high school jazz programs in our area, and this weekend they’ll host their 44th annual Jazz Festival. We’ll welcome one of Central’s jazz combos live in our studio on the Tuesday edition of “Live and Local.” And I’ll talk with renowned jazz trombonist Jim Pugh about an ambitious performance by the University of Illinois Jazz Band Tuesday night in Urbana.
Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s Threepenny Opera is a milestone of 20th-century musical theater, turning convention on its head. Its opening number, “Mack the Knife,” became one of the top popular songs of the century. The University of Illinois will present The Threepenny Opera next weekend, and we’ll have a live preview on the Monday edition of “Live and Local.” We’ll also hear about Danville Light Opera’s upcoming show, Promises, Promises.
Last September, the acclaimed folk musician, writer and researcher Stephen Wade published his latest projects, a CD called Banjo Diary: Lessons from Tradition and the book The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience. Stephen Wade will be in Urbana this weekend to give a concert and banjo workshop, and he’ll play for us live, and share music from his CD, on the Friday edition of “Live and Local.”
The Thursday edition of the show will be an all-Scottish affair. I’ll talk with the delightful Scottish singer Julie Fowlis—who sings almost exclusively in Scottish Gaelic, and will give a concert in Bloomington Sunday afternoon. And live in the studio, we’ll hear Scottish fiddler Alastair Savage, who happens to be in Urbana for a concert Thursday night with the Scottish Ensemble, a classical string orchestra.
Our communities boast a remarkable amount of live theater, including especially musical theater. Among the more active community organizations is Parkland Theater, based at Champaign’s Parkland College. They’re putting on The Mystery of Edwin Drood. And there’s wonderful theater in our high schools, including Champaign Central High School, who are producing Into the Woods. We’ll have live previews of both shows on the Wednesday edition of “Live and Local.”
Guitarist and singer Matt Heaton and Irish flute player and singer Shannon Heaton have been making music together since they first met in 1992. Now with four CDs as a duo under their belts, they’ll make a return appearance in Urbana next week, and I’ll talk with Shannon Heaton on the Tuesday edition of “Live and Local.” We’ll also hear a selection of CDs from the growing “Live and Local” library.
Today I'll talk with Martha Tyner of the Orpheus Mandolin Orchestra, based in McLean County. They're playing in Springfield Tuesday night. [The originally planned conversation with Scottish singer Julie Fowlis has been rescheduled for Wednesday's show!]
Singer/songwriter and guitarist Chris Vallillo loves the slide guitar—so much so that his new CD features seventeen different vintage instruments in original songs and covers of Americana roots music. One of his collaborators on that CD, multi-percussionist Rocky Maffit, will join Chris for a CD release program in Urbana Saturday, and they’ll both play for us live on the Friday edition of “Live and Local.”