Sunday, March 23, 2008

WKCR-FM Country Music Festival

Every year WKCR holds a Country Music Festival where we pre-empt all regular programming and play nothing but country, bluegrass, old-time, Western swing, cajun, etc. music for the whole weekend. We try to do this the weekend closest to Valentine's Day, but various snafus and delays have resulted in it happening this coming weekend.

The complete schedule is below. I'll be hosting the Modern Country Storytellers, Norman Blake & Tony Rice and the Black String Bands segments.

WKCR-FM 2008 Country Music Festival

Starts on Friday 28 March at 12:00 p.m. and goes through Sunday 30 March at 2:00 p.m.

Listen at 89.9 FM in the New York area or anywhere in the world.


  • Great Songwriters (12pm-3pm)

    Since country is such a songwriter driven genre, in this segment we will pay tribute to the greatest country songwriters, including music from Bobby Braddock, Billie Joe Shaver, and others.

  • Modern Country Storytellers (3pm-6pm)

    Growing out of the outlaw country movement of the 1970s, borrowing from the folk singer-songwriter genre and paralleling developments in the broader alt-country field, a group of underheralded country storytellers has been traveling the highways of the United States delighting rowdy roadhouse crowds and Southern college campuses while failing to break through into the commercial country mainstream. This segment will hone in on the musical characteristics that unite songwriters like Robert Earl Keen, Todd Snider and Butch Hancock, tracing their evolution back to mainstays of a slightly earlier generation like Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark.

  • Live Music (6pm-7:30pm)

    A live studio session featuring New York-area country musicians.

  • Gram Parsons Rediscovered (7:30pm-10:30pm)

    Over 30 years after his untimely death, there's been a release of previously undiscovered live recordings. Amoeba records has just released The Gram Parsons Anthology Vol. 1. This segment will air some of these recordings and also include the backstory about how these recordings resurfaced after so many years. The segment will include an interview with a representative of Amoeba Records, a small West Coast label centered around a three-chain record shop.

  • 40 years in Folsom Prison (10:30pm-1:30am)

    This segment will celebrate the 40th anniversary of this landmark recording by Johnny Cash (with June Carter and Carl Perkins) on January 13, 1968 and the subsequent release of what would become one of the greatest albums in country music. We'll air large portions of this concert (from the 2000 re-release), along with background info and historical context.


  • Uncle Tupelo Family Tree (1:30am-4:30am)

    We will play the music of this seminal neo-traditional country band from the 1990's and trace the post-breakup music created by it's members.

  • Murder Ballads & Disaster Songs 1913-1938 (4:30am-7am)

    Based on 2007 3-CD box set of same name produced by the great Hank Sapoznik and put out by Tompkins Square Records.

  • Zydeco Love (7am-10am)

    Zydeco and cajun love songs from 1930 to today.

  • Norman Blake and Tony Rice (10am-1pm)

    Two of the most prominent flatpicking guitarists ever, Norman Blake (b. 1938) and Tony Rice (b. 1951) have influenced countless bluegrass and country musicians and have written and recorded numerous bluegrass and country classics. Tony Rice is recognized as a genre-bending innovator, who has combined jazz stylings with classic bluegrass tunes first as a member of the David Grisman Quintet and then as the leader of the Tony Rice Unit. Rice also was a member of bluegrass supergroups The Bluegrass Album Band and Rice, Rice, Hillman & Pedersen. Norman Blake, on the other hand, is best known for his guitar recordings of classic fiddle tunes but also has contributed backup guitar and dobro to such classic albums as Bob Dylan's Nashville Skyline, John Hartford's Aereo-Plain and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's Will the Circle Be Unbroken. Blake and Rice also have recorded two highly regarded albums together. In addition to all of these great studio releases, this segment will treat listeners to a WKCR archival recording of a 1974 visit to the station by Norman Blake and John Hartford.

  • A Tribute to Porter Wagoner (1pm-7pm)

    A tribute to Porter Wagoner, who died October 28, 2007. Wagoner was an American country music singer. Famous for his flashy Nudie suits and blond pompadour, Wagoner introduced a young Dolly Parton to the world on his long-running television show. Together, "Porter and Dolly" were a well-known duet team through the late 1960s and early '70s. Parton wrote the song "I Will Always Love You" after Wagoner suggested she shift from story songs to focus on love songs. This segment will feature an interview with Wagoner from the WKCR archives conducted in the late 1980s.

  • A Tribute to Hank Thompson (6pm-12am)

    A tribute to Hank Thompson, who died November 6, 2007. Thompson was a country music entertainer whose career spanned seven decades. He sold over 60 million records worldwide. His musical style, characterized as Honky Tonk Swing, was a mixture of fiddles, electric guitar and steel guitar that featured his distinctive, gravelly baritone vocals.


  • June and Johnny (12am-3am)

    A segment featuring duets by June Carter and Johnny Cash.

  • Country Rock (3am-8am)

    An exploration of how commercial country music has incorporated, or appropriated, elements from other genres like rock, blues, and gospel, while remaining true to its original influences and boundaries.

  • Country Gospel (8am-10am)

    A festival tradition, this segment will feature country gospel recordings from a variety of musicians, including Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Porter Wagoner, the Carter Family and musicians recorded in Appalachia by Alan Lomax in the 1930s.

  • Early Traditions of Black String Bands (10am-12pm)

    The banjo is a product of Africa. Africans transported to the Caribbean and Latin America were reported playing banjos in the 17th and 18th centuries, before any banjo was reported in the Americas. When most of people think of fiddle and banjo music, they think of the white southern Appalachian Mountains as the source of this music. This segment will trace the history of the sting bands back to its African-American roots well before the Civil War.

  • Everybody Loves Hank (12pm-2pm)

    The festival will end--as it always does--with a segment featuring the music of Hank Williams.

1 comment:

Ellen Stanley said...

do you have playlists from the segments you hosted?