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Englert's centennial culminates with the Iowa City Song Project

Over 30 musicians and bands participated

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Gazette Staff/SourceMedia  ::   UPDATED: 21 January 2014 | 3:41 pm   ::  

[imagebrowser id=293]   IOWA CITY - The Englert’s month-long centennial celebration is nearing its end, but not before putting some homemade icing on the birthday cake. This weekend brings three completely different release concerts for the Iowa City Song Project, which marks the venue’s milestone in long-lasting, historic style. Sparkling concerts by national artists was part of the centennial plan, but so was shining a spotlight on the vast talent pool swirling at home. “We wanted to do things that really spoke to what’s going on in our region,” says Andre Perry, 35, of Iowa City, the Englert’s executive director. So for the first time in its 100-year history, the Englert Theatre commissioned a work. “We commissioned 31 musicians to write a song loosely or closely inspired by Iowa City,” Perry says. “Not all of the musicians are from Iowa City, but that was a way of really celebrating, at least from the musical side of things, our area, our region here.” Many of the artists are mainstays on the local scene or got their start here before spinning into the national realm, and most of the songs were recorded locally. The stellar lineup includes Greg Brown, Pieta Brown, Bo Ramsey, William Elliott Whitmore, Rene Hell, Caroline Smith, The Poison Control Center and Wet Hair. Rhythms range from roots-rock to avant-garde. The collection of new music will be released officially Tuesday (11/6) by Maximum Ames Records at Maximumamesrecords.com. Quick Take:

  • This past year The Englert Theatre commissioned 31 musicians and bands to participate in the Iowa City Song Project. The goal was to engage musicians in the writing and recording of a compilation album consisting of songs inspired by experiences or impressions of Iowa City. The resulting album serves as an artistic document of this small but vibrant town in Southeastern Iowa. The album features a diverse collection of artists tapping into sounds that range from roots-rock traditions to the experimental and avant-garde.
Record Release Shows
  • Record Release Show at the Englert: Friday, November 2, 2012 at 7:00pm Featuring performances by: Pieta Brown & The Sawdust Collective, Caroline Smith & the Goodnight Sleeps, Brooks Strause & the Gory Details, Christopher the Conquered, & Chasing Shade. Tickets: $12 advance / $15 day of show
  • Record Release Show at the Mill: Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 8:00pm featuring performances by: We Shave, Emperors Club, Skye Carrasco, Lwa, & Tallgrass Tickets: $8 advance / $10 day of show
  • Record Release Brunch at Motley Cow Cafe: Saturday, November 3, 2012 from 11am-2pm featuring performances by: The Feralings & Sam Knutson / Milk & Eggs
Perry says the centennial song project is all part of striking a balance between showcasing local entertainment and events by national and international artists “coming to Iowa to do a performance that might be rare.” Alloy Orchestra’s musical homage to the silent horror film “Nosferatu” got the party jumping Oct. 11, followed by the cutting-edge Kronos Quartet on Oct. 18, singer Rosanne Cash on Oct. 19 and a literary event Oct. 24 featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning author Marilynne Robinson from the University of Iowa and much-lauded non-fiction writer Eula Biss, who earned her MFA from the UI. The Klezmatics will blow out the candles on Nov. 8, when the Grammy-winning superstars of the klezmer world bring their blend of Eastern European Jewish tradition with global issues to the Englert stage for an 8 p.m. show. The signature centennial events will come to a close, but the Englert’s work, mission and celebration never end, Perry says. He’s hoping people will “take a minute and digest that this is a place that we’ve had here in our community for a really long time -- longer than most of us have been around. While it does celebrate that historic landmark, it’s also looking toward the future and saying, ‘Let’s keep this going.’ “ — Diana Nollen

Listen

Brooks Strause: "Strange City" Alexis Stevens: "Unsteady Youth" Alex Body: "The Rules of Summer"

The music

  • “The Rules of Summer” – Alex Body
  • “Strange City” – Brooks Strause
  • “Summer Sun” – Greg Brown
  • “Help Thy Brother’s Boat Across” – David Zollo & The Body Electric
  • “Doesn’t Take Long” – Pieta Brown
  • “Run Johnny Run” – William Elliott Whitmore
  • “A Short Walk” – Rene Hell
  • “Up The Street From You” – Sam Knutson / Milk & Eggs
  • “So It Goes” – Caroline Smith & Jesse Schuster
  • “No Place Like Home” – Bo Ramsey
  • “Death Buggy” (House of Large Sizes cover) – Samuel Locke Ward
  • “Old Capital City” – The Poison Control Center
  • “Strings” – Emperors Club
  • “The North Dodge Alley” – Wet Hair
  • “Drought” – Cuticle
  • “We’re So Lonely” – Christopher The Conquered
  • “Gasoline” – The Feralings
  • "Unsteady Youth" - Alexis Stevens
  • “Ashtray” – The Lonelyhearts
  • “A Town of Tin Crowns” – Lwa
Bonus Tracks — Digital Download Only
  • “Two Leather Boots” – Awful Purdies
  • “Hourglass” – Chasing Shade
  • “Water Changes Plans” – Tallgrass
  • “Mississippi River Town Blues” – We Shave
  • “Speak To Us Of Love” – Skye Carrasco
  • “Handle With Care” – John Svec
  • “Wish I Could” – Flannel
  • “Iowa City, Make Love To Me” – Pete Balestrieri
  • “Max Yocum’s Blues” – Liberty Leg
  • “The Sky Is Our Mountains” – Mumford’s
  • “Corn Thrust” – The Tanks
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