Features

Robert Earl Keen is one of Americana's biggest stars. His music career spans three decades, he has released 18 albums, and he even strummed and sang his way into the Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Fame. He'll be playing in the Town Square of Jackson Hole on Friday for the Jackson Hole Rendezvous Music Festival. Keen's love of music all started in bars in Houston. But as he told Wyoming Public Radio's Caroline Ballard, he wasn't there for the bands - he was there for foosball.

uwyo.edu

Here’s something that will be of particular interest to anyone who’s ever played the piano. Chi-Chen Wu teaches piano at the University of Wyoming and has a new CD out this month.

For this recording of Schumann’s sonatas for violin and piano, she uses an old version of the instrument: a fortepiano. So Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer asked Chi-Chen Wu the obvious question: what’s a fortepiano?

laramiepublicart.org

The city of Laramie has been awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to help create a public art plan. Last week, member organizations hosted the first community meetings to discuss the plan. Residents can also suggest projects and locations on this online survey.

Asher Jay

A wildlife advocacy group in Jackson wants to convince the public that the use of traps for hunting is inhumane, and they’re using art to convey their message.

The group, Wyoming Untrapped, has commissioned an internationally renowned environmental artist to show the value of free-roaming wild animals such as bob cats and coyotes that traditionally are some of trapper’s favorite targets.

Mark Jenkins

Adventurer Mark Jenkins of Laramie gets assignments all over the world for National Geographic, the magazine he writes for. He’s climbed Mount Everest, bicycled across Siberia, and even skied in Central Asia with the world’s oldest ski culture. Now, he’s one-upped himself.

To find out more about his expedition to the caves of Vietnam, I met with Jenkins in his gear room, a very orderly nook in the basement of his house, stacked with well-labeled bins full of outdoor equipment. It’s here that all of his adventures begin.

Caroline Ballard

Latino influence is growing in America across the board, including in conservation issues and outdoor recreation. One of the people leading this charge is Jose Gonzalez, the founder of Latino Outdoors, an organization that aims to increase the Hispanic community’s contact with the outdoors.

This Saturday, February 28th, Trampled By Turtles will be playing at the Arts and Science auditorium on the University of Wyoming campus. The band has been one of the hottest bluegrass acts in the last decade. Their most recent album, "Wild Animals," was released last July. Mandolin player Erik Berry spoke with Wyoming Public Radio’s Ryan Oberhelman about "Wild Animals" and how the band and its sound has grown over the last decade.

uwyo.edu

Four Shakespeare plays open next week in Laramie as part of the University of Wyoming's Shakespeare Project. Then, they’ll all fan out across the state on tour. (See below for locations.) The plays are staged in the signature style of Actors From The London Stage—just five actors and minimal props. One of the plays coming to Wyoming is a professional production. The other three are University of Wyoming student productions, directed by Actors From The London Stage.

UW Photo

Concert goers have their choice of two unusual concerts coming up this week at the University of Wyoming. One is a biennial concerto competition for students. The other brings together musicians from three continents for the Wyoming premier of a Brazilian piece. 

  

A new film follows the journey of a snowboarder Brolin Mawejje on his quest to become the first African Olympic snowboarder. Born in Uganda, he saw snow for the first time when he came to the U.S. at age 12. Snowboarding helped Mawejje escape a difficult home life and bond with a family who brought him to Jackson Hole.

uwyo.edu

Every two years, student musicians at the University of Wyoming compete in the Jacoby Competition. Six students will perform as soloists with the UW Symphony Orchestra on Thursday, February 26. The winner will be named the university’s finest student musician and will win a cash award. Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer asked UW Symphony directory Michael Griffith to explain the judging process.

Jennifer Tennican

A new film follows the journey of a snowboarder Brolin Mawejje, on his quest to become the first African Olympic snowboarder. He was born in Uganda and only saw snow for the first time when he came to the U.S. at age 12. He eventually moved to Jackson Hole with a family that took him in as one of their own. Part of what sealed the bond with his adoptive family was a love of snowboarding, which he shared with their son, Phil Hessler.

For sixteen years, the Banff Mountain Film Festival’s World Tour has made a yearly stop in Laramie. This is the first year it will be screened at the Gryphon Theater.

The festival features 20 films shown over two days. Films focus on outdoor recreation, adventure, and environmental issues, says Dan McCoy, one of the event organizers.

“So we’re going to show films that are more high-adrenaline – films about kayaking, about rock-climbing, [and] about adventure.”

 On Monday night, 8 high school students from around Wyoming competed in ‘Poetry Out Loud,’ an annual event that aims to get students engaged with great poetry.

Students memorize and recite works of their choosing—and are judged on their performance. This year’s winner was Arvada-Clearmont High School Senior Dylan Collins. Rebecca Delaney of Sundance and Lucy Martinez of Jackson were the runners-up.

Eighteen-year-old Collins says he might not seem like the type of guy who’d typically be interested in poetry.

Album Preview: Screen Door Porch, 'Modern Settler'

Feb 2, 2015
Stephen Williams

Screen Door Porch delivers a Wyoming-grown fusion of soulful Americana, Roots-Rock and Country-Blues that has been likened to “Gillian Welch meets The Band, with Ryan Adams and Bonnie Raitt hanging out backstage” (605 Magazine). The core female/male singer-songwriter pair of Seadar Rose & Aaron Davis offer rustic harmonies, a diverse mix of acoustic & electric instrumentation, and “a sort of Lennon/McCartney arrangement and get it right every time” (Americana UK).

University Press of Colorado

A new book chronicles changes in Wyoming over the past century. Historian and photographer Michael Amundson has retaken hundreds of photos from the early 20th century. His photos, shot in 1987-88 (while he was a student at the University of Wyoming) and again in 2007-08 are studies of pictures taken by Joseph E Stimson, a commercial photographer for the state and various railroads. The book is called “Wyoming Revisted: Rephotographing the Scenes of Joseph E.

Studio Sessions: Ian McFeron Band

Jan 27, 2015
Anna Rader

Seattle singer-songwriter Ian McFeron has dust on his boots from many tours across the country (including quite a few stops in Wyoming), reflected in the stories he weaves through his songs. Here are a couple of favorites from his albums Summer Nights and Time Will Take You; we’re hoping the as yet unreleased ‘Moses’ makes it onto McFeron’s third Nashville studio album, which is currently in the works.

Back to the Farm (Life is Good)

This week’s mild temperatures will set the stage for a night of music called the Midwinter Meltdown. Six bands (including an unannounced surprise act) will play Saturday night in the tiny town of Medicine Bow, between Laramie and Rawlins.

The event is the brainchild of Laramie musician Jeff Duloz. Last fall, he poured his energy into a day-long event with ten bands. Afterward, someone asked the exhausted Duloz, ‘When’s the next concert?’

“Immediately, my answer was never. Like, never. I’m never doing this again,” he says with a laugh.

amazon.com

Lynne Cheney and her husband, former Vice President Dick Cheney, will be in Laramie on February 17th discussing her new book called James Madison:  A Life Reconsidered. The Cheney's will discuss the book at the Marian Rochelle Gateway Center at the University of Wyoming. The discussion begins at 4 p.m.

blinddogsmokin.com

A Laramie-based band has been nominated for a Grammy Award. The album ‘Decisions’ features the band Blinddog Smokin’ and legendary Louisianna blues singer Bobby Rush; it’s up for Best Blues Album. As the band’s founder Carl Gustafson tells Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer, the Grammy nomination has also led to award nominations in the roots music capitols of Memphis and New Orleans.

Every ten years, the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office develops a new plan for preserving historic sites and structures. Public input plays an important role. Through Thursday, January 15, the public can answer a survey about what priorities the new plan should highlight.

Ron McIntosh

The Wyoming Technology Business Center at the University of Wyoming has recently started a program to assist artists in the region to develop business skills so they can become more self- sufficient. Wyoming Public Radio’s Pat Gabriel talked with the center's CEO Jon Benson and its Marketing Coordinator Fred Schmechel about why they think the program could be so helpful for Wyoming artists. They're also joined by the program's very first artist, Ron McIntosh.

Doc Thiessen

Ghost towns may conjure images of old shoot-outs, tumble weed rolling down dusty streets. But there are also more modern ghost towns with less romantic stories. Laramie photographer Doc Thiessen is documenting some of the towns along the Lincoln Highway bypassed by Interstate 80.

For the second year in a row, there’s a Wyoming connection at the Grammy Awards. Last year, it was bluegrass band Della Mae, whose bassist is from Laramie. This year, it’s Laramie-based blues band Blinddog Smokin’. The band was formed more than two decades ago and has logged over a million miles on the road. Band leader Carl Gustafson says the Grammy nomination is already opening doors.

wuis.org

The Best Music Of 2014

We received a record amount of votes this year! Thanks to everyone who voted and thank you for listening to Morning Music. Here are WPR's Top 20 CD's of 2014 from listener votes:

Wyoming Arts Council

Winners of the Governor’s Arts Awards were announced this week. For the first time in many years, the winners are all visual artists.

Governor Matt Mead made the final selections based on recommendations from the Wyoming Arts Council board. In a news release, Governor Mead said “These three artists...are representative of the many wonderful artists we have in Wyoming who contribute to a thriving arts economy.”

Diana Denison

Laramie-based jazz guitarist and vocalist Peter Queal visited on November 19th with Grady Kirkpatrick on Morning Music. They talked about the Queal’s new CD Humility and played a few tracks.

Caroline Ballard

Protesters filled Simpson Plaza in front of the University of Wyoming last Thursday. They were calling for an end to police brutality and racism, following grand jury decisions to not indict police officers in the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York. Protesters and observers had a variety of viewpoints:

Every four years, the University of Wyoming stages the classic holiday ballet, The Nutcracker. It’s a major undertaking involving the Department of Theatre and Dance, the UW Symphony Orchestra, and the Lab School Treble Choir, as well as numerous community members. In all, it takes 200 people to put on the show. Director Marsha Knight says the production is set at the Ivinson Mansion, in Old West Laramie, as it has been since 2006.

Studio Sessions: Thunder & Rain

Dec 8, 2014
Anna Rader

Since forming in 2013, Thunder & Rain has quickly made a name for itself along the Front Range. The band’s “mountain made Colorado country” sound hangs strong hooks and catchy harmonies on classic bluegrass instrumentation.

Their debut album is scheduled for release in January 2015, with tours to follow.

I'm Gonna Belong

Smile Kid

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