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Etown is an exciting weekly radio broadcast heard from coast to coast on NPR, public and commercial stations. Every etown show is taped in front of a live audience and features performances from many of today's top musical artists as well as conversations and information about the world around us. At etown, we build community through music.

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Looks Can Be Deceiving

Thu, 01/22/2015 - 03:19

This week in eTown, we dip into the archives from the last couple of years to bring back a great show with two up-and-coming artists and an excellent eChievement Award story to boot.

DSC_6023First up is the Santa Cruz-based trio The Devil Makes Three. While being born and raised in the Northeast, the three members made their way to Santa Cruz for college, and ended up sticking around. If you’ve ever spent much time in Santa Cruz, it’s not hard to tell that the characteristics of the area have found its way into the band’s music. If you were to judge based on photographic images of the band alone, it would be easy to make the assumption that this trio leans in the bluegrass direction. Their instrumentation might very well lead you to believe that. This, however, is nowhere near the case. While The Devil Makes Three uses traditional string instruments such as a banjo and upright bass, their sound is far from traditional. The sound is dark, and unique. If you threw a few skateboards into the mix of an old time group, you’d be closer to hitting the mark with their sound. It’s original, and really dang good!

DSC_6310Also with us this week is bluesy singer/songwriter Parker Millsap, who was making his first visit to eTown when this episode was originally recorded. Again, don’t let the exterior appearance fool you here (as it did most of the taping audience when Parker walked onto the stage). Parker is the embodiment of the old saying – “Big things come in small packages.” He is almost way too young to have the huge, seasoned voice and songwriting chops he laid on us all, but somehow he pulls it off with full insistence. We were blown away by his music, and stage presence. I’m pretty sure you will be blown away too!

DSC_6069Along with all of the great music and conversation with our musical guests this week, we also have another touching eChievement Award story in store for you. This time, we draw our ears to hear about the Mosaic Project, an excellent organization that was brought to our attention by our long-time friend and musical guest, Brett Dennen.

It’s a great hour of entertainment and information for you this week. Be sure to tune in or podcast!

– Zack

The post Looks Can Be Deceiving appeared first on eTown.

Categories: E-Town

An Established Legend and One Soon To Be

Fri, 01/16/2015 - 00:57

What a week it has been here in eTown. If the first few weeks of 2015 are any indication, we are in for a great (and busy) year here in the world of eTown. Last week we had two great tapings, followed by a very special event for this year’s high school participants in our Handmade Songs Series. It’s a very cool program that mentors talented high school-aged aspiring musicians from performance through the recording process. It’s pretty amazing to see and hear how talented these young folks are in the early stages of their musical exploration. You can check out their music, and watch videos of each student over in the Handmade Songs section of our site, HERE.

This week’s eTown broadcast/podcast is no slouch either. This week we have a musical legend, paired with an up-and-coming singer/songwriter that is already making huge strides with her unique voice and cinematic music.
IMG-1013_BruceFirst up, our friend and long-time eTowner, Bruce Cockburn makes another stop in eTown to catch up, share some classics from his bottomless library of music and fill us in on his brand new memoir – Rumours Of Glory. While I personally was less up to speed on Bruce’s vast catalog as our enthusiastic taping audience was, I really enjoyed getting to hear Bruce sing, play and share stories about a few of songs that have touched lives for decades. Bruce is a master at his craft, with equal parts technique, heart and soul. He is also has one of the most interesting approaches to fashion I have seen among eTown’s many guests. I know Bruce’s fans are so dedicated. He bleeds conviction in his music, and that kind of dedication makes a joyful noise – Especially in our little, acoustically-design musical clubhouse.

IMG-1043Also with us this week is New York City-based (with Austin origins) singer/songwriter Kat Edmonson. Kat was with us once before, and she blew me away back then. She was on the show with Dr. Jane Goodall, and I remember how captivated the audience was with her music. This time she was even better! One of my favorite things in music is the concept of space. To me that is the most musical thing you can throw at a song. Nothing. Just empty space. Kat’s sparse music is the perfect backdrop for her lyrical delivery. It gives you chills. Check out the video below for her song All The Way, and you’ll see what I mean.
IMG-1124_awardAlong with the great music this week, we have a very nice, in-person eChievement Award story focusing on a man who found a way to make a difference tackling Africa’s AIDS epidemic. Be sure to check out his organization and help out where you can.


Enjoy the show!


– Zack

The post An Established Legend and One Soon To Be appeared first on eTown.

Categories: E-Town

A Legend Among Us This Week

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 01:12

I remember walking in to the hall during setup for this week’s taping. It was just like any other taping day. Audio guys were running mic cables across the stage, cases were being rolled to the back of the room, and others from the production staff were making their best versions of Turkey and Hummus sandwiches down in the green room. There was nothing special about it, except for the magnificently crazy looking white piano on the stage. There are very few living folks out there that could sit behind a piano like that and pull it off. I could probably count them on one hand – Elton John, Dr. John, Stevie Wonder, Jerry Lee Lewis – and LEON RUSSELL. That’s when Leon emerged from behind the curtain, sat down at the piano and started warming up. It was a surreal musical moment for me, having just been listening to Leon’s “Carney” album on my turntable a few days earlier, and fascinating myself with the back cover photography of him painted from head to toe and hanging out in a trailer in the middle of nowhere.

DSC_4297Leon is a living legend, and best of all, he can still sing and play like a master. In this week’s episode, you’’ll hear him cover lots of musical territory from his career, and the razor sharp wit he delivers during his interview with Nick is not to be missed. Wait legendary producer does he refer to as a “tiny murderer”? You’ll have to tune in or podcast to find out.

DSC_4265Also with us is singer/songwriter Caitlin Rose who brings her tasteful band and strong songs to the eTown stage for her first visit. It was the first time I had heard her, and she was really great!

You won’t want to miss this week’s eChievement Award story either. Got an hour? Tune or podcast this week! Check out the videos below for more behind-the-scenes action.

– Zack

The post A Legend Among Us This Week appeared first on eTown.

Categories: E-Town

Classic In Their Own Right

Fri, 01/02/2015 - 02:37

Wow – another year come and gone! It’s hard to believe that eTown is quickly approaching the 25-year mark as an independently produced and distributed broadcast/podcast. Just in the time I’ve been there alone (5 years now) I have seen so many amazing things happen on the stage, and the building (eTown Hall) transform from a shell of an old church to a bustling media center with creativity happening literally on every floor and in every room on a daily basis. It truly is something to be incredibly grateful for, and the `fact is that each and every listener, station, donor and supporter of the program is responsible for keeping this great thing not only alive, but also growing and flourishing every year. For that (and I feel like I can speak for everyone on the eTown staff and production team) we say THANK YOU!

_MG_0019As the confetti settles on another New Years Eve, we are excited to bring you another great archival broadcast/podcast this week. Both of visiting musical guests have become classics in their own right, and have made tremendous impacts on the world of music through their contributions. First up, Band of Horses stop in to share stripped-down, acoustic-based versions of songs spanning their career. It was interesting to get to know more about the band’s history during their interview with Nick. Hearing them play familiar songs with a different slant – acoustic piano, acoustic guitars and stripped down drums – really hammered home just how great many of their songs are. The fact that they can be interpreted so many different ways and still hold water speaks volumes to the caliber of songwriting this group is capable of.

DSC_3250-EditAlso with us this week is legendary singer/songwriter Colin Hay. As someone who grew up in the 1980’s, I can’t say enough about the impact Colin Hay’s music had on my life, and many of those who came up during that time period. You probably remember Colin from the incredibly popular group Men At Work. They were absolutely gigantic during that time period, with hit after hit (songs like “Who Can It Be Now”) and some of the most creative music videos on MTV, back when MTV meant “Music Television” and focused on the art form 24/7 before becoming the cesspool of teenage pregnancy shows it has become today. I spent many hours listening to Men At Work’s Business As Usual record as a kid. I’d stair at the photos of the band inside the sleeve and wonder what their lives were like. Needless to say, it was a surreal moment greeting Colin outside of my video editing room when he arrived at eTown Hall for the taping. One of those full circle moments that make life magical.

In addition to all of the great music and conversation, we have an awesome eChievement Award story for you this week as well.

Happy New Year to you all – and be sure to tune in, podcast and check out the video portion of the show below.


– Zack

The post Classic In Their Own Right appeared first on eTown.

Categories: E-Town