A Musical Life

KMUW's Jedd Beaudoin interviews Wichitans who live a musical life... as a full-time vocation or a part-time passion.

A Musical Life is also available through Apple Podcasts.

Ways to Connect

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Rachel Phares is a cellist, viola da gambist, and teacher in the Wichita area. She graduated with a degree in cello performance from Wichita State University in 2012. Though still an active gigging cellist, her current musical focus is with an early music group called the Ad Astra Consort, who dedicates its creative focus to spreading sweet Renaissance-style grooves around the area. She is interested in music and how it relates to human connection, books, and her dog.

My name is Rachel Phares. I play the cello and the viola da gamba in the Wichita area.

Singer/songwriter Curt Mitchell was raised in rural Kansas. His music is rooted firmly in the Alt-Country, Americana genre. Today he makes his home in Wichita where he continues to write and perform.

At a young age Curt developed an appreciation for the likes of Hank Williams, Merle Haggard and George Jones through his father and was exposed to the likes of Bob Dylan, The Band and The Rolling Stones through his uncles. Both his uncles and father were musicians.

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Eric Tobias Ramos (Born 07 January, 1981) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, from Wichita, KS, most well-known for fronting musical acts Thunder Le Boom, Peerless Princess, Widows Arm and, currently, Diviner. Alongside musical blood brother, Adam Fortine, Ramos has been actively playing out live and recording for the better part of a decade. Ramos’ musical journey thus far has encompassed many genres. As a singer, he is noted for his mid-range growl and ghostly croon; his style has been compared to those of Jim Morrison, Glenn Danzig and Kurt Cobain.

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Annie Adams is currently working on an Evasive Flowers EP and performing live under that name as well as with the band Domestic Drone. The latter band will release a full-length album later this year. She is also collaborating with her former partner in Evasive Flowers, Hugo Zelado, once more. “I wouldn’t have had the confidence to start writing music if it wasn’t for him. I’m eternally grateful for that.”

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Noah Hamilton has just released the record Liberation under the name Oceanarms.

My name is Noah Hamilton. I am in a solo one-man band called Oceanarms and an acoustic group called The Living Tree.

About two years ago I decided that I wanted to pace out an album that I wanted to release. I started up a SoundCloud account and I trickled—about every month—some songs out. Then it hit me, kind of all at once, that the album was done. I had about 17 or so songs that were complete.

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Maria Elena has performed in a wide range of musical settings from the punk rock music of The Horror! to her current folk/jazz-driven duo El Cuco to The Great Plains.

“My name is Maria Elena. I play the guitar. I’m a singer-songwriter even though I don’t really love that term. But there’s really no better way to explain it for people to understand it.

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Jonathan Eaton has recorded and performed with a wide variety of Wichita bands over the last 20-plus years including ULU, Local Band, The Mess, Tom Page Trio, Order 66 and, perhaps most notably, Softie. He also once performed a show as a member of Split Lip Rayfield with his brother Jeff, a founding member of that group. Eaton lives in Wichita with his wife and children and thanks his family for their continued support.

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Matt Jansen is a Wichita-based drummer who has performed and recorded with a variety of bands including 10 Sugar Charlie and, most recently, Paper Street. He is also a sound engineer and manager at Midwest Drums & Percussion.

“My name is Matt Jansen and I’ve made money from music in a variety of ways. I’ve played the drums. I’ve gotten paid for selling musical instruments, for running sound, for recording music. Playing music? That’s probably the most satisfying but the least lucrative.

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Zack Roach is a Wichita-based musician who has recorded acclaimed albums with both Spirit of the Stairs and Senses Fail. You can hear him on several Spirit of the Stairs recordings, including Lambo Doors and with Senses Fail on Renacer

“My name is Zack Roach. I play guitar in Divorce Corpse, Spirit of the Stairs, and Senses Fail.

The first song that I learned was by Counting Crows. It was that really giant hit.

I wanted to learn some Metallica but it was way above my skill set at that point.

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A native of Oklahoma City, Tom James has lived in Denver, Boston, and rural Kansas. “My musical roots grew from folk albums my older sister gave me when I was in high school, watered by the Walnut Valley Folk Festival, late night parties after shows at the Denver Folklore Center, and then the Market Street Forum in Wichita,” he says. James hosted the monthly Acoustic Jam at Grandma’s Farm for nearly a decade and has been attending the Artichoke Songwriters Circle since shortly after its inception more than a decade ago.