These two singer-songwriters take different approaches to their craft -- Grant-Lee Phillips is often ruminative and mystical, while Poltz treats his songs as a catch-all for his expansive and idiosyncratic worldview. But as tour mates, Phillips and Poltz find commonality both in the songs and in conversation, as this special two-for-one episode of Collector's Edition proves. Phillips performs "Smoke and Sparks" and "Holy Irons" from his latest The Narrows, and Poltz plays "I Want All My Friends to Be Happy" and "Folksinger" from his latest, also called Folksinger. Recorded on February 16, 2016 at KHDX in St. Louis. Recorded by Dan Kinney, mixed and mastered by Haley Hudson.
This Los Angeles-based quartet calls itself the Americans, a broad and startlingly simple name and one that fits the group's catch-all approach to American roots music. After two self-recorded releases, the Americans will issue the studio album "I'll Be Yours" this spring. We talk with all four band members during this session and hear three new, forthcoming songs: "Stowaway," "Harbor Lane" and "I'll Be Yours." Recorded on January 14, 2016 at KDHX in St. Louis, Missouri. Recorded by Andy Coco, remixed by Haley Hudson.
Few bands in St. Louis are as storied and celebrated as the Bottle Rockets. The band was a leading light in the burgeoning alt-country movement in the early '90s and has been consistently releasing records and touring the country for nearly 25 years. The newest LP is called "South Broadway Athletic Club" (named for a local landmark), and the band talks about recording its first album in its hometown. Songs performed are "Monday (Every Time I Turn Around)," "Ship It on the Frisco" and "Dog." Recorded on December 14, 2015 at KDHX in St. Louis, Missouri. Engineered by Dan Kinney.
Alongside woodwind player Jeff Lederer and bassist Paul Sikivie, drummer Matt Wilson leads this seasonally motivated jazz trio through a deep dive of the Christmas song canon, performing traditional carols, modern tunes and folk songs with equal parts wit, irreverence and inventiveness. We'll talk with the band about finding new meaning in old favorites and how Christmas songs have become a different take on the idea of the "jazz standard." Songs performed are "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," "Si Me Dan Pastellas" and "O Come O Come Emmanuel." Recorded on December 17, 2015 at KDHX in St. Louis, Missouri. Engineered by Andy Coco.
Mikaela Davis came to play the harp at a young age almost by happenstance, but by her teenage years she had figured out how to use the instrument to drive her dreamy, slightly psychedelic pop songs. We'll talk with Davis and her drummer and collaborator Alex Cote about the importance of music education, the influence of Joanna Newsom and her upcoming LP. Songs performed are "When You're Away," "Is This the Way," and "I Don't Want Another Love." Recorded on October 6, 2015 at KDHX in St. Louis, Missouri. Engineered by Andy Coco.
Pure Bathing Culture principals Sarah Versprille and Daniel Hindman talk about stripping back the layers of their band's shimmering, gossamer pop songs on this year's Pray for Rain. Producer John Congleton helped them focus their sound and new additions to the recordings -- Moog bass and live drums, to name two -- give a new bounce to the Portland-based quartet. Songs performed are "Palest Pearl," "She Shakes" and "Pray for Rain." Recorded on October 12, 2015 at KDHX in St. Louis, Missouri. Engineered by Andy Coco.
(Bonus content: Pure Bathing Culture's appearance on Collector's Edition from November 12, 2013)
Emi Night leads the Denver-based quartet Strawberry Runners with a memoirist's approach to the heartfelt and harrowing stories of her own childhood. Her bandmates support these songs with a twee-pop sheen that doesn't undercut the lyrics' emotional heft, and Strawberry Runners' two-song single shows both sides of that coin. The band is about to record its debut LP but were kind enough to play a preview of the forthcoming album. Songs performed are "Dog Days," When We Were Good" and "Your Bed Was Tall." Recorded on October 3, 2015 at KDHX in St. Louis, Missouri. Engineered by Andy Coco.
On The Embers of Time, Josh Rouse pairs his tastefully arranged and sweetly sung songs with lyrics that meditate on artistic identity, personal history and shifting priorities. On this episode, Rouse shares three solo, acoustic songs from the new record and talks about the duality of playing fundamentally American music while residing in Valencia, Spain, where he's lived for over a decade. Songs performed are "New Young," Somedays I'm Golden All Night" and "Crystal Falls." Recorded on September 18 at KDHX in St. Louis, Missouri. Engineered by Andy Coco.
Tim Kasher started the Good Life as a softer, more bare-bones approach compared to the work he was doing in Cursive, but the band came to be more than a mere side-project. Mid-2000s Albums like Black Out and Album of the Year showed melodic and thematic adventurousness, but the Good Life had been dormant since 2007. This year's Everybody's Coming Down finds the core quartet back in fine, rangy form. Songs performed as "Everybody," "The Troubadour's Green Room" and "So Let Go." Recorded on September 5, 2015 at KDHX in St. Louis, Missouri. Engineered by Andy Coco.
You might know him as the lead singer of the Athens, GA-based band Dead Confederate or as a member of Diamond Rugs alongside members of Deer Tick and Los Lobos, but T. Hardy Morris remains restless on his latest release. "Drownin' on a Mountaintop" is released under the guise of Hardy & the Hard Knocks, but Morris' knack for finding Southern rock's grittier corners remains regardless of the outfit. Songs performed are "Young Assumption," "Blame" (one of his contributions to Diamond Rugs) and "Shit in the Wind." Recorded on August 4, 2015 at KDHX in St. Louis, Missouri. Engineered by Andy Coco.
The long-running, hard-touring acoustic trio the Devil Makes Three talks about its most recent LP, 2013's I'm a Stranger Here and shares stories about collaborating with producer Buddy Miller. Songs performed are "Pray for Rain," Do Wrong Right" and "Graveyard." Recorded on January 22, 2015 at KDHX in St. Louis, Missouri. Engineered by Joshua Melvin.
Rev. Peyton and his bandmates are proud purveyors (and dedicated scholars) of country blues music, and their latest LP So Delicious revels in joyous surrender to the music. Rev. Peyton himself opines about domestic bliss, blues scholarship and more. The band performs the songs "Pot Roast & Kisses" and "Front Porch Trained." Recorded at KDHX in St. Louis, Missouri on February 22, 2015. Engineered by Dan Kinney.
For her forthcoming LP This Ain't Luck, singer-songwriter Alex Winston took a more personal approach to her lyrics while opening up her music to more radio-ready popcraft. Winston talks about the new songs and the fruitful, if trying, creation of the new album. Songs performed are "The Day I Died," "Careless" and "Gentleman." Recorded at KDHX in St. Louis, Missouri on June 23, 2015. Engineered by Andy Coco.
The Toronto-based quintet began as a vehicle for Tony Dekker's softly sung and sweetly rendered songs and grew into a formidable, intuitive folk outfit. The band plays an acoustic set of three songs from its latest, A Forest of Arms, and Dekker expands on the band's relationship to its physical environment, both in and out of the studio. Songs performed are "Something Like a Storm," "Don't Leave Me Hanging" and "Zero in the City." Recorded on June 21, 2015 at KDHX in St. Louis, Missouri. Engineered by Andy Coco.
Nashville-based and Dallas-bred, singer-songwriter Andrew Combs combines Lone Star State story-song tradition with genteel Music City slickness on his new album All These Dreams. Combs and his band play three new songs -- "Foolin'," "Suwanee County" and "Slow Road to Jesus." Recorded on April 13, 2015 at KDHX in St. Louis, Missouri. Engineered by Joshua Melvin.
Helmed by brothers Jake and Jamin Orrall, JEFF the Brotherhood has spent the last 15 years exploring the realms of garage rock, proto-metal and heavy prog. The Nashville-based band released Wasted on the Dream this year on their own Infinity Cat label, and the band came to KDHX to play old and new tracks and talk about the band's evolution (and its brief major label dalliance). JEFF the Brotherhood recorded the songs "Black Cherry Pie" "Heavy Krishna" and "Voyage Into Dreams." Recorded on April 12, 2015 live at KDHX in St. Louis, Missouri. Engineered by Jon Valley.
With his honeyed rasp and incisive lyrics, Joe Pug has been a singer-songwriter of rare insight since his 2009 debut. His most recent LP, 2015's Windfall, finds Pug back in the studio after a soul-searching respite, and his new songs tell of dogged perseverence and hard-won freedom. Pug talks about his new album, his re-commitment to his art and much more in this live session and interview. Joe Pug and his band perform the songs "Windfallen," "Burn & Shine" and "If Still It Can't Be Found." Recorded on April 7, 2015 live at KDHX in St. Louis, Missouri. Engineered by Pat Wolfe Jr. and Daniel Fitzpatrick.
The Brooklyn-based instrumental trio plays a kind of dance music that is hard to pin down: elements of jazz, house and free-form rock & roll come the band's sets, and the twin-saxophone attack of Michael Milbur and Wenzl Mcgowen is supported by the four-on-the-floor drumming of James Muschler. On this episode of Collector's Edition, the band plays two brand-new songs and talks about Moon Hooch's genesis as a subway-busking act and where it hopes to go next. The songs performed are "Something Else!", "Low 5" and "Tubes." Recorded on May 20, 2015 at KDHX in St. Louis, Missouri. Engineered by Dan Kinney.
Best known as founding members of the long-running Chicago band the Sea & Cake, Sam Prekop and Archer Prewitt trade in tightly constructed, jazz-flecked pop songs for sprawling instrumental synthesis. Touring in support of Prekop's recent LP of modular synthesizer compositions The Republic, Prekop and Prewitt play a new, untitled composition built from Prekop's modulating melodic patterns and layered with Prewitt's lithe, soaring guitar lines. We talk with Prekop about his history with this style of instrumental music and its connections to his better-known work with the Sea & Cake. Recorded live at KDHX in St. Louis, Missouri on May 19, 2015. Engineered by Andy Coco.
Under the direction of pianist and songwriter Ellis Ludwig-Leone, this Brooklyn-based octet have released two albums that mix symphonic swells, beat-driven pop and evocative vocal interplay. We talk with Ludwig-Leone, vocalist Charlene Kaye and trumpet player John Brandon about the band's evolution from studio concoction to thrilling, club-filling live act. San Fermin plays the songs "Emily," "Jackrabbit" and "Reckoning," all from the new Jackrabbit LP. Recorded live at KDHX in St. Louis, Missouri on May 14, 2015. Engineered by Andy Coco.