Late Night Festival Folk, Blues, Country and Bluegrass on PBS

I've never really been a 9-5 type of person as it just does not seem to fit well with my sleeping habits. I prefer to be up working or researching during the late night hours when my brain has been active for a while and sleep for a few hours in the early morning, than turning in early every night. One of the benefits of this is that I get to see some interesting things on TV late at night, including some videos from music festivals shown on PBS.

I can't remember the name of the program, probably because I never catch the beginning. Instead, I happen upon it in the middle when the music attracts my attention. It has happened more than once, usually at around 3-4 in the morning on the weekends. The show consists of pretty straight forward videos filmed at festival style gigs primarily interspersed with interviews with the band or the main members and are pretty interesting typically, as I like hearing artists I haven't heard of as well as genres I like but don't listen to nearly as regularly as some others.

What I really like about these shows though is that they're from genres that get little major, to no press including blues, country, folk and bluegrass. Although there are popular artists from each of these genres that get mainstream press, (except maybe for bluegrass), you don't hear about them nearly as much and rarely hear about new artists trying to make it. These are all less than well known artists and I've seen some great music from true blues, to straight up bluegrass right out of the back country, to interesting bands that feature the accordion (interesting is a good word to use, but I'll still with believing that no band should feature the accordion...ever). Some are great, and others are... interesting, but perhaps not music I would pick up and listen to on a regular basis. They're very earthy (what can be earthier than a little jug or washboard playing?), rough performances without a lot of the production that larger names might have and because their outdoors at festivals primarily, you get a real sense that you just happened to stop by and catch the group playing. Festivals like this always offer up some unique and interesting music as well as some great spontaneous and lively shows. I've discovered a few groups this way in person, and have become interested in a few I've seen on this late night show as well.

I'm glad this show is around because it is rare to have as much of the media coverage for these genres than what is out their being pushed as the next big thing, and so these artists can use all the help they can get, even if it is when most people are not awake. Genres like folk and bluegrass are what America primarily was built on and so it is nice to see some folks keeping those traditions alive in their original form and not dressed up for mainstream consumption.

So, the next time you're up at 3-4 in the morning, check out some of your local PBS stations and see if they show some of the music from these festivals too. You might find that you can really appreciate some musical genres that you didn't think you would be into and can help keep some of these less popular but very heritage based, genres alive.


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