Some months back, I got an email; not exactly testy, but definitely direct. The gist of it was that my monthly music coverage for St. Louis Magazine was lacking in one important respect: not enough diversity, especially racial diversity. Some of the facts presented in it, I quibbled with, but the writer had a point and I started to think about how to diversify the blend of acts that I was covering. The work involved in that was pretty simple: sit and think and contact folks.
At the start of 2016 and looking to the half-year mark: two of the artists I’ve profiled are African-American, three focus on women and one’s still to be determined. It’s a good list of varied artists so far, all of whom deserve media play.
I ended up accidentally erasing the email that kicked off my thinking on this topic and the act he was pitching (if in a unique, just-shy-of-aggressive way) is way out of my head, lost to space and memory. But the gist of the letter, even if challenging, was a worthwhile one to both make and consider; they made me look at this monthly gig in a different way and kicked me out of the autopilot, talk-to-friends-and-friends-of-friends rut I’d fallen into. By extension, I’d like to think that people can civilly, even pointedly exchange ideas and get a result. I appreciate getting the note, in retrospect, sure do. Here’s my list to date:
2016: June, Paige Alyssa; May: TBD; April, Kellie Everett; March, River Kittens; February, Paul Stanton; January, Walk Miles aka The Walkman
2015: December, Mikey Wehling & Vandeventer; November, Lliam Christy; October, Rich Wooten and Nick Barbieri; September, Clockwork; August, American Wrestlers; July, Beth Bombara; June, Animal Children; May, The Tennis Lesson; April, Ethan Leinwand; March, Aaron Griffin; February, Tom & Alice; January, Town Cars
2014: December, Tommy Flynn; November, The Dock Ellis Band; October, Mathias & The Pirates; September, Ian Fisher and The Present; August, Pat Liston; July, Big Brother Thunder & the Master Blasters; June, Lizzie Weber; May, Boxing Clever Records; April, Willis, March, Sleepy Kitty; February, Brothers Lazaroff; January, Jenny Roques
2013: December, So Many Dynamos; November, Kimmy V; October, Letter to Memphis; September, Kentucky Knife Fight; August (not in rotation); July, Tommy Halloran & Guerilla Swing; June, Syna So Pro; May, Black James; April (not in rotation); March, Mike Apirion; February (not in rotation); January, Bruiser Queen
2012: December, El Monstero; November, Tory Z. Starbuck
Looking at that list, I give myself an overall B for effort (with late push), C for execution (ditto). Moving those grades up in 2016.
(And props to Stefene Russell for the continued and appreciated work.)