Wednesday night, getting closer to the a.m., if you turn your radio to Beyon’ Cray on KDHX, you might not get to sleep but you might want to get up and dance. DJ Crim Dolla Cray is no cure for insomnia but is a direct connection to the soul. “I’m always learning new things from different artists,” she says. “Lately I’ve been listening to older soul music.” She recently discovered newly released tracks by Aretha Franklin, Miles Davis, and has been listening to Ethiopian soul music.
She’s always checking out “a bunch of music,” whether for her radio show or her DJ gigs: soul, disco, punk rock, rock & roll. Crim Dolla Cray is all inclusive. Her July 21 KDHX playlist, for example, includes bands you know and need to know: The Young Senators, The Fatback Band, Arrested Development sampling from Sly and the Family Stone, and, yes, Kool & the Gang! A couple hours spent on the b-side of life ending with Donald Fagin singing “What a beautiful world this will be / What a glorious time to be free.”
She plays for CAM’s First Friday on August 6, the first IRL First Friday since March 2020. She’s yet to select the music for the night, but with Stories of Resistance on view, her first thoughts are world music, African, Bollywood. “I play what I have that is new and what people should know.”
At the present moment she’s “looking for anything that’s uplifting and alluring,” music that people “have yet to pick up on their radar.”
For CAM, does she want people to dance, mingle, or think to the music she spins? “All of the above.”
“I don’t like to stare but I like to watch to see if people are feeling it. I like to check the crowd and get a sense of where to go from there.”
Not long after the show, Crim Dolla Cray is going to Alaska, a return trip purely for vacation. “The air is fresh, everyone knows everyone. People there are awesome.”
She’s St. Louis born and raised. “I’ve been here forever. If I can get out for a couple days, it does me good.”
What to tell people thinking about coming to the museum for First Friday? “Come experience the mind, body, and soul of what’s happening in music and art.”
Crim Dolla Cray is on at 7:00 pm. CAM’s open an extra hour and so is the bar. A free beer ticket per visitor while supply lasts. You can dance if you want to. Sleep later.