Joe West and the Sinners was one of many alt-country bands in Austin, Texas in the late 90s. It was more offbeat than most, though, with songs about dream tractors, chasing UFOs in Roswell, and NPR-listening trailer park liberals. The band's 1998 album, Jamie Was a Boozer, was acclaimed by Austin critics as a masterpiece and one of the best CDs of the year.

Paul Schipper

Nathan Edwards says his upcoming album, Far Away from Here, is the culmination of several years of writing and recording. The songs center around themes of time and travel. He says they’re a means of sharing his struggles with the existential search for meaning and the answers to why we’re here. Edwards says creating this album says was a time of intense growth, both as a songwriter, recording engineer, and as a person.

BHSU Math Professor Talks Music

Apr 7, 2015
Dan May

Black Hills State University Math Professor Dr. Dan May is talking music this week. He says he wants to give students what they say they’re interested in – rock music. Actually, the rise and fall of rock music.

Dr. Dan May tracks the history of independent bands and labels throughout the 1980’s in is talk “Love Me I’m Rich: The Rise and Fall of American Alternative Music”.

May says the Seattle-based, grunge-band Nirvana wasn’t part of the rise – it was the rise of American alternative music.

Dakota Midday: Union Grove Pickers Release New CD

Mar 26, 2015
Union Grove Pickers

According to Josh Rieck, it's difficult to put the Union Grover Picker's music into any category, but Americana seems to fit best. The Sioux Falls acoustic band is out with a new CD, Scattered and Sown. The five members of the group recorded the album in January and February. They're performing music from Scattered and Sown at a CD release show Saturday at 7 pm at the Sioux Falls Orpheum Theater. Union Grover Pickers members Josh Rieck and Travis Jamison joined Dakota Midday with some background on the band and the new CD.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Leaders of Sioux Falls’ events center want to help ticket buyers understand why shows sell out so quickly, and some concert-goers want officials to do more. The general manager of the Denny Sanford Premier Center says special sponsors receive perks, but they’re the same that anyone who signs up for the newsletter also gets, and everyone is capped at the number of tickets they can buy. The reassurance that leaders are trying to keep fraud out of the system still leaves thousands without tickets.

Kyshona Armstrong

Before committing herself to music full-time six years ago, singer/songwriter Kyshona Armstrong was as a musical therapist working with infants, autistic, inmates and the elderly. Today she describes herself as a "rogue musical therapist" who brings the healing power of music to audiences around the country.

Black Hills Symphony Orchestra Turns 80

Dec 24, 2014
Courtesy Black Hills Symphony Orchestra

It’s Christmas Eve. Time for last-minute shopping, final gift-wrapping and 11th-hour preparations for celebrations that lie ahead. Through it all, we hear music – at home, at work, in shopping malls and even on the streets. And though popular standards by crooners from Frank Sinatra to Harry Connick may fill the air, traditional songs can also be heard – frequently played by symphony orchestras.

Grinkie Girl Photography/Christie Williams

Davina and the Vagadbonds' music doesn't fit in any easy category. It's a jumpin' mix of both retro and modern sounds rooted in rollicking piano and plucky horns. There’s some Fats Waller swing, a little New Orleans rhythm and blues, some Aretha Franklin soul and even a smattering of girl group pop.

Danielle Schnebelen

Over the past dozen years Trampled Under Foot has brought Kansas City blues to audiences around the world. The group was originally formed as a family band featuring bassist and singer Danielle Schnebelen and her brothers Nick and Kris. The band has won more than a dozen blues awards and in 2013 released the album Badlands which reached the top spot on the Billboard blues chart.

John Pennington

When John Pennington joined Augustana College's music department in 2008, he brought with him an American gamelan copied from one made by renowned composer Lou Harrison. It includes instruments created from PVC pipes and is based on the traditional Indonesian gamelans.

Augustana's American gamelan is featured in the percussion ensemble's fall concert this evening at the Chapel of Reconciliation on the college's Sioux Falls campus. Later this week the ensemble travels to Indianapolis, Indiana for the Percussive Arts Societies International Convention.

SHEL is a quartet of sisters from Fort Collins, Colorado: Sarah, Hannah, Eva and Liza Holbrook. They were all born within five years of each other and raised and home-schooled by a professional songwriter father and an artist mother. They’ve been performing together for around a dozen years.

Sittin' Down With Kenny Putnam

Oct 7, 2014
Courtesy Kenny Putnam

 An intimate discussion with local legend and South Dakota Country Music Hall of Fame fiddler Kenny Putnam. Join us as Kenny talks about his initial desire to play the cello, his early years in school orchestras, touring with the Red Willow Band, being part of “country-western guitarist-extraordinaire” Roy Clark’s world-renowned band and his return to South Dakota from a 15-year stint on the road – where Kenny now operates his own design and photo restoration business; when he’s not traveling somewhere across the state to play the fiddle.


Paulo Padilha comes from Sao Paulo, one of the biggest cities in the world. His music features the infectious, upbeat rhythms of Brazil with lyrics from the daily life of a musician living in a chaotic, Latin American metropolis.

This week the singer, guitarist and composer is in Sisseton as a part of a tour through the Arts Midwest World Fest program. He and his band are working with students and playing with local musicians. The visit culminates with a Saturday evening performance at the Sisseton Performing Arts Center.

Mullet River Boys

The music of the Mullet River Boys harkens back to the fiddle and jug bands of the 1920s. The Minnesota-based band is led by Jack Norton who plays banjo, ukulele, guitar, trumpet and harmonica. The Mullet River Boys also mix in washtub bass, washboards, kazoos, slide whistles, tuned bicycle horns and more - all with the goal of corrupting audiences with pleasure.

On October 17, 1974, Willie Nelson performed at the KLRN television studios on the University of Texas campus for the inaugural Austin City Limits. Over the course of four decades and hundreds of episodes, the program has featured a wide variety of artists from legends like Ray Charles and Chet Atkins to contemporary bands such as Arcade Fire and the Decemberists.

Coughlin Campanile Stands Tall With Tradition

Sep 11, 2014
submitted by Chuck Cecil

Bells that ring loud and proud can be heard all across the SDSU campus.  The music comes from a tall, slim tower made of brick and stone. On top is a light so bright it can be seen from miles away at night. 


The Coughlin Campanile is the face of SDSU. Its logo is on student IDs, envelopes, the school website, even tuition bills.

“A Camp-an-eel or Camp-in-eel-ie, whichever you want to call it,” says SDSU graduate Chuck Cecil.

Courtesy Kenny Putnam

It’s always nice for a musician to receive recognition for their work, whether by applause, a standing ovation or an award. Reaching the point where your ability is so acclaimed you’re chosen to be in a Hall of Fame, however, is a rare honor indeed. But as we discover, the induction of one musician into the South Dakota Country Music Hall of Fame came as no surprise to someone who worked with the man from the U.S. to Moscow. 

The White Wall Sessions

Since its television debut in 2013, the White Wall Sessions has provided a unique showcase for local, regional and national musicians. The show's producers capture performances in a documentary style, creating an intimate feel for viewers. Their goal is to preserve a musical moment in time.

Robert Sherman

In the summer of 1963, radio stations across the country were playing Allan Sherman's novelty song about a kid's miserable experience at camp, “Hello Muddah, Hello Fuddah.” The song came from Sherman's album My Son, the Nut which was the last comedy album to hit the top of the charts before "Weird Al" Yankovic's Mandatory Fun hit number one this summer.

Janine Stange

Two years ago Janine Stange set out on a mission to perform "The Star Spangled Banner" in every state. The Long Island native known as the National Anthem Girl is now in the home stretch with just six states left to go.

On Thursday she'll cross South Dakota off the map when she sings at the American Legion Division II Central Plain Regional Baseball Tournament in Milbank. As she has at other events, Stange will also invite people to sign thank you messages for military members and veterans.

Carol Robertson

From the mid-1970's through the early 80's, the Red Willow Band was one of the most popular groups in South Dakota. They traveled the state and region with their modern style of country swing. The original members are reuniting for performances on Friday and Saturday at the Sioux River Folk Festival at Newton Hills State Park.

Master Trombonist Inspired by Louis Armstrong

Jul 17, 2014

Wycliffe Gordon is one of today’s finest trombonists . He has an expressive approach to the instrument involving a wide variety of sounds and effects. In the latest issue of DownBeat magazine, critics named him Best Trombone for the third consecutive year. But he also plays trumpet, tuba and other instruments and sings. And he’s also a bandleader, composer and educator.

The Badger Sett Band

Guitarist and singer Pegie Douglas says the poetry of Badger Clark fits naturally to music. She's the leader of the Badger Sett Band which wants to keep the poetry of Clark alive.

USAF Acedemy Band

Along with colorful fireworks, the Fourth of July is also celebrated with music. Audiences in the Black Hills have the opportunity to hear a variety of sounds with concerts by performing units from the United States Air Force Academy Band.

New CD From Haley Bonar

May 28, 2014

South Dakota native Haley Bonar released her new CD, "Last War," on May 20.  Stereogum premiered "Kill the Fun" from the album and said, "It's a fervent yet ornate folk-pop tune whose title belies its upbeat disposition."  NPR said, "She's a remarkable performer, with a terrific ear for details and a gift for masking melancholy observations with hooks that stick."  Bonar is currently on tour and hopes to play her new music for fans in South Dakota later this year.

Hamilton Loomis

May 16, 2014

Born and raised in Galveston, Texas, Hamilton Loomis was surrounded by his parents' rock, blues and soul music.  He honed his multi-instrumental talent on the drums, piano, guitar and harmonica.  A protege of Bo Diddley, Loomis met the icon backstage at the age of 16 during a show in Houston.  Diddley became a friend, mentor and collaborator.  Loomis also points to mentors like Joe "Guitar" Hughes, Johnny "Clyde" Copeland, Gatemouth Brown and Arthur Collins when discussing his musical growth and the inspiration for his latest CD, "Give It Back."

Emerging Artists Series

May 9, 2014

The Emerging Artists Series celebrates the talents of different artists around South Dakota and provides a nurturing place for them to be seen, heard, and to grow. On November 15th, 2013, the series featured Under the Bus and Chris Cady and on June 22nd, 2013, the 605 Summer Classic featured El Dub.

Under the Bus

New CD From Hank Harris

Apr 29, 2014

Hank Harris is in concert Saturday evening at the Matthews Opera House in Spearfish to celebrate his latest CD, "Peace."  Harris has encompassed and assimilated a wide range of musical genres into his own distinct style.  His telling of the story behind each song creates a relaxed atmosphere - honest, informal, genuine and vulnerable.  "As a songwriter, I've been chasing down songs for thirty-odd years.  The things we walk by and miss every day, I make that my business," said Harris.  Many brilliant musicians and friends from Nashville to Sioux Falls to Van Nuys to Redwood City collaborated

Swinging With Doc Severinsen

Apr 18, 2014
Photo by Jim Kent

For the millions of viewers who watched The Tonight Show from the 1960s into the 1990s, the name “Doc Severinsen” was synonymous with that of Johnny Carson.

We caught up with the legendary trumpeter during his recent Rapid City concert to talk about the old days and the new – and what keeps the 86-year old musician going.

Independent Lens: Muscle Shoals

Apr 17, 2014

Muscle Shoals, Alabama is the unlikely breeding ground for some of America's most creative and defiant music.  At its heart is Rick Hall who founded FAME Studios.  Overcoming crushing poverty and tragedy, Hall brought black and white together in a cauldron of racial hostility to create music for generations.  Filmmaker Greg "Freddy" Camalier directed "Muscle Shoals," which airs Monday night at 8:00 p.m.