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Music

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 …

Spring 2009

One More Mile

What caught my attention from the first time I heard album was the silky-smooth blending of tonality this jazz quartet presents. The interplay between instruments (soprano sax, piano, bass, and drums) is balanced in such a way that one initially forgets there are four individual voices, and yet, upon further analysis, the skillfulness of each performer becomes apparent.

The opening tune, Sweet and Lovely, hints at modal journeys, while other selections such as Birks Works have what might be described as smoky and sultry tones. The more up-tempo Punt, and to a lesser degree E.J., contain more driven tempos with a nice bounce that allow … » More …

Winter 2008

When the Circus Leaves Town

Seattle-raised Brooke Ludwick spent time as a creative director and artist in the advertising field before recently returning to her first love, songwriting and performing. With her talents and understanding of the music business, she has created some well-crafted, thoughtful, and very listenable tunes (she shares composing credits with several other songwriters).

This album fits snugly into the genre of the contemporary country sound, blending familiar lyrical motifs with the Nashville/soft rock mix that currently predominates in this market (the iTunes store placed Ludwick in the company of Carrie Underwood, Emmylou Harris, Taylor Swift, and Jewel).

There are some very nice grooves to be had … » More …

Winter 2002

Sonata Concertante for Cello and Piano and other works

In the course of his 26 years at Washington State University, Lothar Kreck, who retired in 1997, served as director of Hotel and Restaurant Administration (1971-79) and was the program’s first Ivar B. Haglund Distinguished Professor. He also pursued an avocation as a composer and performer, playing viola in orchestras in the U.S. and Europe. Sonata Concertante for Cello and Piano and other works presents seven of his compositions.

Although he began writing music in 1953, the earliest piece on this CD dates from 1985. The disc includes performances by WSU piano faculty Susan Chan, organist and pianist David Hatt, and the Maui … » More …