Listyn KC will welcome Danny Cox this July for their next collective listening experience
Kansas City folk and blues musician Danny Cox, a legendary figure in the city’s 1970s music scene, will be in conversation at Listyn KC’s July 23 collective listening experience.
In celebration of the musician’s 80th birthday and 50th anniversary of his 1974 classic LP album Feel So Good, Cox will sit down with Listyn KC host Kelsyn Rooks to share stories of his personal music history and early influences in front of a live audience.
The pair will dive into Cox’s early career in California and the songs he wrote during the Summer of Love and the birth of Laurel Canyon, as well as his earlier days in KC as one of the founding partners of the famous Cowtown Ballroom.
Each topic and question covered will have an accompanied selected track to be played during this “fireside chat.” The event will finish with an immersive live listening experience of an original vinyl pressing of Danny’s Feel So Good on the Center For Recorded Music’s $180,000 stereo system.
Having already made a name for himself in California in the 1960s, Cox did an unusual thing for successful musicians at the time: uprooting his life in the West and moving to the Midwest.
When Cox moved to KC from California in 1967, he brought national level experience and a unique sound, born of his California experiences and a childhood full of gospel, blues, and jazz music. His rich sound ranges from blues and folk to acoustic covers of pop music, and his funky, soulful releases like Danny Cox (1971) and Feel So Good (1974).
“He didn’t stay doing the same thing over and over again,” Rooks said. “He changed himself with the times and with the music.”
Listyn KC is a part of the Center for Recorded Music, a KC non-profit dedicated to celebrating all aspects of music recording and educating audiences on its historical significance in a fun way. Since its genesis in 2015, over 4,000 people have attended one of its events and encountered the unique experience of listening to an album, front to back, with a group of people.
“There’s something to be said about sharing this experience,” Rooks said. “If you’re there with a group of people, and you’re invested in the journey together, it takes you places you can’t go by yourself.”
Another unique aspect of Listyn KC events and recorded music in general, Kelsyn says, is the ability to hear music you otherwise can’t hear live anymore. Kelsyn cites the examples of The Beatles—you can no longer listen to the original band members play live, but you can enjoy the band’s recording of “A Day in the Life”—a track they spent 34 hours recording that features a 40-p\piece orchestra dubbed over four different pieces of music. And though Cox’s voice and guitar playing have changed since the days of the Cowtown, the sound of 1974 lives on in recordings.
“We have this magical time capsule that captures this incredible sound,” Kelsyn says.
To Kelsyn, this indicates the significance of recorded music in history, which audience members can witness through Listyn KC.
“Prior to 1877 when the phonograph was invented, music was very time and place-bound,” Kelsyn says. “In other words, if you weren’t there, you missed it.”
In the case of Danny Cox, listeners can experience his rare blend of funk, folk, soul, and rock through his two LPs recorded with Casablanca Records, among other album releases, as well as other recordings, including Danny Cox’s Troost Avenue Blues and Kansas City – Where I Belong.
The Listyn KC In Persyn event featuring Cox will be held July 23 at 1 p.m. at the UMKC Student Union. For tickets and more information, head to C4RM.org.