music

Flickr Photo/Heath Alseike

Stephen Tobolowsky: From “Groudhog Day” To “Heroes”       

You might not recognize his name but you've seen Stephen Tobolowsky in countless Hollywood movies and television shows, from "Groundhog Day" to "Heroes." The character actor is also a popular storyteller, weaving tales for radio and podcast listeners on The Tobolowsky Files. Steve Scher talked with  Tobolowsky in 2011 live on stage at the Neptune Theater.  

Radio Retrospective: Making The First Sound Effects

It's often assumed that sound effects during radio's Golden Age were all made by a person, but that's a bit of a myth. Many were played from records to save time and space. Steve Scher talks with Producer Katy Sewall about how early sound effects were created and tips on making your own at home.

The History Of Guitars

Guitars are a powerful symbol. When lashed onto someone like Keith Richards or Jimi Hendrix, they epitomize hard-sounding, hard-living, loud rock. When plucked by a flamenco player, they can evoke sultry nights and romance. Where did the guitar come from, how has it evolved and are there any changes that we can expect to see in the future? Steve Scher talks with classical guitarist Steven Novacek; Ron Reed, instrument maker and manager of Dusty Strings Guitar Shop; Gene Nygaard, guitarist and maker of Zero Guitars; and Jay Boone, owner of Emerald City Guitars.

The Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington has inspired documentaries, museum exhibits, art shows and even a book of poetry. Now, a Northwest band call Tangerine is about to release a new song that tackles the leaking tanks of radioactive waste at the federal site.

“I guess it’s a slightly unusual topic for a pop song," admits Marika Justad. "Especially one that has a romantic angle. Justad sings and plays guitar and piano for Tangerine, an alternative pop band from Seattle.

copyright © Timothy Eagan

The first wave of the British Invasion hit the shores of the Pacific Northwest with the arrival of The Beatles on August 21, 1964.

Seattle Rocks: The Conversation Takes A Look At Seattle Music

Aug 20, 2013
Flickr Photo/thecomeupshow

Seattle music is more than just grunge. The city is the birth place to a diverse scene and an eclectic group of musicians. From jazz to rap to indie to funk, Seattle has nurtured generations of bands and musicians. The Conversation explores the many sounds of the city’s musical history from Seattleite turned rock star, Duff McKagan, to current chart-toppers Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.

What Do Macklemore And A Caterpillar Have In Common?

Aug 9, 2013
Courtesy of Nate Simpson

If you happen to be human, you’re constantly changing. You’ve changed since you were a little kid, since last year, and since 10:00 a.m. this morning. Today we bring you three stories on change.

First, we talk to young Republicans on how the GOP could shift its approach in attracting young people. Then we hear from Nate Simpson, creator of the comic Nonplayer, about the many shifts in his career.  From there we’re joined by Hollis Wong-Wear, a Macklemore producer and collaborator, about the local star’s rise to fame. Peter Haller, a former Mackelmore fan, also weighs in.

Can’t Live If Living Is Without Harry Nilsson

Aug 7, 2013
RCA Records via Wikimedia (public domain)

Singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson led a long and diverse career in the music business. He is best known for his pop ballad take on the Randy Newman song, “Living Without You.” But he got famous writing arty rock music and hanging out with the Beatles. Ross Reynolds explores the eclectic career of Henry Nilsson.

The Pizzarelli Patriarch Still Swings At 87

Aug 5, 2013
Flickr Photo/Eduardo Loureiro

Bucky Pizzarelli is the patriarch of one of America’s great jazz families.  His talented offspring include guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli and bassist Martin Pizzarelli.  The Pizzarellis often perform standards from the Great American Songbook together at jazz clubs and music festivals around the world. 

Prior to a weekend of performances with the family band at Jazz Alley in Seattle last weekend, Bucky Pizzarelli brought in his signature seven-string guitar and played live music in the KUOW Performance Studio.

The Seattle classical music community lost one of its most respected leaders Thursday. Toby Saks was a cellist, music professor at the University of Washington and the founder of the Seattle Chamber Music Society. Her death at age 71 from pancreatic cancer came just after the completion of the annual summer festival that she has overseen for more than 30 years.

A Symphony Of Sirens

Aug 1, 2013
Andrey Smirnov, courtesy of PRX

What is the sound of Seattle? Metro buses? Drum circles? Every city has distinctive sounds, and collectively, they form a kind of soundtrack beneath the "movie" of your life.

Arseny Avraamov was interested in the sounds of his hometown Moscow. He thought of those sounds as instruments, and he used those instruments to conduct a live symphony called “The Symphony of Sirens.

Full list of stories from KUOW Presents, August 1:

The Elusive Digital Stradivarius

Jul 31, 2013
David Schulman, courtesy of PRX

Ever since the ballad of John Henry, the man who raced against a steam drill to see which could lay railroad tracks the fastest, we've had a fascination with pitting humans against machines. People like Henry lost the battle long ago, at least when it comes to labor. Next, computers outwitted us in math and then chess. The arts have held out the longest. Surely a computer couldn't replicate the unmistakably human sound of a Stradivarius violin? Think again.

Full list of stories on KUOW Presents, July 31:

From Shelby Earl's Facebook page.

Tuition-Free Washington?
Oregon’s Legislature has voted to commission a study that would explore the idea of “tuition-free” college. The “Pay It Forward” idea would allow students to attend college for free and then pay for their degree based on their salary post-graduation. It has been catching on with lawmakers around the country who are looking for solutions to the high interest rates on college loans. State Representative Larry Seaquist is considering a proposal for the next legislative session. He explains what it could mean for access to higher education in our state.

Scientific Review On Menthol Cigarettes
Menthol cigarettes are easier to start and harder to quit. That’s the takeaway from a new scientific review from the Food and Drug Administration. Although the FDA didn’t find evidence that menthol cigarettes are more toxic than regular cigarettes, the evidence shows that smokers of menthols develop stronger addictions and have a tougher time quitting. We hear more about the public health risk of menthol cigarettes from Sarah Ross-Viles of Public Health Seattle-King County.

Singer-Songwriter Shelby Earl
Singer-songwriter Shelby Earl has just released her second album “Swift Arrows.” She’s no stranger to the music industry, having spent 10 years working in it before she left her corporate job to write and record her own album. She stopped by Weekday to talk and play some tunes.

Weekend Weather Forecast
State climatologist Nick Bond brings us a weather forecast for the weekend.

Flickr Photo/Lindsey Turner

Understanding The Vitamin Myth
There is often contradictory information about the health benefits of vitamins and supplements: take them, don’t take them, low vitamin D is tied to aging, Omega-3 might cause cancer. So how do doctors and nutritionists cipher through the different information to provide the best advice to patients? Dr. Calvin Kwan, clinical resident at Bastyr Center for Natural Health, and Mary Purdy, a registered dietitian with Seattle Healing Arts Center, explain when vitamins are and are not effective.

Composer Lawrence Dillion
The Seattle Chamber Music Society Summer Festival wraps up its 32nd season of performances in Benaroya Hall this week. Since 2007 the Society has premiered new pieces of chamber music through the efforts of its commissioning club. Club members pool together money to support the creation of work by leading American composers. This year’s piece, by composer Lawrence Dillon, premiered at the summer festival in Seattle on July 8. The composition “Sanctuary” is a musical musing for piano, horn and strings on the many meanings of the word. Dillon earned a doctorate in composition  from Juilliard in 1985. He was the youngest composer in the school’s  history ever to do so.  Dillon speaks with KUOW's Dave Beck and we'll hear recorded excerpts  from the premiere of “Sanctuary.”

Greendays Gardening
Our gardening panel includes a flower expert, native plant expert, and vegetable gardening expert. They answer your gardening questions every Tuesday.   

Flickr Photo/Sheri Foreman

  News From D.C.
We preview the week ahead in Washington, D.C. with Jill Jackson, Capitol Hill Producer for CBS News.

Ann Powers On Music Festivals
Here in the Northwest, fans of live music are a bit spoiled, especially if you’re a fan of festivals. There’s Sasquatch in the spring, Capitol Hill Block Party in the summer, and Bumbershoot over Labor Day weekend. And then there are the newcomers to the festival scene: Timber, City Arts and Doe Bay Fest, just to name a few. Nationally  music festivals are on the rise as well and turning huge profits. What’s behind the rise of music festivals? Which ones are worth checking out this summer? Ann Powers is a critic and correspondent for NPR Music.

A Critical Decade For A Healthy Planet
People have had it pretty good on planet earth for centuries, but the world is changing. Human activities are altering the planet we live on. What are the planet’s limits before it starts to collapse? Katy Sewall talks with photographer Mattias Klum and sustainability expert Johan Rockstrom.

Science News, And Candlebox

Jul 19, 2013
From Candlebox' Facebook page.

The News From Space
NBC News Digital science editor Alan Boyle discusses the latest news in physical and space science.

20th Anniversary Of The Band, Candlebox
Seattle band Candlebox made its debut in 1993, in the golden age of alternative rock in the Northwest. Now, 20 years since their first album release Candlebox is once again touring and creating new music. Lead singer Kevin Martin explains what it was like to make music in the era of Seattle alternative rock and how their music has changed over the years.  

From The Summer Januaries' Facebook page.

Discussing The National Debt With Chris Vance
Chris Vance, public affairs consultant and co-chair of the Washington chapter of the Campaign to Fix the Debt, was is in Washington this week meeting with Senator Patty Murray and Rep. Doc Hastings and Dave Reichert. Vance and the campaign are urging lawmakers to find solutions to curb the rising debt in order to help the economy continue to grow. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said before a House panel on Wednesday that tight federal fiscal policy and stagnant debate over issues such as a the debt ceiling in Congress “hamper” economic recovery. So how can lawmakers create budgets and policies that continue to help the economy grow? What role does reducing the national debt play in helping the country’s economy?

The Summer Januaries
Rachel Erin Sage and Sean Michael Robinson first played music together at a mutual friend's birthday party, where a spontaneous jam session became the birth of their fold duo “The Summer Januaries.” Since then they’ve played arrangements and original compilations at street fairs, farmers markets and pubs around the state and around the world. The Summer Januaries released their first album together in April.

Radio Retrospective: Hollywood Gets Involved In Radio
During the early years of radio’s Golden Age, Hollywood thought radio was the enemy. Radio directors, writers and producers, on the other hand, wanted Hollywood stars in their productions. How did Hollywood first make its way onto radio? Katy Sewall and Steve Scher look at the beginnings.

Recommended Eating
Food writer Sara Dickerman joins us with a lunch recommendation. Prefer to cook for yourself? She also has a pick for a great cookbook!

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