MTPR

Beth Anne Austein

Host and Producer

Beth Anne Austein has been spinning tunes on the air (The Folk Show, Dancing With Tradition, Freeforms), as well as recording, editing and mixing audio for Montana Public Radio and Montana PBS, since the Clinton Administration. She’s jockeyed faders or "fixed it in post” for The Plant Detective; Listeners Bookstall; Fieldnotes; Musicians Spotlight; The Write Question; Storycorps; Selected Shorts; Bill Raoul’s music series; orchestral and chamber concerts; lecture series; news interviews; and outside producers’ programs about topics ranging from philosophy to ticks.

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Moira Smiley, Howard Levy
courtesy of Moira Smiley, Howard Levy

From intricate jazz solos to his "Concerto for Diatonic Harmonica and Orchestra,” he has stretched the harmonica beyond its ostensible limits. She sings “old modal folk songs” with Solas one week and performs with the indie band tUnE-yArDs the next. This week, "Musician's Spotlight" features encores with Howard Levy and Moira Smiley, two musicians for whom visionary boundary-pushing is just an ordinary Tuesday.

PD (U.S.F.D.A.)

If you're in the habit of reading labels,  you've noticed some recent style changes: bigger, bolder print, new serving sizes, updated nutritional "daily values," and more. That's because food manufacturers are complying with new labelling rules issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  'Food Guys' Jon Jackson and Greg Patent wonder if the new labels will lead Americans to drink less soda pop, or to ask why there's sugar in cans of beans and jars of pickles.

Courtesy of Winona LaDuke

"This is my idea of when America was great: when there were 8,000 varieties of corn ... when there were 50 million buffalo, the single largest migratory herd in the world ... in a territory with 250 different species of grass. Tremendous biodiversity: that is where life is, in biodiversity. Today, in the same landscape, you and I know that does not exist."

In February 2019, environmental justice activist, economist and writer Winona LaDuke delivered the annual Brennan Guth Memorial Lecture in Environmental Philosophy, as part of the University of Montana President’s Lecture Series at Missoula's Wilma Theater.

Rita E

Ah, the apricot. This overlooked fruit, long claimed by China, India and Armenia, probably made its way to Europeans via the Silk Road. Aromatic, pulpy and not too sweet - apricots have 7 g. of sugar and 2 g. of fiber per 100 g. of fruit -  it's great fresh or dried and makes wonderful jams, tarts, cakes, wine, leather - and chutney.

Complete this sentence: "Béla Fleck is to the banjo as ______ is to the _______." Louis Armstrong to the trumpet?  Jimi Hendrix to the guitar? Clara Rockmore to the theremin? Among North American banjo players, only Earl Scruggs is as legendary (to diehard fans of bluegrass) for pioneering new techniques on this instrument.  From his early tutelage with Tony Trischka and nine years with the New Grass Revival to ingenuity with Béla Fleck and the Flecktones and masters of other genres - as well as his duo with partner Abigail Washburn - Fleck's reinvention of the banjo goes beyond virtuosity. He's a banjo visionary.

Nick Littman, Missoula Writing Collaborative

In July 2019, Annie Garde ushered a flock of writers, ages 8-14, in KUFM's Studio B to read poems they'd written with the Missoula Writing Collaborative's "Words With Wings" summer camp. To prime the pump, teachers Dana Fitz Gale, Sheryl Noethe and Anna Zumbahlen dangled before their students art, verbal prompts and the occasional imaginary takeover of a university building.  Listen to "I'm From the Hayfields," "Ode to a Goat," "Non-Existant Pie," "You Are, You Are Not," "The Purple Bug," "The Best Night For Peach," "Ode to Chili" -- and 36 more.

Edgar Winter at Gulfstream Parkin 1998.
Flickr user, Carl Lender. CC-BY-2.0

The 1970s hits "Frankenstein" and "Free Ride" may have been your gateway to keyboardist, guitarist, saxophonist, percussionist, singer, songwriter and record producer Edgar Winter. But Winter is no two-hit wonder; his music is all over "Netherworld," "Air America," "Dazed and Confused," "My Cousin Vinny," "Wayne's World 2" and "The Simpsons." He's toured in Ringo Starr's band and played with his band on late-night tv talk shows. Winter even popped up in a Miller Lite commercial, which may be the real proof that his work isn't synonymous with just rock & roll, but American culture.

Flickr user, Speckled Jim. (CC BY-NC 2.0)

The Food Guys, Jon Jackson and Greg Patent, discuss the 2018 book, Pandora's Potatoes: The Worst GMOs, by Caius Rommens, former director of biotech research and development at the potato processing and marketing company, J.R. Simplot. Rommens, a genetic engineer, developed Simplot's genetically-modified potatoes, which were approved for commercial planting in the U.S. in 2014.

Moira Smiley
Michael Wilson

She sings “old modal folk songs” with Solas one week and performs with the indie band tUnE-yArDs the next. You might catch her with her own group as they re-imagine the piano miniatures of Bartók, or at a choir rehearsal of her original choral compositions.  Musical improviser and experimenter Moira Smiley returns to “Musician’s Spotlight” on the heels of her latest release, “Unzip The Horizon.” About it, she says: “The lonesome freedom and experience of years on tour were midwife to this music, all about seeing down to the origins of anxiety and up into the freedoms we ignore.”

Jorge Alverez. CC-BY-NC-2.0

John Floridis hosts an hour-long roundup of pop music bands who'll be playing the concert stages of Western, Central and Southwest Montana this summer.  In this Monday Music Special, John highlights just a few of the bands presented by The Red Ants Pants Festival, Logjam Presents, The Moonlight Festival, The Under the Big Sky Fest, The Bob Marshall Music Festival, and The Big Sky Brewing Series.

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