Watch Wyoming Bands' Entries For NPR's Tiny Desk Contest

Jan 22, 2015
NPR Music

As you may know, NPR put out the call for undiscovered bands to enter a contest to play a Tiny Desk Concert in Washington, D.C. A number of Wyoming musicians filmed themselves behind—and in front of—their own ‘desks’.

Here are their contest entries:

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.

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.

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:

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.

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

Thanks for voting for the Best Music Of 2014

We added up listener picks, compiled the Top 20, and played all the tunes on Morning Music during December 31st and January 1st.

See the results!

Studio Sessions: The Raven And The Writing Desk

Nov 26, 2014
Anna Rader

Drawing their name from Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’, The Raven and the Writing Desk have taken their own circuitous journey to arrive at their current four-piece configuration and self-described “dark pop” style.

Here are songs that perfectly capture the Denver band's new sound.


On A Wire

Wyoming Arts Council

In September, Michael Lange was selected to lead the Wyoming Arts Council. Lange was promoted from within the organization, following the retirement of the previous manager, Rita Basom. Lange stopped by our studios to discuss his vision for the organization and to play some music that’s shaped his own development as an artist and administrator. He spoke with Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer.

In classical music, there’s a long list of composers who are also conductors. One of them is Chicagoan Jim Stephenson. What sets Stephenson apart is that the audience will help him compose the music the Wyoming Symphony Orchestra will play at its family concert on November 8th. Stephenson has performed the ‘Compose Yourself’ program hundreds of times since 2002, but this performance will only be the second time with a full symphony orchestra.

The University of Wyoming Symphony Orchestra performs its second concert of the season this week. Music Director Michael Griffith says the concert challenges some common assumptions about classical music. “We’re starting the concert with a Mozart Concerto for Flute and Harp, which is really unusual. You don’t think of harp as a soloist and you certainly don’t think of harp and a flute together as dual soloists.”

Luke Bell: Rattlesnake Man

Oct 6, 2014

The University of Wyoming’s annual contemporary music festival begins Monday, Oct. 4. New Frontiers: The Laramie Contemporary Music Project is a week long celebration of modern classical music and living composers. Festival director Anne Guzzo says it’s about celebrating the integrity of classical music while introducing new sounds.

The University of Wyoming Symphony Orchestra’s 2014-15 season will see many soloists joining the orchestra on stage. Opening Night, Thursday, Oct. 2, features a pianist and a singer--and some little-known portions of a well-known work. Conductor Michael Griffith stopped by to chat with Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer.

Anna Rader

Georgia native Danny Brewer is the front man of indie-folk band Besides Daniel. His songs are deeply emotionally, with natural acoustic riffs and soulful melodies. His third album release, This Marvelous Grief, has been featured on NPR.

University of Wyoming

Every year, nearly half a million Chinese students travel abroad to attend college. The U.S. is the most popular destination for these students—whose parents spend around $165,000 for an American education. Many of these students come to study Western classical music. And for the last decade or so, Chinese musicians have taken center stage in the world of classical music.

Cordelia Zars

Dance class begins at 9 a.m. in the studio. The six students disappear and are replaced by dancing cowboys, swaying and lassoing to the beat of the song.

Instructor Kayc DeMaranville leads. She helps them coordinate their bodies to the rhythm. The students are lost in the music, spinning, kicking, waving their arms. Student Eric Petersen loves to dance. He says it makes his body feel “a little bit of good.”

Micah Schweizer

Pierce Pettis is one of America’s finest singer-songwriters. His songs have been covered by artists including Dar Williams, Garth Brooks, and Joan Baez. His rich, chiming guitar sound comes from the use of open tunings. Here’s a song that draws from Pierce’s Alabama roots.

Ben Slater

Dakota Dave Hull is one of America’s premier finger-style guitarists. Based in Minnesota, Dakota Dave logs a lot of miles touring, so here’s a composition that fades out like the highway receding in the rear-view mirror.

Aaron Schrank

It’s before 8 o’ clock in the morning, and there’s a surprising amount of noise coming from a basement classroom in UW’s library.

Inside is a group of about 25 sitting in a circle, playing instruments or humming along. For most of the year, these people are music educators teaching in schools all over Wyoming. But in the summer, they’re students themselves—in a UW summer master’s program. Today, they’re learning a melody by ear.

Micah Schweizer

Fresh off the 2014 release of ‘Dave and the Gin Mill Gypsies’, Laramie guitarist, singer, and songwriter David Wiatrolik assembles a stripped down trio (Dana Robertson, drums and Luke Woodbury, bass) to perform live at the WPM studios.

The Big Horn Mountain Festival in Buffalo celebrates ten years of roots, bluegrass and Americana music at the Johnson County Fairgrounds, July 11 through 13. Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer asked one of the organizers, Paul Jarvis, to remember the festival’s early years.

Learning To Play: Musical Pursuits And A Childhood Wish

Jul 2, 2014

Anna Rader

This Sioux Falls, SD duo is putting the finishing touches on a new album, which includes this song.

Casper's Cory McDaniel (guitar) and Amy Gieske (bass) play one from the new record, The Tremors.

A new album by Jackson Hole jazz singer Nicole Madison jazzes up a '60s pop song and gives it a place among classic jazz standards. The album’s name—‘In My Life’—comes from a song written by the Beatles. Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer reached Nicole Madison at home.

Micah Schweizer

Golden, Colorado bluegrass band Thunder and Rain are known for their "Mountain Made Colorado Country" music. Three of the five band members, guitarist and vocalist Erinn Lukes, mandolin player Pete Weber, and banjo player and vocalist R.P. Oates stopped by Wyoming Public Media on June 6. They played a live set on Morning Music ahead of their show on June 7 in Woods Landing.