A CAST OF MILLIONS: Imagine it: People all over the greatest nation on earth hearing bands from the Baked Pueblo! Even better, hearing Tucson artists by way of KXCI community radio's concert this Friday!
The station will record the show at the Southwest Center for Music, 2175 N. Sixth Ave., edit the tape and broadcast it by satellite to radio stations across the country in November or December.
The program, called Southwest Centre Stage, will be offered to radio stations via the National Public Radio satellite system.
"For stations that don't have the satellite downlink, it will be available on CD," says KXCI's director of public relations and development, Stephanie Freez. "When we market this (program), we'll do so through trade magazines and the Internet. We'll let the non-commercial stations know it's available on CD in case they don't have a satellite downlink--just like KXCI."
KXCI will purchase access to a satellite from a Phoenix radio station.
Freez and other KXCI staff folks and a consultant chose four groups to give the country a well-rounded taste of Tucson. The group kicking off the show at 8 p.m. is--Waaaaal!--The Sam Taylor Blues Band featuring Heather Hardy. You can bet the house that Sam and band will be ready to rock with a potential audience of millions (the emphasis is on potential) down the road.
They're followed by the six multi-instrumentalist members of Bwiya-Toli, a group specializing in varieties of Latin American music. Jacobao Ramirez plays quena, zampona, guitar and charango; Maria Rebeca Cartes plays charango, guitar and cuatro; Antonio Pazos also plays guitar, charango, quena and zampona; Marco Antonio Hernandez is on quena, zampona, guitar and charango; Ramon Carlos Bannister plays zampona and adds percussion and Kathleen O'Brien plays bombo, zampona and percussive instruments. All of them sing as well.
Next up is Out Of The Blue, a fine bluegrass band. They're followed by Stefan George and Songtower, who will play a number of songs from their new Cactus and Concrete album on Blue Bikku Records (owned by Tom Poley of Out Of The Blue).
Although the album doesn't really contain any potential Songtower hits that will get heavy rotation play on commercial stations, George is an extraordinary songwriter who should, if justice exists in the music world, get one of these tunes covered by someone in the spotlight. Someone like, say, Eric Clapton could easily make "You Can't Lose" into a platinum mine for himself and George. The problem is getting Eric to hear the song and then record it.
George has already worked out the tasty restrained blues guitar bits for him and it has that sweet melancholy that Clapton loves so much.
Another song that could be a hit for someone--I don't know who--is the folksy, blues pop of "Evening Comes."
Maybe somebody in the bizarre music biz will hear the Southwest Centre Stage broadcast and the three-watt bulb will flicker over his/her head and give George or one of the other talented artists on the bill a call.
If it doesn't happen with these four groups, it may happen to future artists featured in this potential Tucson showcase series.
"This is like our test pilot," Freez says. "I sure hope it's the first of many. Joe Vincenza, our program director, and I are going to be writing a grant to the CPB (Corporation for Public Broadcasting) to see if we can get CPB funding at least for the next few years. I'd like to see at least six a year happen.
She says part of what the station needs for the series to continue is a good turnout this Friday, August 18. A good-sized crowd will help offset the costs of producing the concert, CD (which they currently don't plan to offer for sale) and satellite broadcast. Most of the costs of actually producing the program come from a CPB National Programming and Production Acquisition Grant, but concert expenses have to be covered by KXCI.
Right now the KXCI folks estimate about 30 stations will pick up the broadcast--either from the satellite or by playing the CD at another time. So, if a station in New York and one in L.A. gets involved the audience is potentially in the millions. Realistically, that many people won't hear it, but it's a pleasant thought.
Admission is $5, $3 for KXCI members.
DYLAN DRUMS UP GINGER: Good ol' Bob, he's a friend indeed. He canceled a rumored concert here a few months ago to make an appearance on MTV (that was the hearsay anyway), but he's helping out Tucson's Ginger to make up for it. Sorta.
Dylan's drummer, Winston Watson, a Tucson resident when he isn't touring the globe with Bob, is sitting in with Ginger on Friday, August 18. He's also recording a couple of songs with the band during studio time for a demo tape/potential album at Wavelab Studios.
"We had a chance to use Winston for these recordings and everything came to life and now we're considering permanent personnel changes," lead singer and guitarist Dave Slutes says.
It's possible that Watson will replace drummer Derrick David, but it isn't something to bet your Bob Dylan collection on.
"He has other obligations," Slutes says, "But he'd like to have a band in his hometown."
Ginger plays Club Congress on Friday with Slim and Autumn Teen Sound.
LAST NOTES: Sun 60 plays The Rock, 136 N. Park Ave., on Sunday, August 20. Lowdown opens the concert. Tickets are $5.
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