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Reasons to heart Valentine’s week in KC music: KC Folk Festival, Fathers, Hembree

Mary Chapin Carpenter
Singer/songwriter Ani DiFranco DAVID EULITT/The Kansas City Star DAVID EULITT/The Kansas City Sta | DAVID EULITT/Kansas City Star
Kawehi Courtesy of Fleming Artists
Pink Royal
Hembree The Waldron Photograph Co. | THE WALDRON PHOTOGRAPH CO.

Happy Valentine’s Day week. Happy KC Folk Festival week. Happy Peter Cetera week. Hopefully you’re excited about one of those things.

What a week it’s going to be. So many great show as we work our way through the middle of the February music calendar. It’s not mentioned below, but Peter Cetera is at Kauffman Center on Sunday, Feb. 18. If you grew up watching “Karate Kid” over and over again on VHS (no, millennial, DVD and streaming don’t count), he’ll always have a special place in my nostalgic heart (here’s a video for you).

My picks lean heavy on the weekend, so make sure you hustle this week so you can spend the weekend hanging out in clubs, theaters and hotel ballrooms.

Yes, I said hotel ballrooms.

The KC Folk Festival is on Sunday, Feb. 18, and 20-plus musicians will play in four different ballrooms at The Westin Crown Center as part of the 3rd annual KC Folk Festival. It runs from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and $30 gets you in the door. I promise you a great time if you can make it.

See you out there.

02/16 Pink Royal/Y God Y/The Fey/Fathers at recordBar

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Click HERE to watch a video show in one take by Fathers, feel free to join in on the hand claps

The band Fathers emerged in mid-2017 and I’ve been a fan since. Their folky indie pop brings to mind Sufjan Stevens, but I’ve yet to see them live. Friday night at recordBar should remedy that nicely.

The funky indie rock vibes of Pink Royal, the beautifully produced music of Y God Y and The Fey are always a party on stage. The Fey used to be called AZP; you may have seen them play at Middle of the Map 2017. They’re driving in from Lincoln, NE and always manage to put on a great show.

02/17 Hembree/Jessica Paige part of Jayrock, a fundraiser show at The Uptown

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Click HERE to watch Hembree in the studio recording their song, Had It All

While watching The Olympics this weekend I saw the new commercial for Apple that uses the song “Holy Water” from Hembree. You may have also seen it during The Grammys. These guys are blowing up and they deserve all the love and accolades.

On Saturday night they’re playing a fundraiser show at The Uptown called Jayrock with Jessica Paige, whose powerful vocals and amazing horn section always make for a great night out. Head to this show to hear great music and support a great cause.

02/17 CS Luxem/Kawehi/Hush Machine at The Bottleneck

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Click HERE to watch a unique video from Kawehi taking a stroll down Mass. St. in Lawrence.

Kawehi hit the national spotlight when a video of looping, building and performing “Closer” by Nine Inch Nails went viral. She’s toured the world and while we’re name dropping big time events like The Grammys and The Olympics, she was featured in a Super Bowl commercial in 2017.

Her shows are unique and she shows you how she creates her music. Layer on layer of vocal effects, keyboard and guitar work and some magical loopers concoct the foundation as her lyrics tell a great story.

We’re lucky to call her a “local musician” as she lives near Lawrence. Check out this video of her walking down Massachusetts Street doing her thing. Shockingly, few are alarmed as she sings and plays her way down the street.

02/18 2018 Kansas City Folk Festival 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center

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Click HERE to watch Rev Seko move your soul! He’s one of 20-plus acts playing The KC Folk Festival

Perhaps you’ve been to a big summer festival like Coachella, Bonnaroo or Lollapalooza. You run around, trekking miles across fields in 100 degrees weather.

Now imagine this: what if there was a fest that happened ALL inside of a hotel, there were chairs and you’re not dripping sweat? Sounds great, right?

On top of that, it’s family friendly, there’s free parking, musicians from all around the world are there, it’s right in the heart of downtown KC, it has four stages — and is only $30.

Wait. I forgot to mention you won’t have to stay up all night either; it runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the festival headliner, Mary Chapin Carpenter going on stage at 4PM.

Do you know Mary Chapin Carpenter? Her new album “Sometimes Just The Sky” comes out March 30, 2018. She’s sold more than 12 million albums, she’s got about a half dozen Grammys, she’s in the Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame — she’s done it all.

Head to the festival website for a full schedule and all the info you need to know about the third annual Kansas City Folk Festival. I’m telling you, it will be one of the musical highlights of 2018!

02/20 Ani DiFranco/Gracie and Rachel at The Madrid

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Click HERE to watch Ani DiFranco play a Tiny Desk Concert

Since 1990 Ani DiFranco has released nearly 20 solo studio albums. 20!

Needless to say she’s a prolific songwriter and in this current political climate she’s singing from stage every night what a lot of us are thinking as we read and watch the news everyday. I’ve seen her play about a dozen times and recently had the chance to meet her. I totally fanboyed over her before I finally walked up to her and thanked her for making music.

This will be her first time she plays The Madrid. I love that room, and combined with her style of music it’s going to make for an amazing night.

Throw on your best political tee, grab your friends that you marched with at a recent protest and head to Midtown to catch another memorable concert from one of my favorite songwriters.


Reasons to heart Valentine’s week in KC music: KC Folk Festival, Fathers, Hembree