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Music

Winter 2012

A show with Heart

The funky Second Ending logo rolls across the screen, then fades to the KWSU TV studio where a young band takes the stage for a concert in February 1976. After an energetic instrumental prelude, the lead singer steps to the microphone and says, “Welcome in, everybody. This is Heart here and this is gonna be a nice evening.”

With that introduction to a packed studio audience of Washington State University students and others, Ann and Nancy Wilson and the other members of Heart launch into songs from their soon-to-be-released Dreamboat Annie, the album that brought the band international fame.

Behind camera two, right up next … » More …

Chance (Chad) McKinney ’94, ’96
Winter 2011

Chance McKinney ’94, ’96—Country music working man

It’s vacation season, mid-August. A light breeze off Lake Chelan wafts over Manson, where Chance McKinney and his band Crosswire prepare to open for country music star Dierks Bentley at the Mill Bay Casino.

For McKinney ’94, ’96—an all-American javelin thrower at Washington State University, former high school math teacher, songwriter, and country music artist—it’s a working day. “We don’t have a full team like these artists that are coming out of Nashville. It’s running a small business,” he says.

McKinney wears a baseball cap, t-shirt and jeans, and his rich voice and country-boy good looks have an edge of exhaustion from days, weeks, … » More …

Winter 2011

Montaña y Caballo

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Yarn Owl, Montaña Y Caballo, 2011

Tyler Armour ’10, Tim Meinig ’10, Ted Powers ’09, and Javier Suarez ’10

 

For fans of earthy, Northwest indie-folk in the vein of Seattle’s Band of Horses and Fleet Foxes, Pullman’s own Yarn Owl delivers a lush and satisfying debut. Montaña Y Caballo, the band’s first full-length album, was recorded in a barn just south of Moscow, Idaho, and every song evokes the varied scenery of the Pacific Northwest. The … » More …

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

Canjo

You’ve enjoyed the cheese, but what do you do with a Cougar Gold can?

John Elwood ’01 builds fine stringed instruments—dulcimers, mandolins, banjos, harpsichords— so using the iconic tin Cougar Gold can to craft a banjo seemed a logical choice. The Palouse-area resident created a canjo, a fretless, tunable instrument for all ages.

“These are three-string, robust instruments, have the scale dimensions of a violin, and are inexplicably pleasant to the ear,” says Elwood. “I blame it on the excellence of the cheese.”

His affection for WSU’s signature cheddar developed early as he helped his father, Lewis Elwood ’65, clean Troy Hall, the former … » More …