Silas and his Mandolin

--by Kim Davenport Silas Seth Weeks was born in Vermont, Illinois in 1868. His father Thomas, a barber, recognised his musical talent early and encouraged him to pursue a musical education. Seth began with the violin, but soon gravitated towards the guitar, and would eventually focus his attentions on his favorite instrument, the mandolin. After... Continue Reading →

Black Voices from Tacoma’s Musical Past

-- by Kim Davenport On February 18, 2021, it was my great honor to share a presentation I developed for the Tacoma Historical Society in partnership with the Tacoma Public Library. The presentation shares stories of black musicians from Tacoma's past who left an important legacy in our city. Some made Tacoma home while others... Continue Reading →

Booster Songs, 2021 Edition

-- by Kim Davenport Back in 2017, which feels like a lifetime ago after the epic journey that was 2020, I shared a talk at The Swiss (RIP) about "booster songs" written in honor of Tacoma during the period 1890-1920. A musical form of boosterism and advertising, the songs are fun to explore for their... Continue Reading →

Barks House of Music

-- by Kim Davenport Theodore Barks was just 5 years old when he arrived in Tacoma in 1888 with his parents and older brother Edward. On the long journey by train from Marysville, Kansas, where Theodore was born, the family would have passed through the Northern Pacific tunnel that had just been cut through the... Continue Reading →

Nettie Asberry: Keeping Harmony in Tacoma

-- by Hannah Currie Nettie Asberry was a shining public figure and musician in Tacoma history. She paved the way for many people of color and was never afraid to speak her mind. Her social activism permeated all facets of her life, including her music. This article addresses her life, her affects on her community... Continue Reading →

Honolulu Conservatory of Music

-- by Kim Davenport Beginning in the 1930s with Hollywood films like Waikiki Wedding and Her Jungle Love, and only growing with the success of South Pacific and the return of soldiers from World War II, a fascination with all things Hawaiian was in full swing throughout the United States by the late 1940s. The... Continue Reading →

Booster Songs for a New Hometown

-- by Kim Davenport With thanks again to the Northwest Room librarians at Tacoma Public Library, I'm pleased to share audio of music by Joe Jordan from two 45-rpm albums that have been sitting in the library's basement archives since the 1960s. As I've previously shared here and here, Joe Jordan, a musician out of the... Continue Reading →

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