People of a certain generation remember John McEuen with respect and even awe. He is an integral part of our musical Americana DNA. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Will the Circle be Unbroken. Multi- Grammy winner. And on and on. But enough of context. He has rel
Dear Rolling Hills Readers,
As you may know, Rolling Hills Radio has ventured into the world of television. Local Access 5 out of Mayville, NY, began cablecasting our show last January. Shortly thereafter, Rolling Hills began cablecasting on a second access station, Spectrum channel 1301 in Jamestown, NY. And now, our reach grows with the addition of Open Stage Media in Schenectady, NY.
Open Stage Media has provided RHR with a platform in one of the largest metropolitan areas in the country. This family of three public access stations has become a force for the arts, as well as informational programs about government and local interest programming. Rolling Hills Radio has always advocated for electronic mediums that are independent of the mainstream, — free from commercial, corporate, political and financial agendas. Open Stage Media could not be a more perfect fit for what we do.
Open Stage Media’s “storefront” studios are part of the Proctors Theater complex, itself an astounding testimony to the power of the arts, and a shining example of how a commitment to the arts can be the catalyst for the financial, aesthetic, and growth potential of the entire Schenectady community as well as New York State’s Capital Region. We are delighted to be on their schedule. The Capital Region is home to 1.2 million potential viewers for a show which —because it originates and is produced right here in Jamestown — helps promote our hometown. You can catch the show Monday nights at 7:00 or Wednesday afternoons at 4:00 by navigating to http://openstagemedia.com/
Rolling Hills Radio relies entirely on the support of people who give tremendous energy to assure that Americana/Grassroots music reaches the listeners and viewers who love it, as well as those who are developing an appreciation for the first time. For our new connection with Open Stage Media (OSM), I want to acknowledge Philip Morris, Proctors’ visionary CEO, who has worked incredible magic in the Capital Region. We also want to recognize our own Mike Flaxman and Ed Tomassini, who initiated and guided this process the whole way.
All that said, however, Rolling Hills Radio remains a staunch advocate of live performances above any other way of enjoying music. There is nothing like being in the room with other listeners, the artists, the cameras, lights, and everything that goes with present-moment life. March’s offering will be an exceptional illustration of exactly this. The Urban Pioneers are an irresistibly lively group. They are idiosyncratic, funny, charismatic, and highly-spirited in ways that are completely contagious in person. You’ll walk out with new energy. As for Nick Vandenberg and Geoff Goodhue, our allegiance to singer-songwriters has never been better-served than by this duo. Hearing them on recordings is wonderful; being present live takes these beautiful songs to a different level, an intimacy that is hard to match on radio or TV. And of course, there’s the thrill of being part of the live studio audience.
As for what’s coming up this season, the Rolling Hills good fortune has never been greater. Todd Burge and Rachael Sage in April. ROBIN AND LINDA WILLIAMS in May. And don’t forget, RHR will record at the Great Blue Heron on Saturday, July 7. Our guests will be the Town Pants!
Dear Rolling Hills Readers,
I grew up in the 1960’s. The revolution of thought, art, values, mores, politics, style – almost no aspect of our society was spared. From the vantage point of today, it seems to have been inevitable that music was instrumental in bringing forth such positive change for kids like me. The populist music I’m talking about was on a trajectory from Woody Guthrie to Pete Seeger to Tom Paxton. I say this about Tom because Dave Von Ronk said it. Also, according to Von Ronk, “Dylan is usually cited as the founder of the new song movement, and he certainly became its most visible standard-bearer, but the person who started the whole thing was Tom Paxton.” You can read about all this elsewhere. It is now American History.
Tom Paxton fearlessly and beautifully articulated a relentless message of peace, love, and good sense. He was, and is, a true personification of the word “populist.” Of course, music as a power for social change didn’t stop with Tom Paxton, just as Tom Paxton didn’t stop tackling issues with his customary humor, pathos, and insight. He wrote “Whose Garden Was This” for the very first Earth Day. I can go on and on but this is just a newsletter, after all.
Tom Paxton’s wisdom and the sheer beauty of his music, there is nothing more American. Please join me in welcoming this great man and incredible musician. Come and see him for yourself in the intimate surroundings of Shawbucks. It will be quite a night.
As for what’s coming up this season, the Rolling Hills good fortune has never been greater. The Urban Pioneers. Vanderberg and Goodhue. Todd Burge. Rachael Sage. ROBIN AND LINDA WILLIAMS. Oooops. Sorry, not sorry about the caps lock. I shout that every time.
And don’t forget, Tom Paxton will be accompanied by Grammy winners the Don Juans. We could have done a whole show with these two guys. Maybe we will someday. Just sayin…
Dear Rolling Hills Readers,
Musicians sometimes end up at events where they are booked along with other bands or artists. Long ago, before recorded music was as readily available as it is today, these gigs were rare chances for musicians to meet or, sometimes to even hear each others’ music. I remember remarking to one of my bandmates, the ever-gregarious consummate musician-dude, Eddie Sheridan, how quickly musicians related to each other as soon as they met, how we quickly fell into conversations that were meaningful to us. Eddie Sheridan merely said, “It’s the brotherhood of musicians, Ken.” And that was that.
Truthfully, while there is certainly something to the possibility that musicians have a collective consciousness of creative sensibilities, at the same time it is demonstrably true that working musicians live in a parallel universe, a somewhat Woody Guthrie-ish existence. It’s impossible to describe to people who haven’t lived it, and it brings a little bit of a sense of relief to find others who participate in this adventure, this lifestyle that leaves us lurking around the edges of society, observing, commenting, cajoling, interpreting, and relating.
It is partially that relationship, that siblinghood of musicians, that leads Rolling Hills to present artists based on how good they are regardless of their level of fame. Once in a while, though, pretty famous people appear on our stage in spite of all this. This season it’s Tom Paxton, Rachael Sage, Robin and Linda Williams, and this guy – Joe Crookston. He came out of the gate a few years ago making a huge splash in the Americana world and his fame keeps growing.
As I write this, I haven’t met Joe Crookston but after having heard the depth and content of his songwriting, I feel like I know him, or at least can relate to some of his multi-layered vision. If you’ve taken the time to listen, I am sure you will too. There’s no doubt that he’s a songwriter’s songwriter and that he resides in the parallel dimension that musicians call home. People who have seen him live tell me his performances simply grab you by the soul and leave you a little different.
As for our Ol’ Buddy John Latini, he has dedicated his life to delivering music to the world, always on his own terms. Not only is his music superb (RHR listeners don’t need me to say that), it’s the hip Latini vibe that people draws people wherever he goes. He always been like that. I’ve known him a long long time.
Tom Paxton trivia: John Denver named his third album after one of Tom Paxton’s songs. What song was it? (Answer at the end of this letter.)
The doors for all shows open at 5:30pm for the “Happy Rolling Hour.” Not only can you hang around with and be part of the Rolling Hills community, but you can enjoy some great Shawbucks food! Recording begins at 6:30. Then join me and the artists after the show for the Meet and Greet, right in the same comfortable location. There’s no better way to spend a Monday night. Don’t forget, only Rolling Hills ticketholders attend Shawbucks on show nights. We have the whole place to ourselves!
Are you looking for that unique and perfect gift for Christmas? How about
a few nights out at Rolling Hills Radio? Dinner. Friends. Drinks. A
show. And a little party after the show. All in one evening, all in the
same place. Easy and fun. Spend money on experiences, not stuff. There
are a lot of great RHR shows coming up throughout the rest of the winter
We have two shows in January, the 15th and the 29th. We decided to give
two shows in one month a try this season because traditionally, January
has been the most popular month for our live audience attendance. It
seems that a lot of people think an evening out at a Rolling Hills show is
a wonderful winter activity.
Having Kathryn Koch back for the January 15 show is a real treat. This
will be her fourth RHR appearance. She is a musician of great versatility
and depth. We’ve had her play in several capacities, as a backup with
others as well as a solo artist. This time she is bringing Tim Pitcher
with her as we get a chance to feature her incredible voice and showcase
her fine songwriting. The last time she appeared solo on the show, an RHR
patron described her music as “folk noir.” Come and see for yourself what
that sounds like.
Then there’s our ol’ buddy, Zig Zeitler. He’s back and all set to bring
his very unique take on music, instruments, and life with him. As those
of you who saw him when he appeared on the show with his wife, Siusan
O’Rourke, some time ago, there’s kind of no telling what this guy will do.
But it will be entertaining.
You might want to think about getting tickets for the January 29 show soon
too. Americana heavyweight, Joe Crookston, appears with RHR favorite,
John Latini. Also, now’s a good time to get your tickets for Tom Paxton
on February 26. There has never been a time in America when his music has
been more relevant.
Tom Paxton trivia: What Tom Paxton song, performed by the Fireballs, went
to number 9 on the Hot 100 in 1967? (answer at the end of this letter)
The doors for all shows open at 5:30pm for the “Happy Rolling Hour.” Not
only can you hang around with and be part of the Rolling Hills community,
but you can enjoy some great Shawbucks food! Thanks to Kurt and Tammy for
making sure our audience is well-fed before the show. Recording begins
at 6:30. Then join me and the artists after the show for the Meet and
Greet, right in the same comfortable location. There’s no better way to
spend a Monday night.
Happy Holidays from the whole Rolling Hills Radio cast and crew!
answer to trivia question: Bottle of Wine
Dear Rolling Hills Readers,
As the holiday season chugs along, we’re looking ahead to a very action-packed several weeks. In the span of a month and a half we will be putting on three shows. This, of course, gives the Ol’ Kenster somewhat valid reason to bow out of some of the cooking, wrapping, and maybe even shopping duties around here. I will, however, remain obliged to do my of share eating as many holiday goodies as I can slide into the Hardley pie hole.
Which reminds me, the responsibility for documenting the comings and goings of my waistline on film lies with our exceptionally talented photographer, Lori Savaree. Together with the photogenic nature of our new venue, Shawbucks, some real works of photographic art are coming out of every show. You can see them all on our Rolling Hills Radio Facebook page, but they keep appearing elsewhere as well. Newspapers. Other FB pages. Web sites. Suffice it to say, if you see a pic of me or RHR anywhere, there is a very high probability it came from the camera of Our Ms. Savaree. Please do stop and tell her what a great job she does when you see her at the show. Maybe you can even get married so she can photograph your wedding. Just thinking out loud here…
Most of you know our Rolling Hills friend and sublime singer, Marla Harris. She contacted me with the name of, and sterling recommendation for, David Michael Miller. Marla is never wrong. Come to Shawbucks on December 18 and find out for yourself. This guy is the real blues, country, and even cajun thing. Speaking of recommendations, our favorite radio dude and former RHR announcer, Jason Sample, urged me to book the other act, Almond&Olive. There is so much to say about these two musicians, I’ll save much of it for the show. But do let me say this – RHR has had some fabulous man/woman duos; the Honey Dewdrops and Anonymous Willpower come to mind. Later this season we have the Urban Pioneers as well as Americana Royalty, ROBIN AND LINDA WILLIAMS. But first…Almond&Olive.
I am compelled to remind you that folk icon TOM
PAXTON will be here Monday, February 26. A quick TP trivia question. From what song did this phrase come? “What’s the matter with you, baaaabeeee?” (Answer at the bottom of this email.) Get your tickets now. It’s looking like this show may sell out early.
I am happy to announce our newest affiliate, Access Channel 5 broadcasting out of Mayville, NY. You can now see Rolling Hills Radio on TV! They begin broadcasting our show this week. And don’t forget, you can hear us every Friday night at 6:00pm on WRFA, 107.9, Radio for the Arts. Low Power to the People!
The doors for all shows open at 5:30pm for the “Happy Rolling Hour.” Not only can you hang around with and be part of the Rolling Hills community, but you can enjoy some great Shawbucks food! Thanks to Kurt and Tammy for making sure our audience is well-fed before the show. Recording begins at 6:30. Then join me and the artists after the show for the Meet and Greet, right in the same comfortable location. There’s no better way to spend a Monday night.