Ian Svenonius, long associated with the Washington DC music scene, is slated to perform Tuesday, 10/30, at 8PM at Rozz-Tox (2108 3rd Ave, Rock Island, IL). He has been making music since the late Eighties, and recording it since 1990. If there is any one musician who knows what’s possible in making music, it’s Svenonius – and Svenonius has never seemed the sort to acknowledge any kind of limitations. Catch one of his shows under his current project, Escape-ism [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDomSeWAUPs], and you will see imagination and talent at work – and a form of charisma, however awkward, capable of attracting people to these qualities.

In 2017, the last three days of September and the first of October brought an unexpected surprise. The All Senses Festival debuted its multi-media enterprise last year with more than 20 artistic performances and was held at Rozz-Tox, the Rock Island Brewing Company (RIBCO), and the Figge Art Museum. Though smaller in scale compared to other regional festivals, in particular Iowa City’s Mission Creek, All Senses had, judging by the number of the acts, its own Homeric air to it.

Tim Story found his true calling while enrolled at the University of Toledo in the late Seventies as an English Literature major. Upon graduating in 1980, he began recording ambient music, starting with 1981’s Threads. His collaborations with the German musician Hans-Joachim Röedelius began with 2000’s Persistence of Memory. It continues with their recent installation, The Röedelius Cells, showing at the Figge Art Museum from September 25 through 27. Story cordially consented to explain their project.

Everything that goes out of fashion seems to make a resurgence at some point or another. This trend is no different in the music scene. Record collectors have seen formats come and go. But most recently, the focus is on the comeback of vinyl records and cassette tapes.

Let's put a new twist on an old format – the ubiquitous year-end lists about music. We invited over 50 Quad Citizens who we know contribute to, support, and/or promote the local-music scene to give us their takes on 2017 via a 3-2-1 format. We asked: What are the three top songs they loved listening to this year; the two top live shows they saw in the Quad Cities; and the number-one artist they most want to see perform here live in 2018?

A good friend of mine once relayed a phrase that her mother would lob at her as an explanation for her poor choice in men, saying, “Your taste is only in your mouth.” I suppose that’s how it is with music, too, isn’t it?

Bix Beiderbecke Museum & Archive organizers (from left) Howard Braren, Geri Bowers, and Carol Schaefer in front of a re-creation of the Hudson Lake stage.

(Author’s note: After this article was published, the opening date of the museum was changed to Thursday, August 3.)

When the Bix Beiderbecke Museum & Archive opens to the public on July 24 in the River Music Experience basement, a major draw will be seeing and being in the presence of artifacts from the legendary jazz cornetist’s life – clothes he wore, instruments he played, reproductions of letters he wrote.

As museum developer Joe Hines said: “An exhibit like this doesn’t offer explanations; it [gives] impressions.”

While that might be typical of a biographical museum, the process of collecting those impressions and putting them under one roof has required extraordinary effort over decades.

The Dawn. Photo by Laura Heath.

The title-track instrumental of The Dawn’s new Wooly functions as a prelude and an epilogue, bookending its seven proper songs and gently laying the groundwork for the album. Layers of boldly bright keyboards and soulful sax sit prominently up-front beside the guitar, all contributing to a casual and welcoming atmosphere.

The message seems to be that one should expect something a little different from the Quad Cities-based band, a departure from its good-natured, Americana-based jams. And The Dawn delivers that throughout with an impressively broader palette and an emphasis on soul and funk.

But the real kick comes on the record’s second half, and it’s a revelation. When the band not only expands its style but messes around with structure, the results are bracingly good.

It was 2007 when I last spoke to Vince Herman, and he was promoting a show with Great American Taxi. I asked him about some festival dates that Leftover Salmon – the long-running, self-described “polyethnic Cajun slamgrass” jam band that he co-founded – had played that summer.

Herman was clear that, in his view, Leftover Salmon – which went on hiatus in 2005 after soldiering on for three years following the death of bandmate Mark Vann – didn’t have much of a future without its founding banjo player. “As a business entity and as a musical entity, it just didn’t have its old boogie-woogie to it,” he told me. “We did it as long as we could before it was too much.”

That obituary turned out to be premature, as Leftover Salmon over the past seven years has had a remarkably active second act.

Lurking underneath the unfettered joy of Chicano Batman’s version of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” is a tension. The performance and enthusiasm could not be more infectious, but ... it was created for a whiskey commercial (for Johnnie Walker) that aired during this year’s Grammys. And it was released two days before the inauguration of President Donald Trump and implicitly exposes the song’s political roots.

And therein lies the track’s magic. It’s so fully convincing that it doesn’t feel like selling out. And you won’t catch a whiff of protest from it, because the unwavering brightness is the protest.

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