The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 18, 2004

WSUI To Release 'Live Java Blend' CD Dec. 6

How can you get an earful of great homegrown musicians and support public radio in one fell swoop? Simple! Pick up a "Live Java Blend" to go. The CD, to be released Dec. 6, features 20 original songs by 20 artists recorded live as part of WSUI's "Talk of Iowa Live from The Java House."  

The collection ranges from the jazzy American songbook style of Susan Werner to the harmonious folk-rock melodies of The Nadas and Big Wooden Radio, and from a tragic Celtic ballad by Border Lord to a powerful love song by rhythm and blues artist Kevin "B.F." Burt.  Well-known folk veterans John Gorka and Dave Moore also contribute songs, as do such notable talents as Mike and Amy Finders, Bob and Kristie Black, Scott and Michelle Dalziel, Stuart Davis, Jen Gloeckner, Dave Zollo, Will Whitmore, Robert Morey, Patrick Brickel, Amelia Royko, Ben Schmidt, No River City and Burn Disco Burn.  

All the artists donated their performances. The colorful artwork for the CD cover was specially created for the project and donated by Iowa City artist Bekah Ash. Proceeds from the $15 CD will go to support WSUI and KSUI, the University of Iowa's public radio stations.

"The purchase also supports our public radio stations," says University of Iowa Director of Broadcasting Services Joan Kjaer. "At a time of shrinking state appropriations, it's important to generate extra revenue with creative projects like this. It's a win-win for everyone. Listeners get exposed to great local artists and local public radio hopefully gets a little financial boost." 

"It's a great collection not only to have for your own, but also to give to others," says Java House host and the CD's producer Ben Kieffer. "Think of the people in your life who might not know the awesome variety of songwriting talent found right here in Iowa."

Local music critics are giving their thumbs up to "Live Java Blend." "Here's a jolt: Some of the state' s finest singer-songwriters all on one CD, recorded live in an intimate, acoustic setting -- a cozy coffeehouse in downtown Iowa City where Ben Kieffer's Friday-morning radio broadcast has championed good music as the necessary companion to good conversation," says Kyle Munson, music reviewer for the Des Moines Register.

The "Talk of Iowa Live from The Java House" program is broadcast 10 a.m. Fridays on WSUI. The show mixes live local music with talk about contemporary arts, community, and cultural issues.

Kieffer said got the idea for the CD after he realized how many great performances were being captured on the show. "Then I thought what if I select a bunch of my favorites over the last year or so of the show and put them on a CD? I asked the artists whether they would be willing to donate their performances to benefit public radio and they answered with a resounding yes!"

The first "Live from the Java House" pilot shows broadcast in the summer of 2001 didn't have live music, but it was added soon after WSUI/KSUI chief engineer Jim Davies upgraded the transmission technology via digital ISDN lines. The early financial commitment of Java House owner Tara Cronbaugh also allowed the stations to invest in the equipment needed to go to a higher level of audio and feature live music.

"The live music component of the show is important because it reflects the amazing pool of musical talent that we have in Iowa. So often people think tremendous talent is only a bicoastal or big city thing in this country. Well, it's not. There is a lot of awesome homegrown talent right here in Iowa. Listen to this CD and I'm sure you'll agree," Kieffer said. 

After its Dec. 6 release, the CD can be purchased directly from the WSUI by coming to the studios or sending a check for $15 per CD plus $2 shipping to WSUI, 710 S. Clinton St., Iowa City, IA 52242. The CD will also be available at all Java House locations in Iowa City, New Pioneer Co-ops in Iowa City and Coralville, and Prairie Lights Books.

For online audio samples from the CD, an online order form, and a list of other locations around Iowa where the CD is on sale go to WSUI's Web site after Dec. 6 and click on "Live Java Blend" or call 319-335-5730.

WSUI's "Talk of Iowa" program on Dec. 6 at 10 a.m. will focus on Midwest artists and samples of the "Live Java Blend" CD will be played.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: George McCrory, 319-384-0012,

OTHER INFORMATION: Media producers wanting a promotional copy or an interview can contact Kieffer at 319-325-0900. Other information can be found at