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A Sweet Story Brings Award-Winner To KVMR's Intimate Community Room For Feb. 17 Local Debut

Steve Baker

Award-winning singer-songwriter Crys Matthews makes her Nevada County debut in a special KVMR 89.5 FM Community Room concert Sunday, February 17 at 5 p.m. in downtown Nevada City, but that's just the beginning of a sweet story.

Sure, it's a couple weeks off, but this may be one concert you'll be sorry you're not at, if it sells out. 

Okay, last summer, KVMR broadcaster/host Adela Wilcox, also a KVMR board member, saw Matthews at the Kate Wolf Festival, where Matthews was a major first-time discovery with her shows packed to the gills, even though she was a newcomer, according to Wilcox. 

"I felt the connection she made with the audience and her music, although relatively unknown to KVMR, was a great fit for our listeners," Wilcox recalled. "When I learned she was doing a mini-tour of Northern California in February, I felt I absolutely needed to introduce KVMR's listenership to her music."

So when she started dealing with Matthews'  agent, Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Jim Fleming, he knew Nevada City backwards and forth.  Fleming's career has included booking Nevada City legend U. Utah Phillips, feminist folk rocker Ani DiFranco and the San Francisco comedy troupe Duck's Breath Mystery Theatre, and now his roster includes veterans like Holly Near, Dougie MacLean, Washington DC's satirical Capitol Steps and even Hollywood star Jeff Daniels.

Since Matthews was one of his new, young precious finds, Fleming and Wilcox truly connected:  Community room concert, live broadcast (5 p.m., Feb. 17, 89.5 FM, 105.1 FM Truckee, kvmr.org streaming).

HER STYLE & LYRICS

"Her style is varied, with a good mix of folk, blues, bluegrass, funk and even a hint of pop," said Wilcox. "Her lyrics revolve around themes of social justice, making it in this world, and letting go and celebrating life."

"And her music is mostly danceable, even when she plays solo acoustic sets," she added. "Her lyrics are very autobiographical, which is why she connects with her audience so well."

Wonder if Matthews can back all that up?

Fairly recently, Crys was one of ten finalists (from a field of, yup, 5,000) in the  NewSong Music Competition. and after performing at Lincoln Center in  November 2017, she was named grand prize winner.  Whoa.

Now how'd she do that?

"While all of the finalists were compelling in their own way, Crys Matthews won hearts and minds with her infectious folk/blues songs that boldly explored everything from the follies of the human heart to our current political milieu," explained NewSong judge Erik Philbrook, by day an ASCAP Vice President and Creative Director.

LIFTING SPIRITS

"By wrapping honest emotions around her socially conscious messages and dynamically delivering them with a warm heart and a strong voice, she lifted our spirits just when we need it most in these troubled times," according to Philbrook. 

Responds  Matthews in one interview, "One of the first lines of one of my newest songs (Changemakers) quite literally says, 'Sitting alone in this hotel room, TV on tuned in to the news…'  Yes, the climate right now is really reshaping my music in a profound way. Prior to the past couple of years, I really didn’t write a lot of political songs, but now it’s kind of what I’m known for."

And she'll be playing the intimate Community Room just to give locals a chance to get to know her? 

Yup. 

Not bad for a national award winner, but there's more to that story, too. 

"Her history is that she's from the south, daughter of a preacher -- her mother -- and lesbian, she tells it like it is, but with a solid foundation in her faith and a good mix of inspiration, sentimentality, history and current-day reality with race and LGBTQ issues, and, oh, danceable rhythms," according to Wilcox. 

Just 30 seats, how up close and involved can you get?

(A mix of weekly news and oddities about KVMR 89.5 FM. The station is a volunteer-driven, community radio station, powered by some 200 citizen-broadcasters. For KVMR On Demand, go to archive.kvmr.org  You can hear NPR News on Morning Edition and All Things Considered, plus Pacifica's "Democracy Now" at 9 a.m. weekdays on The Bridge 105.7 FM, the station's new on-air signal.)

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KNOW & GO

WHO:  KVMR 89.5 FM 

WHAT: Singer-songwriter Crys Matthew in concert (also broadcast live on KVMR 89.5 FM, also Truckee 105.1 FM, and kvmr.orgstreaming worldwide)

WHEN: 5-7 p.m., Sunday, February 17

WHERE: KVMR Community Room, 120 Bridge Street at Spring Street, downtown Nevada City.

TICKETS: $20, available online at kvmr.org or by calling KVMR   9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays 530/265-9073

INFO:  530/265-9073  or kvmr.org/events

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