KC music

Spotlight on Plaza Art Fair artist: The Project H

(Photo by Aaron Linscheid)
This week, we’ll be highlighting some of the artists playing INK’s stage at the Plaza Art Fair this weekend, September 19-21.
Most people know that Kansas City is steeped in a rich jazz heritage that continues to this day. One of the groups that has helped carry on the city’s vibrant jazz scene is The Project H, who has taken the music’s tradition to a modern level. Though still tasteful to listeners of jazz standards, the band incorporates a range of influences and abilities, creating music that is relevant and colorful. Ryan Heinlein, the band’s trombonist and songwriter, answers a few questions for us about the group.
The Deli: Down and dirty: one sentence to describe your music.
Heinlein: Doesn’t matter if you want to dance to it or analyze it, you’re going to be singing it for a while after you hear it.
The Deli: Give me some background info on The Project H. How long have you been together? How did it all come to be?
Heinlein: The band started in 2007 when I lived in Wichita. It took a year or so to get the band up and running when I moved to KC in 2008. The lineup is: drums, bass, keys, guitar, trombone, trumpet, and tenor sax, but we have a lot of people sit in. Everyone in the band freelances and makes most of their money playing other gigs so I use a lot of subs. That’s the thing about the KC jazz scene though, the talent pool is deep enough that I can call quite a few people on any instrument before there is a drop off in musicianship.
The Deli: What have been your greatest accomplishments as a band?
Heinlein: I think there’s something to be said for releasing three independent records with a band like this. Getting freelance musicians to commit their time and creative energy to a project like this is definitely an accomplishment, and the fact they still wanted to do another one was a win for me! Gig wise, we covered Beck’s “Song Reader” in its entirety (20 songs) last year with our friends Mark Lowrey, Shay Estes, and Jeff Harshbarger. Selling out the recordBar is always fun.
The Deli: The band has done educational clinics for schools in the area. What benefits have you seen it have on students, and also for yourselves as musicians?
Heinlein: Yes, we usually book them in bunches once or twice a year. I think it’s safe to say that we wouldn’t be the musicians we are today if it weren’t for music education. The day-to-day activities of being in a high school band or being a music major in college tend to run together but, for me at least, the lasting memories were the clinics that were provided as well as the performance opportunities. So I guess it’s just a “pay it forward”-type situation. The students get to see a group of younger guys making a living doing by being creative and doing what they love. And for us, it’s an easy way to let younger audiences hear us. We feel that we have an opportunity to attract people to more straight-ahead jazz if they hear our not-so-straight-ahead jazz. Basically we function as a gateway drug for jazz!
The Deli: You just released your third studio album, We Live Among the Lines. What can we expect from it?
Heinlein: A lot of layers and textures. The rock influence really sticks out to me on this record, probably because we added guitar to the group about a year and a half ago. I think there’s a commonality among the songs but at the same time, every song can stand on its own. I honestly think there’s something for everyone on this record.
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?
Heinlein: I don’t get out as much as I wish I could with family and working on a doctoral degree but just getting out and seeing as many shows as I can. I don’t worry about genres, I like a lot of music and it’s pretty easy to find a good concert to go see when I do get out.
The Deli: Who are your favorite local musicians right now?
Heinlein: This answer would be different for every member of the group so I’ll just give you mine. In no particular order: The Grisly Hand, David Hasselhoff on Acid, Peter Schlamb, and Katy Guillen & The Girls… there’s seriously a lot of really good music in this town!
The Deli: Who are your favorite non-local musicians right now?
Heinlein: Becca Stevens, Jose James, Tigran Hamasyan, Jaga Jazzist, and I have always had a soft spot for Dillinger Escape Plan.
The Deli: Who are you most looking forward to seeing at Plaza Art Fair?
Heinlein: Aside from a couple groups I mentioned earlier, The Phantastics and My Brothers & Sisters on Friday, Eddie Moore & the Outer Circle and Diverse on Saturday.
The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?
Heinlein: Oh man, something really diverse. I wish Mr. Bungle were still around. Maybe have a classic jazz group like the Jazz Messengers or Weather Report. P-Funk would be awesome too!
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?
Heinlein: This question is pretty much impossible so I’ll give you one based on my musical influences.
Mike Patton: His ability to explore and push the boundaries of music, no matter what genre he is doing.
James Brown: C’mon! He’s the Godfather of Soul! The pocket in his bands…
Bobby Watson: He’s pretty much responsible for igniting this jazz renaissance in KC. His playing and writing is the perfect combination of technique and soul. I owe him so much… Everyone in the band does too.
JJ Johnson: My influence, as far as trombone players are concerned, changes a lot. Right now I’m on a JJ kick. He’s just so soulful when he plays.
The Deli: What other goals does The Project H have for 2014, and beyond?
Heinlein: We are starting a collaborative series starting next month at the Westport Coffee House Theater where we act as a backing band for different KC musicians. October will be with Kelley Gant, December will be Emcee Reach and next February will be Lauren Krum. We are also talking with Julia Haile and Jorge Arana for later in 2015. I’d like to play some festivals outside KC, continue to support this record, and just expand our audience. I’d also like to do a Project H big band show…I have a lot of writing to do I suppose!
The Deli: Where can we find you on the web?
The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?
Heinlein: Get out and listen to a group you may not normally follow, or go to a club that you’ve never been to. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. There are great things happening in our city, let’s celebrate it!
The Project H is:
Clint Ashlock: trumpet
Ryan Heinlein: trombone
Brett Jackson: tenor saxophone
Matt Leifer: drums
Andrew Ouellette: keys
Dominique Sanders: bass
Jeff Stocks: guitar
The Project H will be playing on INK’s stage at Plaza Art Fair on Sunday, September 21 at 2:00 p.m. The stage is located at Ward Parkway and Pennsylvania Avenue, next to Gram & Dun and Plaza III. Facebook event page.
--Michelle Bacon
Michelle Bacon is editor of The Deli KC and plays in bands.

Free Counters


September Artist of the Month: The Thunderclaps

The Thunderclaps are our September artist of the month!
Though the two have been making music for a number of years, Bryce Jones and Colin Blunt formed The Thunderclaps just at the beginning of 2014. A grimy garage rock guitar/drums duo influenced by the surf leanings of The Gories and the psychedelic offerings of Thee Oh Sees, the band delivers an undeniable lo-fi rock ‘n roll edge.
Along with being our artist of the month, the band will be playing on INK’s stage at the Plaza Art Fair next weekend. We talked with Jones and Blunt to get a little more insight on what The Thunderclaps are all about.
The Deli: Down and dirty: one sentence to describe your music.
Bryce: It’s like a fried egg sandwich: nothing fancy, but it'll stick to your ribs.
The Deli: The Thunderclaps is a relatively new band. How long have you been together? How did it all come to be?
Bryce: We've made quite a bit of noise together over the years, but most of it has been for our own enjoyment and edification. The Thunderclaps got going when Colin tracked down a drum set and we tried our hand at thumpin' out tunes and filling them out as best as we could as a duo. We played to the living room for a long while before we decided to gig for a friend's New Year's gathering. Folks were dancing and having a good time, so we settled into the idea of trying to get out and play as often as we can.
The Deli: The Thunderclaps are a guitar/drums duo. Was this a conscious effort to conceive a certain type of sound, or have you wanted to add other instrumentation?
Bryce: The configuration was bred out of necessity in a way. I don't live in KC, so it streamlines the process a bit when I can make it to town. We can buckle down, get things moving, and flesh out ideas. From a songwriting angle it does provide interesting parameters within which to work. Certain ideas just aren't going to play, but other options that otherwise wouldn't even come up rear their head. We’ve kind of toyed with the idea of adding a bass player, but for right now it's enough of a good time that I think we'll roll with this instrumentation for a bit.
The Deli: What have been your greatest accomplishments as a band?
Colin: Honestly, being interviewed is pretty sweet. Being asked to play the Plaza Art Fair is a huge step forward as well. Then there was the time when we were asked to play at someone's wedding reception. That was real fun. The bride lived near where we practice, heard us from up the street, and the next thing we know, we're playing for a dancing bride and groom.
The Deli: You released an EP, Not Bad, August. What can we expect from it?
Colin: “Not Bad” is actually just kind of a placeholder name for the tracks we recorded on a cassette player a while back. And we didn’t really “release” them as much as we “put them on the internet.” But to answer your question, you can expect some lo-fi rumblings and a crocodile on the telephone.
The Deli: You guys are playing the Plaza Art Fair in a couple weeks. Who are you most looking forward to seeing there?
Colin: You know, to be honest, I haven’t heard a lot of the bands that are playing this year, which is really exciting actually. I like going to shows where you don’t really know what to expect and being pleasantly surprised. I anticipate I’ll have a few new favorite local bands after that weekend, but for now, I’ve heard a lot of good things about My Brothers & Sisters and Katy Guillen & the Girls, so that’ll be fun.
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?
Colin: Hangin’ with good people who appreciate making and enjoying music.
The Deli: Who are your favorite local musicians right now?
Colin: Cadillac Flambe, Rooms Without Windows, and Making Movies are all amazing, but I’d say our new favorite is The Garage Kings—they make great music for ordering a hamburger, and even better music for eating a hamburger.
The Deli: Who are your favorite non-local musicians right now?
Colin: Oh man, where to begin. As far as classic stuff, Bo Diddley is the alpha and omega of rock and roll music as far as we’re concerned. Besides that, we also really like Thee Oh Sees, The Gories, JD McPherson, Thee Headcoats, The Oblivians, Reigning Sound, etc. Basically anyone who just brings the rock and roll and never looks back.
The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?
The Thunderclaps: Realistically, any of the happenin’ flashback bands right now would be fun to open for. But ultimately, maybe we bring Phil Lynott back from the dead so we can open up for Thin Lizzy?
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?
The Thunderclaps: Bo Diddley (because he’s a gunslinger), Fats Domino (because he’s the man), Link Wray (because louder is better), and Elmore James (just because). Can Teddy still hang around to class up the place?
The Deli: What other goals do The Thunderclaps have for 2014?
The Thunderclaps: We just want to keep on rockin’ and rollin’.
The Deli: Where can we find you on the web?
The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?
Bryce: If your toes start tappin’, tap ‘em. If your knees start shakin’, shake ‘em. And if your hips start movin’, by all means, groove ‘em.
The Thunderclaps will be playing on INK’s stage at Plaza Art Fair on Sunday, September 21 at 1:00 p.m. The stage is located at Ward Parkway and Pennsylvania Avenue, next to Gram & Dun and Plaza III. Facebook event page.
--Michelle Bacon
Michelle Bacon is editor of The Deli KC and plays in bands.

Free Counters


Artists on Trial: Admiral of the Red

(Photo by Roshelle Hudson)
In its short time together, Admiral of the Red has quickly evolved from a blues-based garage rock duo into a fully realized, dynamic rock band. The raw roots rock approach of guitarist Matt Hurst and drummer Tom Hudson, coupled with MB Hurst’s visceral vocals and a low-end punch from bassist Chris Reed creates the band’s primal, driving sound, reminiscent of The Dead Weather and Queens of the Stone Age. We talk more with Hudson about the group and what they have coming up.
The Deli: Down and dirty: one sentence to describe your music.
Hudson: Rock and roll with a hint of blues and a tinge of soul. At least that's what we like to think.
The Deli: Give me some background info on the band.
Hudson: Matt [Hurst] and I met in 2012 and shared the same appreciation for the blues/roots rock sound that Jack White, The Black Keys, and Queens Of The Stone Age do so well. Particularly the sound of The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather—we really wanted to capture that big raw sound. We originally planned to maintain the band as a two-piece, but when Matt's sister MB showed up at a practice and started singing, it was pretty much a no-brainer to have her take on the lead vocalist role. After spending a good portion of 2013 coming up with a set list and writing songs, we decided we wanted to make a demo. After a 30-minute phone conversation with Joel Nanos at Element Recording, the demo became an EP and we went into the studio in August 2013 to record it, essentially putting out an album before ever playing a show. Over the last year, we have had some great times and have played great shows. About 6 months ago we decided to bring in a bass player to fill out the sound of the band since our songwriting was moving in a direction that needed it. Since then, we've been working on tightening up as a band, playing good shows, and just having fun.
The Deli: What have been your greatest accomplishments as a band?
Hudson: Well, we've been playing together for about 18 months and even recorded an EP together. While we all have our disagreements at times, we do not hate each other... yet. When you put opinionated people together in one band, it's a big accomplishment to stick together, grow, and better yourselves as musicians.
The Deli: What can we expect from your EP, Almost Free? Do you plan to record again soon?
Hudson: As mentioned above, Almost Free originally was only supposed to be a demo. The goal was to just have something in our hands to give to promoters, friends, and fellow musicians to get the word out and book shows. However, we're really glad that we decided to make an EP instead. The feedback on the album has been positive and we're really happy with the way it turned out. Joel did an outstanding job and provided insight that turned out to be extremely valuable as we started to play shows. Even though it's been over a year now, it is still a good representation of our sound. As for a new album, the plan is to start recording a full-length by the end of this year. We're close to having enough new material for it and can't wait to get back in the studio again.
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?
Hudson: Going to shows, supporting, helping your fellow musicians better themselves. Sort of preaching to the choir here, since the reason our music scene is so great is because so many people already do that.
The Deli: Who are your favorite local musicians right now?
Hudson: This is probably the hardest question to answer. From the more established groups to the newer bands around, there is so much great music happening in KC right now. However, some highlights would definitely be Drop A Grand, The Conquerors, and Katy Guillen and the Girls.
The Deli: Who are your favorite non-local musicians right now?
Hudson: Tok and Bruiser Queen from St. Louis are doing great things these days. We opened up for Leopold and His Fiction from Austin the other night and were just blown away by their live show. Another great Austin band is Not In The Face; they write and play some great rock and roll. Definitely recommend catching any of these guys the next time they come through town.
The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?
Hudson: Queens Of The Stone Age, The Dead Weather, and The Kills.
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?
Hudson: Jack White, Dave Grohl, Josh Homme, and Britt Daniel. Each one of them has a great respect for the history of rock and roll, and do a great job carrying the torch.
The Deli: What other goals does Admiral of the Red have for 2014?
Hudson: We'll be opening for Outsides on Saturday, September 13 at recordBar. This will be our last show for a bit, as we write some new material and get ready to record. Look for us to play again, hopefully with some new material in November/December.
The Deli: Where can we find you on the web?
The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?
Hudson: Go to shows, go to shows, go to shows! As mentioned earlier, we have a great scene here and the way that scene thrives is by supporting each other. Also, spread the word to others who may not play. I feel there are A LOT of people in this city that don't quite understand how much talent resides here and would really take notice if they were just made aware. Tell co-workers, friends, family, their friends, and so on. We are our biggest supporter, but that sometimes doesn't work when we're all playing different shows on a Saturday night. The mentality should be that there are never enough people listening. Spread the word, but most of all have fun!
You can catch Admiral of the Red this Saturday, September 13, where they will be playing with Outsides and Is Paris Burning at recordBar. The show will be presented by 96.5 The Buzz. Facebook event page.
--Michelle Bacon
Michelle Bacon is editor of The Deli KC and plays in bands.

Free Hit Counter


Money Wolf's songwriter stage at CMF promises musical diversity

(Photo by Todd Zimmer)
This week, we’ll be highlighting some of the events and artists at the 10th annual Crossroads Music Fest on Saturday, September 6. Please visit cmfkc.com for tickets or more information.
Along with The Record Machine (see our spotlight on them earlier this week), Money Wolf Music will be curating its own stage at CMF this year for the first time. This Kansas City collective/production house/record label has helped put musicians on display to different audiences in unconventional settings; for instance, they often put on exclusive secret shows and coordinate a private hotel showcase at the annual Folk Alliance International conference. By also co-organizing networking and informational sessions, recording and releasing albums, and advocating for its artist roster—which includes Dollar Fox (pictured above), The Hillary Watts Riot, Dead Ven, and others—Money Wolf is an important resource to Kansas City music.
This year, Money Wolf will host a songwriter showcase at Celina Tio’s Crossroads district restaurant, Collection. The event will feature songwriters’ circles: four sets of four artists will trade off songs. Tommy Donoho, one of the main forces behind Money Wolf and the frontman of Dollar Fox, talks to us about what we can expect from Saturday.
The Deli: The Money Wolf stage at Collection features 16 different acts. Tell us why festivalgoers should make a point to check out this showcase.
Tommy Donoho: We worked hard to put together a lineup that truly represents the amazing diversity in this city. From folk to punk to blues to instrumental to pop to country to full-on freaks, we wanted people to really experience a taste of ALL the great songwriters this city has to offer. Plus, we're doing a very intimate, simple mic set-up—kind of the old time approach—to capture the real essence of what these people sound like. It's a songwriter-focused stage in every possible way.
The Deli: Do you have any surprises in store?
Donoho: You know us all too well. For us, the surprise was the diversity of the lineup. It's something we're really reaching towards—getting people to see ALL the music KC has to offer. Of course, you get this many folks together, I'm guessing someone is going to bust out something that inspires collaboration.
The Deli: Why did you decide to curate a stage at CMF?
Donoho: Last year, Justin [Penney] was hired to run sound at the venue for CMF and it went well. Over the last year, he and I have had more contact with both Celina and Bill [Sundahl] and it made sense to bring us back this year.
The songwriter circle idea came from Bill. I think he saw the potential of what we were pulling together with our involvement with Folk Alliance International some of the songwriting circles we've been hosting with a variety of artists. What can I say? Bill trusted us to make something unique.
The Deli: What value does this have for the KC music community?
Donoho: I'm hoping musicians make new friends and fans. I'm hoping fans find more musicians they weren't even aware existed. And mostly I'm hoping we'll get more and more people out to see a wider variety of shows in the future. The town and the people who write songs in it are fucking amazing. I'm starting to see the city embrace this notion more and more. I'm hoping they'll embrace our vision of how there's no difference between Mikal Shapiro and Mike Alexander. They write songs and damn good ones; music fans should see the musicians at the core of what they are. And that's the biggest benefit we can hope for: to have people walking away saying, “Holy shit, those people can write some songs.”
The Deli: What else does Money Wolf have coming up that you’re looking forward to?
Donoho: We're actually hosting our second Sonic Saturday Social Club at 3:00 on the day of CMF. It's an event we're working on with Coda, where we bring in rock bands on the first Saturday of each month. Day drinking, rock and roll, all ages, good food. It's all about exposing people to great music.
On September 22, we're hosting another of our infamous Secret Shows. We have Zachary Lucky from Canada rolling in. He blew people away at the FAI conference and we're hoping to get him in front of more people. He writes some of the best sad bastard tunes around. He picked the most depressing day of the week to hit town. So we're going to celebrate all the sadness by serving up some delicious competition smoked BBQ and music. We're calling it All Your Hopes Go Up in Smoke. It'll be limited to a mere 20 tickets. We'll be announcing all of it soon.
The Deli: Tell us what some of Money Wolf’s artists have going on.
Donoho: The Hillary Watts Riot has been playing a ton in and out of town and are about to release a new video. Dead Ven is playing everywhere, including a set with the Ataris, I believe. He's a really spectacular songwriter. Dollar Fox is woodshedding for a while, but I'm always out playing. And we just did the Records with Merritt live show, recording. It was a huge success and songs are being mixed to ship out to press here very soon.
We stay busy here at Money Wolf Music. And this CMF event is something we're crazy excited for. It's gonna be a great night.
Start your day off early at Coda and catch Money Wolf’s Sonic Saturday Social Club at 3:00 p.m., with The Thunderclaps (our artist of the month!) and Oldfield Victory. Facebook event page. Then, at 6, be sure to hit up the showcase at Collection, with 16 different songwriters. Facebook event page.
--Michelle Bacon

Hit Counter


Spotlight on CMF artist: Onward Crispin Glover

(Photo by Mark Peterman)
This week, we are highlighting some of the artists playing the 10th annual Crossroads Music Fest this Saturday, September 6. For more info or tickets, visit cmfkc.com.
Onward Crispin Glover released its first and only album, The Further and the Faster, in 2001 on Anodyne Records—a Kansas City-based label that has released albums from the likes of Shiner, The Architects, Roman Numerals, and Meat Puppets. The band had a punchy, glammy pop vibe infused with boisterous punk, starring a cast of experienced musicians from groups such as Frogpond, TV Fifty, Truck Stop Love, and Rocket Fuel is the Key. And though it released just the one album, Onward Crispin Glover has remained on the minds of many in KC music ever since.
One of those minds was that of Bill Sundahl, who has organized every CMF since its inception in 2005. Sundahl specifically requested for OCG to reunite for this year’s festival. “Every now and then I would run across The Further and the Faster, put it in my CD player, and it always held up,” he comments. “I can't think of many recordings from 2001 I can say that about.”
And it certainly does hold up, even 11 years after the band’s demise. Though OCG’s style was heavily rooted in ‘90s power pop/punk—comparisons to Superchunk and Archers of Loaf have often been drawn—it was far more expansive than that. The members cite Elvis Costello and The Afghan Whigs as influences, which immediately eliminates them from being stuck with a simple power pop branding—something you can tell after a single listen to The Further and the Faster. Costello had a penchant for writing some of the hookiest and most timeless pop songs ever, with a new wave/punk attitude; this is absolutely evident in OCG’s songwriting.
“It began with a very pop-oriented sensibility and progressed toward a noisier, more chaotic sound,” says bassist Kristin Conkright.
Elements of that chaotic but catchy sound has manifested in Knife Crime; three of the band’s four members are also original members of OCG: Byron Huhmann, Conkright, and Brad Huhmann. With Byron’s striking, pronounced vocals at the helm—he is also primary songwriter of both bands—Knife Crime is something of a modern-day, slightly more grown-up version of its members’ previous incarnation.
Onward Crispin Glover formed in 1999, with Byron on vocals and guitar, Brad on guitar, Conkright on bass, and Billy Johnson on drums. Brad chose not to tour with the band and was replaced by Marty Robertson—who, along with Johnson, was in Frogpond. Robertson later handed the reins off to Steve Tulipana. In 2003, the band folded and went on to a number of other successful projects, such as Federation of Horsepower, Anvil Chorus, and Red Kate
Conkright also lists “the KC affinity for really, really fucking loud guitars” as one of the trademarks of OCG’s sound. On Saturday’s reunion show, the group will once again deliver on this promise more than ever before. The lineup will include a triple axe arsenal of the Huhmann brothers and Robertson. Conkright tells us that the biggest, yet most rewarding challenge is “figuring out how to work all three guitar players into one set without smashing eardrums.” Chris Fugitt of Federation of Horsepower will be sitting in on drums, as Johnson will be out of town.
For now, old and new fans will have the chance to experience Onward Crispin Glover at Crossroads Music Fest this weekend. But the members note that they’ve had so much fun revisiting the songs that they might play more after the reunion show. And as well as OCG’s songs hold up more than a decade later, we’ll probably want them to.
--Michelle Bacon
Michelle is editor-in-chief of The Deli KC and plays in bands. Crispin Glover scares her a little.
Onward Crispin Glover will be playing in the Mercy Seat Alley for CMF on Saturday, kicking off the evening at 7:00 pm. Don’t miss it.
Free Counters