Category Archives: GRR Listener Requests

May 11 – Listener Appreciation

It’s the annual “Listener Appreciation Show” at Great River Radio. We ask you for your best of, your favorite, your heavy rotation for the last nine months. You respond with a number of thoughtful, rockin’, tender and mostly shame-free selections. As usual, you did not disappoint. We tweaked and culled the list from dozens of requests, and have come up with a great playlist for this afternoon. You’ll hear tracks from The Avett Brothers, Phantogram, Mason Jennings, Peter Wolf, Dessa, The XX, Neko Case, Mumford & Sons, Dawes, Cults, The Big Pink, The Twilight Hours, Brother Ali and many more.

We also have an “In Memoriam” set of music from talented artists who have passed this last year: Lena Horne, Vic Chesnutt, Alex Chilton and Les Paul.

And as always, we’ll have a couple of new songs – from Jeremy Messersmith and M.I.A. –  that have us looking forward to summer.

This show is our way of saying “Thank You for Listening!” Every week we try to bring you a thoughtful and entertaining set list of music. We spend a lot of time between shows digging up new releases and rarities, reading music blogs and tuning into favorite shows at KUST, KCRW, The Current, KEXP and other indie stations around the country. But in the words of Sinéad O’Connor, “Nothing Compares to U.” Great River Radio listeners give as much as they get … at least when it pertains to new music. So many of the great artists we introduce to you are brought to our attention from fellow listeners – through calls for requests, unsolicited CDs in mailboxes and links to funky websites. And for that, we want to say … Thanks!

Join us today from 4-6 p.m. (CST) for the “Listener Appreciation Show,” and next week for our final show of the season when Dan and Brian play their favorite tracks from the last year.


I Ain’t Got Nothing But The Blues-Lena Horne
Somebody Ease My Troublin’ Mind-Sam Cooke
September Curls-Big Star
God Is Good-Vic Chestnutt
January Wedding-The Avett Brothers
There’s Still Time-Peter Wolf
Heart Skipped A Beat-The xx
Go Outside-Cults
Dominos-The Big Pink
The Field-Mason Jennings
The Chaconne-Dessa
My Return-The Twilight Hours
Us-Brother Ali
Bloodbuzz Ohio-The National
High Wide and Handsome-Loudon Wainwright III
When I’m Small-Phantogram
Dust Bowl Dance-Mumford & Sons
Pretty Girls-Neko Case
That Western Skyline-Dawes
Highway Song-What Bird
Angels On The Bank-Katie Herzig
In The Summer In The Heat-Shannon Stephens
Bluff-Daphne Willis
Violet!-Jeremy Messersmith

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Decade of Influence (2000-2009)

Can you believe that we’re already approaching the end of another decade? Seems like just yesterday we were Livin’ La Vida Loca with Ricky. Those were heady times in pop music. But all good things must pass.

Like all responsible observers of the music history, Great River Radio is set to embark on a thorough examination of the music that really mattered in the Aughts (2000-2009). We’re preparing as any good student would – doing research, looking back on our notes, attending live shows and scouring the Internets.

Now we’re seeking your help with this simple question: What albums and/or artists in the last 10 years have had the greatest influence on music?

We’re not necessarily looking for your favorite CD or a critic’s “Best-Of” list. This pursuit of a “Decade of Influence” is quite different.

As many of you know, 10 years can be a long time … especially if you’ve been spending those years raising young children or touring with “Up With People.” So, we’ll leave you with a partial list below (courtesy of NPR) of some of the artists who definitely have had an impact on our music rotation in recent years.

Take a look at the partial list. Who did we miss? Who set us on another course? Who came out of nowhere to create a new sound? Who turned the world on with their smile?

* Once you’ve given it some thought, please post your entries (artist and album) on our “Decade of Influence” page. We’ll compare notes and share some of your suggestions during our Great River Radio – Decade of Influence show in early 2010. – Brian/Dan

Animal Collective
Arcade Fire
Bon Iveer
Bright Eyes
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Kelly Clarkson
Danger Mouse
Death Cab For Cutie
The Damnwells
The Decemberists
Jay Farrar
The Flaming Lips
Green Day
Iron And Wine
Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
LCD Soundsystem
Lil’ Wayne
Panda Bear
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
Sigur Ros
Sufjan Stevens
The Swell Season
Ali Farka Toure & Toumani Diabate
Kanye West
The White Stripes
Paul Westerberg
Amy Winehouse

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Great River Radio – Season 4 (Re)Introduction

When we began Great River Radio three years ago (our first show was on November 15, 2006), this is how we introduced ourselves and described what we were trying to do:

We are two guys for whom music is essential to the way we experience the world on a daily basis – it’s about people and relationships, love and faith, brokenness, grace, redemption;  it’s work and food and it’s hunger and satisfaction, it is about conflict and rebellion, peace, poetry, art and energy; it is Saturday night and Sunday morning.

We are going to focus on good songwriting and real instruments played by real people.  We are also going to surprise, because the world is surprising.

Something that Warren Zevon said about why he writes might apply here as well:

‘People write because the world strikes them as being a marvelous place, and they want to keep bringing that to everybody’s attention.  You know, a scary place, a menacing place, an exciting place because it’s scary and menacing.  but mainly, kind of glorious.’

That’s how we feel about music.

In the nearly three years since that evening, we’ve produced almost 100 Great River Radio shows.  Many have been very carefully planned around certain themes – guilty pleasures, ghosts and saints, road music, movie music, summer, fathers and sons, love.  And there have been our Social Justice Awareness Week shows, in which we’ve highlighted music and information around issues of importance to our society: work, the health of the river, food, criminal justice.  More shows have just happened – we’ve met in the studio a few minutes before the show began, got out our ipods and started playing music, not sure where the evening would go.  Some of those shows have pleased us the most – the serendipitous blending of the music of the preceding week, coming together out of two guys’ experience and somehow making sense.

There have been changes, of course – we no longer bring a bag of CDs to play as we did on that first evening in 2006, the KUST studio has been moved and upgraded, our show has changed days, we now have this spiffy web page and we’re archiving most shows so that you may listen to them whenever you wish.

We hope you have enjoyed the show as much as we have enjoyed the process of delivering it to you.  Over the years, we’ve heard from a great many of you and we really do consider Great River Radio to be a conversation between all of you and the two of us.

In the coming year, we want to continue that conversation, bring you the music that captures our attention each week – for whatever reason – and spend a couple hours just listening and talking.  An important part of our conversation will be to continue to hear from you – either during the show via Twitter (kustradio) or iChat (kustradio), or throughout the week via posting here on the Great River Radio website or directly to Brian or Dan via email.

Something new:
This season, we would like to develop a short theme for each show. Let’s call it “Confluence” – your river joining our river.  You – the savvy listener – can suggest a broad theme and we’ll see what music we can come up with. You can even request a song to be included during that weekly segment. (For instance, “Bread” or “Desolation” or “Pie”.) It’s the Great River Radio version of a request line … or stump the chumps. We’ll keep a running list of possible segment themes on the Great River Radio website and use them for inspiration.

The 2009-2010 season of Great River Radio kicks off tomorrow afternoon. Thanks again for all your heartfelt support and regular contributions to the show these last three years. As we’ve said before, without you we’re just a couple of guys sitting in a basement listening to good music. It helps to know that you’re with us for the ride at Great River Radio.

Dan and Brian

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May 12 – ‘What Song is it You Wanna Hear?’

The academic year is coming to close and so is the 2008-09 season of Great River Radio. This afternoon is our next-to-last show, and it goes without saying that we will playing some delightful new music from GRR darlings Camera Obscura, Leonard Cohen, The Hold Steady, Son Volt and Wilco. We will have stellar songs from local favs Halloween, Alaska and Haley Bonar, and so much much more. So, don’t forget to tune in today from 4-6 p.m.

That’s all pretty exciting, huh? But more importantly, we’re writing today to ask for your help. All season long, loyal listeners to Great River Radio send us tips on new bands, e-mail us song requests and weigh-in on what’s blasting through their Polk Audios and earbuds. Well, next week it will be time to wrap up the show with this season’s best music. What new band did you discover in 2008-09? What single has a grip on your internal playlist? What track has you rockin’ in the free world?

How about a tune from Conor Oberst, Bob Mould, Neko Case, Lily Allen, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Lykke Li, The Bird and the Bee, Rachael Yamagata or Lonely, Dear? Something from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs hypnotic new album? The new Gospel Gossip single? How about “Sabali” from the amazing Amadou & Mariam? Or maybe you heard an old song for the first time during our Social Awareness Week show on the U.S. prison system?

So, help us close out the year in style with a request-filled finale next week. Post your request at the at the bottom of this post.

It’s easy to do:
1) Go to the site
2) The top post (May 12 – ‘What Song is it You Wanna Hear’) will include the information above
3) Scroll to the bottom of the May 12 post
4) Click on the link to the right of the word “Comments”
5) Enter your Name (can be an alias) and e-mail address (it won’t be posted – and you won’t be spammed)
6) Enter your song requests in the box (or just leave a comment about the show!)
7) Click on “Submit Comment”

We’ll do our best to play them all – and a few of our own favorites. It will be a show you won’t want to miss.

And of course, listen today from 4-6 p.m. via the KUST stream at or listen to previous shows via here on the Great River Radio site.

Thanks for your support and encouragement all year long!

Dan and Brian

Day Dream – Allen Toussaint
Pound It Out – Booker T and The Drive By Truckers
May Day – Haley Bonar
Hazards of Love – The Decemberists
Jolly Banker – Wilco
My Maudlin Career – Camera Obscura
Afterglow 61 – Son Volt
Boogie Street – Leonard Cohen
Stronger Than Jesus – A Camp
Cut Your Hair – Pavement
Start A War – The National
Airport Surroundings – Loney, Dear
Nothing to Worry About – Peter Bjorn and John
Flashing Red Light Means Go – The Boxer Rebellion
River – Akron Family
God Moving Over the Face of the Waters – Moby
When I Grow Up – Fever Ray
Your Little Hoodrat Friend – The Hold Steady
The Strangers – St. Vincent
Number With No Name – Ben Harper and the Relentless 7
Lack of Height – Caroline Smith and the Good Night Sleep
I Could Be With Anyone – Kevin Devine
Too Much Time – John Vanderslice
The Hollywood Sign – Halloween, Alaska
To Live Is To Fly – Steve Earle


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Oscar Music – What Do You Want to Hear?

Next Tuesday (Feb. 24) on Great River Radio we will celebrate the “music that makes the films” during our annual Oscar Music show. We’ve already tipped our hat on a couple of songs from this year (M.I.A., anyone?). What are some of your favorite songs from the movies? Your requests don’t have to be from this year. And they don’t even have to be from an Oscar-worthy film like, say, Pineapple Express. 

Here’s one of our favorites to get you thinking:

So, post your favorite film song request below. We’ll do our best to work your song into the show.

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Your Favorites in 2008

Now it’s your turn. What music moved you in 2008? What got you rockin’? What song are you still trying to peal from your earbuds? Post your favorites from the year, and we’ll try to pull them together for a GRR request show. 

Thanks for your very generous contribution of time and requests during the last year. Remember, without you GRR is just a couple of lonely guys playing DJ in the basement.



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