music

The new documentary Muscle Shoals recalls how interracial harmony in tumultuous times made possible a new kind of music. Leading African-American artists traveled to North Alabama — not exactly a place they thought they'd be welcome in the civil rights era — to jam with an all-white crew of session players. In little rooms near the wide Tennessee River, they perfected soul and anticipated Southern rock.

KUOW Photo/Nick Danielson

Jay Boone owns Emerald City Guitars in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood. If Jimmy Paige or Keith Richards come through Seattle and are on the hunt for a new guitar to shred on, it is not out of the question to find them at Jay's guitar shop.

Ross Reynolds ventured down to Pioneer Square to talk to Jay Boone about the neighborhood he has been running his business from for the last 18 years.

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:

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