Ballot 2025

Kansas Music Hall of Fame
2025 Ballot
You may vote for a total of up to ten potential inductees, or as few as one. They may be chosen from those listed below, or you may “write in” as many as two others, as long as they meet the criteria for induction (go to our website listed below for more information). All votes must be received by midnight on Wednesday, January 1, 2025. Email your votes to or mail them to Kansas Music Hall of Fame, P.O. Box 189, Beloit, KS 67420. Please include your name, phone number and email address in case there are any questions about your vote. The 2025 inductees will be announced shortly after the above deadline on the Kansas Music Hall of Fame facebook page, and on our website: The date of the 2025 induction ceremony, either online or live, will also be announced at that time.
_____The Appleseed Cast – Lawrence
The Appleseed Cast is an alternative rock band from Lawrence, Kansas. Their 1999 album, called “Mare Vitalis”, garnered much critical acclaim. The Cast have released 8 albums overall, with 2009’s “Sagarmatha” appearing on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. Having toured extensively across the U.S. and Europe, the band has been hailed for their audio/visual live shows.

_____Banshee – Kansas City

Banshee, a melodic power metal band from the Midwest, was formed in the spring of 1986. The group was made up of members from the popular Mid-West touring act LICK (Tommy Lee Flood and Chuck Hopkins) plus Terry Dunn of Kansas City-based FRODO and GRANMAX, and Kent Burnham from the Kansas City band CRYPT KEEPER. By the fall of 1986, they released their first EP entitled ”Cry In The Night,“ a video of which was in heavy rotation on MTV. Hopkins left shortly thereafter to pursue other projects in LA and was replaced by local Kansas City bassist Bill Westfall.
In 1988, Metal Blade Records re-released “Cry In The Night” and included the song “We Want You” on a compilation record, “Metal Massacre No.9”. Later that year, the band released their first full-length album “Race Against Time” on Atlantic Rercord’s Titanium label, although their relationship was brief. In 1992, the band self-released their second full-length album ”Take ‘Em By Storm” with the band breaking up shortly thereafter. Reunion shows were played in 1999, 2000, and later in 2008. In 2008, a deal was negotiated with BlastZone Entertainment Group to provide worldwide distribution for a digitally remastered “Take ‘Em By Storm,” including distribution reach on, iTunes, and Wal-Mart, with the re-release of the other albums following. In 2012, the band released their fourth studio album ”Mindslave” on Snowblind Records. The album featured vocalist George Call (ASKA, Violent Storm, Omen), plus original bassist Chuck Hopkins, and drummer Marty Schiermann. Both Hopkins and Schiermann were unable to tour in support of the new album, so in June of that year, Banshee added LA bass player Mika Horiuchi (formerly of Falling In Teverse and Celador) and drummer Vinnie E. Parma from Dallas,TX to the lineup.
_____Boko Maru – Kansas City
Boko Maru is an impressive hybrid of professional music experience that can convincingly play any style of music – from Jazz, Rock, and Blues to Funk, Country and more. Composed of saxophonist /percussionist/vocalist Todd Wilkinson, guitarist/vocalist Terry Swope, drummer Keith Mallory, saxophonist/keyboardist Joe Miquelon, and bassist /vocalist James Albright, their mantra was “Musicians’ music for everyone.” Capable of laser-like intensity, improvisational fireworks, and uncanny in their ability to fuse styles, Boko Maru quickly developed a following of dedicated fans. Their original compositions and adaptions of cover tunes display an understanding of musical virtuosity combined with pop sensibilities.
Between 1994 and 2001, the group performed hundreds of gigs at clubs including, the Drum Room, the Point, Club 427, and Fedora on the Plaza, not to mention myriads of weddings, corporate events, and private parties. At the Drum Room, they were the backing band for Kevin Toney, Mark Murphy, Herb Ellis, and Karrin Allyson, as well as doing recording sessions and commercials with many local professionals.
Boko Maru was hired as the house band with the Wave FM Smooth Jazz Station, and received the annual Pitch Magazine ‘Klammy Award’ for Best Jazz Ensemble in 2000. During their steady gig at Fedora’s, they were discovered by Gary Cavanaugh (CEO of Fun Pro Records), and subsequently signed to the label. In late 2000, they released a highly acclaimed CD titled “Dreamland”, a signature work of compelling originality.
In 2002 the group disbanded to pursue other projects.
_____Gary Charlson – Kansas City

Kansas City KS native Gary Charlson first came to the attention of the local music scene in the mid ’70s, while fronting his hard rock cover band, Dynaflow. A chance meeting with the fledgling KC indie record label, Titan, led to the release of his first 7″ 45 in 1978, “Real Life Saver,” which was critically acclaimed in many national fanzines at the time. A 2nd Titan 45, “Shark,” was released in ’79, also to glowing reviews in the music press. By this time, Gary had formed The Gary Charlson Band, and was gigging regularly in local KC-area clubs. In March of 1979, “Just Another Pop Album,” a sampler album released by Titan in 1980, included Gary’s 45 tracks and also featured a previously unreleased Charlson-penned song, “Goodbye Goodtimes.” The album was well received by the national and international music scene. The Gary Charlson Band performed a live-in-the-studio set at Chapman Studios and tracks from this recording were released on a 12” EP by Titan in 1980. It featured the first-ever recorded cover version of Big Star’s “September Gurls,” later covered by the Searchers, the Bangles and several other groups. In the early ’80s, Gary and Guido Toledo formed the cover band the 4Sknns, who remained very popular in the Kansas City region for 2 decades. In addition, he is a founding member of the cover band, the Crayons, who continue to perform, and have a strong following in the region. On top of this, Gary does solo acoustic gigs regularly throughout the KC-metro area.

_____Chuck Cowan – Emporia
Chuck Cowan has performed as a professional musician for more than 50 years. His versatile repertoire includes Classical, Jazz, Country-Western, Rock & Roll, and Folk stylings. Chuck has displayed his gift for music with many famous artist, orchestras, and groups, both live and in the studio.
Cowan started playing guitar while growing up in Emporia KS. His first big break came while he was a freshman at Emporia State University. He and his band were playing their first professional gig – a country club near Branson, MO – when an agent spotted them. “He came up and said. ‘Do you guys want to go on the road?'” Chuck recalled, “I thought, ‘Oh good Lord, this guy must be deaf’!”‘. Over the years, he eventually toured the Midwest, the East Coast, the West Coast, Hawaii, and even as far away as Southeast Asia and Japan.
Ensembles he’s been with include the Glenn Miller, Woody Herman, and Les Baxter orchestras, plus Bob Wills & the Texas Playboys, Clyde McCoy, and Phil Campos & the Forum. A short list of artists he’s accompanied include Buddy Knox, Carl Mann, James Burton, Thumbs Carllile, Mundell Lowe, Sammy Davis Jr., The Coasters, the Shirells, Don Ho, Keely Smith, The New Christy Minstrels, and Michael Parks.
Cowan also played on a number of movie soundtracks, such as “Hells Belles”, “Blood Sabbath”, “Flareup” (with Raquel Welch), and the movie SMACK, which he wrote and scored the soundtrack for.
One of the more unusal turns in his career came when he was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. It proved to be a surprising event for both Chuck and for the Hall. “I’d never heard of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame,” he said. “And they thought I was dead!”
Chuck Cowan’s discography lists a number of singles recorded from 1962 through 1978 for labels like Sidewalk, Inner-Glo, and Olympic Records, plus a number of albums/CD’s released between 1961 and 2007. His latest CD “At The Lovers’ Lost and Found” is still in print.

_____Delisa Dawn – Wichita/Kansas City

Delisa Dawn is a Country music recording and touring artist. Delisa started her career at age 3 on the stage of Memorial Hall in Kansas City, KS with the Wilburn Brothers at a show promoted by Kansas talent agent Harry “Hap” Peebles. Country Music Hall of Fame artist Faron Young was impressed by her performance, and invited her to sing with him at all his future Memorial Hall shows. During these early years, Delisa was coached on singing by the Wilburn Brothers, Loretta Lynn and Faron Young.
At age 10, Delisa moved to Wichita, KS with her mother and stepdad Thurman Bunch, Her stepdad was the high tenor for the Plainsman Gospel Quartet, who did a television show in Wichita every week. This was when her love of Southern Gospel music began.
Moving back to Kansas City in her late teens, Delisa formed a band and began playing night clubs in both Kansas and Missouri, where she was also a special guest on Country music shows with big-name artists. As soon as she graduated high school, she headed for Nashville, where she began her recording career and started touring. While opening shows for many Grand Ole Opry stars such as Jack Greene, Cal Smith, Jean Shephard and Faron Young, she would still return to Kansas and Missouri, playing fairs, festivals and of course, honky tonks.
After a year-long tour in 1985 that took her all over the United States, Delisa returned to Missouri and formed the band Delisa Dawn and Route 66. She spent her summers touring the fair and festival circuit in the Midwest, where she was a particular favorite at fairs and rodeos in Kansas. During the offseason, you could find Delisa and Route 66 playing Kansas honky tonks like New Country in Olathe, Ma Belles in Basehor, and The Ranch in Manhattan.
Delisa Dawn continued pursuing her career as a recording artist in Nashville, eventually releasing two singles: “I’d Love To Hate You” in 1992, and “Something ‘Bout You Baby” in 1997, both of which landed on the Billboard Country Singles and Independent Country Radio charts. This resulted in her being nominated for Most Promising Female Vocalist in 1992 and 1997 by American Country Radio. In 1992, Delisa Dawn and Route 66 did a show with the Dixie Cadillacs during rodeo week at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. A year later, Delisa and the group performed in Puerto Rico. At this point, Delisa Dawn and Route 66 had become a rodeo favorite, performing rodeo dances throughout the Midwest and beyond. When not performing on stage, she could be found at rodeos carrying sponsorship flags, or singing the National Anthem on horseback.
In 1997, she and the band were asked by Rodeo Hall of Famer, Jerome Robinson to do a tour of Venezuela in South America. In 2004, Delisa finally acted on her lifetime love of Southern Gospel, and with two bandmates formed 3D Gospel, performing primarily in Kansas and Missouri. In 2008, she decided to slow down on touring, disbanding Route 66 while continuing to perform with 3D Gospel. Also in 2008, Delisa purchased Stagewest Entertainment, and began her career booking entertainment at fairs and festivals throughout the Midwest.
_____Joe Denoyer – Liberal
Joe Denoyer has worked in radio continuously for 42 years. He first went on the air in November of 1982, and remains a mainstay in local radio to this day. He has worked in several different music and talk formats, and has covered several different air shifts. He has also worked every aspect of radio: from on-air production to management, promotions and sales.
In addition to the daily duties of being at the station, Joe has given budding musicians air and interview time to help get their music and names out to the public. Joe was instrumental in launching Liberal native Jerrod Niemann’s career, as well as that of fellow country artist Ned LeDoux from Manhattan KS. Many other local, state, and national artists have been guests in his studio. Joe has also personally hosted many concerts over the last 42 years.
During his time in radio, Denoyer has worked at KSLS Radio and KSCB/The Legend in Liberal, KKBS in Guymon OK, and KFNF in Oberlin KS. Currently, Joe serves as the Mayor of Liberal KS while continuing his lifelong career as a DJ, with no plans to retire from music.

_____ Arthur Dodge – Lawrence

Descended from musical parents and two Baptist preacher grandfathers, Arthur Dodge began developing his singing, songwriting and guitar playing skills while still in grade school. By age 15 he would form his first in a series of garage bands and start showing up at jam sessions. At one of these, Arthur met Country music artist Norman Canfield of Kansas City, who became an early influence and mentor to his musical aspirations.
In 1991 Dodge recorded his first album, “Arthur Dodge & Matthews Mule.” Self-released on cassette, it sold around 1000 copies regionally before Dodge hit the road to ply his trade elsewhere. He spent time in Trenton, NJ then Austin,TX before returning home to the burgeoning Lawrence music scene that was errupting in the mid-’90s. Dodge sought out his former garage band buddy Matt Mozier, who was just finishing a successful stint with the revered regional group Truck Stop Love. By 1995, the two old friends would form Arthur Dodge and the Horsefeathers, described as “an Alt-Rock/Country band with it’s own take on Americana.” With Dodge as frontman and principal songwriter, the group would release a number of critically acclaimed albums, starting with the self-titled “Arthur Dodge and the Horsefeathers” (1997), then “Cadillacs, Ponytails & Dirty Dreams” (1998), “Nervous Habit” (2000) and “Room #4” (2004). All of the albums are still available through Amazon, Discogs, Spotify and all the usual outlets..
Around 2001, Dodge headed for Nashville, testing the waters to see if there was a broader market for his rugged voice and above-average songwriting skills. Not finding Music City particularly to his liking, he was soon back in Lawrence where he remains to this day, a beloved fixture on the city’s musical landscape.
Currently, Arthur Dodge is working on a new album with the Horsefeathers. Visit his facebook page for the release date, plus a schedule of his upcoming live performances.

_____ Earle Dumler – Russell

Earle Dumler has appeared on thousands of recordings playing English Horn and oboe, from Close Encounters of the Third Kind and X-Men, to Frank Zappa to the Los Angeles Opera. Born and raised in Russell KS, Dumler began his career in concert music playing with various regional orchestras and ensembles. After receiving his undergraduate degree in music from KU, he also received a masters degree from the Boston Conservatory of Music before moving to LA and starting his career in recorded music. Earle Dumler has worked with Hollywood’s greatest: John Williams, Bernard Herrmann, David Raksin, Elmer Bernstein, Jerry Goldsmith, Basil Poledouris, Danny Elfman, and Thomas Newman. In the world of popular music, his work can be heard on hit recordings by artists such as Michael Jackson, Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand, The Carpenters and Pharrell Williams, and on productions by both George Martin and “The Wrecking Crew” among many others. His notable film work includes Soylent Green, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Eiger Sanction, Sophie’s Choice, Free Willy, Star Trek First Contact, Independence Day, Planet of the Apes, Horse Whisperer, Shawshank Redemption, Edward Scissorhands, Wall-E, The Matrix, Air Force One, Airplane, Aladdin, Batman, Men in Black, Taxi, Back to the Future, and All in the Game. In TV, he has worked on The Simpsons, Family Guy, Carol Burnett, Beauty and the Beast, Battlestar Galactica, ER, and more. Currently, Dumler maintains an active recording schedule while continuing his concert work with the LA Chamber Orchestra, LA Opera, and the Symphonic Jazz Orchestra.
_____The Get Up Kids – Kansas City
The Get Up Kids are an American rock band from Kansas City. Formed in 1995, the band was a major act in the mid-1990s Midwest emo scene, otherwise known as the “second wave” of emo music. Their second album “Something To Write Home About” remains their most widely acclaimed album, and is considered to be one of the quintessential albums of the second-wave emo movement. They are considered forefathers of the emo genre, and have been widely credited as being an influence, both by contemporaries like Saves The Day, and later bands like Fall Out Boy, Taking Back Sunday, and The Wonder Years.As they gained prominence, they began touring with bands such as Green Day and Weezer before becoming headliners themselves, eventually embarking on international tours of Japan and Europe. They founded Heroes & Villains Records, an imprint of the successful indie rock label Vagrant Records. While the imprint was started to release albums by The Get Up Kids, it served as a launching pad for several side-projects such as The New Amsterdams and Reggie and the Full Effect. The band departed heavily from their established style with the release of their 2002 album ”On A Wire,” which saw the band take on a much more layered, alternative rock sound. Like many early emo bands, The Get Up Kids sought to dissociate themselves from the term “emo.” Due to internal conflicts, the band broke up in 2005. Three years later, the band reunited to support the tenth anniversary re-release of ”Something to Write Home About,” and soon afterward entered the studio to write new material. In early 2010, the band released ”Simple Science,” their first release in six years, followed in 2011 by the full-length ”There Are Rules.” Their most recent studio album, ”Problems,” which was seen by many as a return to their early style, was released in 2019. For more on The Get Up Kids, visit their Wikipedia page:
_____Chip Hardy – Scott City
Chip Hardy is a 35 year veteran of the Nashville music business. His career has ranged from songwriter, to producer, to A&R at a major record label, to working with songwriters in music publishing. He was born and raised in the small town of Scott City in western Kansas “out in the middle of nowhere”. His mother is an accomplished keyboard player and his dad loved to sing. At the age of four, Chip was spinning old 78 rpm records of Glen Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Doris Day and Hank Williams, Sr. Around age seven, his mother taught him basic chords on ukulele, and he began playing and singing for various school and community events. At 12 he took up guitar and began writing songs. Throughout his high school years, Chip joined a Pop-Rock cover band that played western Kansas, the Oklahoma panhandle, the Texas panhandle, parts of Eastern Colorado and western Nebraska. He attended college at Fort Hays State University and was a music education major until his senior year. “I just wanted out” was his quote about college “because I knew I wanted to go to Nashville and write songs.” As a songwriter, Chip’s songs have been recorded by Dionne Warwick, Dean Martin, Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynn, Charley Pride and The Whites. His production credits include Loretta Lynn, Dann Rogers, The Vega Bros., Rick & Janis Carnes and Joe Barnhill while being assistant to the producer on projects by George Strait, Reba McEntire, Waylon Jennings, The Oak Ridge Boys, Mac Davis, Roger Miller, Glen Campbell, Barbara Mandrell and numerous others. He was also in charge of artist development for MCA Records. During his publishing career, Chip recorded over 1,200 song demos for Hamstein Music including the demos for “Just To See You Smile” by Tim McGraw and “I’ll Think Of A Reason Later,” the first hit by Lee Ann Womack. He also helped develop Jerrod Neimann’s career while running Marathon Key Music Publishing, which was a joint venture between Billy Joe Walker, Jr. and Warner Chappell Music. Currently Chip is producing indie projects and songwriter demos at THE 515 Studio in the Berry Hill section of Nashville.
_____Mark Hart – Fort Scott
Mark Hart is an American musician and multi-instrumentalist best known for being a member of both Supertramp (1986–1988, 1996–2002, 2015-present) and Crowded House (1993–1996, 2007–2019), as well as being a group member, touring and session musician for acts such as Ringo Starr (during the 2000’s). In addition, Hart has also composed film scores, and is a record producer.
Mark was born in Fort Scott, KS and grew up there. From the age of seven, he received piano lessons, and followed with learning guitar some years later. Moving with his older brother to Kansas City during the ’70s, Mark studied classical music in college while playing with a number of local groups and doing session work. With a move to Los Angeles, he became a full-time session musician, working with varied artist in a variety of styles.
By 1982, Mark had formed Combonation, which was signed by Warner Brothers Records. Released in 1984, their self-titled album, was produced by Ted Templeman (Van Morrison, The Doobie Brothers, Van Halen, etc.). A few years later, Hart began his long associations with both Supertramp and Crowded House, and eventually Ringo Starr. Along the way, Hart has scored the motion pictures “Life Among The Cannibals” (1996) and “Mockingbird Don’t Sing” (2001), both directed by Harry Bromely Davenport. His producer credits include records for Tim Finn (leader of Crowded House) and Ceremony (Chaz Bono’s group) among others.Mark Hart has two solo album releases: “Nada Sonata” (2002) and “The Backroom” (2014), both for PSB Records. Currently, Hart continues to record and tour with Supertramp, and still does session work.
_____Arnie Johnson – Lawrence
Arnie Johnson, 79, was born in Salina. After a brief time in California, he moved with his family to Lawrence in 1952. The son of amateur musicians, he grew up listening to his extended family play country music together. He joined a local band as a singer in 1972 and in 1979 formed his own band, Arnie Johnson and the Midnight Special. Arnie led his band to iconic status in the region, performing at dance halls and nightclubs every weekend for decades. They drew people who love country music and love to dance. As time went on, Arnie augmented his rich baritone and stage presence by playing rhythm guitar, a vast repertoire of danceable country tunes, and a list of his own original songs. In 2017 he retired from the band, but continues sharing his love of music by performing as a guest artist with other regional performers.
_____Justus – Kansas City
In 1975 a group of six young musicians, each locally recognized for having played in some of the top bands in the Kansas City area, united to form the group Justus. Drawing from the best musicians they could find, these accomplished players joined to create their own style, and compositions. Together, they created original music uniquely contemporary, and unlike any other for the time. The band consisted of Doug Auwater on drums, Chuck Boyd on lead vocals and percussion, Mark Leggett on guitar, Gary Heatwole on vocals and bass, Mark Hart on keyboards, and Bill Bergman on sax. Like many bands, Justus performed for local establishments and events, including warmup act for Roy Ayers Ubiquity at the Music Hall, as the opening act for Grover Washington Jr. at the Uptown Theater, and at the Municipal Auditorium opening for Gino Vannelli. Their status in the musical community rose when they decided at the last minute to submit a tape for a highly publicized Midwestern Rock Showdown presented by the Radio Station KY-102. Out of 225 contestants, Justus was one of only five groups chosen to perform at the Uptown Theater. Out of those five groups competing in the showdown, Justus was chosen as the winner. According to the Station Manager, Bob Garrett, “All the bands were good. Justus was just a little better.” Justus continued to build a large following and performed with regularity until they disbanded in 1980. Their influence on the local music scene and respect from not only their audiences, but also their peers has left an indelible mark to this day. Justus’ former members are still active players in Kansas City, Los Angeles and surrounding cities, and as far away as St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.
_____Frankie Kay – Kansas City
Frankie Kay was born on Novermber 11, 1929. He grew up in Kansas City, KS. He started taking guitar and steel guitar lessons at an early age. By the time he was 12 years old, he was playing in various venues in the Kansas City area. At age 14 he started his own band. By the time he was 20 he was a well known band leader and was playing 6 nights a week at Johnny Bakers Club, while also playing live radio during the day on both WHB and KCMO radio stations. Then, legendary country radio DJ Dal Stallard told him that Cowboy Copas needed a steel guitar player in Nashville. He left Kansas City and joined up with Cowboy Copas’ band in 1951, touring during the week and returning to Nashville on the weekends to play the Grand Ole Opry. He did this for a little over a year, but was not making enough money, so he returned to Kansas City and started a new band, Frankie Kay and his Westernairs, playing live music six nights a week. He was a full time musician/band leader in the Kansas City area for the remainder of his life. Frankie Kay died on January 14, 2020 at the age of 90.
_____Lowell Kiesel – Wichita
Lowell Kiesel, founder of Carvin Corporation, was born on a farm in Eustis, Nebraska on February 22, 1915. As a young man in the 1930s, Keisel moved to Wichita, Kansas, where he developed an interest in musical instruments; specifically Hawaiian steel guitars, resonator guitars, and the newly-emerging electronic aspects of these instruments. During his time in Wichita, he performed live on local radio stations with his Hawaiian steel guitar. However, like other innovators in the burgeoning industry of that era, he found that he had as equal a passion for building instruments and equipment as he did playing them, and that passion would become his life’s work. Following his time in Kansas, Mr. Kiesel relocated to Los Angeles, where he took a job with North American Aviation. It was World War II, and Mr. Kiesel was one of many men building aircraft for the war effort; notably, the legendary P-51 Mustang, which is often credited as turning the tide of the war for the Allies. Near the end of the war, in 1944, he married Agnes Dorothea Jorgenson, who would be with him until her passing in 2007. Lowell founded the Carvin Corporation in 1946, and began winding guitar pickups with his wife’s old sewing machine. The company was initially located in Los Angeles, briefly relocated back to Mr. Kiesel’s birth state of Nebraska, and then moved back to southern California in 1949. By this time, he had added amplifiers to his lineup of gear, along with steel guitars and solid body electric guitars. Originally, Kiesel’s products were sold through a distributor, but Mr. Kiesel felt he could do a better job by eliminating the middleman and selling directly to the customer. Thus, an innovative and successful marketing idea was born. As the decades passed, Carvin blossomed into a world-class manufacturer of musical instruments, instrument amplification and pro audio products. The company relocated several times, from Baldwin Park outside of Los Angeles, to Covina, California, to Escondido, California, and finally to San Diego. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Mr. Kiesel’s sons joined the family business, bringing their own engineering and technical skills to the company. Today, the 3rd generation of Kiesels are carrying on the tradition. Mr. Kiesel’s leadership, technical expertise, innovative engineering and marketing concepts led the company for decades, and even after handing the company over to his sons, he maintained an office in Carvin’s San Diego headquarters. The innovative direct-to-customer sales approach adopted by Mr. Kiesel in the 1940s continues to this day, and is one of the primary reasons for the company’s success. Lowell Kiesel passed away in 2009.
_____Kill Creek – Lawrence

Formed in 1986 while founders Scott Born (vocals/guitar) and Ron Hayes (guitar) were still in high school, Kill Creek took to formation under the post-punk influences of Rites of Spring, Embrace, and Mission of Burma. Accompanied by their own brand of straight power pop in comparison to the likes of Hüsker Dü and the Doughboys, Kill Creek developed a sound of their own, while processing a number of what they call “embarrassing basement demos” between 1986 through 1993. In between contributing a handful of compilations and going through more drummers than Spinal Tap, Mammoth Records took notice and hooked them up with a deal in 1994. With the EP “Sretch” and their first full-length album entitled “Saint Valentine’s Garage” coming out, Kill Creek did lots of touring across the U.S. for the next year or so in support of both releases. After finally settling on Patrick Grassy (bass) and Matt Gilhousen (drums) to complete the lineup, their next album, “Proving Winter Cruel”, came out in 1996. Plans for a fourth album started taking shape in the fall of 1999. However, the album, tentatively titled “Whimsy” was later scrapped, though some of the songs would appear on the 2000 release “Colors of Home”. The double-disc set “Will to Strike” followed in 2004.
For a complete discography and more information on the band, visit their website:
_____Mainstreet – Manhattan

Since the group’s founding in 1979, Mainstreet has continued its evolution from a jazz quartet into an established and popular six-piece horn band. Drawing from music of the ’60s,’70s, ’80s and more, Mainstreet has performed their signature blend of rock, funk, and smooth jazz for audiences in Northeast Kansas to as far north as Minneapolis. Along with drummer Richard “Felix” Smalley, three former music professors have made up the core of the group for much of its history: Rod Manges (keyboards, vocals and arranger), Daryl Batchelor (trumpet and vocals), and Richard Philbrook (lead vocals, trumpet and trombone). Other members over the years include Tom Hittle, Peter della Femina, Wayne O’Neal, Greg Spreer and Ric Barron (guitar and vocals); Al Thompson, Steve Johnson, Sonja Henning, Andy Bell, Dave Riat, and Frank Valdez (saxophones); Jessica Furney and Sarah Pratt (vocals); Corey Butler,and Howard Bradley (drums), and Kurt Morrow (bass). In 1992, Mainstreet recorded a cassette album that was released in limited numbers for promotional purposes only. In 2005, the self-titled studio CD “Mainstreet” was released. Personell on the recording were Richard Smalley (drums), Kurt Morrow (bass), Greg Spreer (guitar and vocals), Rod Manges (keyboards, vocals and arranger), Andy Bell (sax and vocals), and Daryl Batchelor (trumpet and vocals).
On special occasions, Mainstreet still does live performances. Continually expanding its unique musical appeal to an ever-widening variety of audiences, Mainstreet can always be counted on to do what it does best–make great music.
Mainstreet is on youtube with both studio recordings and live performance clips:

_____ Manilla Road – Wichita
Manilla Road was an American heavy metal band from Wichita, Kansas founded by Mark “The Shark” Shelton (vocals and guitar) and Scott “Scooter” Park (bass guitar), with Benny Munkirs on drums. Beginning in 1977, the early years of Manilla Road were spent playing mostly progressive rock and space rock, but eventually became noticeably heavier with time. The band’s later heavy metal sound became more apparent with the release of ”Metal” in 1982. Achieving moderate success in the mid-80s with several well-received releases such as ”Crystal Logic” (1983), ”Open the Gates”(1985), and”The Deluge”(1986), the band became known for both the nasal voice of vocalist Mark Shelton and his eclectic style of songwriting, with many of his compositions taking place in fantastical universes combining elements of ancient mythologies and of popular culture mythos, such as Robert E. Howard’s Conan and H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu. After a major breakup in 1992, the band was reformed by Shelton in the mid-90s, although without co-founder Scott Park and a record label. The following years for Manilla Road were spent mostly by taking gigs in underground mid-western shows without the release of any new material. Seemingly forgotten, Manilla Road was re-discovered by the metal scene after performing at the Bang Your Head festival in 2000, which resulted in the band signing a new record deal and the eventual releases of ”Atlantis Rising” in 2001, and “Spiral Castle” in 2002.This second era of Manilla Road continued until the death of founder Mark Shelton, who died in 2018 the day after the band played an outdoor festival in Germany. Over more than 40 years as a band, Manilla Road released sixteen studio albums, three live albums, and various other projects. To see a complete discography and much more about Manilla Road, visit their Wikipedia page:
_____Will Matthews – Kansas City
Three time Grammy award winning guitarist Will Matthews is a native of Kansas City, Missouri who grew up on the East side of town. He developed a love of the guitar from listening to it played by his grandfather, Joseph Matthews Sr. (aka Little Joe Matthews). Matthews Sr. was born in Mississippi in 1900 and played guitar in the Delta Blues style. By age 13, Will got his first guitar and started taking private lessons while learning R&B, Pop and Funk songs from records and the radio. By age 15, he was playing for church and for R&B, Pop and Funk bands, being chaperoned by adult family members on short regional tours during the summer months when school was not in session. Will soon discovered Jazz, and began listening to all the great Jazz guitarist, starting with Kenny Burrell’s ‘Round Midnight’ album, then Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Grant Green, Pat Martino, Joe Pass, and many more. At age 18 he began his study of jazz guitar in earnest with instructor Hurley Dennis at the Mutual Musicians Foundation. Around 1985 Matthews was approached by Eddie Baker, founder of the Charlie Parker Foundation, to play for his New Breed Orchestra, who performed a lot of Basie Orchestra charts. Eddie gave Will a cassette tape of the Basie Orchestra and told him, ‘listen to the guitar player, this is what I want you to do with my band’.That’s when Matthews started absorbing the guitar style and technique of Freddie Green. In 1996 Matthews was asked to join the Count Basie Orchestra, filling the coveted chair of legendary guitarist and composer Freddie Green, who had previously been with Basie for 50 years until his passing. Since then Will has played on every live and studio recording made by the Orchestra. Three of these that won Grammys are ’Count Basie Orchestra Live at Manchester Guild’ (1997), ‘Count Plays Duke’ (1999), and ‘Basie Swings the Blues’ (2024), as well as the Grammy-nominated recording ‘Swing Shift’ in 2000. Since joining the Orchestra, Matthews has performed at every major jazz festival, concert hall, theatre and night club in the world, touring across Africa, Asia, Australia, South America, North America, and Europe. Memorable gigs include performing at the Royal Palace in Bangkok, Thailand for King Bhumbibol in 1996, performing in 1997 at President William J. Clinton’s second inaugural in Washington DC, and in 2012, performing for First Lady Michelle Obama at a Campaign Fundraiser for President Barack Obama at the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City. A short list of ‘who’s who’ artists Matthews has performed with over the years include Joe Williams, Arthur Prysock, Jay McShann, Bloodstone, Carmell Jones, Ahmad Alaadeen, Frank Foster, Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison, Benny Powell, Hank Jones, Benny Carter, Milt Jackson, Lou Donaldson, Kenny Burrell, George Benson, Johnny Mathis, Nancy Wilson, Marlena Shaw, Patti Austin, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dianne Reeves, Rosemary Clooney, Charles Earland, Chick Corea, Regina Carter, Marcus Roberts, Wynton Marsalis, Ellis Marsalis, Tom Scott, Tito Puente, Neal Hefti, Buddy Guy, Bobby Rush, Robert Cray, Bettye Lavette and Keb Mo’. Matthews released his debut CD, ‘Will Matthews Solo’ in November of 2000. His second CD titled ‘Count on Swingin’ was released in 2009 and features organist Mel Rhyne (Wes Montgomery Trio), saxophonist Bobby Watson (Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers), and drummer Kenny Phelps. Matthews was one of several guest artists performing on the 2010 PBS documentary ‘From Separate to Equal: The Creation of Truman Medical Center.’ The film featured Matthews playing his composition ‘Mikayla’s Song’ from the ‘Count on Swingin’ CD. Matthews is also featured in the Kevin Willmott film ‘Jayhawker’ performing a song in a night club scene with vocalist/actress Queen Bey. When on break from touring, Matthews performs with his own groups: The Saturday Night Trio, Mood Swings, and The B-3 Organ Project. He endorses D’Addario Strings, and D’ Angelico Guitars Japan.
_____The Micronotz – Lawrence
The Micronotz, also known as the Mortal Micronotz, were an American punk rock/ alternative rock quartet formed in 1980 in Lawrence, Kansas that, along with bands like The Embarrassment and Get Smart! were prominent on the local music scene in Lawrence during the early 80s. The band formed in 1980, when all the members were still teenagers. The Embarrassment were looking for an opening band for a show they had booked on December 12, 1980 at the “Off The Wall Hall” (now known as “The Bottleneck”). The Embarrassment knew John Harper and knew that he was putting a band together, so they asked him if his band could open the show, but the band hadn’t actually formed yet. At this point, the band just consisted of John Harper on guitar and David Dale on bass, so a drummer and singer needed to be recruited. Dean Lubensky and Graham Reece were recruited as vocalist and drummer. Dean was a good fit and became the permanent singer, and Steve Eddy replaced Reece as the drummer. The band soon came to the attention of local music promoter, Bill Rich, who wrote about them for his “Talk Talk” magazine and then signed them to his Fresh Sounds record label. Their first release for Fresh Sounds was the 4-band split cassette “Fresh Sounds From Middle America (Vol.1)” in December of 1981, just one year after the band formed. The “Fresh Sounds” compilation series was organized by Bill Rich as a way to promote regional bands nationally.When the band discovered that Bill Rich was an acquaintance of William S. Burroughs, they asked for an introduction, and Burroughs would end up giving them some lyrics for a song (“Old Lady Sloan” from the “Mortal Micronotz” album). Lead singer, Dean Lubensky, left the band sometime after the 1984 “Live Recording of the Video Soundtrack” EP. He was replaced by Jay Hauptli, who would remain the band’s vocalist throughout the rest of their career and subsequent reunions. After releasing three albums and two EPs, the band broke up in 1986. By 1995, renewed interest in the band lead Fresh Sounds to release two Micronotz compilations, called ”Complete Recordings Volume 1 and 2” where the first volume covered the Dean Lubensky recordings, and the second covered the Jay Hauptli recordings. A tribute album was also put together featuring William S. Burroughs and various other artists. The band still does occasional reunion shows, with Matt Kesler, formerly of the Pedaljets, playing bass in place of the deceased David Dale. In 2016, the Bar/None label digitally reissued the band’s entire catalog.
For more information on The Micronotz, visit their Wikipedia page:
_____The Moving Van Goghs – Manhattan
The Moving Van Goghs was a Manhattan, KS-based rock band that existed in the late 1980s through the early 1990s. Brian Harris, with brothers Michael and Mitchell Leggs, formed The Moving Van Goghs in Manhattan while students at Kansas State University in 1986. During its heyday, the band was courted by, and played showcases for, record labels such as MCA, Atlantic, and Virgin, but never successfully inked a deal during the record industry’s feeding frenzy at the dawn of the grunge movement. Despite the absence of a major label deal, the band managed to independently release three recordings: The Moving Van Goghs (1988), Wintermind EP (1990), and Octaphenia EP (1992), They also toured regionally, sharing the stage with acts like:The Flaming Lips, Nova Mob, The Lemonheads, These Immortal Souls, The Swans, Too Much Joy, B.O.M.B., The Embarrassment, Scruffy the Cat, The Pedaljets and Love Tractor. Since the group’s disbanding in 1992, tracks by The Moving Van Goughs have appeared on a number of various artist compilation CDs, some of which are still available.
_____Patriarch – Lawrence .

In 1981 the band Patriarch was formed in Lawrence, Kansas. Patriarch is: Gregg Anderson (guitar, violin, vocals), Jeff Carroll (bass, vocals), Chuck Huels (keyboards, vocals), Steve Kuker (drums, vocals), and Mike Maxwell (guitar, vocals).
The band immediately focused on writing epic and meticulous progressive rock original music. Their sound is amazing and includes full keyboards, a hot rhythm section of drums and bass, two power guitars with tasteful solos, a world-class violinist, and features big-time vocals. All of the guys can sing, and their melodies and power block vocal harmonies are impressive.
For years, Patriarch practiced at least 3 nights a week, for 3-5 hours per night, played most weekends performing locally and regionally, and did a lot of recording. Their first EP was recorded in 1983 at Studio West in Olathe, Kansas. The band formed a record label called T.E.D. Records, in honor of Ted Maxwell (Mike’s father) who loaned the band the funds to produce their first record. Today the EP “Patriarch, First Hand” is selling all over the world for $200-$500 each! The band shopped their original music to record labels in New York but at the time, the labels were more interested in the English sound from across the pond, and Patriarch was declined. The following year, the band traveled to California to shop their music to major labels in Los Angeles. The west coast labels were much more receptive to the progressive rock sound of Patriarch. The band had interest from RCA and Atlantic records. Ultimately, Atlantic Records was very interested in the band, but Patriarch was not signed.
The guys had to make the difficult decision to set a date, and if they were not signed by that date, they agreed to move on with their lives. The band did not get signed and went their separate ways in 1987 to pursue careers, continuing education, and raising their families. They have stayed in touch over the years and have seen each other in person on occasion. However, for 27 years, they had not all been in the same room together… until 2014.
The flame never died for Patriarch. The guys all live in different cities and states now, so they hadn’t been able to practice together until 2014, with the discovery of new technology that creates a virtual studio where all of the guys are connected through the Internet. They had always been interested in doing a reunion concert and writing new material. Patriarch was fortunate enough to be able to perform a reunion concert on March 13th, 2014 at The Uptown Theater in Kansas City, Missouri. Their reunion and concert was filmed, and a documentary called “Getting the Band Back Together” was produced and is available on YouTube. The documentary and reunion concert were sponsored by Google Fiber.
Patriarch’s original studio recordings as well as the live tracks from the Uptown Theater are now available to the public. Video footage of the entire reunion concert “Patriarch: Live at The Uptown Theater” is also be available on YouTube. Patriarch is back! The guys are now practicing together again, writing new material, and performing concerts as the headline or pre-act. What does the future hold for Patriarch? STAY TUNED!! For more information about Patriarch, please visit the website:
_____Paw – Lawrence
Paw was an American rock band from Lawrence, KS that was formed in 1990. The band’s original line-up consisted of vocalist Mark Hennessy, guitarist Grant Fitch, bassist Charles Bryan, and drummer Peter Fitch. They released two studio albums – “Dragline”, and “Death To Traitors” for A&M Records. They also released the B-side and outtake collection, “Keep The Last Bullet For Yourself” and the EP “Home Is a Strange Place” before disbanding in 2000.
Paw was frequently cited by industry insiders as potentially “the next Nirvana”, and a bidding war erupted to sign them.The band signed a three-album deal with A&M Records during the height of the Grunge wave, and released their first album “Dragline” in 1993. Their most well-known songs are from this period, which received moderate rotation on the radio and on Headbangers Ball, MTV’s hard rock/heavy metal showcase. Music videos were made for the hits “Jessie”, “Couldn’t Know”, and “Sleeping Bag”. Paw toured the UK in 1993, supporting Tool with Headswim (months after Tool’s UK support slot with Rage Against The Machine), introducing the band to an audience outside of America. The band recorded two sessions for BBC Radio One’s rock show in 1993 (when they played the Reading Festival). Their songs “Jessie”, “Pansy” and “The Bridge” (plus an alternate version of the video of the first) were used in the 3DO, PC, Segma Saturn and Play Station versions of the video game Road Rash.
In 1995, the band released its second album, “Death To Traitors” on A&M Records, recorded as a three-piece following the departure of bass player Charles Bryan, guitarist Grant Fitch doubled up on bass for the recording (with the help of two additional sessionist). During this period, the band evolved by adding more instrumental and country elements to soften their hard rock edge. The band toured Europe and the UK in early 1995, as well as touring Australia in October 1995. While the album received favorable reviews from the press, sales were less successful, and Paw was dropped by A&M in 1996, before their contract was fulfilled.
In 1998, Grant Fitch, Peter Fitch and Dan Hines formed the band Palomar and released the album “World Without Horses” under their label Outlaw Records. A reviewer described Palomar as “a gentler and more melodic sound than Paw.” Paw also released a full-length compilation of B-sides and rarities entitled “Keep The Last Bullet For Yourself” under said label. Paw still played together during this period, and both “World Without Horses” and “Keep The Last Bullet For Yourself” were released on these shows. Around this time, Mark left the band briefly and was replaced by Steve Tulipana (of Season To Risk fame).
In 2000, founding members Hennessy and Fitch signed Paw with Koch Records and released the mini-album ”Home Is A Strange Place” that same year. The new album incorporated a more pronounced southern rock element.
Shortly after that, the group disbanded. However, Paw still gets back together for occasional reunions, the latest being in 2019.

_____Ricky Dean Sinatra – Lawrence
Out of a lot of Kansas bands in the late 1980s, Ricky Dean Sinatra is one of the most original, popular, and enduring bands from that era. Alan Murphy (aka Ricky Dean) is not only a terrific front man but a great stream-of-conciousness type of unique poet/songwriter. Mark Roseberry (aka Dewey Mantini) is an original guitar player and Rock ‘n Roll poet in his own right. Shaw Wilson (aka Clovis Salvadore) is a very inventive drummer who went on to co-found the Country music group BR5-49. In the late 1980’s into the early 90’s, Ricky Dean Sinatra was the toast of Lawrence, with many newspaper articles, TV appearances, and huge crowds wherever they played. They were part of a recent documentary by Lawrence filmmaker Chris Snipes which was broadcast on Lawrence cable TV, and also on KC Public Television station KCPT. A 2010 CD release with 21 songs,“Galaxy of Love” documents the band’s heyday. Ricky Dean Sinatra is undoubtedly part of the great story of Kansas music.
_____The Rockin’ Continentals -Topeka
The Rockin’ Continentals made two 45s for the Kansas-based Casino label in 1962 – 63. The group came from Topeka, Kansas. Members included Johnny Thompson on lead guitar and vocals, Melvin Ralston on rhythm guitar, Chuck Smith on bass, and Bob Stanley on drums. The Rockin’ Continentals’ first release was a great rockabilly song with fierce drumming and scorching guitar and piano breaks called “The 309,” written by Johnny Thompson. The singer has a strong southern accent that doesn’t appear on their other songs. The original A-side was “2-3-4,” written by Melvin Ralston, which in comparison is basic riffing on blues changes. Their next and last single was “Cobra 289” written by Ralph Sandmeyer in tribute to the Ford/Shelby AC Cobra sports car first manufactured in 1962. Bob says that “Ralph Sandmeyer was a songwriter and close friend of Johnny Thompson.” “Count Dracula” is mainly instrumental with a spooky reverbed riff. Like “The 309,” it was written by Johnny Thompson. The Rockin’ Continentals are well known to Rockabilly and Garage band collectors worldwide. Both of these records are considered highly sought after collectibles, and have appeared on multiple compilation CD’s over the years.

_____Mike Schmidt – Lawrence

Mike Schmidt began his career in radio in the early 1970s while a student of radio-tv-film at the University of Kansas, as a member of the on-air staff of both KUOK and KANU. During finals week May of 1972, Mike received a phone call from KLWN/Lawrence regarding an on-air position. He interviewed for the job and was hired. This entailed doing the evening to sign-off position for KLWN AM, the duties of which included feeding the cattle that station owner, Arden Booth had grazing on the land surrounding the radio tower.
After a few months, Mike was promoted to doing both AM Drive and PM Drive air shifts for KLWN-FM, as well as serving as program director for the contemporary hit station. On home KU football weekends he also did air traffic reports from high above Lawrence as the “Baron Von Schmidt.” Over the ensuing months, KLWN- FM began gaining listeners as well as attracting commercial sponsors. Industry trade publications and record companies began to take notice as the station became known for helping break new records and being among the first in the nation to add new singles.
In the mid-70s, KLWN FM changed call letters to KLZR and its identity as “The LAZER”, bridging the gap between a traditional CHR (contemporary hit radio) and a Progressive album-oriented station.
Together with the combined efforts of the record labels, local feedback from record stores in Lawrence and Kansas City, and the Lawrence Opera House, emerging acts routed through Lawrence and gave area music fans more opportunities to see as well as hear new bands and established touring acts. Rock, blues, ska and reggae, new wave pop and progressive bands came to town. Lawrence was gaining attention as a hot spot for emerging music and talented regional musicians and bands and remains so today.
In 1979, Mike joined the staff of KBEQ, Kansas City as Music Director and on-air talent when the station sought to shed its “teeny-bopper” image and attract a larger share of the 18-35 demo. In 1981, Mike headed West and a position as Music Director and on-air talent for highly rated KPKE, Denver, an AOR station owned and operated by Doubleday Broadcasting. With a chain-wide format change, he left Denver and spent the balance of the 80s as Program Director of two different stations in Springfield, MO, the local legend “Rock99” and US97.
Mike is the recipient of several Gold and Platinum record awards from the record industry for being among the first programmers in the country to play them and make them hits. He remains a fan of live music and hearing more new music than oldies, even though he’s now one himself.
_____Mark Schultz – Colby

Mark Schultz is a Contemporary Christian music artist from Colby, KS. He’s been nominated for numerous Dove Awards (the Christian Music equivalent of a Grammy), winning his first when the 2005 DVD/CD “Mark Scultz Live: A Night of Stories & Songs” was named Long Form Music Video of the Year at the 2006 Dove Awards Ceremony. The Word Records release also attained Platinum status (sales of two million copies or more), peaking at #6 Pop and #12 on the Christian music charts.
As one of Christian Music’s most compelling storytellers and recognizable voices, Mark Schultz has become enormously popular. During a music career now spanning several decades, Shultz has recorded numerous hit singles, albums and DVD’s with a crossover appeal pushing sales worldwide into the millions. While grateful for all the worldly success he’s been blessed with, Mark has never lost sight of his primary goals in life: to remain a humble servant of God that does His will and spreads His word, while being a loving husband and father to his wife and children. To those ends, he has for some years now scaled back on touring, recording and performing in order to focus with his wife on raising their three children.
This doesn’t mean Schultz is retiring from a life in music. It means he’s reordering that life. For the rest of his life, that order will be Mark Schultz: Christian man, Family man, and Music man.
_____Greg Skaff – Wichita
Greg Skaff plumbs the depths of creative artistry and honest emotion in his guitar playing, showing himself to be among the leading proponents of jazz music anywhere. No exaggeration. The native Kansan, whose first professional job was a five-year stay in the band of saxophone giant Stanley Turrentine, has flourished as a first-call sideman in New York City since the 1980s. He’s played gigs and/or recorded with past masters Ruth Brown, Freddie Hubbard, and David “Fathead” Newman as well as notables Ron Carter, Ben Allison, Bruce Barth, Pat Bianchi, George Colligan, Orin Evans, Joe Farnsworth, David Hazeltine, Mike LeDonne, Victor Lewis, Gloria Lynne, Ralph Peterson Jr., Jim Rotondi, E. J. Strickland, Bobby Watson, Matt Wilson, and others. Fronting his acclaimed trio, Greg has commanded the attention of discriminating listeners in club and festival performances throughout the country, including gigs at Smalls Jazz Club, Mezzrow, the Bar Next Door, the 55 Bar, and the Iridium in Manhattan, at the Artists’ Quarter in St. Paul, and at the Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy. Greg’s five feature albums have been well-received by jazz fans everywhere. The latest is ‘Soulmation’, his fifth overall and fourth consecutive release on the high-profile ZOHO Music label. For more information on Greg, visit his website:
____The Upside Dawne – Lawrence
The Upside Dawne performed throughout the Midwest out of Lawrence in the mid/late ‘60s, playing a variety of rock, blues, and R&B music. In 1967 the band recorded an album at Audio House in, Lawrence. The group went through several evolutions, at times performing with a horn section and psychedelic lighting. The Upside Dawne was a working group, and most importantly it was the starting point for a number of outstanding Kansas musicians who sharpened their skills playing in the group. Upside Dawne alumni who have already been inducted by the KSMHoF include Steve Hall, Jim Stringer, as Paul Miller (as members of Tide), Garth Fundis (a major league Nashville record producer), and the late Scott Korchak, as a member of the Grammy-nominated Blue Riddim Band.
_____Kelly Werts – Junction City
Kelly Werts has performed traditional and popular music throughout the Midwest for nearly thirty years. Kelly’s vocal and highly-individual guitar styles stem from a broad background of musical interests ranging from old-time folk music to blues and country. He has worked regionally with singers such as Connie Dover, Ann Zimmerman and Ashley Davis, as well as The Plaid Family, The Sons of Rayon, and more recently, Tiny Flowers. He has appeared at the Walnut Valley Festival several times with the Plaid Family and in a duo with his wife, accordion player Diana Werts. Kelly’s music has also been featured in movies and television, notably for the theme music to the KCPT-TV syndicated series on PBS, “Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations”. He placed twice in the National Fingerpicking Championship at Winfield, after winning the Kansas State Fingerpicking Championship. Kelly grew up in Junction City, has lived in Wichita, and currently lives in Fairway, part of the Kansas City metro area.
_____Larry Williams – Kansas City
Lawrence Lowell Williams is an American record producer, composer, arranger, and multi-instrumentalist who was born in Kansas City, KS and grew up in Overland Park. Williams studied at Indiana University School of Music, where he met Jerry Hey and Kim Hutchcroft, who would later become members of Seawind. He left Indiana University to work full-time with Seawind in Hawaii.
Soon after, he began regularly touring and recording with Al Jarreau. “He knows me inside and out” Jarreau said of Williams. “It was just natural for him to do (my) arrangements, because he knows where I’ve been, what I like doing, and how I am onstage”.
Williams burgeoning career as a session player had him playing tenor saxophone, flute and keyboards on Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album. Among others he’s recorded with are Christopher Cross, David Crosby, Helen Reddy, Lee Riperton, Lionel Richie, Mezzoforte, Michael Bolton, Michael Franks, Minnie Riperton, Natalie Cole, Olivia Newton-John, Pat Benetar, Patrice Rushen, Paul Young, Pink Floyd, Randy Newman, Ray Parker, Jr., Richard Marx, Rick Astley, Roberta Flack, Sheena Easton, Simply Red and Stevie Nicks.
For more info: Career Highlights – Larry Williams | Official Site
_____Annie Wilson – Wichita
Rancher, songwriter, and educator Annie Wilson is a founding member of the Tallgrass Express String Band formed in 2004. She has written and recorded nearly 60 songs in their 4-volume “Songs of the Kansas Flint Hills” CD series. In 2013 she was named the “Flint Hills Balladeer” by the State of Kansas. Her music has been featured in KANSAS! Magazine and on Sunflower Journeys. For the last seven years, her songs have been winners in the Winfield bluegrass festival song-writing contest. Annie was a recipient of the 2020 Friend of the Flint Hills award from the Flint Hills Discovery Center for her work creating resources for Flint Hills schools and Native Studies projects. Annie and her husband John operate the Five Oaks Ranch west of Cottonwood Falls.
_____XV – Wichita
Donavan LaMond Johnson (born July 9,1985) better known by his stage name XV is an American rapper, singer and songwriter from Wichita, KS. He first gained major attention after the release of his twelfth mixtape Everybody’s Nobody, for which he received two awards from His name, XV, refers to the age (15) at which he began his musical career. On July 26, 2010, XV announced that he had signed a recording contract withWarner Brothers Records via his Twitter page. Although two other labels were vying for the artist, he chose Warner Brothers, stating he felt the label had room to expand. Everybody’s Nobody was the first mixtape that helped XV gain fame outside of Kansas. Although the mix tape did not receive immediate acclaim, it has now been downloaded over 30,000 times. XV’s musical style employs the use of soulful, old school beats combined with a “futuristic twist”. His voice is described as “youthful yet deep [with] a refreshing articulation,” drawing comparisons to Drake. In an interview with Spinner, XV described his music as universal, as he employs melodic beats but includes “heavy and hard hitting drums which keeps the hard and street essence of hip hop instilled in the music.” He continued that his lyrics reflect his charismatic personality and he enjoys playing on words, and creating different song concepts. He also revealed his fascination with video games. One of his more popular songs, “Mirror’s Edge,” was inspired by the video game of the same name. He said, “The song isn’t talking about the video game, I just felt it fit the same mood as that video game and I liked the fact that the game was about running free and defying laws of gravity in real life.” He also created the song “Final Fantasy XV,” which alludes to the Final Fantasy video game franchise, particularly Final Fantasy VII. In an interview with HipHop DX, XV described how he enjoys collaborating with other artists, learning about their styles and incorporating elements of them within his own. He cites fellow artists Andre 3000, Rivers Cuomo from Weezer, Jay-Z, John Mayer, Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco as inspirations for his music.