HN announces full Good Living Tour lineups; Once songwriting contest (and I’m on the panel); Matt Pond PA tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:01 pm May 7, 2015
Matt Pond PA

Matt Pond PA at Slowdown Jr., May 11, 2010

by Tim McMahan,

First, if you haven’t already, check out this week’s podcast. Reviews of albums from Courtney Barnett, Waxahatchee, John Klemmensen and the Party and Simon Joyner, with special guest Chris Aponick, plus a HUGE concert announcement (that we made online here yesterday and that you’re going to get sick of hearing about). Check it out.

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Over the course of what seems like a month (But was only a week or so) Hear Nebraska has  announced the line-ups of its Good Living Tour — a series of concerts the org is putting together in towns west of Omaha and Lincoln. It’s kind of like musical missionary work.

Actually, that’s a very pretentious way of putting it. It’s not as if the people in small towns don’t have access to the internet, where music lives these days. You can’t point to their lack of a terrestrial radio station that plays local music on rotation because, well, Omaha doesn’t have one of those, either.

That said, it’s safe to say that someone in West Point or Valentine is out of touch with indie rock bands in Omaha and Lincoln because the vast majority of people in Omaha and Lincoln also are out of touch with these same bands. Brad Hoshaw and John Klemmensen may draw a few hundred people to their album release shows; but that leaves about 800,000 people in Omaha who still don’t know who they are.

And as I’ve said before (broken record) the next time you’re in line at Hy-Vee tap the shoulder of the person in front of you and ask if they know who Cursive or Conor Oberst is, or for that matter, what Hear Nebraska is. Let’s not kid ourselves. The organization still has a lot of work to do to get the word out in its own back yard, let alone in rural Nebraska.

Still, this is a cool project that sits at the heart of what Hear Nebraska is all about. It’s rare for the folks in these towns to see these bands perform. Check out these dates and line-ups, gas up and take a road trip:

July 17 — Imperial
The Talbott Brothers
See Through Dresses
The Bottle Tops

July 18 — Ogallala
Lloyd McCarter

July 19 — Gering/Scottsbluff
McCarthy Trenching

July 20 — Valentine
Kris Lager Band
All Young Girls Are Machine Guns

July 21 — North Platte
M34n Str33t
Brad Hoshaw
A Ferocious Jungle Cat

July 22 — Kearney
Josh Hoyer and the Shadowboxers
The Seen
Mike Adams and Friends

July 23 — West Point
Rock Paper Dynamite
John Klemmensen and the Party
Dustin Prinz

July 24 — Nebraska City
A Summer Better Than Yours
Kill County
The So-So Sailors

July 25 — Grand Island
Simon Joyner & The Ghosts
Icky Blossoms

More info, including times and venue locations, are available right here at

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When I agreed to be the moderator of next Monday’s “pro panel” discussion sponsored by Omaha Performing Arts that’s being held at The Waiting Room (Mike Mogis, CJ Olson, Orenda Fink, Matt Whipkey, 6 p.m, free!) I didn’t know I also was volunteering to be a judge in a songwriting contest. I, uh, don’t usually like music contests, of any kind. Songwriters competing against each other, what’s the point? Is one song really better than another? In this case, yes.

The contestants were told to use the Broadway musical Once as an inspiration (the touring company version is currently performing the musical at the Orpheum). I listened to 50 entries, all posted on YouTube, along with a panel of judges. The obvious choices floated to the surface, and the top 20 songwriters who entered will be performing on stage after the panel discussion. The top two won something coveted by a lot of musicians (local and otherwise): Recording time with Mike Mogis at ARC Studio. Impressive.

So the winners were: Luke Heffron, 17, of Omaha won for “Forget Myself” in the 13-18 Age Division, and Drew Nenemen, 29, of Omaha won for “Another Love Song” in the 19-29 Age Division.

My general observations after going though this process: There are a lot of Jack Johnson / Dave Matthews / Taylor Swift fans out there (especially Jack Johnson fans). I was more impressed with the 13-18 age category entries as well as those who performed with a full band rather than sitting in their bathroom with a guitar on their lap. There’s a lot o’ young talent in this town, and you’ll get to see some of the best on Monday. It should be fun night.

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Tonight, it’s the return of Matt Pond PA. Seems like ol’ Mr. Pond has been coming through Omaha every few years for the past couple decades. This time the show is part of the band’s 10 Year Anniversary tour in support of one of their most beloved albums, Several Arrows Later. Each night, not only will Pond and crew play the album in full, but also a sampling of songs from their upcoming album The State of Gold, which will be released later this year. Opening is Young Buffalo and our very own See Through Dresses. $12, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, listen to Matt Whipkey’s Underwater album on a $250,000 sound system that includes a $100,000 turntable. The free event runs from 6 to 8 p.m. at The Sound Environment, 11021 Elm St. Whipkey says beer and wine will be provided. Bring your checkbook; you’ll want to go home with one of those turntables…

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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