Central Kentucky is known by many as the heart of the Bluegrass State, so it’s only fitting that bluegrass music should be played and heard there, as well. One of the most well-known DJs in the region is Charlie Hall, host of Bluegrass Express, which can be heard every Sunday night from 6:00-10:00 PM on WCYO-FM out of Richmond. Hall, a banjo picker himself, has been hosting the show for the past seven years.
Playing the banjo came first for Hall. He began playing in the early 1970s, and has spent time with a number of central Kentucky bands. Hall is a fan of the Scruggs style (he notes that one of Scruggs’ instrumental albums is his favorite), but has also been heavily influenced by another central Kentucky picker – the one and only J.D. Crowe. The banjo also indirectly led to him getting into radio. Hall says that one day in 1976, he stopped by a local radio station to drop off an album by the band he was playing banjo with at the time. Speaking with the DJ, Matt Paul, helped spark an interest for Hall, and he eventually took over the show that Paul hosted for many years.
Hall’s radio show is sponsored by Sonny’s Real Pit Bar-B-Q restaurant, and he hosts a jam each week at the chain’s Nicholasville, Kentucky location along with Dale Pyatt. They can be found jamming the first Thursday of every month from 7:00-8:30. Pickers and fans even get a special deal on their meal that evening!
Hall is a bluegrass fan through and through. “I live and breathe bluegrass music,” he says. “Just ask someone that knows me!”
We recently had the chance to ask Hall a few questions about his thoughts on bluegrass. Here’s what he had to say.
How would you define bluegrass music as a genre?
“Bluegrass music is a pure, home grown music that at one time was part of country music and was played on the country radio stations right alongside country and western music.”
What form of bluegrass do you most enjoy?
What bands do you consider examples of the form you most enjoy?
“Flatt & Scruggs, Jimmy Martin, Reno & Smiley, The Stanley Brothers, Jim & Jesse, Joe Mullins, Junior Sisk.”
If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, which would it be?
“Earl Scruggs’ instrumental album when he was still part of the Foggy Mountain Boys because he had mostly his own material and it was recorded so well that it still is awesome to listen to after all these years.”
What album is currently in your car stereo?
“The new Michael Cleveland.”
Artists who are interested in submitting their music to Hall for airplay consideration can send a physical copy to him at:
1369 Copperfield Court
Lexington, KY 40514
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