Friday, November 16, 2007
WoodSongs in Arkansas
Music is part of the human celebration.
Art should always be this way.
It is a passion that trancends payment. It is love, heart, soul and spirit. I suppose, in many ways, WoodSongs stands for home, community and family. I believe in it, and commit to it at the end of every broadcast.
It was with this spirit that WoodSongs agreed to travel to Jonesboro Arkansas to produce a special event broadcast celebrating the deep, diverse musical history of Arkansas. We were hosted on the beautiful campus of Arkansas State University, the 1000 seat Fowler Center, Jerry Biebesheimer and partnered with our affilliate KASU-FM. Program Director Marty Scarbro even came onboard as a guest on-air announcer, with Stacey Brothwell.
The WoodSongs crew gathered on a Thursday evening and traveled in a nice coach bus and arrived in Arkansas about 2am. After a few hours sleep, this incredible group of people, my friends, created a multi-media stage (television, syndicated radio, XM Satellite Radio and complete online streaming, archiving and podcasting) to celebrate and spotlight the musical home that gave the world Johnny Cash, Charlie Rich, Levon Helm, Sonny Boy Williamson, Floyd Cramer and so many others.
And the spirit of WoodSongs was reflected in the talents of those selected from over 300 submissions to be on our broadcast. Blues legend Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, a 12 year old fiddle master Caleb Cobb and his dad, the award winning Apple Brothers, hard driving bluegrass of Runaway Planet and the sweet voiced Americana of Greenwillis.
I think the highlight of the show, for me anyway, was Thomas Nelson. I found him on YouTube, and he played the harmonica like Charlie Daniels played fiddle for the Devil himself. But Thomas is not your ordinary musician, he is a challenged individual and I had no idea if he would show up, or if he did, what shape he would be in.
The bottom line is that Thomas, like everyone else on the show, played brilliantly. They made me and Arkansas proud. And I even got to play a new song with a string quintet (pictured, photo by Ruth Adams) ... and who says folk music is boring :)
You can watch the celebration of Arkansas on the archive page of my website. Check it out, and hopefully, WoodSongs might come to your hometown in 2008.