Real-Phonic Radio Hour: introducing a new monthly audio and web program

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The Twin Cities is a great place for music. Twin Citizens know that well enough--we are home, after all, to a host of influential music venues, and our beloved indie radio station 89.3 the Current. You'd be hard-pressed to find a night when there wasn't something great happening, either within the infamous walls of First Avenue or in the dingy corner of some dive bar with a step-up stage; we wouldn't have it any other way. But for all that, there's always more happening; this fiercely creative town continually sprouts up new ideas and projects, some which fly far under the radar of their potential audience.

The Real-Phonic Radio Hour is one such new project, a collaborative effort from Twin Cities folk music greats Molly Maher, Erik Koskinen, Paul Bergen, JT Bates, and Frankie Lee. It's a live hour of American roots music and conversations on poetry, music, the arts, and "a world gone mad", broadcast every month via audio and web from the historic James J. Hill Library in St. Paul. It's a throwback sort of idea, based on the old style radio programs your grandparents (or great-grandparents) grew up on, except this one also features a live audience in a beautiful setting.

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This effort was first brought to my attention a few weeks ago when Molly Maher spoke to me about her CD release at the Cedar and her hopes for the new concept show.

"It's one of our favorite things at Nye's to have people come sit with us," said Maher, referring to her position at Nye's as the Wednesday night house band. "The Real-Phonic thing is an extension of that, and it allows us to do so much more. We'll have the house band, which is us, basically, and discussions with musicians that we can bring in.

This Thursday marks the debut of the show, and for the inaugural first live hour, the Real-Phonic team welcomes Iowa blues guitar legend Bo Ramsey. Ramsey has played with Greg Brown, Lucinda Williams, and, most recently, Pieta Brown; he has the kind of musical talent that seems too natural to be called "skill". It is a colossal honor to have the opportunity to listen to Ramsey play solo, and the Real-Phonic Radio Hour is making that possible. It's sure to be just one step forward in a very exciting direction.

The Real-Phonic Radio Hour is far from exclusive, however--this reaches beyond music, insists Maher. Whether you're a roots music fan, a follower of the Twin Cities folk scene, or just an appreciator of music that defies the times, this new program promises a sort of world-expansion for all audiences.

"We'll also be bringing in aspect of St. Paul that we love--a Norwegian fiddle player, for example," said Maher excitedly. "Then someone will be doing spoken word, and it'll happen in a place that's not celebrated enough."

Tickets for this Thursday, November 10, at the James J. Hill are available here on eTix for $22.18. Doors are at 7 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m. Also featuring special guest Ashleigh Still.


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