Savannah Music Festival

Airs Thursday, December 17, at 8 p.m. That high lonesome sound known as bluegrass is a music steeped in tradition. Inspired by the music of Appalachia with roots in Irish, Scottish, Welsh and English traditional music, it first emerged in the 1930s when Kentucky native Bill Monroe formed his famous bluegrass boys. One of bluegrass music's modern day masters is tenor and mandolin player Ricky Skaggs, who is featured on this episode from a SMF performance with his band Kentucky Thunder.

Airs Thursday, December 10, at 8 p.m. It's always interesting when an outstanding artist decides to recreate an existing work. It opens up our understanding of both the original and the new version. So when banjoist Noam Pikelny re-imagined one of the standard-bearers for instrumental bluegrass, the 1976 recording entitled Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe, he wanted to be true to its roots while assigning the banjo to Kenny's fiddle parts.

Airs Thursday, December 3, at 8 p.m. Beginning in the Renaissance period, the European guitar generally had four courses, each strung with two gut strings, and the pair of strings within each course tuned in unison. By the early 18th century, six double-strung courses had become common, and the changing number of courses in these early guitars reflected the ongoing desire on behalf of players to increase the range of the instrument.

Airs Thursday, November 19, at 8 p.m. Guitarist, composer and arranger Julian Lage is often categorized as a jazz musician, though his music is also rooted in traditional and acoustic forms. In addition to five prior SMF performances both solo and with a variety of collaborators including Mark O'Connor, Martin Taylor, Mike Marshall and Casey Driessen, Julian Lage has served on the faculty of SMF's Acoustic Music Seminar since its inception in 2012.

Airs Thursday, November 12, at 8 p.m. When one thinks of bebop, the first musician that comes to mind is usually Charlie Parker, the pioneering alto-saxophone player and composer. In this episode, we listen to an early disciple of Parker's, alto sax player Charles McPherson, who was born in 1939 and raised in Detroit. Mr. McPherson grew up surrounded by a wealth of great jazz musicians in the motor city jazz scene, and first came to fame himself working with Charles Mingus in the 1960s and early 70s.

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