Kevin Coffey launches Pops and Hisses; Hear Nebraska becomes Rabble Media; Bright Eyes Tiny Desk (Home) concert…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:54 pm September 28, 2020
Mike Mogis and Conor Oberst during the NPR Tiny Desk (Home) Concert.

And just like that, a weekend after announcing his demise at the Omaha World-Herald former OWH music reporter Kevin Coffey has launched a new music blog – Pops and Hisses. Look for music news, interviews, criticism and more, and now that Kevin is untethered from the OWH editorial yoke, expect spicy takes that we’re not used to seeing in Omaha’s great grey lady.

Another recent addition to our tiny music journalism world is Rabble Media. The successor to Hear Nebraska launched a couple weeks ago. According to the website, Rabble Media is a “for-youth, by-youth storytelling platform working to connect, engage, and develop digitally skilled young people (roughly 14-24) across urban and rural Nebraska.” The site will include stories on music, arts, culture, skateboarding, wellness, and civic engagement — which is a much broader scope than good ol’ Hear Nebraska’s original editorial mission.

Pops and Hisses and Rabble Media are welcome additions to what has become a rather barren landscape for music and arts writing. Who knows what will happen at the OWH now that Kevin is gone. As far as I can tell, Jim Minge is still publishing his Dispatch newsletter, but that’s just a calendar; good ol’ Omahype disappeared years ago.

Then there’s The Reader. It’s trying to reinvigorate its online presence, but the focus has been on the news side. BJ Huchtemann still writes about the local blues scene while Houston Wiltsey covers music outside that genre (mostly indie and pop); but both writers’ efforts are mostly for The Reader‘s monthly printed paper (which eventually make it online).

You could ask what’s the point of having music publications when there’s social media. Most bands post their upcoming gigs on their Facebook pages, and there’s no lack of music opinion on your typical news feed. That said, few people posting in social media do any sort of reporting or research. There’s value in reading local music news, interviews and opinion from sources outside the social media fray. At least there is for me, and apparently for you too, or you wouldn’t be reading this…

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The NPR Tiny Desk concert series today launched a Bright Eyes Tiny Desk (Home) concert. Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis, presumably in ARC Studios here in Omaha, and Nate Walcott somewhere in LA perform threes songs off their new Bright Eyes album, Down in the Weeds Where the World Once Was, and “Shell Games,” off The People’s Key. The episode is directed by acclaimed filmmaker and local musician Nik Fackler no less. Check it out:

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily (if there’s news) 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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Music writer Kevin Coffey leaves the OWH; Slowdown summer series continues (Kolby Cooper tonight; Andrea Von Kampen, Matt Cox Saturday)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:20 pm September 25, 2020
A view of the cattle-pen social distancing precautions used for The Slowdown’s summer music series, happening tonight and tomorrow.

This morning Kevin Coffey signed off as the music reporter at the Omaha World-Herald. Kevin’s been covering the scene for 15 years, interviewing national touring acts coming through town, reviewing their concerts and keeping up with what’s happening music-wise locally. He posted on Facebook that he’s starting a new gig at Creighton University, where I’m sure he’ll kick much ass. Kevin continued a long line of OWH music writers that included Niz Proskocil, Roger Catlin, Tony Moton, Christine Laue, Steve Millburg, Jim Healy and Jim Minge.

So who will be covering music at the OWH in Kevin’s wake? That remains to be seen. The Omaha World-Herald historically has played an important role covering the arts, but the way things have been going at the paper the past few years… It would be a shame if they cut back on coverage. Reminds of what musician/stock broker Matt Whipkey once told me: “Getting a story about the band in The Reader is great, but getting a story in The Omaha World-Herald… I mean, my parents read the Herald.” It’s true, oh so true.

At least Kevin says in Facebook he hopes to continue as a freelance contributor to the OWH. And he has other music-relate stuff up his sleeve that he’ll reveal when he’s good and ready. I have no doubt I’ll continue to bump into Kevin as shows, once we get past all this pandemic nonsense…

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The Slowdown continues its summer concert series its hosting in partnership with Maha Music Festival. The gigs are being held on the Slowdown’s parking lot with enforced social distancing in the form of cattle fencing! We’re talking 10’ by 10’ pods, each holding 10 people. There’s also some small pods for two or three people. Bring a lawn chair if you want to sit down on something other than pavement. And of course, wear a friggin’ mask!

All the rules are right here.

Tonight’s headliner outside at The Slowdown is country picker Kolby Cooper, with Pecos & the Rooftops opening at 6:30 p.m. $15

Tomorrow night (Saturday) indie-folk artist Andrea Von Kampen headlines Slowdown outside, with Matt Cox opening at 4 p.m. $15.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily (if there’s news) 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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


New music news sources: Kevin Coffey (Guest List podcast!), Dereck Higgins (Higg’s Corner!); Ed Perini (That Omaha Music Guy!)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:49 pm November 20, 2018

by Tim McMahan,

As many foliks who follow this website know, there were a couple landmark performances that took place over last weekend — the John Prine/Conor Oberst concert at The Orpheum and the Cursive show at The Waiting Room. In days gone by, I would have attended both (if I could afford it) and would have written live reviews.

But life being what it is, I missed both shows due to family stuff and work stuff. As I get older, going to shows is becoming more of a challenge. Yeah, I still go to rock shows and write about them, but fewer than in the old days, when it wasn’t uncommon to hit as many as four shows a week (Who remembers when were four GOOD shows per week in Omaha?).

Add to this the loss of Hear Nebraska‘s concert coverage and you say to yourself, “How am I supposed to keep up with what’s going on in the Omaha music scene?

Well, here are some brand new resources for local music news and reviews to check out:

— Kevin Coffey has held the mantle of Omaha’s chief music critic since taking over the music reporting chores at the Omaha World-Herald from Niz Proskocil in the fall of 2008 — that’s 10 years for those keeping count. In addition to his news and reviews work at the OWH, Kevin launched a new podcast last week called Guest List. The first episode includes interview excerpts with John Prine as well as the list of his favorite concerts. You can check out Guest List on iTunes or your iPhone’s Podcast app. I’m sure it’s also available somewhere on an Android phone…?

If you don’t know what a podcast is, check out my column in the current issue of The Reader about the Serial podcast. BTW, I tried may hand at the podcasting game way back in the spring of 2015 — Who remembers the Lazy-i podcast? I quickly discovered that all the work involved in recording and editing each episode by myself was too much for a mere 300 or so downloads. You can still check out the SoundCloud version of that old podcast at

— Omaha music legend Dereck Higgins (R.A.F., InDreama, Chemicals for starters) has been active in the YouTube world for almost a decade  Now he’s launching his own online video show called “Higg’s Corner.” And get this: The test pilot episode is going to be streamed on Adult Swim ( this Friday night at 6 p.m. CT. Higgins already has a regular one-minute feature on Adult Swim’s “Stupid Morning Bullshit” program called “Old Music Friday.”

Higgs says Higg’s Coner is a “music and life talk with a call-in line,” and you can check out that pilot episode right now here on YouTube.

— Finally, I know Ed Perini as that guy who goes to all the shows, and I mean ALL the shows — Ed has a much broader musical palette than I’ll ever have.  An “Omaha-based music enthusiast and classically trained singer,” I’ve seen Ed’s concert photos and show reviews over the years in Facebook. Now he’s launched his own Facebook page called “That Omaha Music Guy” located at If a show happened last night, chances are pretty good Ed was there. 

I wonder if Ed will be at tonight’s Cannibal Corpse show at The Waiting Room…

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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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.