Monthly Archives: September 2010

This Month in KC’s Music History: Tech N9ne Goes Platinum

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I can’t let September end without acknowledging this significant milestone: Rapper Tech N9ne was certified as a platinum-selling artist in September 2008, making him the top-selling independent artist in hip-hop.

Tech N9ne grew up in Lee’s Summit, Mo., a suburb at the southeast part of the metropolitan area. Lee’s Summit is still his base of operations as the co-owner and principal artist of Strange Music.

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Exclusive: KC’s Mark Pender Staying With Conan

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With today’s official announcement that Max Weinberg will not join the band for Conan O’Brien’s new show (band guitarist Jimmy Vivino first disclosed it last week in an interview with the Riverfront Times), I was curious about the status of Mark Pender, the former Kansas City resident who played trumpet for 17 years on O’Brien’s NBC shows.

I contacted Pender by email this afternoon, and he confirmed that he will be in the band when the show debuts on Nov. 8.

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Introducing KC Music Tube

Writing about music is fine, but to experience the true essence of music, you need to listen to it or watch a performance. So I’ve started a new feature that I’m really excited about: KC Music Tube.

KC Music Tube collects the videos of KC music artists that are scattered all over the Internet (YouTube mostly). With video, you can see (and hear) what makes them so special.

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Today in KC’s Music History: “The Seeds of Love” by Tears for Fears

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Long a fixture in Kansas City’s music community, Oleta Adams received a big career boost with the release of Tears for Fears’ third album on Sept. 25, 1989.

Born and reared in Washington state, Adams moved to Kansas City on the advice of her vocal coach. She quickly made a name for herself playing hotel bars and showrooms.

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Video: “Woman in Chains” by Tears for Fears Featuring Oleta Adams

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I think that Tears for Fears has held up pretty well over the years, and this song is no exception.

Woman in Chains is the opening track and the first single from Tears for Fears’ third album, The Seeds of Love. Although not exactly a duet with Roland Orzabal, the song features Oleta Adams in prominent role on the recording and in this video. Phil Collins and his big drum sound also played on the record but he did not appear in the video.

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Today in KC’s Music History: “The Seeds of Love” by Tears for Fears

Video: “Get Here” by Oleta Adams

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There are songs I never get tired of hearing, and this is one of them. This is one of the outstanding recordings of the last 20 years. Oleta Adams is not a flashy singer, but she’s a masterful one, and you can hear it from the moment she opens her mouth to sing.

This is a live performance that was broadcast on the BBC in 1991. The audio is not particularly good (it sounds like it was originally recorded on VHS tape and then transferred to a digital file), but it’s worth hearing the interplay between the band.

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Today in KC’s Music History: “The Seeds of Love” by Tears for Fears

Finding New History

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I’m working on a documentary, and as I get deeper into the topic I’ve come to appreciate how history gets made every day. It’s not just events in the distant past.

One of the best resources I’ve found for new history is the Kansas Music Hall of Fame. Bill Lee is the president, and he seems to be super connected with anyone of note in the area. People send him tips, and as a result, you’ll find information you won’t get anywhere else.

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Today in KC’s Music History: “Yes I Am,” by Melissa Etheridge

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After three albums that were modestly successful, Melissa Etheridge broke into the mainstream with her fourth album, released on Sept. 21, 1993.

Yes I Am contains two of her best-known songs, The Only One and Come to My Window.  The Only One was a Top 10 hit, and although Come to My Window peaked at No. 25, it won a Grammy for Best Female Rock Performance and is probably her best-known song.

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Video: Trailer for “Cowtown Ballroom: Sweet Jesus”

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If you’re interested in Kansas City’s music history, then Cowtown Ballroom: Sweet Jesus is required viewing. It’s a loving look at this important concert venue, as well as an examination of the cultural factors that helped lead to its creation.

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Today in KC’s Music History: Cowtown Ballroom’s Final Show

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The Cowtown Ballroom was on the second floor of El Torreon Ballroom, at 31st Street and Gillham Plaza.

One of Kansas City’s most important venues closed its doors forever after a final show on Sept. 16, 1974.

Although it never made any money during its existence, the Cowtown Ballroom left an indelible legacy, locally and nationally. Located at 31st Street and Gillham Plaza on the second floor of El Torreon Ballroom (itself a legendary venue during the 1930s), Cowtown was a key stop for touring bands as they built their careers.

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