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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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With Levon’s Spirit Watching Over Us All – This Week’s Episode

Fri, 04/24/2015 - 02:46

The cool thing about eTown is that if you hang around in this solar-powered musical clubhouse for long enough, you’ll see some artists come back to visit a few times. They get paired with different folks, and musical magic happens. Every time, it feels like family, and that is such a cool thing to witness.

IMG-1092This week, we have two musical guests that have both been friends of the show for a while now, but have never appeared together until now. First up is Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Jorma Kaukonen. Jorma (as I’m sure you know) made his first impact in the musical world with the legendary psychedelic group Jefferson Airplane, and has not stopped since. He’s been a longtime friend of Nick and Helen’s and has visited eTown as both a solo artist, and with his partner in crime Jack Cassidy as Hot Tuna. For this week he brings legendary multi-instrumentalist Larry Campbell and his wife Teresa Williams to the musical table with him, and even has eTown host Nick Forster join the trio on upright bass for several songs throughout the show. Larry has played with everyone from Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson to one of my all-time favorite drummers and singers – Levon Helm. The Levon Helm connection is a thread that you’ll hear coursing throughout this week’s episode, and ending with appropriate finale collaboration that nods to the now passed on musical legend.

IMG-1065Singer/songwriter Joe Purdy also stops in for another visit to eTown. Joe has been with us a few times before, and I always love his fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants approach to the tapings he is a part of. The last time he was here, he worked up a song he’d never performed live before with our co-host Helen. It was a jaw-dropping moment in that episode. To make good on what now may very well be an eTown tradition, Joe and Helen worked up yet another new song during rehearsal to drop on the audience this time. The first time, it was a song called Wildflowers, and this time it is a song called Dandelions. There must be a theme here. (You can see the performance of Dandelions in the videos linked below.) Like Levon Helm, Joe hails from Arkansas originally, and Levon’s music has clearly has an influence on his own as a constantly developing artist. Joe has met Larry Campbell at one of Levon’s Midnight Rambles in Woodstock, New York just a year before Levon’s passing, so all of these intertwining’s gave the entire day a feeling of connectedness that we are excited to share with you in this week’s radio, podcast and video offerings.

IMG-1040Per usual, we have a great eChievement Award story as well. This time Ron Grace, from the organization Lost For A Reason, stops in to share his story about how a motorcycle malfunction in the middle of the desert inspired him to develop creative ways to help the Navajo Nation in that region of the country.

It’s a great show from head to tail this week, and we hope you all enjoy it!

– Zack

The post With Levon’s Spirit Watching Over Us All – This Week’s Episode appeared first on eTown.

Categories: E-Town

A Small (and Wonderful) World – Two Legends This Week

Sat, 04/18/2015 - 00:26

Every now and then, an unlikely pairing of artists at an eTown taping reminds me of just how magical things can go down during production. On the surface, pairing an 84-year-old composer, writer and poet with a singer/songwriter like Steve Earle might seem like an ambitious undertaking, and while it certainly was in some aspects, the two musical guests on this week’s show have more in common with each other, with our hosts Nick and Helen and with the ethos of eTown than you might imagine. Apparently Steve Earle had known David Amram from the time he was 13, and our host Nick Forster first met David back around 1980. Needless to say, David made a lasting impression on each of them back in the day, so to have the three of them re-unite on the eTown stage this week was pretty magical.

Steve for blogSteve Earle has been a longtime friend of eTown, and always makes a point to come back and share his latest musical creations with us. This week, Steve dives into a blues record he just finished recording, and enlists Nick and Helen and the eTones to back him up on several numbers. Per usual, Steve’s music sounds amazing, and he always has amazing insights and stories to share in the interview portion. You can see the full (unedited) interview with Nick Forster in the video links below.

IMG-1081I didn’t know a ton about David Amram until the weeks leading up to the taping, and I had clearly been missing out. In the interview Nick mentions that David’s openness as a player and his gift at jamming with anyone under any circumstance was an inspiration to Nick as he embarked on his own career as a professional musician etc. David is a true soul with incredible wisdom that can be taking from his philosophy on music, and applied to just about any area in life. I don’t have enough fingers on my hands to count the revelations I gained from talking with him in the studio after the show. Rather than type them all hear, I’d invite you to also watch his interview with Nick, as well as some of the behind-the-scenes conversation we included in his musical performance videos this week.

Award for blogAlong with Steve and David, we have a great eChievement Award story focusing on a local Boulder woman who has developed a way to provide food and water to villages all over Mali.

It’s an episode full of inspiring music and stories this week. Be sure to check it out via radio, podcast or our videos.

– Zack


The post A Small (and Wonderful) World – Two Legends This Week appeared first on eTown.

Categories: E-Town

Taking a Step Back, While Looking Down From Above

Fri, 04/10/2015 - 03:10

It’s been a while since eTown has hit the road for a taping far away from our solar-powered musical clubhouse – eTown Hall. In some ways we’ve grown accustomed over the last couple of years to having everything right where we need it. It’s pretty cool to have a facility that will afford the production staff full control over every tiny aspect that goes into an eTown taping. So why would we pack up a bunch of gear and do a taping somewhere else? CALIFORNIA!

Blog photo - ZiggyFor this week’s broadcast/podcast, eTown’s crack commando crew packed up a few guitars, some audio gear, and several cameras and hopped a plane to California for a special eTown ‘On The Road’ taping in Anaheim, as part of the Natural Products Expo West conference. Our musical guests this week are Ziggy Marley, along with Aimee Mann and Ted Leo’s new musical project – The Both. We also have a couple of great interview guests on board to discuss a very important issue in today’s food economy – labeling GMO’s in our food. We’ve prepared a 10-minute mini-documentary about the trip that offers a behind-the-scenes look at the Natural Products Expo, our relationship with the conference, and what went into creating this week’s episode. We hope you will take a few minutes to watch it below, and let us know what you think. This week’s show is equal parts great music, and important conversation. How do you feel about your right to know what is in your food? To me, it seems like a no brainer.

IMG_1930While we stayed just over the fence from Disney, I never got a real solid peak into the “small world” of Disneyland. However, on the plane out to California, I was amazed at how clear the sky was between Denver and Los Angeles. Looking out the window of the plane, I had a clear, bird’s eye view of all of the landscape between here and there. It is in moments like this that I find myself thinking just how small and precious our little world is. We really all are in this thing together, whether we like that fact or not. With so many distractions happening around us, and non-stop digital communication, it is so easy to get distracted from the things that matter.

Blog photo - the bothWe have some serious obstacles to tackle as a civilization. California’s water problems are scary to think about. The wrath that GMOs are taking on our water tables and soil through the use of Roundup is no joke. Bringing these things up is not meant to depress you. It is meant to get us all talking about what really is important. It makes me proud to be able to work for a show that tries to do that on a weekly basis. Music brings people together, and once we are all together, why not talk about ways we can make the world a better place to live? Hopefully eTown brings you some glimmer of hope on a weekly basis. We always try to aim in that direction.

Thanks for listening. Tune in, podcast, stream, and be sure to check the mini-documentary below.

– Zack


The post Taking a Step Back, While Looking Down From Above appeared first on eTown.

Categories: E-Town

Even More Thoughts on Spring . . Plus, this week’s show with Paul Thorn & Ruthie Foster

Tue, 03/31/2015 - 20:00

IMG_1967Hi all! Our spring themed blogs continue (third one in a row now . . what does this tell us? We’ve  definitely collectively got seasonal change on the brain here in eTown).

Check out this photo I took last week while out for a walk around the neighborhood. Wild . . it was still March! As I write this, it’s currently in the 70’s, but snow is on the way in a few days. Yup. That’s springtime in the Rockies. We tend to have what you might call ‘bipolar weather’ here, with lots of temperature swings (it drives us all crazy; most of us are actually craving summer at this point). And this week is no different. We’ll be experiencing cold again soon unfortunately. However, the good news is this week’s eTown broadcast’s line up is HOT.

IMG-1080One of our favorite singer/songwriters, Paul Thorn is back with us, bringing his compelling mix of Americana, country, blues and Southern rock. Paul is an uber-smart, down-to-earth guy with an interesting and colorful past (former professional boxer, son of a preacher and nephew of a pimp . . those are all just a part of his rather extensive bio). And he is, in a word, FUNNY. The conversation alone with Nick is way worth tuning in for.

Also with us: Gifted Grammy Award winning, soulful blues singer and songwriter Ruthie Foster. Ruthie’s been with us for several shows now, and each time just gets better. She’ll rock the house.

Ruthie for blogThe award story this week is pretty amazing, too, about a husband-and-wife duo providing much needed clean water to people in Haiti, impacting the lives of countless people.

So, unlike the weather here in eTown, it’s a solid, consistent sizzler of a show this week. I hope you’ll tune in.

– Helen


The post Even More Thoughts on Spring . . Plus, this week’s show with Paul Thorn & Ruthie Foster appeared first on eTown.

Categories: E-Town