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Different Ways of Digesting: Laura Stevenson, October 4 at Bier Stube PDF Print E-mail
Music - Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Tuesday, 01 October 2013 16:00

Laura Stevenson. Photo by Dave Garwacke.

Laura Stevenson’s song “Sink, Swim” could be called an apocalyptic ditty, a cheery, up-tempo rock song with soaring vocals that sketches out the destruction of the West Coast: “Oh California, I tried to warn ya. / The earth is gonna quake before ya. / You’ll be real sorry but it won’t be sorry. / The dirt is gonna crack and split you in two.” The casual address certainly suggests the musical approach, but it’s easy to miss the lyrics in such a joyous ruckus.

The song appears on her 2013 album Wheel, and she explained in a phone interview last week that “I like that juxtaposition of mood and ... undercurrent – the actual meaning of the song. ... Two different ways of feeling the same word[s]. You can read them on the page and take them at face value, or you could hear them put to music with a completely different mood. It’s just a different way of digesting it. Kind of what life is like.”

She and her band will be playing the Moline Bier Stube on October 4, and in that setting it will be easy to gloss over grim words. But Stevenson’s songs are rewarding both musically and lyrically, whether you consider their sometimes disparate components together or separately.

 
Photos from the Chuck Ragan Concert, September 18 at the Redstone Room PDF Print E-mail
Music - Feature Stories
Written by Roberta Osmers   
Tuesday, 24 September 2013 09:20

Photos from the Chuck Ragan concert September 18 at the Redstone Room, with openers Comfort and Jamestown Revival.

For more from Roberta Osmers on the Quad Cities music scene, visit OfTechAndMusic.Blogspot.com.

Chuck Ragan:

Photo by Roberta Osmers, OfTechAndMusic.Blogspot.com

 
Foreshadowing the Season: The Quad City Symphony Premieres Michael Torke’s “Oracle” PDF Print E-mail
Music - Feature Stories
Written by Frederick Morden   
Tuesday, 17 September 2013 12:43

Michael Torke. Photo by Brian Hainer.

In February, the Quad City Symphony contacted a representative of Michael Torke with the hope of commissioning a short season-opening piece from the well-known American composer. It was a long shot – a request with a turnaround time of a few months instead of the typical year or two between commissioning and the orchestra’s first rehearsal with the completed music.

But Torke was looking for a summer project, a short work to add to his library of titles. “I love those drop-everything-now projects,” Torke said in a phone interview in July. “The Quad City thing seemed perfect.” With the logistics in place, what remained was finding an appropriate artistic concept and completing the piece before rehearsals in September.

Oracle was composed in a burst of creative energy from mid-June to mid-July. “I think this is going to be one of the best pieces I’ve ever written,” Torke predicted the day after the five-minute composition was completed. “I am so jazzed up about it. It starts off with this kind of ‘Pines of Rome’ thing, with one variation of the melody warm and juicy, and another noble.”

 
At the Intersection of Bluegrass and Brazil: Quad City Arts Visiting Artists Matuto, September 21 at the Galvin Fine Arts Center PDF Print E-mail
Music - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 10 September 2013 12:50

Matuto, photographed by Vincent SoyezDepending on the source, the English-language equivalent of the Brazilian slang term “matuto” appears to be “country boy” or “bumpkin” or “hillbilly.” What it absolutely isn’t is “critically lauded ensemble selected as American Musical Ambassadors for the U.S. State Department.”

Yet that is indeed a fitting description for the capitalized Matuto, the sextet of touring musicians appearing locally as Quad City Arts’ latest Visiting Artists. After a week spent conducting workshops and performing for area students, these dynamic, adventurous artists and educators will present a September 21 concert at St. Ambrose University’s Galvin Fine Arts Center, where they hope to excite many more listeners with the infectious thrill of Brazilian bluegrass.

That’s right: Brazilian bluegrass. Don’t feel embarrassed if you’ve never heard of it.

 
Out-of-"Office" Replies: Creed Bratton, September 19 at the Adler Theatre PDF Print E-mail
Music - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Friday, 06 September 2013 06:00

Creed BrattonThere are people who work in an office and dream of stardom. And then there’s Creed Bratton, who actually achieved stardom, and then went on to work in an office.

Of course, given that he wound up in the office of the Scranton, Pennsylvania-based paper-supply company Dunder Mifflin, this could hardly be considered a career demotion.

 
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