Are you in need of a musical habitation; a refuge into a vast den of deep digging music appreciation? For the past few weeks, I have felt like the rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, burrowing deeper and deeper into a myriad of bold beats, rowdy riffs, jams, twangs, croons, tunes, symphonic strums, hums, rhythms, and drums, all emanating out from the WSBF Clemson University airwaves.
There are a few different “tune in” opportunities to dig deep into the music with WSBF DJ’s, DJ Burrow and DJ Sub. Passionately engaged in her craft of melodic sharing, DJ Burrow hosts three different shows throughout the week. One option is to tune in to “54/40 or Bust”, every Monday night from 9-11 p.m. EST (6-8 PST) on WSBF-FM, for your weekly dose of up-and-coming Canadian music and artists. Directly following “54/40 or Bust” from 11-1am EST, Burrow co-hosts “East of Midnight” with the fantastically inclined DJ Sub. “East of Midnight” is a historic show whose format is rooted in 1970’s “Wizz-Biff” (phonetic for WSBF) progressive. On “East of Midnight” there are no limits on what genres DJ Sub and DJ Burrow play, and your requests are encouraged, honored and appreciated. DJ Burrow also hosts “The Kitchen Sink”, a listener-driven, free-form show featuring a vast exploration of musical genres, seemingly including “everything but the kitchen sink”. So, depending on when you can “tune in” and what you are in the mood for, you are guaranteed an adventure into an exciting array of musical treats.
Expect the unexpected when tuning into a Selective Listening experience with DJ Burrow T. Klown. No clowning around here, as DJ Burrow goes beyond merely entertaining her listeners. When you tune in to her, you enter a playground of real musical discovery, intertwined in a solid learning experience I coin as “edu-tainment”.
While listening to “The Kitchen Sink” show, I have observed DJ Burrow on the Flagcast guiding her listeners into a steady flow of music appreciation, delving into a world of diverse genres, amid a rich variety of new, vintage, obscure and known bands. There is no missing Burrow when she is on-air live, as she lights up the Flagcast, and is renowned for creating a “Flagstorm” of sorts.
She moves through the Flagcast like a bullet train burrowing into a tunnel of tunes, as they whisk by her dazzled listeners genre by genre, track by track, flag by flag. You better be a serious music lover to keep up with this runaway train of non-stop tunes, where listeners are bound for a new and exciting destination, every time you “tune in”.
Burrow does a magicians job laying out tracks, managing the mic, arranging her sets in a logical and organized manner (genre by genre), flagging every single song she plays to engage and educate her listeners, playing listeners requests enthusiastically, and answering their questions and comments readily, without skipping a beat. She exclaimed on air to her listeners:
“It warms my heart to play your requests.”
Genre/theme requests played by her these past weeks included: classic country, alternative country, jazz crooners and divas, hip-hop, punk ,ska, folk, blues, funk, femme fatale, Quebecois, and vintage Christmas tunes in some of the most unique and awesome playlists I have seen.
In between tracks and a frenzy of flags, Burrow shares insider band knowledge, heartwarming stories about her award-winning rescued pit bull service dog, “Sadie”, and personal stories about her adventures in music mixology and mix-tape creation, while soaking in hot springs in secret ghostly locations along the Rio Grande.
Listening to DJ Burrow these past weeks made me realize that this a extraordinary DJ, with real purpose and passion. To her, the radio station feels like her sanctuary, a sanctum of solace, and a place to heal through the music. As a listener, I have enjoyed the occasions when she has brought forth a special vinyl out of her treasure trove of collections, and then proceeds to relate a personal aspect about what that record means to her; it is laden with so much feeling that it transmits through the airwaves right into the heart space of her listeners. One listener described her show as “visceral”.
One of the most notable joys in my selective listening week was tuning into some back to back holiday tunes. By listening to Burrow, I have discovered another outstanding DJ named Mark Sublette, known simply as DJ Sub on RadioFlag. Although DJ Burrow usually co-hosts with DJ Sub on Monday evenings, I tuned into them while they were flying solo on the mic. This time around, their shows were extremely different from one another, yet equally fascinating, which I will share with you in more detail. As a music lover I enjoy all the grand diversity it has to offer, which is one reason I was drawn to both these DJ’s in the first place. They both seem to harbor an all encompassing love for all music; music with “essence”, which is the “stuff” that makes it good, no matter what genre.
I happened to catch DJ Sub “On-Air Live”, first during an unusual six hour stretch, when he was filling in on another show. When I tuned in towards the end of his last hour, he had been playing a colorful eclectic mix of Christmas tunes of all sorts, including Nat King Cole, Joe Satriani, Jethro Tull, Celtic Woman, The Roches, and The Vince Guaraldi Trio, just to name a few.
Interestingly enough, in the last twenty minutes of the six hour show, DJ Sub suddenly cranked it up several octaves, playing a soul stirring song called “O’Tannenbaum”, sang by the vocally illuminated Vienna Boys Choir. During this ascension into reverence, I caught an amazing glimpse of DJ Sub interacting with a listener in the most endearing and gallant way. A listener requested some Medieval Era Christmas music, and he obliged the request by playing Justin Kramer’s Symphonic Carillon “Adeste Fidelis” from the Boys Choir of Vienna on vinyl. It was truly one of the most pleasurable deluges of sound that has passed the threshold of my ears.
Listeners flags included words such as, “exquisite”, “magical”, “emotive”, “beguiling”, “reverent”, “merry” , “heavenly” , “transfixed”, “breathtaking” and “majestic” to describe the music they were hearing. Another listener innocently commented “sounds like Christmas at the Renaissance Faire”. Sub’s reaction to the music was just as impassioned as his listeners, remarking “it’s a pleasure to play for you” and “its damn near making me cry, its so beautiful.” This last twenty minutes made an impact on me also, and one can be sure this DJ will be getting more of my “tuned in” attention in time to come. See Sub’s playlist.
DJ Sub has quite an interesting life-story, which you should definitely check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Mark_Sublette
54/40 or Bust
Tuning back in with Burrow once again , I was excited to check out her holiday edition of the “54/40 or Bust” Canadian music show. There isn’t a more perfect place to be at Christmas time then Canada right? I’m imagining visions of fluffy white snow, cozy cashmere mittens, Christmas Carolers in festive garments, scarf laden couples sipping maple syrup hot toddies amongst twinkling holiday lights and jingle bells. Eh?
Remember when I said expect the unexpected? Well here is one such example: Burrow heralds in her show with a satirical jolt playing a song called “Christmas Sucks” by The Arrogant Worms. She followed the song by saying from behind the mic:
“I am your guide on this trek through the Great White North, a holiday special in all Canadian music”.
She continues the set with something a little merrier by a favorite Canadian artist of hers named Hawksley Workman doing :Learn How to Knit’‘, a semi satirical song whose lyrics expel making the best with what you’ve got, and if you’ve got no money and you think Christmas sucks, just start knitting the gifts you want to give people. Yes, go ahead and “knit a cigarette” if you want , sings Hawksley. Similarly, DJ Burrow not only knits with yarn, she knits a Christmas playlist together that was exactly that: “Not Your Mama’s X-mas Tunes”, and 100% Canadian.
The sets continued on with songs about the 12 days of Christmas and beer, ass kicking Santas, and a blues song about Santa getting fed up and hollering:
“Enough is enough, Ho Ho Ho I don’t think so, Santa needs a good job with good benefits” .
Following these rowdy X-mas rants, she nestled her listeners in with some more festive and heartwarming titles like “Love Me for Christmas” by Dan Byrk, “Wanna Kiss You this Christmas” by Dave N. Megan, and “Christmas Wish” by Burquitlam Plaza. There were plenty of totally unexpected tunes like “Baffin Island Man” by Looee Nowdlad Arreak. Burrow got sentimental over one tune called “Snowfort” by Egger, taking her back to childhood times when she use to spend all day making an igloo, her special play space made completely out of solid ice. She tied up the final stitch of this holiday edition show with one more belly-shaking comedic song, once again by the Arrogant Worms, “Oh God I’m Santa Claus”.
It feels somehow destined that, after twirling, swirling and expanding our ears to so many “Great White North” Christmas songs, manifesting into Santa Claus ourselves might just really happen with one more hearty-jolly belly of laughs. Perhaps that is just the place DJ Burrow has unexpectedly guided us towards on this long trek of tracks, to realize that, “OMG, I am Santa Claus”, and it is one of the most merriest places we can hope to be; the Santa inside us all.
If you missed the special “Not Your Mama’s X-mas” edition of “54/40 or Bust”, click here: http://wsbf.net/bc_china/archpk/13833.mp3
Tune in to WSBF to hear
“The Kitchen Sink” with Burrow
“54/40 or Bust” Monday nights 9 p.m. – 11 a.m. EST
“East of Midnight” Monday nights 11 p.m. – 1 a.m. EST
By Air Amrbosia
Contact me for blog suggestions: AirAmbrosia@gmail.com
Find me on RadioFlag: @AirAmbrosia