By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
By Chaz Kangas
By Allison Babka
Music lovers new in town or just emerging from under that proverbial rock: Need a quickie introductory course on some of the most interesting musical talent in St. Louis? Lucky for you: three of our town's best in a single evening, in the friendly confines of Duff's Restaurant.RFT readers voted Blueberry the best singer/songwriter in town last year, and she is a marvel. Her emotional and musical ranges are vast -- she's funny and serious, catchy and noisy, populist and arty -- and her honest onstage charisma can win over an audience without any showbiz trickery. Poetic feminism meets punk energy, and the result is far greater than any music writer can accurately convey.
For a more quintessentially Midwestern experience, turn to Bob Reuter. Why can't all acoustic singer/songwriters be this unpretentious? Why can't all local musicians possess such a keen feeling for the grit and glory of a lonesome town like St. Louis? Reuter has his madcap side, too, as shown on the wild-eyed take on "White Christmas" that his old band Kamikaze Cowboy contributed to the Vintage Vinyl Christmas compilation.
And the reunion that has the literati abuzz: Saxophonist Dave Stone and bassist Darin Gray bring their improvisational textural whaddyacallit back to a hungry public. Both have been busy of late, Stone holding down a regular jazz gig at Mangia Italiano and Gray all over the place, including the St. Louis County Library and on last year's Will Oldham and Rian Murphy CD All Most Heaven.
Musical idealists have often been frustrated in their attempts to bring different audiences together, as if grafting a hip-hop crew onto a hardcore punk bill will somehow usher in a new age of enlightenment. But in this case, promoter Matt James and Duff's have put together a show that may turn a few people on to something they'll love. And it'll be a regular, sorta-monthly thing: For future shows, James has sketched in Brain Transplant, DJ Shan Shan, the Jive Turkey Instrumental Project and music from James' own Dub Kitchen. Watch this space.