American Parlor Songbook

  • Hosted by JP Houston, Julie Van Dusen

Come into the Parlor for clever songs, charming stories, and hilarious sketches each week. Hosted from the piano by acclaimed composer JP Houston, with his wife, comic actress Julie Van Dusen. JP and Julie are joined by special guests from national music acts to raconteurs and stand-ups. American Parlor Songbook has been recorded in front of live audiences at the Tudor House Theater in Lake Arrowhead CA, and at venues across the country.

JP Houston is a Canadian born singer, songwriter, pianist, and producer. JP has a large catalog of songs composed for record, theater and television, from Funny or Die Presents to the Big Comfy Couch. He has written for BBC, HBO, CBC, PBS and countless others. Houston has been nominated for a Canadian Emmy for best score.

In addition to his composing work, JP is an accomplished performer who has toured andrecorded all over North America and Europe.

Most recently in Brian Bell’s Weezer side project The Relationship. In 2013, he wrapped a 2 year stint leading the house band at the legendary venue, Pappy and Harriet’s in PioneerTown CA. The popular shows saw JP trading songs with the likes of Victoria Williams, Band Of Horses, The Jay Hawks,M.Ward, John Doe, and a host of other notable guests who sat in each week.

Houston has also worked extensively in comedy clubs and theaters as a performer and musical director including shows at UCB, Steve Allen Theatre, and 24th St Theater,to name a few.

Julie Van Dusen is a stage actress hailing from Michigan. She is an alumni of the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy, and a graduate from Oakland University’s theater program. Since earning her degree, Julie has held key rolls in productions including Diary of Ann Frank (Jet Theatre), Psycho Beach Party (Strand Theatre), Twelfth Night (Attic Theatre), and The Fantastics (Henry Ford Theatre). Van Dusen has also worked in comedy and improv, with stints in Detroit productions of Tony and Tina’s Wedding, and improv group Awkward Silence.

4/5/19 - The Automatic Parlor

Apr 10, 2019

Join us for sketches, stories, and songs on Automation. We uncover another lost propaganda cartoon, comedian Steven Benaquist is back with an NPR parody, William Vallenti sings us a musical op-ed on drones, and California indie rockers Fellow Robot perform.

3/29/19 - The American Scheme

Mar 29, 2019

Join us for an episode about con jobs, pyramid schemes, and grifts. JP tells a true childhood tale of a Time Square scam, Steven Benaquist pitches an unorthodox diet plan, and singer songwriter Patrick Park performs his down to earth folk songs.

3/22/19 - The Human Voice

Mar 22, 2019

Join us for a show about the human voice. We'll modulate, virbrato, diphthong, and glottal stop for an hour straight. JP tells a childhood tale, retired actress Martha Young shows off her 8 octave range, comedian Matt Knudsen tries his hand at the piano, and Canadian singer Coco Love Alcorn performs her spiritual tunes.

3/15/19 - The Universe

Mar 15, 2019

Join us for a collection of sketches, stories, and songs about the nature of the universe. JP tells a childhood tale about a girl named Tide, a guru torments his follower, April Hava Shenkman trades voices with her father Chickster, and So-Cal swing act Hobo Jazz Perform.

3/8/19 - Spring Mix

Mar 8, 2019

A compilation featuring some of our favorite spring clips. With songs from twin sisters Sarah & Claire Bowman, and routines by performance artist April Hava Shenkman.

3/1/19 - Public Loving Broadcast

Mar 1, 2019

Join us from the studio for stories, sketches and songs in response to White House cuts to public broadcasting. The Sesame Street gang go revolutionary, retired actress Martha Young cooks up a fundraising scheme, comedian Steven Benaquist returns as late night jazz host Peebo Whitely, and Eva Mikhailovna performs her haunting folk songs.

2/22/19 - Elbow Grease Is the Word

Feb 22, 2019

Join us for a show about work. JP tells a true childhood tale about earning fake money, comedian and playwright Steven Benaquist delivers a "FRED Talk", and from Switzerland, songwriting duo Sarah Bowman and Rene Coal Burrel perform as Famous October.

2/15/19 - Decay

Feb 15, 2019

Join us at The Tudor House Theater for sketches, stories, and songs about decay. It's an all new show featuring previously unaired musical performances by Art Podell, Jaden LaRue, and Josh Cuadra. JP tells a childhood tale about early computing, Julie joins in for a sketch on obsolescence, and Phil Proctor & Jamie Alcroft return with another "Boomers on a Bench".

2/8/19 - Lower Learning

Feb 8, 2019

An episode from Lake Arrowhead with Australian singer Jordie Lane, and comedian Ryan Singer.

2/1/19 - Broken English

Feb 1, 2019

Join us for an episode about the english language.

1/18/19 - Enlightenment

Jan 19, 2019

Listen to the sound of one hand clapping on an episode about enlightenment. JP tells another true childhood tale, we look into a new, mind altering medical treatment, Art Podell is back to sing the news, Tracy Newman performs her endearing folk, and Phil Proctor & Jamie Alcroft return as our "Boomers on a Bench."

1/11/19 - Storied

Jan 11, 2019

Join us for an episode about books, plays, and story craft all kinds. JP tells a true tale about his 3rd grade book report, a future society rediscovers Shakespeare, Art Podell brings us the history of the talking blues, and Vermont singer-songwriter Kris Gruen performs.

1/4/19 - The Clippening

Jan 4, 2019

Join us for some of our favorite bits. We dust off another lost propaganda cartoon, JP sings about marijuana legalization, Zach Sherwin raps about a bee attack, Bill Chott does magic on the radio, Carly Ritter sings her own charming song, and Nashville strummer Darren Bradbury performs.

12/28/18 - Winter

Dec 28, 2018

Put a log on the fire and watch the snow fall outside the window. JP tells a chilly childhood tale, we visit the Ice Sculpture Invitational, and retired actress Martha Young becomes the queen of the winter carnival. Steven Benaquist cedes his slot to Miroslav Pekar, and acoustic soul duo Freddy & Francine perform.

12/21/18 - Secular Holiday Semi-Spectacular

Dec 21, 2018

Join us for a holiday show. Alt-right host Aaron White fights in the war on Christmas, retired actress Martha Young trashes a pine tree, and JP tells a true childhood tail about a flying turkey. With special musical Christmas cards sent in by Young Mister, Carolyn Mark, Sunfields, and Matt Coleman.

12/14/18 - Holiday Freakout

Dec 14, 2018

Join us for a holiday show recorded at Skypark at Santa's Village. Carols new and old, a true childhood tale, a turkey stand-off, and retired actress Martha Young celebrates the 14 days of her Christmas film catalog.

12/07/18 - Rich Vs Poor

Dec 7, 2018

Join us for sketches, stories, and songs on economic class. JP tells a true childhood tale about the divides in his neighborhood, we uncover another 1950s propaganda cartoon, and Steven Benaquist brings us a piece on a depression era magnate. Plus, songs from Joey Chrisman, Patrick Krief, and Ryan Erskine.

11/30/18 - The Body Eclectic

Nov 30, 2018

Join us for sketches, stories, and songs about the human body. Matt Knudsen brings us another edition of the APS News, comedian Hannah Gansen sings her absurdist songs, and desert tripper Josh Kjerstad strums some dreamy folk.

11/23/18 - Pushing Pencils

Nov 23, 2018

Take a number and have a seat, it'll be a while on this episode about bureaucracy. JP tells a true childhood tale about school health regulations, comedian Hailey Jones keeps us in check as Safety Sue, and singer-songwriter Matt Coleman performs his acoustic pop.

11/16/18 - The Exact Science of Comedy

Nov 16, 2018

Join us for an episode about comedy itself, recorded in front of an audience at the KVCR PBS TV studios in San Bernardino California. John Pate returns with another charming story, and folk duo Lawrence and Clare perform their likeable ditties.

11/9/18 - Mystic Mayhem

Nov 8, 2018

Join us for sketches, stories, and songs on mysticism. An NPR host looks to find the value in esoteric learning, JP tells a true childhood tale about a cursed knickknack, Phil Proctor & Jamie Alcroft return as our "Boomers on a Bench", and cosmic american folksters Jet Dread Stone perform their tarot inspired tunes.

11/2/18 - Jazz The Vote

Nov 2, 2018

Join us for sketches, stories, and songs on politics and elections. Actor Rick Overton brings us senate hopeful Lonny Fontoon, comedian Steven Benaquist counters as an incumbent senator, Chris Bonno wanders into our Town Hall as a disgruntled big box shopper, and singer Gene Evaro Jr performs.

10/26/18 - Songs Under the Desk

Oct 26, 2018

Join us for an episode on Song. We'll explore lyric and melody with a tune about the pope, and a true tale about a childhood basement band. Comedian Steven Benaquist brings us a one man sketch on an imaginary rock legend. We look for some songs under the desk of that popular public radio music contest, and find some over looked entrants.

10/19/18 - Chaos

Oct 19, 2018

Join us for a show about chaos. JP tells a story about a childhood prank, Alt-Right talkshow host Aaron White goes nuts, Zach Sherwin brings his comedy rap, and Australian singer-songwriter Clare Reynolds performs her heartfealt pop tunes.

10/12/18 - Justice

Oct 12, 2018

Join us for an episode recorded at The Tudor House Theater in Lake Arrowhead, CA. We'll search for mercy on a show about justice. JP tells a true childhood tale about property lines, special guest Art Podell sings the news, Dylan Chambers performs his catchy pop tunes, and Steven Benaquist plays Pastor Scott Gene.

10/5/18 - Privacy

Oct 5, 2018

Join us for an episode recorded at The Tudor House Theatre in Lake Arrowhead, California. We'll mind our business on a show about privacy. JP tells a childhood tale about a secret room under the stairs, Julie joins in for a sketch about a smart home run amuck, Phil Proctor & Jamie Alcroft return with their "Boomers on a Bench", and original Greenwich scene folk singer Art Podell performs.

9/28/18 - Sportsmanlike Misconduct

Sep 28, 2018

Join us for a show about competition, recorded live at The Tudor House Theater in Lake Arrowhead, CA. JP tells a true childhood tale about his grade school Olympics, a bake-off goes off the rails, comedian Matt Knudsen delivers the first ever APS News, and British singer-songwriter Jason Feddy returns to sing the police blotter.

9/21/18 Moolah

Sep 21, 2018

Join us for sketches, stories, and songs about money, recorded live at the Tudor House Theatre in Lake Arrowhead, CA. We've uncovered another rare 1950s propaganda cartoon about banking, retired actress Martha Young helps out a Nigerian prince, Jay Montepare tells a funny story about a missed windfall, and singer-songwriter Jaden Larue performs her heartfelt tunes.

9/14/18 - Words With Friends

Sep 14, 2018

We'll twist our tongues on an episode about words and communication. John Pate returns with a tale of southern idioms, and Canadian singer Ben Wilkens brings us his thoughtful piano ballads.

9/7/18 - The Fourth Estate

Sep 7, 2018

Join us for an episode about the press, recorded at KVCR television studios in San Bernardino, CA. JP tells a true childhood tale about his father's press pass, comedian John Pate explains the origin of a colloquialism, Julie & JP bring us an alt-right talk show parody, and singer-songwriter Joey Chrisman performs his folky blues.

Pages