I always think of Nick Jaina as the modern bard, traveling from town to town with his rag-tag, ever-revolving, band of musicians in tow, sweetly singing his funny, thought-provoking and deliciously sad stories. Though a seminal figure in the music scene in Portland, Oregon, Jaina tours regularly, from one end of the continent to the other.
I always have chicken poop in my pocket. A tube of Chicken Poop lip junk balm, that is. The brainchild of Simone Chickenbone (aka Jamie Tabor), this lavender and sweet orange-scented lip moisturizer is the first of many excellent products made from all natural ingredients (alas, no actual fowl feces) that can be found on her website.
Kansas-based Split Lip Rayfield is part bluegrass, part punk, with a little speed metal mixed in for good measure. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen guitar genius Wayne Gottstine play the mandolin. Actually, scratch that. All you’d see is a blur. An incredible-sounding blur.
Randy Regier is a visual and installation artist, sculptor, toy-maker, story teller, and provocateur. He is known for creating strange and controversial toys: complete in their ‘original’ packaging, they appear to have been mysteriously found in a basement, attic, lake-bottom, or in one case, a secret room revealed to gallery visitors by a hole punched through a wall.
The music made by the Kansas-based band Drakkar Sauna (Jeff Stolz and Wallace Cochran) is otherworldly. It is completely original and quirky. Angelic vocal harmonies and soulful instrumentals work slyly with strange, provocative lyrics. Anachronistic and yet fresh. Every song will make you wistful, until it makes you laugh.
For years, Jedd Beaudoin wrote the music reviews for the local art and music paper. Then NPR affiliate KMUW, based in Wichita, Kansas, gave him his own show. With a vast and eclectic musical knowledge in his arsenal, Beaudoin is the DJ we all wish we had access to in our college years.
Micro-distilled Most Wanted spirits for something exotic, but domestically produced. High Plains Distillery, with seven generations of moonshining expertise behind them, is now the first legal distillery in Kansas since prohibition.