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angela lupton

Album review: John Velghe & the Prodigal Sons - Organ Donor Blues

(Photos by J. Winn and Todd Zimmer)
The beautiful thing about art is that each person’s perception is valid. The artist certainly had a message he or she was trying to convey to us. We might even get that message, but it is colored, tarnished, and brightened by our own experiences. The relationship between musician and listener is the exchange of these experiences and perceptions and, boy, do John Velghe and the Prodigal Sons have some experiences to offer to us with Organ Donor Blues.
The first single, “Beaten By Pretenders,” has received heavy play on 90.9 The Bridge and features Alejandro Escovedo. Mike Alexander’s vaulting guitar weaves through Velghe and Escovedo’s vocals. There is a pleading in Escovedo’s voice that belies the “Oh, oh, oh,” of the chorus. “They can bring the wolf, but we don’t have to let them in”; a sad song in a happy key.
“You made some mistakes in your own hometown,” Velghe peels out the opening lines of “Don’t Understand Your Hometown” following insistent horns played by Hermon Mehari, Mike Walker, and Sam Hughes. Listeners, at least the fallible among us, are immediately connected.
The hits keep coming. Each song on this record reaches right into you and delicately and incessantly demands your attention. And you happily give it. Matt Anderson’s resolute beat and Chris Wagner’s bass line welcome you to “Gold Guitar.” Growling guitars press right into your sternum as Velghe laments the position of the modern musician: “It’s like the songs, never made a sound.” After I shared this song with Jon Dee Graham, whom Velghe mentions by name in it, Graham commented, “Can I get these lyrics engraved on my headstone?”
“Set It Fire” sounds like what I imagine the Beach Boys would have put out if they were an Americana band. Tight harmonies and a melody that will have you bobbing along without intending to, Kirsten Paludan and Velghe’s voices twist around each other and join together to make this a track you return to over and over.
There are records we meet and immediately become part of our lives. We listen to them through our forever. This is one of those records.
--Angela Lupton

Organ Donor Blues will be officially released on Tuesday, June 24, but is now available at Bandcamp on pre-order and for digital download. Stay tuned for info on the band’s upcoming shows.   

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Midwest Music Foundation Staff Spotlight: Angela Lupton


The Midwest Music Foundation staff constantly works behind the scenes at live music events you have likely attended. They’re the ones who search for facilities, supply entertainment, coordinate with vendors, and generally ensure that your live music experience will be a good one. They’re also the ones that get the word out about musicians’ health care and other educational resources for musicians, filling a vital gap in the community.

Before the advent of the sixth annual Apocalypse Meow benefit, we hear back from some of the staff to find out what they do and why they do it. This time we’ll be talking with Angela Lupton, co-founder and Executive Director.
The Deli: When and how did you first get involved with MMF?
Angela: I was involved with MMF at its inception. Abigail [Henderson], Chris [Meck], Mac [McSpadden], and I would sit around on our back porch and talk about all manner of things. We would talk about the ills of the world and what we considered the solutions to be. The gap in support for musicians in town was one of the issues we were sure we could actually do something about. So, the MMF was born in the hearts and minds of four people. I was the initial Executive DIrector because Abigail thought I should be. She did not want to be in charge, which is crazy because she was a person who got things done.
The Deli: What is your current role with the organization?
Angela: Currently, I am the Executive Director of the MMF. Mac and I had to step away from our initial roles when our daughters were born and I was in graduate school full-time, but have returned to the role now.
The Deli: Why is MMF such an important cause to you? What do you hope it will accomplish in the future?
Angela: MMF is important to me not only because I co-founded it with my best friend, her husband (now one of my best friends as well), and my wife, but because I love music. I go to music for everything in my life: to celebrate, to calm, to excite, and to grieve. The people who make music are so important and we should treat them that way. Musician should be a viable career option. In the future, I want the MMF to establish what, for ease of use, I am calling a musicians' community center. It will be a space for the MMF offices, a performance space, several practice spaces, recording space, professional library, and computer lab. This space would provide a community gathering spot for musicians as well as a permanent home for the MMF to conduct professional development workshops for musicians. This is the big idea. This is the dream. Along the way there we will continue our current projects as well as develop a musician micro-grant program and we have some other things in the works.
The Deli: Who are some of your favorite local artists?
The Deli: Do you have a favorite memory of a past Meow? 
Angela: The very first Meow. In the planning stages of it, Mac and I went over to Abigail and Chris’s little brown mouse house in Waldo. Abigail did not want a benefit. She liked to take care of herself. I told her it was happening whether she liked it or not. If she wanted some kind of input she could go ahead and consent to my plans. Otherwise, someone, somewhere was going to do it anyway and she would have no say. She consented. We were off. It ended up being three nights and four venues. Everyone wanted to help. Everyone still does.
The Deli: What are you most looking forward to about this year's Meow?
Angela: I am looking forward to the storytelling that I am sure will accompany this particular event. Stories of Abigail and how we all ended up in this place. Kansas City takes care of its own and anyone else that might drop by.
Join Angela this weekend at Apocalypse Meow. It starts tomorrow, November 1 at The Midwestern Musical Co. and Saturday at Knuckleheads. Doors open at 6 pm both nights. Friday’s show is free and all ages, Saturday’s show is $10, 21+. Visit http://www.apocalypsemeow.net for a full lineup and schedule. Ticket linkFacebook event page. To find out more about MMF, visit http://midwestmusicfound.org, and learn about Abby's Fund for musicians' health care.

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