Thomas Crone's Posts

Thomas Crone's Photo I'm a veteran KDHX programmer and host of Silver Tray every Friday afternoon on 88.1 FM. You can also hear me with Amanda Doyle on Topic A every Monday evening. I'm editor and publisher of 52nd City Magazine in Saint Louis and you may read me here and here as well.

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Reunion Season

Musically, this season of year has always been my favorite, largely because the holidays are a natural time for local bands to reunite. Whether those are one-off shows or annual events, it seems that the late autumn/early winter is filled with that wonderful let’s-get-back-at-it vibe.

Yours truly has a lucky opportunity to celebrate the local rock scene of the last two-decades (and change), with some special shows set for the coming couple of weeks.

This Friday, Nov. 20, STL pop kingpins The Boorays will play a live set on KDHX’s “Silver Tray,” coming on at roughly 12:40 p.m. The group – Bob Kaemmerlen, Andy Thomson, Mike Hellebusch and Mark Stephens – are coming together for a Saturday, Nov. 21st show at Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room and to help promote that gig, they’re coming by the KDHX studio for a four-song set on the “Tray.” Expect four cuts from their pair of CDs, “Pumpkin Pie Crustacean” and “Hollow in the Middle,” which the group’s been tinkering with recently, re-mastering the old cuts and reorganizing the orders. While not quite the same environment as the boozy, smoky club show of a night later, it’ll be great to catch the band in any form, after (too) many years apart.

The next week – on Thursday, Nov. 26th and Friday, Nov. 27th – I’ll toast the Thanksgiving holiday with another four-hour round of St. Louis related tracks, playing deep cuts from noted acts and favorites from the obscure. On Thursday, I’m lucky enough to fill in for Doug Morgan on his “Record Sto’,” while on Friday I’ll be back at the helms for “Silver Tray.” As has been the case the last couple of years, I’ll go with an all-STL lineup for both, kicking out the jams from: Judge Nothing, Times Beach, Sullen, the Oozkicks, the Painkillers, the Unconscious, the Finn Brothers, A Perfect Fit, E.J. Quit, Three Foot Thick and Club Zero, among countless others. Based on listener response the last few years, it’s a show that gets some feet tapping, even when they’re doing so with one eye on the dinner table.

But we’ll worry about next week, next week. For this week, tune in your radio to 88.1 on Friday at 12:40 and catch some glorious pop, as only The Boorays can bring it.

Coffee + Music in ONSTL

Old North St. Louis has been a “buzz” area for a few years now, largely through the efforts of the energetic residents, who’ve kept the area in news for various redevelopment efforts. But even as ONSTL was being lauded by media outlets, local and national, the area was working hard to attract the day-round, year-round businesses that make an area a true “neighborhood.” And in the America of 2009, little says progress more than the arrival of a cool, independent coffeeshop.

The Urban Studio Cafe had been talked about for a while, its storefront located just a couple dozen steps from the front door of the iconic Crown Candy Kitchen. This month, though, the neighborhood’s long wait for a coffeeshop finally ended, as the Urban Studio Cafe opened its doors for limited hours: 8 a.m.-2 p.m. daily. The cafe’s new website details all the essentials, including hours and menu, etc.

For us, the most apt component to this comes compliments of a local resident, who notes that the cafe is actively seeking local music to play at the shop. Musicians interested in having their work played in the shop can simply drop off, or mail, a CD to the shop for consideration.

This Week on KDHX Talk: August 3 – 6

Todd Swanstrom, the Des Lee Professor of Community Collaboration and Public Policy Administration at the University of Missouri-St. Louis stops by Collateral Damage at 7:00 pm CST, Monday, August 3 to talk about his recent study of how St. Louis is dealing with the foreclosure crisis.

All month on Topic A: Creating Community — Living on Purpose in your neighborhood and city. Monday, Aug. 3: Andrew Millison, permaculture activist who founded the EcoHood in Prescott, Arizona, and is now continuing the work in Corvallis, Oregon, discusses his work. Tune in Monday nights, 7:30 pm CST, to 88.1 FM or online at

This Week on KDHX Talk: July 27 – 30

As with most shows during this pledge drive period, the first order of business is the Radio Relief summer membership drive, which will take up quite a bit of the talk air during this week. One show, however, is dedicating a chunk of programming to a guest, and here’s that info:

Post-Dispatch columnist Bill McClellan visits Collateral Damage at 7 p.m. Monday July 27 to share his take on local media, politics, and the rest of the current STL scene.

This Week on KDHX Talk: July 13 – 16

Late in getting this one up; less than two hours until the first show we’re plugging. A good opportunity, then, to note that the KDHX talk shows stream for four weeks after originally airing. Catch up on some today!

Collateral Damage, 7:00 p.m., Monday, July 13: Shane Cohn, the newly elected 29-year-old alderman from the 25th ward representing Dutchtown and Carondelet, stops by Collateral Damage to talk about the incoming new energy on the city’s board of aldermen. Cohn became the city’s first openly gay alderman by winning 46 percent of the vote in a four-way election to replace City Hall veteran Dorothy Kirner who decided not to run for re-election. Dorothy Kirner had replaced her late husband Dan as 25th Ward alderman in 2004. Cohn is the city’s second-youngest alderman, less than a year older than Kacie Starr Triplett, the alderwoman of the 6th Ward. He has stated his priorities are neighborhood safety, youth engagement and development.

Topic A, 7:30 p.m., Monday, July 13: July’s theme continues on Topic A: “The Life Creative”; folks of all stripes are getting down with DIY, whether knitting scarves for charity, planting victory gardens to avoid corporate food conglomerates or self-publishing conspiracy theories while wearing the tinfoil hats. What’s behind our impulse to make stuff, to do stuff, to get more self-reliant and creative? We’ll talk about it all month with a variety of voices.

Monday, July 13, we’re joined by Washington University professor Dr. R. Keith Sawyer, whose work in the fields of creativity and collaboration are informed, in part, by his own backgrounds in improv theater and jazz piano. He’s made some scientific studies of the seemingly unscientific nature of creativity, and has plenty of myths to explode. Think you’re not creative? Or think you are? Tune in and find out if you’re right!

Literature for the Halibut, 7:00 p.m., Thursday, July 16: tune into literature for the halibut for 2 thursdays in july when our featured writer is Flannery O’Connor. on july 2, you’ll hear Janie Ibur & Ann Haubrich read one of the celebrated southern writer’s mordantly funny short stories. and on july 16, tune into an interview with Brad Gooch, author of the first full length biography of our dear Flann. Gooch’s book “Flannery: A LIfe of Flannery O’Connor” recounts plenty of anecdotes from Flann’s life, as Gooch followed the trajectory of O’Connor’s life from Savannah, Georgia, to the Iowa Writers Workshop, Yaddo Artists Colony in upstate NY, Lourdes, and Andalusia. It’s a Flannery Fest! with violence & humor, sin & god, language both spare & vivid.

This Week on KDHX Talk: July 6-9

Each week, we’ll round up the guests and discussions feature on KDHX talk shows. Or at least those shows that send along notes! We’ll kick things off with info about this week’s Topic A. Look for more blurbs next week.

Monday, July 6 on Topic A, 7:30 p.m.: Tonight we kick off a month of conversations on “The Life Creative” — folks of all stripes are getting down with DIY, whether knitting scarves for charity, planting victory gardens to avoid corporate food conglomerates or self-publishing conspiracy theories while wearing the tinfoil hats. What’s behind our impulse to make stuff, to do stuff, to get more self-reliant and creative? We’ll talk about it all month with a variety of voices. Tonight’s guest is Faythe Levine, author and film director of the book/documentary movie project “Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft and Design.” We’ll talk about her 19,000-mile journey to document the resurgence of indie craft and its implications for sustainability and subverting traditional capitalism… and the movement’s limitations.

Silver Tray is Live in May

Greetings, it’s your good pal Thomas Crone, noting that the Friday afternoon radio show Silver Tray (12 – 2 p.m., CST) is bringing Silver Tray’s rabid, worldwide audience live sets of music throughout May. With five Fridays to play with, the show’s got an interesting range of local performers coming by the KDHX studios weekly. Each performance is slated for the 12:20 – 12:40 time slot, so if you’re catching the show via streaming, after-the-fact, you won’t be waiting long for the live stuff. Hopefully, though, you’ll be able to track the performances live, all throughout May.

Here’s a rundown of the performers:

May 1, We’re Wolf. Caught this group at a local coffeehouse’s open mic night recently, and though the rest of the evening wasn’t special, the brief, two-song performance of the duo We’re Wolf stood out, plainly. Think: lo-fi, indie pop, with engaging harmonies and even some tambourine, which you can sample at their Myspace page.

May 8, Finn’s Motel. At the time these notes are being punched up, Finn’s vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Joe Thebeau was still putting together the specifics of this session, whether it be solo, or with some accompaniment. Either way, expect some new material from this gifted songwriter, who fronts of St. Louis’ under-appreciated rock acts.

May 15, Andrew John. The longtime leader of groups like Stranded Lads and MOSS, Andrew John‘s also spotted in hundreds of solo gigs around town, creating everything from classic rock, to power pop, to kid’s music along the way. He’s releasing a new acoustic-based album later this month, on May 16 at the Shanti, and he’ll preview cuts from it at KDHX.

May 22, String Buzz. Though this acoustic rock duo is relatively new, they’ve made music together before. Drummer Ron L. Isley and guitarist/vocalist Ann Le Anne were mainstays of the classic STL group Plaid Cattle. They’re back on the scene now, have music at their Myspace page, and plan on playing the Iron Barley the weekend of this performance. (EDIT: Due to some unfortunate scheduling difficulties, we’ll now be joined by Birdleg for this afternoon’s performance. Punch up their name at the Vimeo video sharing site and you’ll get a pretty good sense of what’s happening with this energetic live act.)

May 29, .e(r!c hall). The combination of .e and Eric Hall have been making interesting music together lately, merging .e’s electric guitar, vocals and increasing use of electronics, alongside Hall’s ever-growing collection of noisemakers, of all sorts. They’ve recently begun playing some club dates together and we’re lucky to catch them in this new form, live on KDHX.

Richard Fortus on Topic A, Tonight

For many local music fans, Richard Fortus will first be thought of as the charismatic guitarist of the local heroes The Eyes/Pale Divine. His innovative lead guitar work in that project was certainly solid enough to launch a long career. One that’s taken no small amount of interesting twists and turns.

Pale Divine’s dissolution lead to a gig with Richard Butler and the The Psychedelic Furs; with Butler, he’d also found Love Spit Love. From there, the list of projects include everything from European tours with Nena (of “99 Red Balloons” fame) to ongoing collaborations with dance music star BT, alongside occasional TV and movie scoring. These days, he’s not only a steady sideman for pop superstar/tabloid favorite Rihanna, he’s the music director for Guns N’ Roses, a band with which he’s been associated for the better part of a decade.

The graduate of St. Louis City’s Visual and Performing Arts High School will discuss all that tonight, on Topic A, with host Amanda Doyle. The show airs from 7:30 – 8:00 pm CST each Monday, featuring conversation on monthly themes; Fortus is part of April’s “Expatriates” lineup.

For more info on Fortus, you can find it at his site: Or, you can just listen to the show tonight, our recommendation.

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