Arts DEVO: On today’s show …

Photo by Joe Haupt (via Flickr)
Jason Cassidy

Happy Thursday, Butte County. Thanks for tuning in.

It’s been three months since this paper added radio to its media output …

If you’re just joining us, you’re listening to the Chico News & Review show on KZFR 90.1FM and

… and we are starting to find a rhythm in this partnership with our like-minded peers at The Zephyr, Chico’s long-running community radio station. The show is basically a talking version of the CN&R and its form has evolved each week to include an interview or two with current local newsmakers or the reporters covering the news, plus interviews with arts and music types with snippets of their work. As an arts editor, that last part is especially gratifying, getting to complement an interview or review with a song sample or other form of audio expert.

For this week’s show, Feb. 25 …

We’re here every Thursday, 5:30 p.m., right after the Butte Report with Sue Hilderbrand.

… we talked to writer Ken Smith about various issues surrounding the homeless community and the city’s sweeps of encampments (despite there being little-to-no emergency shelter options in place), and for the arts portion of the program … well, here’s the script:

It’s been a year since John Charter’s grandmother Barbara Copeland died (on Feb. 24, 2020). She was 96 years old. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the family had to postpone a celebration of life. As they wait out the pandemic to honor the longtime local Chico High teacher and volunteer (League of Women Voters of Butte County, Boys & Girls Clubs of the North Valley, Patrick Ranch Museum), the family and the community have a beautiful tribute to serve as a placeholder: “Barbara,” a short documentary made by Charter and released to the public yesterday on the one-year anniversary of his grandmother’s passing.

The Los Angeles-based filmmaker has crafted a slice-of-life work featuring footage of a then 92-year-old Copeland in her home and her community, intercut with scenes of her great-granddaughter playing her younger self. In the narration that runs throughout the piece, Copeland ruminates on living a long life and the challenges of remaining engaged and self-sufficient as she navigates her days as a widow.

Watch “Barbara” below or on Charter’s vimeo page.

“Barbara” by John Charter

[bumper music]

When Chicoans are once again able to stand together in audiences to witness live music, there is one local band that might surprise a few ears since it last hit the stage. Royal Oaks has long been a self-described “dad-rock” band, but as the guys put it in the announcement for their just-released new album, One More Try, they’ve “added some mom vocals.”

The addition of Nichole Lumsden has transformed the band’s laid-back alt-country vibe, with her big soulful voice filling up the spaces and pushing the band into groovy rock band territory (which, I’m guessing, will translate into a very engaging live show).

My jam is “Shallow Ground” (with its tight, badass bass riff), and you can stream it and download the whole album at

[fade in “Shallow Ground”]

If it wasn’t for Chico State’s Chico Performances, there would be almost no live music in this city during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since October, the university’s public-events arm has been teaming up with the school’s Media Productions crew for the Chico Voices Virtual series, curating and filming shows on the Laxson Auditorium stage that are then streamed to audiences online. Next on the schedule are the local funky freaks of Smokey the Groove—debuting at on Friday, March 5, at 7 p.m., and available on demand through April 5.

Stage is set for Smokey. (Photo by Jason Cassidy)

The CN&R has collaborated with Chico Performances on the series, and yours truly was on hand at the filming to ask the guys in the band a few questions. Tune in to hear a slightly mask-muffled interview.

[play snippet of Smokey interview]

[fade in background music – “Established Stache”]

Thank you for once again tuning in to the Chico News & Review’s show, thank you KZFR, 90.1 FM for hosting us each Thursday at 5:30 p.m., and, as always, thank you to Cat Depot for our theme music that opens and closes this show.

The next print edition of the CN&R comes out March 11 and, if you missed it, the February issue is still in newspaper racks all over Butte County.

Take care.

[play out “Established Stache”]

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