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Music

Fall 2011

L.A. Rendezvous

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Charles Argersinger, 2010

I have long admired Dr. Argersinger’s work so I was eager to hear his new CD, L.A. Rendezvous. Argersinger (a retired WSU music professor) is a consummate composer of contemporary art music and a superb jazz arranger and composer, so it was no surprise that the album exhibits a high level of craftsmanship. What did surprise me is the variety of instrumental and vocal selections featured on the album.

The CD consists of … » More …

Spring 2011

Video: Finding the right note

“The heartbeat is the basis of rhythm.”

For 40 years, Washington State University alumnus John Elwood has followed that beat to create music and instruments.

Making something from nothing, to share with others, is his delight, he said. He carves wood into a variety of instruments. He also makes “canjos” – a take-off of a banjo made from string, a solid wood neck and a can. The can from Cougar Gold – a cheese made at the WSU Pullman creamery – is a local favorite

To learn more about Elwood, his music and the canjo, watch the video.

Summer 2011

Hard Water

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Massy Ferguson
Spark & Shine Records, 2010

Insistently local, yet tapping into a national legacy of country and blues rock, Massy Ferguson’s second album Hard Water travels the back roads of Washington and treacherous paths of relationships with guitar, drum, and organ-driven songs.

Dave Goedde ’92, Adam Monda ’94, and Jason “J” Kardong ’94 team up with Ethan Anderson and Tony Mann to play the Seattle-based band’s country-tinged rock reminiscent of The Jayhawks, Bruce Springsteen, … » More …

Spring 2011

Video: Canjo – John Elwood plays the Cougar fight song, “Shortnin’ Bread,” and his dulcimer

John Elwood, a maker of fine musical instruments and a 2001 graduate of Washington State University, crafts banjos from WSU cheese cans (like the iconic Cougar Gold).

Watch John play his “canjo” below and read more about his work in the spring 2011 issue.

Cougar fight song played on the canjo.

“Shortnin’ bread” played on the canjo (listen for the lyrical twist).

In addition to canjos, John plays folk music and creates whimsical and beautiful instruments like the goblin dulcimer … » More …

Spring 2011

Friends of the Old Mill

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Cody Beebe and the Crooks
Friends of the Old Mill, 2010

This new roots-rock album has compelling lyrics, musical variety, and an overall upbeat feel. Cody Beebe and the Crooks (most of whom are WSU alumni) offer up twelve tracks with titles such as “Nine to Chain,” “Change of Pace,” and “Hurricane,” a pleasing assortment of rock/jazz/funk songs that contrast nicely in their use of instruments and varying tempos. Guitar is prevalent throughout, but … » More …

Winter 2010

Vol. XIII: "White Bed"

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White Bed
Super XX Man, 2010

Mining Neil Young’s “Harvest,” Eels’ “Electroshock Blues,” and a wealth of indie rockers, Super XX Man creates an alloy of fine instrumentation and catchy pop melodies to memorialize lead singer Scott Garred’s father on “White Bed.”

Garred ’95 sings lead vocals and plays several instruments, with drummer Adam Mack and bassist Daren Claymon, on deeply personal songs recounting Garred’s dad’s life and eventual battle with cancer. Reflecting on … » More …

Fall 2010

Live & Kickin’

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The Wanderers
Live & Kickin’, 2010

Bill Murlin ‘63 and Carl Allen ’60 created The Wanderers soon after they met in September, 1959, on the cusp of the Great Folk Scare of the 1960s. With Al Hansen on bass, the singer-guitarists performed regularly around Pullman for three years. Murlin and Allen continued after graduation with warm, unadorned harmonies and an unflinching folk repertoire of tunes by the Kingston Trio, Bill Staines, Pete Seeger, and … » More …

Fall 2010

Jump Into Life

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Eclectic Approach
Jump into Life, 2008

Eclectic Approach, a funk-rock Seattle band that includes Jowed Hadeed ’06, Ryan Jander ‘06 and Tony Poston ’07, released its third studio album, “Jump Into Life,” in June.

Feel-good messages dominate the album. One track, “Change,” encourages love over drama, while another track pushes focusing on the ups rather than the downs, smiles over frowns. Eclectic Approach works hard but plays harder. Themes of living life more fully and … » More …

Spring 2010

Libera

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Libera, Marco Bittelli ’98 MS, ’01 PhD
Pacific Coast Jazz, 2009

Some things you expect to find on the Palouse: tractors, football fans, a smattering of laboratories probing the molecular basis of life and the reaches of space. The rural alchemy of agriculture and academia would seem less likely to nurture the great urban art form of jazz, but somehow it does. Several nights a week, you can wander into a club like Rico’s and … » More …

Winter 2009

Mountains On Our Backs

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Mountains On Our Backs
Carcrashlander (Cory Gray, Brian Wright ’02, Alexis Gideon, Cliff Hayes, and Jessica Wright ’02)
Jealous Butcher Records, 2008

Nestled in the generally indescribable genre of indie music, Carcrashlander challenges the listener by continuing to venture into experimental music. In their most recent album, Mountains On Our Backs, the group combines basal vocals and keyboards with wildly discordant guitar riffs and deep percussion.

The band began as a project by vocalist … » More …