Interview with Elexa Dawson, the Flint Hills, Kansas

First Nation singer-songwriter Elexa Dawson lives in the Flint Hills region of Kansas. As a musical storyteller, Elexa Dawson presents her original music with a voice that is reminiscent of the prairie hills she calls home. She is a citizen of the Potawatomi Nation, she plays guitar and mandolin, and she works as a studio vocalist. Her album Music is Medicine (Lost Cowgirl Records, 2019) debuted Elexa’s solo career with community-centered songs meant to inspire, instigate and heal. Her song “High Place” charted #6 on Indigenous Music Countdown. She was the 2019 First People’s Fund Fellow and the 2020 Western Arts Alliance AIP Fellow. Elexa performs solo as well as with a bluesy folk trio at private and public events, gatherings, festivals, and campfires.
Interviewed by Holly Hobbs, 10/02/2020.

Interview with Tyler Gregory, Lawrence, Kansas

Hailing from the town of Wamego in the hills of Kansas, folk/Americana/bluegrass musician Tyler Gregory can regularly be found performing 260+ shows a year. With his steam-powered melodies, Gregory’s mix of blues and roots music privileges aesthetics of passion and freedom. Performing his live shows mainly on guitar/banjo/stomp-box/vocals, Gregory is based in Lawrence, Kansas, where he found a like-minded community of musicians with which to surround himself. Greatly influenced by the life and music of Woody Guthrie, Tyler explores the aesthetics of a touring troubadour while bringing his own unique voice to the performance of traditionally-framed songs.
Interviewed by Holly Hobbs, 10/5/2020.

Interview with Steve Mason, Lawrence, Kansas

Steve Mason is a multi-instrumentalist based in Lawrence, Kansas, who plays fiddle, guitar, bass, mandolin, and vocals. Steve Mason is a luthier who repairs, improves, and creates stringed instruments. Mason is also a long-time member of The Alferd Packer Memorial String Band, which includes five multi-instrumentalists dressed in old-time costumes, singing and playing fiddles, banjo, guitars, mandolin, hammered dulcimer, accordion, bass, and creative percussion. The band has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning with Bill Geist, and in a documentary called Overlooked which aired on KTKA-TV. They were the focus of articles in The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and Readers’ Digest. Their music has been used in a national broadcast on NPR.
Interviewed by Holly Hobbs, 10/03/2020.

Interview with Tricia Spencer and Howard Rains, Lawrence, Kansas

Tricia Spencer is a Kansas fiddler who grew up learning the tradition of old-time music from her grandparents. While growing up, her free time was spent traveling to festivals and fiddling contests throughout the Midwest where she learned from the likes of Pete McMahan, Cyril Stinnet, Lyman Enloe, Dwight Lamb, Amos Chase, and Lucy Pierce. Tricia is multi-instrumentalist who has studied with some of the great masters and is sought after as a performer, dance fiddler, and instructor. Howard Rains is a native Texas artist and the fourth generation to play on his fiddle. He comes from a musical and artistic family and plays rare, old tunes learned from friends, family, mentors, and old recordings. Together, Spencer & Rains have performed and taught nationally and internationally, preserving and building upon the traditions of their region. The husband-and-wife duo are known for their twin fiddle harmony, which is a product of the influence of midwestern Scandinavian fiddlers Tricia heard as a child. At the same time, Howard’s distinct repertoire reintroduces listeners to the pre-contest styles of Texas fiddling. That same sense of harmony is in their vocals, as well, which they pull from all manner of American folk music. Both multi-instrumentalists, they are steeped in tradition and are dedicated to the preservation, performance, and teaching of old-time music.
Interviewed by Holly Hobbs, 10/02/2020.