Chuck Ragan. Photo by Tom Stone.

When Chuck Ragan stops in Davenport later this month, his fans shouldn't miss the opportunity to see him. He's not likely to announce his retirement from touring any time soon, but he's regularly talked about the difficulties of being a touring musician and the price that families pay.

And he said in a phone interview last week that someday he will hang up his guitar to spend more time with his family. "Absolutely," he said. "I'm sure a lot of musicians would say the exact opposite. ... [But] I really look forward to that in a huge way. And I don't know when that is. ... I've always had a love/hate relationship with touring and the road. It does take a massive toll. But I think it takes more of a toll on our loved ones, who are on the other side of it."

Ragan is not, I stress, stepping out of the spotlight soon - which should be apparent from both his recent activity and his plans.

The Effie Afton

The defining characteristic of the self-titled EP from the Quad Cities band the Effie Afton is a pillowy softness - from the singing to the playing to the layer of gauze over the whole affair. Its four songs over 17 minutes are on the somnambulant side, even on the up-tempo "Great Divide" and the standout closing track, "Say Goodbye." But in a sly trick, this vibe masks a striking evolution over the course of the EP.

Developer Tim Baldwin in the Democrat building. The skylight, he said, will be integrated into the design of one apartment.

It would be natural to look at the volume of housing being developed in downtown Davenport and infer some coordinated process or a major new incentive program. Roughly 300 market-rate apartments are either recently finished or in the development process.

There's undoubtedly a trend here. The Downtown Davenport Partnership - part of the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce - noted in its strategic plan from earlier this year that "nearly 100,000 square feet of office space is currently planned for conversion to residential units."

That includes 11 different projects from seven different developers.

And while the Downtown Davenport Partnership has been a key player, its director - Kyle Carter - said his organization's role has been to "help guide that process. Not own it, guide it. ...

"We always give advice when these developers are shopping," he said. "But the vast majority of those plans are developer-driven. If anything, I'm the tour guide. I'm the guy that is showing the buffet of options down here. So I will certainly push for projects that I think are more catalytic, or locations that will have bigger benefits for the whole down here."

In other words, local government, a downtown organization, or a plan with the scale or taxpayer cost of River Renaissance isn't behind this housing boom. It's largely happening on its own.

The Market Can Save You Cash

Here are some tips to making the most of the market.

Buy what's in season. For example sweet corn is now widely available from many vendors. Prices generally are affected by the availability.  

Buy in bulk, many vendors will sell you a box, a bushel or by the dozen for less.

Some vendors have blemished items that are great for canning, freezing or putting in your favorite recipes often at a great discount.

Some vendors sell ripe and ready to eat for that day.  At the end of the day they often will bundle those items at a better price.

Watch the prices.  In the store you generally pay by the pound and at the market often items are priced by the pint, quart or each.  A pound of peaches is generally only one xlarge peach in the store and  might be $2.49 per pound so 5 peaches might be $12.45 in the store. Compare to a quart that has 5 peaches at the Market  at $4.00 makes them only 80 cents each a savings of $8.00!

When it comes to your health and family knowing what you eat and where it comes from is PRICELESS!

Don't want to carry all of your items to the car?  We have both shopping carts and produce wagons to help you shop and transport them to your car.  Be sure to leave them at the market for others to use.

Plenty of parking available!

Parking during the Market.

The Freight House west parking lots can be accessed by taking River Drive to Western, or Gains from either the east or west, or you may also park directly North of the Freight House in the Community Health lot.

Come to the Market and enjoy the best the QCA has to offer!

Peppers add a splash of color and a wonderful exciting taste to salads, pastas, soups, sauces and stews.  Don't forget to add some to fresh tomatoes and make your own homemade salsa.
Seedless watermelons are so good we put them in two newsletters.
Be sure to bring the kids, they love the playground,bounce house and clowns.  You will love the outdoor fresh air, great foods and healthy choices.  Make it a Market day for the whole family.  Admission and fun is always free!
The corn was knee high by the 4th of July and now its as high as an elephants eye! Come down and enjoy some fresh roasted corn here at the market or take home a dozen or two and enjoy all week.

On paper, the Wallflowers' 2012 album Glad All Over has the whiff of trying to recapture past glories.

It was the band's first album of new material in seven years, a hiatus that included a rote best-of compilation, a couple tours, and two solo albums by frontman/songwriter Jakob Dylan.

But talking to Dylan last week - and, more importantly, listening to the album - it's clear that the band and its leader aren't crassly trying to capitalize on fondness for the quadruple-platinum Bringing Down the Horse (and its chart-topping single, "One Headlight") from 1996. As the All Music Guide correctly summarized, with Glad All Over the Wallflowers "now feel the freedom to mess around, and they've come up with one of their loosest, liveliest records that not-so-coincidentally is one of their best."

So the long absence of the Wallflowers - headlining River Roots Live on August 17 - can be explained by Dylan wanting the band to survive and thrive. He obviously views it as his band - less in the sense of belonging to him than being his primary musical outlet.

Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas

Jessica Hernandez had a good story to tell about being signed by the venerable jazz label Blue Note Records. She canceled a meeting with the company's president in New York, and instead had him fly to Detroit to hear her in a loft space she created above her family's bakery.

She got a record deal.

That was a few years ago, and recently her tale turned more typical. Warner Music Group acquired the label from Universal (a deal that was finalized in July), and Hernandez - who had been working on her debut album - found herself in the classic music-industry lurch.

By most standards, Jason Kakert's Iowa Hemp for Victory page on Facebook is a modest grassroots political effort. He started the page in 2011, and this week it had only 58 "likes."

"This is just getting started out," the 31-year-old graphic artist said last week in his studio at the Bucktown Center for the Arts. "Right now this is kind of a one-man show."

But Kakert (a former River Cities' Reader intern) is an eloquent advocate for industrial hemp, and he's part of a movement that's gaining significant traction. Last month, the U.S. House - by a vote of 225 to 200 - passed an amendment to the farm bill that would allow "institutions of higher education to grow or cultivate industrial hemp for the purpose of agricultural or academic research," according to the amendment's summary. "The amendment only applies to [the nine] states that already permit industrial hemp growth and cultivation under state law."

The amendment is now attached to the House-passed farm bill, but its fate is uncertain at best; the larger politics of the farm bill dwarf this particular issue.

Yet the amendment's passage represented a major surprise victory for hemp advocates. As Tom Murphy, the national outreach coordinator and a board member of the not-for-profit organization Vote Hemp, said in an interview last week: "We were expecting a 50 to 375 defeat."

Jer Coons and Caroline Rose

The pleasing Americana music and nimble, emotive vocals of Caroline Rose's "America Religious" - the title track from her debut album - mask massive amounts of meaning. Perhaps more accurately, they mask a lot of words whose meaning you're left to decipher for yourself.

Take this line, which Rose said she's frequently asked about: "America religious, I eat slices of white privilege processed by agri-business."

"What I want people to get out of that line and the song in general is discussion about what race relations are like, and what things like immigration reform mean today, and agribusiness," she said in a recent phone interview promoting her July 30 performance at the River Music Experience.

That didn't clear things up much, did it?

"I don't really care what people think that it means," she said. "As long as they're talking about it, I think it's great."

Based on America Religious, Rose certainly bears discussion. The music is varied, compelling, and sharp in its genre, with "Here Come the Rain" a standout in texture, arrangement, and vocal performance.

But the lyrics are what leap out.

Buzz Osborne said that some concepts for the Melvins' 30th-anniversary tour - which stops at RIBCO on July 18 - got nixed.