Thursday, November 12, 2015


So it's been nearly a year since our last blog post. We'd like to apologize to all of our regular readers who've surely been checking the blog daily for an update. We like to let the tension and anticipation build; that way when we do post something it's that much more exciting!

Well, Thanksgiving is only two weeks from today, which means the Christmas season is right around the corner, which means we'll be bugging you, our loyal readers/fans/friends, pretty incessantly for the next month or so about our christmastime shows.

We have some christmastime shows coming up! On Sunday, November 29, we'll be performing once again at the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts. We played our christmastime CD release concert at the CCPA in 2013 to a wonderful audience, and we're really looking forward to taking the stage there again. We'll once again be joined by our friend Patrick McAlpine on cello, and this year we'll also be joined by Catherine Kastens on piano. We're quite excited about the full ensemble for this year's christmastime shows. Tickets are available now for the show on November 29. $10 for adults, $8 for kids. We hope you can join us to kick off the holiday season!

We're also playing in the Des Moines area on Saturday, December 12, when we'll be at New Life Lutheran Church in Norwalk, and the following week, on December 19, we're playing at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Cedar Falls. Three opportunities to see our christmastime show this year! Come to one or come to all three, but we hope to see many of you this holiday season.

Looking ahead, we're working on shows for spring of 2016. We'll be at Marshalltown's Orpheum Theater on April 23, and we'll be adding others. Check our calendar, Facebook page, etc., for updates.

As always, thanks for listening (and for reading). Hope to see you at a show soon!

-Charlie & Matt

Monday, December 15, 2014

christmastime is here

Hey, folks. Well, as you likely know, last year CST released a new album of Christmas music. We called it christmastime. Still do, in fact. Most of the songs are very traditional Advent and Christmas songs for which we came up with our own arrangements for acoustic guitar, vocals, and cello. We put a LOT of time and effort into the CD, and we're quite pleased with the finished product.

The other day we played a christmastime concert at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Cedar Rapids. We really enjoy opportunities to share that music (and all of our music), and had the pleasure of singing for a very attentive and appreciative audience. We'd like to thank Gloria Dei for having us and thank everyone who came to the show.

Once Thanksgiving has passed, it's time (in my house and car, at least) to start listening to Christmas music. We tune in to a few of the local stations that play Christmas music pretty much nonstop this time of year. At home we often turn on one of the satellite music stations we get through the dish. So I hear a fairly wide variety of holiday music.

There are so many wonderful Christmas songs, both secular and religious. An amazing number, really. Yet, at the same time, there are also a lot of really, really bad holiday and Christmas songs out there. So many bad songs. Christmas shoes? Really? Then there are songs played at Christmas that aren't Christmas songs at all. Well, one, anyway. "My Favorite Things" is NOT a Christmas song, and the world needs to be reminded of that as often and as much as possible. Here ends my PSA. Sorry to digress.

It seems like every year there's at least one new Christmas song on the radio that really has no business being on the radio due to its horrible-ness. I heard a new one the other day that qualified, though I can't remember what it was...

Here's the thing, though--and this is why I'm writing this post in the first place--"Sing, Angels!" is a really, really good Christmas song (Charlie wrote the song, so I can laud its goodness while still maintaining my modesty.)! It's true! It quickly became the most popular song on our CD, and it's up against some pretty stiff competition there (my modesty may be waning a bit suddenly...). It's a good song, and I really would like for more people to hear it.

We sent copies of christmastime to a few radio stations last year. KUNI 90.9 FM and Life 101.9 FM for sure. Maybe a couple others. I don't remember; it was a long time ago. As far as I know, though, they've never played any of our christmastime songs. They could, though! And maybe if you call and request "Sing, Angels!" by Central Standard Time, they'll play it. And then more people will hear it, and that will be a good thing.

I'm not just trying to drum up CD sales here (though I admit that would be nice... please visit our CDBaby page if you'd like to purchase a CD!). I just think more people need to hear this song, 'cause it's a good song. I think we'll share it online in a couple places, too. We'll disseminate links as necessary and appropriate should we do so.

So enjoy your Advent and Christmas seasons, and please enjoy our music as well. We sincerely hope that you do. Blessings to you, and grace, and peace.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014


Well, after a nice run with our WordPress blog, we're back to the ol' BlogSpot/Blogger. Feels sort of like putting on an old favorite shirt you just rediscovered in a box of old clothes, only without the funky smell clothes get when they've been in storage for a while.

So last year, as you probably already know if you're visiting our site, we released a new CD, christmastime, which we'd talked about for many years prior and finally got around to actually doing. It was a whole lot of fun to finally get that recorded and released. It was a really different and interesting (to us, at least) process than our previous CDs, which were pretty much all original CST songs. We really enjoyed taking some very traditional, well-known songs and trying to find creative ways in which to make them distinctively CST-ified. And, you know, we think it came out pretty well.

We're already kicking around various ideas for our next studio project. In 2014, though, we'll be trying to get out and play more shows again (2013 was pretty quiet in that regard). We'll likely hit a few of our favorite venues, but we'll also be looking to explore new territory and play some new-to-us venues as well.

And finally, as you may have already discovered, we've new Internet digs! An unfortunate server crash sent our previous site into the oblivion (sad), so now we have a new site. And it's a lovely site, indeed. Please, peruse it, click on stuff (particularly the various links, as you'll find them more responsive to your clicks than things that aren't links), and do be sure to enjoy yourself.

Thanks for listening, folks!

Matt & Charlie

Friday, April 27, 2007

Farewell dear Blogspot...

Our new (and much improved - many kudos to web-wizard Greg) website is up and running at, and since it contains an integrated blog we'll be moving our updates and ruminations to

Update your blogrolls, bookmarks, etc., and we'll see you over at the new site.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

CST hits YouTube!

Seems to be the trendy thing to do now (actually, it's probably been the trendy thing to do for quite a while... we're not necessarily the with-the-times-est band out there), putting some concert footage on YouTube. We're breaking some YouTube mores by posting stuff we own the copyright to, I know, but we just can't help being rebels. Here's a most-of-the-tune clip of us playing one of the songs from the new CD in Decorah a few weeks back:

Saturday, April 21, 2007

CST on the airwaves

Don't be fooled by the lack of updated-ness of the KUNI web site--CST is returning to Live From Studio One on Monday, April 30th. We'll play songs from the new CD and be generally witty and cool, as we so often are.

You can catch the show at 7:00 p.m. on 90.9 FM in eastern Iowa, or listen to live streaming at Of course, if you’re in the area, we’d be very happy to have you join us in the studio on the UNI campus in Cedar Falls. Tickets are $3 for anyone over the age of 12. You can call 1-800-772-2440 for tickets, in case you’re worried about the show selling out…

Can’t get enough of CST on the radio? Well, we can help assuage your appetite at least a little. You can catch us again on Thursday, May 3, at 11:00 p.m. on Luther College Radio KWLC. Web streaming is available at

And speaking of radio, What I Know Now is part of KUNI's music library, along with our previous releases, so please feel free to call the station and request some CST! You can request us during Karen Impola's folk music program, KUNI's evening music program, or request that they feature CST in their Down on the Corner program, which highlights local music. The new CD is or will soon be available for airplay at other public and college radio stations as well, so please, don't be shy about requesting some of our tunes.

Thanks, as always, for listening!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

CD, Baby!

Big day in the CST administrative compound today. Matt and I played a "CD release show" at the Mill, which was interesting (as shows at the Mill generally are) and a lot of fun. It was our first chance to play a couple of the new tunes on the CD for our Iowa City fans and the band after us (if I may borrow a Barney-ism) suited up. Fun night.

Also, today we got notice from CD Baby that What I Know Now's online store is up and running. To wit:

Buy the CD
album cover
click to order

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

CD release show this Friday!

Come on down to the Mill in Iowa City this Friday evening (April 13th) to catch some of the tunes off our new CD. Enjoy some music, good food and beverages, and help us celebrate the release of What I Know Now. Cover is $6, and CST hits the stage at 9:00 p.m. Following our set will be a performance by Patrick Bloom and the Ghosts of Radio, another of Iowa City's fine local acts.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

And then there were five

It's not the Storyhill discography yet by any means, but on the other hand we're still at a point where we can expand our catalog by 25% in a single morning. There is much rejoicing around the CST complex this morning.

EDIT - click here for the first review of the new disc.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

These posters will start going up around Decorah tomorrow. Whee!

A correction from the last post - our performance on KWLC's 30 Minutes/Thursday show won't be broadcast until May 3. Feel free to tune in Thursday night anyway - I'm sure whoever's playing will do a lovely job - but no CST webstream for a few weeks yet.

Friday, March 23, 2007

CST = College Show Time!

Next Thursday we're playing at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Our second college show ever (if one limits the definition of "college show" to only include colleges neither of us are attending at the time) and a place we've been excited to play since our own college days. We're quite excited and most nervous. And Matt has a cold and is all hoarse and phlegmy, so the show's obviously a shoo-in for awesomeness.

It'll be the first time we play some of our new stuff live and it's a free show, so if you find yourself in the Decorah area next Thursday at 9:00 stop on by the Student Union basement.

And even if you're not in the Decorah area, you can listen to us on KWLC radio's 30 Minutes on a Thursday broadcast - webstreamed from here. The show's on at 11:00 p.m. Central and they claim the streaming will even work on dial-up. It's a similar format to KUNI's Live From Studio One, which we've played a few times (although only half an hour long) - a mix of live music and interview time. We'll play at least one of our brand new songs on the air, too.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

And here it is:

The CD is in production. Oh, excitement is mounting! Keep checking back for exciting news about CD release shows and other fun stuff.

Monday, March 12, 2007


Here is what I know now:
  • Central Standard Time's third full-length, all-original CD is finished and set for production to begin.
  • The new CD should be (cross your fingers, knock on wood, etc.) in our hands in time for our March 29th show at Luther College.
  • The new CD has been a long time coming. We've been working on it in one way or another for about... four years (?). I think that's right.
  • The title of the CD is What I Know Now.
Whew... more to come soon!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

And that was really fast

Sent in for mastering yesterday morning, back to me this morning. Matt Nelson, you're a miracle worker.

I'm listening to the new CD in its final form for the first time right now.

As the ancient Romans said, yay!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

This is really weird...

The final mixes for the new CD (which is now, I believe, officially titled "What I Know Now") will be sent in for mastering this morning. The master should be at Discmakers by Monday, and CDs should be back here a couple of weeks after that.

I'm not sure I'm ready to live in a world where this CD's something other than a project we're working on.

But I expect I'll pretty quickly get used to it.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


The other day we played a little show at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Iowa City. We decided to try a little something different and have a friend of ours play drums. We've played with drums another time or two, but that's it. And these drums... well, they were electronic drums.

I have to admit, they sound pretty convincing. They're nice electronic drums (or at least seem so to my untrained ear). Still, they're electronic drums! It kinda makes me laugh. I'm glad he played with us--it was a fun show, and considering the almost complete lack of practice beforehand, it went pretty well. The only thing missing was a poster featuring an inspirational and motivational photo of Mr. T.

I doubt there are many folk groups that play with an electronic drum set, though... We got some photos on Charlie's camera; maybe he can post one.

(edit: Posts R Me. Who's up enough on CST tunes to be able to name the song we're playing from just the picture? There's a key piece of data there that narrows it down to just two possible tunes. - Charlie)

Friday, February 09, 2007

Breaking news!

Just so you know, the Mud River event on February 18 has been cancelled. Or maybe postponed. Whatever the case, it's not going to happen on the 18th. I believe it will be rescheduled for sometime early this spring, and hopefully we'll still be involved. And don't you worry--we'll keep you updated!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

MySpace R Us

CST has finally joined the MySpace phenomenon. We've set up a MySpace page at If you've a MySpace page, send us a friend request and please use one of our tunes on your page. If not, it's another online source of information about show times and a way to listen to music. And another blog, should we ever decide to start updating it (we're much better at find ways to disseminate information than we are at generating information to disseminate).

In other news, we have a couple of shows coming up. This Saturday we'll be playing at Christ the King Lutheran Church at part of a fundraising coffeehouse/talent show for the youth group. The show starts at 7:00, and CST will start whenever the other acts are finished (we'll probably play for about an hour). Next Sunday (the 18th) we're playing as part of another fundraiser (apparently people think attaching the CST name to an event helps make it profitable. I'd be curious to know how they defend that, but whatever) for the Mud River Music Festival. That show's at Uptown Bill's small Mall in downtown Iowa City and starts... sometime in the afternoon. Matt hasn't told me for sure yet. But check one of our three online calendars over the next week and no doubt details will be forthcoming.

Hope you're enjoying this wintery weather! We sure are!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Slow and steady wins the race.

Well, Charlie already provided the update below on our progress on the new CD. And no, we didn’t get it done by Christmas (though that was a conscious decision on our part). Progress continues, albeit slow. We are gradually chipping away at and refining each song, deciding what little things to add or not to add to each one.

The process of creating this new CD has been much more a labor of love than our past CDs. When we recorded Second Whisper and Folksinging, we did so in a very limited amount of time. With Charlie’s nice home studio, we’ve had the luxury of taking our time and carefully considering exactly what to do with each song on the disc.

I think it will be worth the wait. I’ve enjoyed listening to the rough tracks Charlie mentioned below. The songs in their state on the CD Charlie burned all have at least a little tweaking to be done, but even if we left them as they are, I think all of them would hold up against our past work. Pillar to post, I think this will be our best release yet, and I’m excited that we’re getting so darn close to finishing it!

Check back often for updates and an announcement of the *official* release date!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Forward progress

I just finished burning two rough mix CDs. They're hardly a finished product, but they represent most of the songs for the new disc being at a "put 'em on a CD so we can listen over and over and decide whether more needs to be done" stage. Which is pretty exciting, really.

There's certainly more work to be done - two songs aren't on these rough mix discs at all (that's still 83% present and accounted for, though) - but it's nice to have the songs on CD finally. I apologize to anyone who rides in my car during the next month or so for the fact that you'll probably be subjected to some CST.

Matt thinks we can have the new disc out for Christmas. As long as a year isn't specified, I totally agree.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Today I'm a poster post-er

Wen we're finally done with the new CD and we send it in to be printed, we'll also order a bunch of promo posters - the logic being that an actual printed promo poster somehow looks better or more professional than one printed out on 8.5 by 11 white paper. This picture was dropped by my place today - any ideas for a caption for the poster if we used it?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Take us back to summer camp, yo

The next two weekends CST will be back at Camp EWALU, leading music and doing messages for their fall junior high retreats (we're not mentioned on that webpage, I know, but we'll be there nonetheless). "Back" because EWALU is where Matt and I first met, almost thirteen and a half years ago (holy crap!).

It's a lot of fun to do these weekend retreats; there's obviously a much higher level of interaction involved in leading singalong tunes than there is in a regular concert, and we get several hours of stage time over the course of the weekend - which is nice for our performer's egos. Plus we usually get to know several of the kids and get to participate in some of the other activities and generally be part of the ministry work being done over the weekend. It's like being back at camp for a weekend (largely, in this case, because we actually will be back at camp, but we've done events like this in hotel conference rooms and the experience is pretty similar), which is lots of fun for us.

Of course, it also means that the next two weekends are shot as far as working on the new CD goes... still optimistic about a 2006 release for that!

If you're in the Strawberry Point area these next two weekends, stop by and get your feet dirty with us.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The absolute farmersest of Farmer's Markets

Why, hello there, reader(s?)!

On Monday CST will be playing at the Coralville Farmer's Market - a venue we've had a pretty consistent relationship with since they started having music for the shoppers. Thanks, as always, to the city of Coralville and to Farmer's Market director M. Hibbard for that.

We're thinking of doing a different sort of show, being the intrigued-by-variety sorts that we are. We're going to try to pull out some of our older tunes that we haven't played for a while and dust 'em off a bit. So if you're interested in hearing some little-done CST music, stop by the Farmer's Market (right by the Coralville Aquatic Center (which is itself right by the pool)) at 5:00 on Monday. Bring requests, if you like, and we'll try to play 'em or at least apologize politely if we've forgotten how they go entirely.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


Okay, so as you know, Charlie and I are big Storyhill fans, and count them as our greatest musical influence. I've been a fan of theirs since about 1993, when I first heard their stuff. They have just finished a new CD, which for now is only available at their shows. The problem is, they don't have any shows scheduled in Iowa, so it's going to be tough (for me, anyway) to get to one.

They're apparently working on signing with a label, so the CD will be more readily available then, but I don't want to wait! So here's what I need you to do: send an email to their booking agent, Renee, and tell her that they need to add a show this fall somewhere in eastern Iowa. Another option would be to email their manager, Eric, with the same plea. Ideally the show would be at The Mill in Iowa City or at CSPS in Cedar Rapids (you could go ahead and suggest those options; they’ve played both venues before), but I'll take pretty much anything east of Interstate 35. Hopefully if Renee gets enough emails from Storyhill's Iowa fans, she'll go ahead and book something around here. Then I (and all of you, natch) will not only get to see my favorite band perform, but I'll be able to pick up a copy of their new CD. I appreciate your help!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Mud River Festival

Don't forget that we're playing the Mud River Music Festival this Saturday, Sept. 9, at about 6:00. The festival will be held at the Iowa City Izaak Walton League (take Riverside Drive south out of Iowa City, and watch for the signs). There's good music all weekend long, starting at 5:00 on Friday night.

It's really a nice way to spend a Saturday, so please, grab a lawn chair or blanket, throw a few of your favorite beverage in a cooler, and come on out!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


This has to be the oddest profile of CST out on the web. Nice of Paul to devote webspace to us, though.

Does having it on another website actually commit us to finishing sometime in 2006, I wonder?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

CST downloadable

After only four months of being told it would be "in a week or so" (sort of the same theme as our CD project, I guess), Second Whisper is now available for download on iTunes (Folksinging isn't and won't be because of copyright issues with "Catch the Wind," but the new CD probably will be... someday). I was playing the 30 second demos that iTunes offers and they seem to be intentionally selected clips - like someone listened to the song and decided what 30 second clip sold the song best. I think that's cool, although I can't really say why; nice of the Apple staff to scope our tunes, I guess.

So if you're in a buying-music-on-iTunes mood, go download yourself some CST! Now available on iTunes!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Upcoming shows

We've recently confirmed a couple shows for late summer and early fall:

On Thursday, August 24, CST will play at the Mill ( in Iowa City for a Mud River Benefit show. Come downtown for some great pizza, good beer (Sierra Nevada pints for $2.50!), and good music, all for a good cause. We're not exactly sure on the time yet, but it will definitely be sometime after noon...

The Mud River Festival will be held September 8-9 at the Iowa City Izaak Walton League, just south of town off Riverside Drive. It's a great event--lots of good music in a relaxed, outdoor setting. We're playing on Saturday the 9th, probably around 5:00 or 6:00. Here's the full lineup for the Festival:

Friday (beginning at 5PM):
Nikki Lunden
Easy Tiger and the DownBoys
The Mad River Band
Saturday (beginning at 10AM):
Jay Knight
Public Property
Chrys Mitchel
Katie Roache's Reggae All Stars
Pete Ballistreri
David Zollo
Sam Knutson
Central Standard Time
Ben Schmidt
Martine Locke and Trina Hamlin
Dr. Z's Experiment
Caleb Ryder and Friends
Kevin "BF" Burt
The Mayflies

It should be a fun weekend. Hope to see lots of folks there!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Soon and very soon

So we've been saying for a good, long while now that CST's new CD will be released soon. "Soon," it turns out, hasn't meant exactly what one might normally expect it to mean. I think we first said, "The new CD will be released soon" probably three years ago. Maybe longer. Since then we've maintained that it will be "soon."

Well, over the past... so many months, we've actually made some significant progress on the new CD. We spent some time in the studio laying down tracks, and ended up with some good takes on at least a handful of our "new" tunes. I think that once Charlie is back from camp, we might actually get some more work done, and who knows... "Soon" might be sooner than later!

The problem (or rather, a problem), you see, is that with our first recordings, we had stockpiles of songs ready to go, and we didn't have that luxury this time around. Back in 1995, not terribly long after Charlie loaned me a guitar, we both had written a number of songs we felt merited recording, and we were super excited to record them! So we found some available time in a tiny studio on our college campus, went in with almost no knowledge of the recording process, and came out with a real CD! Granted, it was a pretty bad CD, and might have actually harmed your speakers when you played it, but a CD nonetheless.

As time went on, we realized that the recording quality on that CD was somewhat less than good. Heck, it was less than bad. So we decided that we were going to re-record that disc and do it right. Fortunately, a mysterious, wealthy financier came forth to pay for the studio time, so we went to This Here Studio in Milford, Iowa, and re-recorded most of the tracks off that first CD, along with a few other songs we'd written in the meantime. The results were astoundingly better than our previous effort.

A couple years later, and after we'd both continued to write songs at least somewhat frequently, we decided it was time to record again. Our mysterious financier had vanished before we could repay him, leaving us with enough cash for another trip to This Here Studio, by then more conveniently located in Strawberry Point, Iowa. We spent two full days (versus just one for the previous CD) in the studio, and again, were quite pleased with the result.

So just like that--boom! boom!--two (or three (boom!), depending on how you look at it) full-length CDs within about two years' time. Second Whisper came out in 1997 and Folksinging in 1999. Now it's 2006, nearing seven years since we release our last CD. Why the long delay for this one?

Well, life has kept us both from writing as many songs as we used to write. We just haven't had as much time. Both Charlie and I are good at starting songs, or at least at coming up with ideas for new songs. I think we both have a bunch of songs with just one verse or just a chorus, that we never got around to finishing. So it's taken us longer to build up to the number of songs we felt we needed for another CD.

I think we may finally be there, though. We both have written (or finished writing) songs within the past few months, so I think we're at the point now where we can record enough songs to finish and release the new CD.

So when will the new CD be released? Well... soon! We'll let you know when we know.

In the meantime, check our schedule (or just continue to read) for some upcoming shows. A couple are yet to be confirmed, but I think we're playing a Mud River Festival benefit show on August 24 at the Mill in Iowa City. I think we'll also play at the EWALU Alumni Weekend, probably at 7:00 or 8:00 on September 2. We're playing the Mud River Festival on September 9, probably at about 6:00, and we're playing at the Coralville Farmers' Market at 5:00 on September 25.

Stay cool and enjoy the rest of your summer.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Ever seen CST share a stage with a Christmas Tree?

I'm pretty sure we never have, so I'll assume the answer's a collective no. Which means this coming Saturday (July 22) is your lucky day, for CST will be playing a concert at Camp EWALU and lo, verily there is a Christmas tree set up on the stage whereupon we also will be. Hopefully there'll still be room for Jesse...

We played at EWALU last year, too, and it was a really fun show; good-sized crowd that seemed to enjoy our stuff and were eager to participate in the participate-y bits; camp staffs (staves?) are just fun people, in general. It's a free show at 7:30 in Cedar Lodge - here's a fairly unhelpful map showing where EWALU itself is. Hope you can make and that you're having a lovely summer and whatnot.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The River flows...

Those of you who don’t reside in the greater Iowa City area (and maybe some of you who do) may not be aware of it, but Iowa City plays host to a terrific, intimate, organic, family-friendly annual music festival called the Mud River Festival. CST has had the good fortune of performing at the last two festivals (2004 and 2005), and we’re scheduled to play again this year. We’re really looking forward to it; it’s always a really fun, relaxing event, full of great local music. As part (small as we may be) of the Iowa City music scene, we count ourselves lucky to be able to participate in these kinds of events.

The Mud River Festival is put on by a non-profit organization called the Mud River Music Cooperative, which was founded in 2001 or so to support and sustain the local music scene and the musicians in it. It’s very much a grass-roots kind of group, the brainchild of a local fan and supporter of live music, JP Claussen. He wanted to be able to go see live music with his family (including a couple young kids), and was tired of only being able to see bands in smoke-filled bars late at night. His idea was that the Mud River Music Cooperative could serve not only as a support system for local musicians, but also as a promoter of family-friendly live music.

It’s a really cool idea—music for the people, by the people, in a way. Since its inception, Mud River has hosted a myriad of family-friendly events showcasing live, local music, including monthly potlucks and jam sessions, intimate concerts at Uptown Bill’s small Mall (one of our favorite little venues), weekly open mic nights, a handful of house concerts, and of course, the Mud River Festival. They’re great events, and having people of all ages—from wee tots to grandmas and grandpas—in attendance just adds another layer of… neatness. It’s really cool to see a group of kids playing under a tree, a group of twenty-somethings tossing a Frisbee, a middle-aged couple lounging on a blanket, families and friends spending time together, all set against a backdrop of excellent music in a peaceful, outdoor setting. Sounds good to me.

Mud River—the organization AND the festival—is entirely dependent on volunteers, though. Sadly, the same small, dedicated group of volunteers has been chugging along these five or six years, and their treads are nearly worn out. There are a lot of details to attend to in order for the festival and all of these other great events to happen, and those details start to wear on a person after a while.

So Mud River needs help. Mud River needs your help. If you enjoy live music, if you appreciate your local musicians, if you’re interested in pitching in and helping an organization that has truly helped to improve our community, then please lend a hand! It could be something as simple as handing out flyers at one of our many local events highlighting live music (e.g. the Friday Night Concert Series, the Saturday Night Free Movie Series, the Iowa City Jazz Festival, etc.), or it could be helping to plan and organize a fundraising event. On more of an ongoing basis, Mud River needs folks to update the online calendar on Cultural Corridor, to send out email updates about local shows, and to write reviews of local shows. If you feel you have some time, energy or talent to offer, I’d encourage you to contact Mud River. Every little bit helps.
Thanks, everybody. Hope to see you at a show soon.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

We got us a show coming up...

This Saturday night, Central Standard Time provides the pre-movie entertainment for the Saturday Night Free Movie Series on the UI Pentacrest in Iowa City. They put a big screen up on the front of McBride Hall (at least I think it's that building) and show a movie. But before this Saturday's movie, my friends, you're in for a treat! CST! Charlie, fresh (?) from camp, and Matt, fresh from... elsewhere in Iowa City. We play at 7:30, probably until about 9:00. Bring some lawn chairs or a blanket and some friends and make a big evening of it! After we wrap up our set, stick around for the free showing of Blue Hawaii, starring Elvis Presley as a guy who returns to Hawaii after a war and wants to surf. Or something. See you Saturday!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The statistical likelihood is that one day civilization will again arise...

...blah blah lemon-soaked napkins. I forget the exact quote, alas.

I was watching a video of the concert we played last summer at EWALU, and I noticed we referred confidently to the CD we'd be releasing that winter. Which is something we've been doing for a while now - I didn't check, but I'm pretty sure we've been referring to the upcoming CD in "any time now" sorts of terms for a few years now. Certainly we've been working on recording it for at least that long.

And that's the reason for our misplaced confidence, I think - we've been working on recording it for a matter of years, and we're not used to that being a long process. We recorded Whisper of Wind in an evening, Second Whisper in a long day at This Here Studios in Arnold's Park, and Folksinging over a couple of long days at This Here Studios in Strawberry Point. New disc (I've been using Fourth Whisper as a working title) has eaten up easily a week's worth of days in the studio, and we're at best halfway done. There are a couple of reasons for that.

First, "in the studio" for Fourth Whisper means recording in my new (and still being developed) home studio. So instead of having Rich Colligan's nicer studio equipment and significant experience and expertise at our disposal, we're figuring things out as we go, and that takes quite a bit longer. We've scrapped entire sets of tracks as we've figured out ways to make them sound better.

There also isn't a clock running and no $45/hour fee for studio time, so there's much less incentive to work quickly and minimize unproductive time (and we're very good at maximizing unproductive time, left to our own devices), and less reason to call an only-okay take good enough and move on. I like Second Whisper quite well, but every time I listen to it I hear things I'd have done differently, given more time. An entire day on each song is much more usual in the larger world of recording than the 13-songs-in-10-hours pace we kept for Second Whisper. Tying into that is the fact that we're very familiar with the music we're recording right now - we've been playing some of these songs live for years, so we have a clear idea of how they should sound and we're unforgiving of anything that doesn't quite match up.

Still, as has been pointed out, we're badly off our pace. Whisper of Wind was released in 1996, Second Whisper in 1997, and Folksinging in 1999; our first 21st-century disc is a bit overdue.

No worries, though. I'm sure we'll have it done in early fall.

Friday, May 12, 2006

You know you like you some Soul Hug!

Well, I’ve already asked about your favorite CST items from our store. Now I’d like to know which Soul Hug items are most popular. Take a gander at the Soul Hug store, which features an assortment of goods far funnier than our own stuff. Most of the items bear the likeness of Jesse, who performs with CST for our ministry events. He’s quite the pianist, and I think you’ll agree, trĂ©s smooooooooooooth!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Hey, sharp dresser!

So I’ve been wondering, basically since we put the site up, how many people have actually perused the lovely merchandise available in our CST store. I can look to see how many items we’ve sold, but that doesn’t really gauge interest or general curiosity, etc. I’d be curious to know which items are your favorites (whether or not you’ve actually purchased anything is beside the point). So do me a favor, if you don’t mind: go to the store, admire the wide array of stunning merchandise, and then come back here to tell us your favorites. Maybe we’ll send you one of whatever it is you like. Probably not, but you never know.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Well, if you're gonna do it, I will, too.

Seems like we might as well post a States-CST-has-visited map.

At first I was going to do a States-in-which-CST-has-performed map. This one's a little better, though. It includes states to or through which CST has traveled for official band stuff. If we included states we have sung about, we could add Tennessee, Montana and Colorado.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Valpo Heads

This weekend, as some of you likely already know, we're performing at Valparaiso University. I'm quite excited about the show; it presents us with a good opportunity to expand our fan base (ffffaaaannnn bbbbaaaasssseeee...), as we'll hopefully be playing for a bunch of folks who've never heard us before. That's an exciting prospect! If you're in the Valpo area this weekend, please stop by and catch the show! 8:00 p.m. on Saturday in the Union Roundtable (I think). It's better than watching King Kong, right?

Heck, even if you're not in the area, gasoline is certainly cheap enough that you could load up the car for a road trip. You could call yourself a... well, I'm not sure what. I was thinking of something along the same lines as "Dead Head" or "Hill Head" (followers of the Grateful Dead and Storyhill, respectively, in case you didn't already know that). What would ours be, though? "Time Heads?" "CST-Heads?" "Timers?" Hmm... None of those sound particularly cool. Any other suggestions? "Charliegans?" I kinda like that one.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Write us a set list!

Howdy. Well, in case you haven't already noticed, we have a couple shows coming up later this month. The first is on April 22nd at Uptown Bill's small Mall, a nice lil' venue in Iowa City (show time is 7:30 and cover is $3, by the by). The second is a week later, April 29, at Valparaiso University in Indiana. You should totally go to both of them!

The first of those shows will be pretty relaxed and informal, as our past gigs at the small Mall have been. It's a cozy, living room-like space, which makes a nice atmosphere for music. It's almost like a house concert, only not in a house.

Anyhoo, since it is such a relaxed environment, and should be a pretty laid-back show, I thought we should invite you, our faithful fans and readers, to create our set list. Sounds like fun, eh?

Now, I suppose it would be prudent to make some sort of disclaimer stating that we may not follow the set list exactly as its laid out for us. For instance, we might say that we reserve the right to change the order of songs. And of course, if someone decided it would be fun to add a song we don't know or can't play... well, then we might not play it.

Anyway, suggest a song. As the date approaches, we'll compile the list of suggestions and post it for your perusal. Then you can look at the list and say to your friends, "Hey, I suggested they play that song!" and your friends will be duly impressed. Good stuff.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

I told John Hermanson I wanted a musical career like his and he laughed at me.

Sad but true. I was talking to him after a Storyhill show at The Mill and he asked what sort goal I had in mind for CST and when I replied that I'd be thrilled to have CST provide a Storyhill-like experience for Matt & I he laughed at me and told me I'd seemed smarter than that. Shows what he knows. Ha!

Matt and I have often discussed where we see CST going, but rarely actually brought the discussion to any sort of conclusion. If it was possible to have playing & selling music (speaking of selling music, I got an e-mail from CD Baby today telling me that the tunes from Second Whisper can now be purchased as ringtones. I'm not sure what I think of that, but I think I'd find it pretty neat if I heard someone's cell phone start telling them that a steady anchor was all that they needed) be a significant part of making our livings we'd be thrilled, but the reality of the music world is that there's a tremendous amount of legwork to be done before a band can reach that point, and most of that requires things we're either unwilling or not in a position, rest-of-our-lives-wise, to do. On the other hand, CST has occasionally brought in some money and we have a lot of time and cash invested so I have trouble thinking of it as a "hobby" really.

I don't have a point I'm trying to work towards here - as much as anything I'm just trying to get into the habit of posting - this "what, exactly, is CST, anyway?" question is one Matt and I have devoted thousands of words in e-mails to and never come up with anything. It seems immensely fundamental to the idea of calling ourselves a band, though, so it seemed an apt post subject. If anyone has any thoughts they'd like to weigh in with I'd love to read them. Meanwhile, enjoy the properly-sized picture of Matt and I (thanks, Joel, for the HTML fix). Check back in for some thoughts and updates on the recording process and hopefully (if I can convince him to sign on as a contributor) some posts from Matt!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Trying something different...

I've read a few times that people enjoy reading band-related thoughts by members of bands - that a good way to connect with people is to send out a regular newsletter or have a blog or barrage people with phone calls. Newsletters are expensive and barraging people with phone calls is time-consuming and seems likely to annoy, so by way of experimenting with this process I present here the Central Standard Time blog, wherein Matt and I (you should be an activated poster, Matt - let me know if it doesn't work) can share news and thoughts about concerts, CDs, etc. - and where you the loyal fan/indifferent listener/confused random surfer can chime in with comments of your own! Plus, regular readers of Matt's and my blogs will certainly agree that our prolific-ness lends itself to a second blogging project.

I stole this URL from myself since it seemed so apt for the theme - those of you interested (for whatever reason) in finding "Meaningless Musings," my blog, can find it at

Posts soon to follow about actual Central Standard Time-y things! Happy Ash Wednesday, if that's not too oxymoronic a wish!