Airs Thursday, May 8 at 8 p.m. For many people, college is a place to study subjects that will prepare you for the next step in life, as well as a time to create new friendships. Such was the case for Woody Platt, Mike Guggino, Graham Sharp and Charles Humphrey, who began playing music together in 1999 while studying at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Fourteen years later and with the addition of one more musician, the five members of the Steep Canyon Rangers have become known as one of the finest bluegrass ensembles in our time.
Airs Thursday, April 24 at 8 p.m. The eight-stringed instrument that looks like a small lute and was played throughout Europe for several centuries is now known everywhere as the mandolin. This unique sounding instrument first entered popular American culture in the mid 19th century, when it was primarily used as a novelty instrument. By the year 1900 however, mandolin ensembles were touring the vaudeville circuit and mandolin orchestras were forming in schools and colleges. The ensuing 40 years saw the proliferation of mandolins across the south and a handful of American virtuosos performed, recorded, composed, and arranged for the mandolin in a variety of musical idioms. In this episode, we listen to David Grisman, Don Stiernberg, Sam Bush, Tony Williamson, and performing in a one-of-a-kind mandolin summit at the Savannah Music Festival.
Airs Thursday, April 17 at 8 p.m. In the musical movement known as roots revivalism, there are musicians indebted to and enamored of their form and its forebears, who occasionally succumb to simple imitation. Other times, there are artists fearful of being mere imitators, who sometimes produce forced and gimmicky musical hybrids. And then there are musicians that are respectful of American musical tradition, but not restricted by it., who combine centuries' worth of musical influences with an emotionally tough, undeniably modern songwriting sensibility. Such is the case with the all-female bluegrass group Della Mae, whose 2013 performance at the Savannah Music Festival is featured in this episode.
Airs Thursday, April 10 at 8 p.m. The general definition of a prodigy is "a child with a skill set or an ability that is incredibly accomplished, far beyond their years." Often times, such individuals are found in more quantitative fields, such as chess, music and math. One such prodigy is Julian Lage, who was born in 1987 and acclaimed as a major musical talent by the age of 8, when he became the subject of the 1997 Academy Award nominated documentary "Jules at Eight." Since then, Julian has gone on to become a wonderfully original performer who adores teaching almost as much as he does playing. In the spring of 2013, Julian Lage made his third appearance at the Savannah Music Festival, playing on a double bill with guitarist Martin Taylor. In this episode, we hear highlights from Julian's solo performance, along with two duets with Martin Taylor.
Airs Thursday, April 3 at 8 p.m. When you study jazz under Sir Roland Hanna and Jimmy Heath, earn your Master of Arts degree Summa Cum Laude from the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, and receive the Louis Armstrong Award for Composition from the ASCAP Foundation all while in your young twenties, the serious of your intent is not in question. In the spring of 2013, we brought 38 year old jazz pianist Jeb Patton, best known for his work with the Heath Brothers and being a "go-to" pianist on the NYC jazz scene, for a concert with the great saxophonist Charles McPherson and his quartet. While in town, Jeb also gave a lunchtime recital to an enthusiastic crowd, displaying his immense love for, and command of, the history of jazz piano. Tune in to hear highlights from the recital.