Wednesday, Mar 16, 2011
Organizers of the acclaimed music event series Bluegrass Underground have announced a partnership to bring this unique “musical adventure” to PBS this fall. Bluegrass Underground is taped in the Volcano Room, 333-feet deep within Cumberland Caverns near McMinnville. The 12-part concert series premieres on PBS this September.
“PBS is constantly seeking fresh ways to engage our audience through nature, culture and the arts,” said John F. Wilson, PBS senior vice president and chief television programming executive, “and Bluegrass Underground combines all of these in every extraordinary show.”
Bluegrass Underground concerts have aired on country music’s flagship radio station, 650 WSM-AM since 2008, but now a partnership of Loblolly Ventures, WCTE-DTV (PBS) in Cookeville, and Emmy Award-winning producer Todd Jarrell have developed this unique series for distribution on PBS.
“We’re pleased that PBS is as excited about Bluegrass Underground as we are,” said Todd Mayo, the series creator and Loblolly Ventures president. “This series represents Tennessee’s two finest exports: our rich, musical culture and our state’s abiding natural beauty. The majestic acoustic properties and visual beauty of the cave and the authenticity of the musicians who comprise Season One make this a truly immersive musical adventure.”
The series is, as Mayo puts it, “A little bit bluegrass, a little bit underground,” with performing artists covering the spectrum of Bluegrass-Jazzgrass-Americana-Gospel-Roots music. Season One acts include: Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Darrell Scott, 18 South, Mike Farris and The McCrary Sisters, CherryHolmes, Justin Townes Earle, Mountain Heart, Will Hoge, John Cowan, Monte Montgomery and The Farewell Drifters.
Taped in High Definition with 5.1 Surround Sound, the combination of a studio-quality acoustic cavern and top creative talent promises viewers “an eye-popping presentation of one of the most visually amazing and acoustically true venues there is on — or under — the earth,” said Jarrell.
“We are so proud to be presenting Bluegrass Underground on PBS,” said WCTE CEO Becky Magura. “This program will be a tremendous asset for WCTE and a unique addition to PBS’ stable of musical and cultural offerings.”
Underwriters of the television series will include the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, Nissan and The City of McMinnville. “Our partners believe in the series, and for their support we are truly grateful,” said Jarrell.
“Bluegrass Underground is the marriage of two of Tennessee's best assets - our world-class music and our stunning natural beauty," said Commissioner Susan Whitaker, of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. “Now thanks to PBS all of America will discover this truly unique American treasure."
Discovered in 1810, the 32-mile long Cumberland Caverns system is a registered U.S. National Natural Landmark, attracting thousands of visitors from around the world each year. The subterranean descent to the Volcano Room takes visitors past an underground pool and waterfall to the 500-seat natural amphitheatre carved by water over 3.5 million years.
The next Bluegrass Underground show, performed in front of a studio audience, features Emmitt-Nershi Band on April 23.
For more information, visit www.bluegrassunderground.com.