When I met last week with the people now running Daytrotter, Ben Crabb – who books the recording sessions for the 11-year-old Quad Cities-based Web site – let this nugget drop: “I just booked George Winston in for a session.”

Yes, that George Winston, the artist best known for platinum-selling, seasonally titled solo-piano records from the early 1980s on the Windham Hill label. For a site that always prided itself on highlighting the new and the next, the pianist seems an odd choice.

Sean Moeller

In June, Codfish Hollow Barn in Maquoketa hosted a show with Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes. The concert didn't have Sean Moeller's or Daytrotter's name on it, but the link was clear enough.

"I made that show happen," Moeller said earlier this month.

Moeller founded Daytrotter.com in 2006 as a source for exclusive live-in-the-studio recordings, and the vast majority of its thousands of sessions over the past nine years have been recorded in the Quad Cities. But even though concerts are not Daytrotter's product, they are an increasingly common and visible fringe benefit for the Quad Cities, and the Oberst performance illustrates the reciprocal relationship between the internationally known Web site and local shows.

Moeller said he'd been trying to get Oberst in for a session since Daytrotter began - but it only happened because of Codfish Hollow.

"I got a Daytrotter session out of Conor Oberst," Moeller said. "That's why I did it. ... I'm not going to not do that. ... I'm going to help make that happen so that I can get something for Daytrotter from Conor Oberst."

Over the past decade, much of the impact Daytrotter has had on the Quad Cities has been easily discerned - although it's infrequently been explicit, and often it's indirect. Rozz-Tox's lineup is littered with Daytrotter bands. Codfish Hollow concerts typically feature some of Moeller's favorite bands.

More and more, however, Moeller is putting his name on his work. For nearly a year, he's booked and hosted Moeller Mondays shows at Rozz-Tox. Last year he began shows at Davenport's Renwick Mansion under the same banner, and this year he started doing concerts at the Village Theatre in Davenport.

"It's a promoter thing," he explained about the decision to create a Moeller brand. "It's like a [prestigious] record label. People do believe in certain promoters. ...

"I think I tried to stay behind the name Daytrotter for the longest time. I'd go to places and I'd just be introduced as Daytrotter. 'This is Daytrotter.'"

Of course, the Web site is more than just Moeller. He has a business partner and several engineers, and he said the work of illustrator Johnnie Cluney is essential to the identity. And because Daytrotter is a media company and not a concert organizer and promoter, the name doesn't naturally fit with shows that Moeller books or otherwise helps with.

So he said he wondered: "Why the hell am I not building up my own name a little bit? ... I'm just trying to be a facilitator. I'm putting my name out there because why shouldn't I? There has to be something I put it under. I want to be associated with the good things that I'm bringing to town, not for an ego situation. There has to be somebody to validate something that's coming to town. ... You still need somebody to put a stamp on it."

Daytrotter itself plans to get back into the business of one-time local shows with the opening (likely this fall) of its new recording studio and live-music venue in downtown Davenport - although that's no guarantee given the history of the renovation project.

So Moeller's behind-the-scenes work continues. He booked artists for the September 6 East Fest at Davenport's BREW in the Village.

He and Quad Cities River Bandits Managing Partner Dave Heller are planning to present concerts at Modern Woodmen Park, possibly starting this fall.

And Moeller said he booked three of the four headliners for this year's River Roots Live festival: rising country star Kacey Musgraves, legendary R&B singer Mavis Staples, and the indie-pop outfit Hellogoodbye. "If you look at this year's lineup, there's a lot of my fingerprints all over it," he said.

That's not modest, but the man has no reason to be. For all that he's done with Daytrotter, Sean Moeller has also reshaped the local music scene when it comes to touring artists.

Juan Wauters

Juan Wauters has been called "one of the most idiosyncratic and inventive songwriters in New York today" (by the New York Observer), "New York's greatest songwriter" (by Impose magazine), and "one of New York's most compelling singer/songwriters" (by Spin magazine).

That praise would suggest a few things about the native Uruguayan, none of which appears to be true.

The plaudits for his songwriting hint at something aggressively sophisticated and artful, but the songs on his new Who Me? are uniformly easy-going - simple, warm, and seemingly effortlessly charming. Of course, that doesn't mean they don't deserve the great notices; it's just that they're utterly devoid of pretension.

And as much as he's identified as a New Yorker, Wauters has a fondness for the Quad Cities and institutions such as Ross' and Harris Pizza.

Van McCann, singer and guitarist for the United Kingdom's Catfish & the Bottlemen, has a strange relationship with the song "Homesick."

"I thought it was the worst one of the batch we did ... when we first started recording for Communion," he said, referring to the label/tour founded by Mumford & Sons' Ben Lovett. "Since then, it's become my favorite."

What changed, McCann said, was that other people liked it. And therein lies a great deal of the charm of Catfish & the Bottlemen, a band described by the UK's The Guardian as "deeply old-fashioned - and unfashionable."

McCann doesn't disagree with that assessment - whether it means an indifference toward appearance or, in a larger sense, a band more in love with the idea of playing for as many people as possible than selling lots of records or making artistic statements. When the quartet performs a Communion/Daytrotter show at Maquoketa's Codfish Hollow Barn on June 19, expect no-frills rock-and-roll with one goal: to connect with the audience.

The Weeks. Photo by Emily B. Hall.

The title of The Weeks' Dear Bo Jackson does more than name-check the famous two-sport professional athlete - an All-Pro running back in the NFL and an All-Star outfielder in Major League Baseball. It also articulates a mission statement for the Nashville-by-way-of-Mississippi band.

"Bo Jackson, as good as he was at baseball and football, he was just called a ballplayer," said guitarist Sam Williams earlier this week. "Bo Jackson just kind of does what he wants. That's sort of what we were going with, musically. ... I just want to be a rock band. ... I think this record has a lot of different genres. We kind of skip around a lot."

To extend the metaphor, Williams said "the bashing rock-and-roll songs" represent The Weeks' football career, while the slower songs are baseball. "They take a little longer to develop," he said, but they have their share of "triples and homes runs."

Of course, bands hate being pigeonholed, but The Weeks make good on their chutzpah. When the latest edition of the Communion tour hits the Quad Cities on January 23 (at RIBCO), the bill features a pair of throwback bands. Both The Weeks and The Dough Rollers play rock that neither needs nor warrants additional modifiers; it's music largely out of time.

Keegan DeWitt. Photo by Beau Burgess.Keegan DeWitt is inviting his fans along on his journey, in what passes for real time in the music industry.

The Nashville-based musician and composer has many of his film scores available for free on his Web site. His earlier solo recordings found him in singer/songwriter mode. A trio of singles over the past year have shown him making the transition from solo artist to bandleader. And he hopes that all those elements will come together on the album he and his band are working on.

A Daytrotter.com veteran with three sessions under his belt and an EP (last year's Nothing Shows) released by the Quad Cities-based site, DeWitt will perform as part of the September 3 Daytrotter Barnstormer 5 concert in Maquoketa's Codfish Hollow Barn.

Two years ago, he said in a phone interview this week, he recorded largely by himself with a couple of string players. As he's built a band, he said, "we wanted to make sure that everybody was following us on that trajectory, instead of listening to something that was super-outdated. ... We wanted to make sure that through this process of making music ... we weren't waiting on anybody."

Daytrotter.com's latest Barnstormer tour - five nights of live music in Midwestern barns - closes Saturday at the Codfish Hollow barn in Makoqueta. The Reader published an interview with headliner Sondre Lerche in 2009 (RCReader.com/y/lerche), but we wanted to acquaint our readers with a couple of the other bands on this year's tour: Guards and the Romany Rye. (The bill also includes Keegan DeWitt, ARMS, Mike & the Moonpies, and Hands.)

Richie James Follin of Guards. Photo by Olivia Malone.Guards: A Series of Fortunate Events

Richie James Follin said that the ongoing joke of his current band is that as long as a song has a Omnichord - an electronic instrument that was meant to mimic an autoharp - and a 12-string electric guitar, it's a Guards song, regardless of genre or any other consideration.

So Guards' seven-inch of covers includes a startlingly sleepy and longing inversion of Metallica's "Motorbreath" alongside transformed tracks from M.I.A. and Vampire Weekend. There's a dreamy, retro haze over everything, but on that and the earlier collection of seven songs that Follin posted on Guards' Bandcamp site (Guards.Bandcamp.com), the vibe ranges from dark, propulsive pop to angular, doom-filled rock. (Both sets of recordings can be downloaded for free.)

Nathaniel Rateliff

When I talked with Nathaniel Rateliff earlier this week, he was driving a dump truck for his job as a gardener, and closed the interview with these pronouncements when asked if there was anything he'd like to mention: "I love to swim. I like poultry."

Aside from hinting at a dry sense of humor, these things suggest that Rateliff is grounded person. And that's reflected in the path that he's chosen.

The Denver-based singer/songwriter, who will perform two Daytrotter.com shows on August 27, had an opportunity to have his rock band (Born in the Flood) and perhaps his current folk-ish outfit signed to the Roadrunner label. But he chose instead to follow his heart.

Tennis

If the husband-and-wife duo of Tennis disappears a year from now, it will remain a great story. Frugal living and romance led to a sailing trip that led to the band that captured their journey in evocative, lovely lo-fi songs. Another period of frugal living will let Tennis test the musical waters over the next year, and if it doesn't work out, Patrick Riley said he's okay with that.

In a phone interview last month, Riley said he and his wife have saved enough money at their day jobs over the past year to "buy ourselves another year of doing whatever. Since music has taken off, we're just going to try the music thing for a year. ... If we can sustain ourselves, we'll keep doing it. If we can't, we'll just turn it back into a hobby again."

The Watson Twins

When Jenny Lewis, the singer of the indie-pop outfit Rilo Kiley, released her 2006 solo debut Rabbit Fur Coat, she credited the album to Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins.

That small act of generosity is the primary reason that the Watson Twins -- who will perform a Daytrotter.com show at The Speakeasy on August 18 -- have their current visibility.

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