Category Archives: GRR Recommends

May 18 – Season’s Best

The book of love has music in it
In fact that’s where music comes from
Some of it is just transcendental
Some of it is just really dumb
But I
I love it when you sing to me
And you
You can sing me anything
(The Book of Love, The Magnetic Fields)

Today, Great River Radio completes its fourth season at KUST.  If we’d been new students when we started this project, we’d now be graduating!  By our count, this marks the 114th time Brian and Dan have sat down together in the dim light of the very small KUST studio with our iPods and playlists and have started the stream and the hijack and have kicked off the show with a river song.  In the last nine months, we’ve done shows about everything from dogs to coffee to teachers to crows.  We’ve devoted one entire show to health care, one to women’s issues, and one to the best music from the Scandinavian countries.  We’ve also memorialized some of the musicians who passed away during the season: Vic Chestnutt, Alex Chilton, Kate McGarrigle, Lena Horne, and Les Paul.

Great River Radio
is a labor of love for us.  We spend a few hours every week preparing for the show, exploring the blogosphere and music journalism and our friends’ iPods looking for new artists and songs.  While we sometimes wonder (especially on Monday nights) if we really have the time for this, by the time we start the show on Tuesday, we are looking forward to the two hours we have to listen to what we’ve put together and to see how it all works out.  We hope you have enjoyed the shows you’ve heard during the last four years.  It is our intention to return in the fall for our fifth season.  Here’s a hint of something to expect for next season:  while the current Great River Radio web page gives you access to the last four or five shows, we actually have files for about seventy GRR episodes dating back to the fall of 2007.  Our project for the summer is to figure out a way to make ALL of those shows available on the web page.

For now, we’ll end this season by playing our favorite songs from the last nine months.  We’ve got music from the Avett Brothers, Frightened Rabbits, Mumford and Sons, Beach House, Ingrid Michaelson, Brandi Carlile, Lissie, Ruthie Foster, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and local bands The Twilight Hours, Peter Wolf Crier, Halloween Alaska and Roma di Luna.  We’ll also dip back into one of our favorite shows and bring you Scandinavian music from The Mary Onettes and The Tallest Man On Earth.

So, one last time this year, tune in for music that is transcendental (and some that isn’t dumb, but let’s say…fun!)

Brian and Dan and the whole staff of Great River Radio send you our best wishes for a safe and happy and sunny summer!  We’ll see you in September.

Catch Great River Radio live today from 4-6 p.m. (CST) at
Or chat live via AIM or iChat: kustradio


Maybe – Ingrid Michaelson
Little Lovin’ – Lissie
When It Don’t Come Easy – Ruthie Foster
I and Love and You – The Avett Brothers
Swim Until You Can’t See Land – Frightened Rabbit
The Cave – Mumford & Sons
First Train Home – Imogen Heap
Home – Up From Below
New York Is Killing Me – Gil Scott-Heron
Flirted With You All My Life – Vic Chestnutt
Written in Reverse – Spoon
How Long Do I Have to Wait For You? – Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
I Will – Roma Di Luna
Queen of Tomorrow – The Twilight Hours
The Ends – Halloween, Alaska
Hard As Nails – Peter Wolf Crier
July Flame – Laura Veirs
Lewis Takes Off His Shirt – Owen Pallett
And Now – jj
Norway – Beach House
Go Do – Jonsi
Who Are You New York? – Rufus Wainwright
Coal War – Joshua James
King of Spain – The Tallest Man On Earth
In The Sun – She & Him
She’s Gone – The Bird and The Bee
This Is Real – Best Coast

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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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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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G N’ R – November Rain

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GRR Recommends: Echo and the Bunnymen – The Killing Moon

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GRR Recommends: Johnny Cash – Hurt

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