Monday, February 27, 2006
Anytime a folksinger wins anything at all that is called the "Stephen Foster Award" it's a good thing.
When he can accept the award on behalf of his friends it's even better.
That's what I did last Thursday. A bunch of broadcasters and media folks considered WoodSongs and all it has accomplished and decided to award us the Stephen Foster Award for Broadcast Excellence. Sam Bush was there, as was Naomi Judd, the great bassist Byron House, Eddie and John Michael Montgomery from the country music world. John "Rose Colored Glasses" Conlee sang his big hit song. KET/PBS and WKYT-CBS taped the event for later broadcast.
We even had a free prime-rib dinner.
I liked that my long time friend Jim Piston and Corday, Judge Ray Corns, Dr. Bob DeMattina (who took this pic), Eric Anderson and Lisa Szejkorsky, all from the WoodSongs crew, were there to enjoy the evening. It felt less "me" and more like "us."
During the day I got to visit with my good friend Ron Penn, an artistan and fiddler who runs the John Jacob Niles Center at the University of Kentucky. Thankfully, his long and passionate efforts to keep this great folksinger's work alive was also recognized this night.
And musically I got to reach into my grab bag and sing Vincent-Starry, Starry Night a song I've sung to crowds like this for a long time. What made it especially nice was that, when I walked into the presentation hall, a very good friend of mine was in the house band. That's Paul Martin behind my right shoulder. He and I performed HUNDREDS of Earth Concerts in many states together early in my folksinging career. He is an amazing musician and was at my musical side as my Tree Hugger years took shape.
All in all and good night for WoodSongs and most importantly, a good night that recognized the hard work of my friends that make WoodSongs possible.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Well, Judge Ray Corns performed his 100th show last night.
What a good hearted, generous-to-a-fault and sincere man he is. And a good friend. Every week before the show starts he spins his Tales From WoodSongs Holler. Me, the artists and some of the crew watch him on the TV screens backstage ... it's a site to behold and we are very fortunate to have him as part of this family. And every week, he will call me after the show and tell me how much fun it is. We should all have a heart that big.
The artists coming to WoodSongs continue to be more and more powerful in their artistic scope. Last night we had Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band. Last week, the brilliant guitarist John Jorgenson. Amazing and fun to watch. Holly Brook will have a long career and has one of the most delicate voices I've heard in a long time. Mustards Retreat was a pleasure too. I've know David for a long time and it was great to finally have him and Mike on WoodSongs.
Our TV production continues to take shape and get better. I'm still not sold on the blue lighting against the curtains, it seems to clash with the warm look of the eternal autumn theme I want for the show. But little things like this make WoodSongs get even better.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
This past Monday we had the Gibson Brothers and Lauren Sheehan.
I have to say, it was a fun show. Aside from the music, Lauren and he partner Ed, an accomplished visual artist, were both a lot of fun to be around. We had dinner Sunday night. The Gibson Brothers are great musicians, they have a solid band and their sense of song arrangement is very clean and strong.
The new stage is looking awesome and Jim Piston and his TV/Webcast crew are working very hard to get it right. It takes a lot of work in that old theatre just to change a lightbulb. Seriously. We have to get a mechanical lift to go up 30 feet in the air just to change a bulb in a lighting instrument. Can you imagine?
My friend Dr. Bob took a great picture of the new stage. Hope you like it.
Oh yeah ... one more thing. The University of Kentucky just agreed to accept the history of the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour and archive all our original scripts, Bob and Larry's massive photo collection, the original DAT copies of the first shows, our posters, banners and other stuff permanently as a historic collection at the John Jacob Niles Center on campus.