Sometimes, bluegrass music can sneak up and take you by surprise. One day you’re a casual fan, adding some bluegrass songs to your iPod occasionally and attending one or two festivals in the area each year. The next day, you’re all in: spending all week at IBMA’s annual conference and festival, following your favorite bands around the region and/or country, looking longingly at anything labeled “pre-war,” or, as in Julie Tucker’s case, becoming the host of a bluegrass radio show.
As Tucker puts it, “I offered to help a friend out on his weekly show and the next thing I knew, I was a co-host of a bluegrass show.” That show is World of Bluegrass, broadcast every Saturday morning from nine until noon on KKUS The Ranch, a classic country station located in East Texas. Tucker co-hosts the show with longtime bluegrass broadcaster Dave Rousseau. He began the show in 2001, and brought Tucker on in 2008. Since then, the show, which is broadcast live, has grown from two hours to three.
Tucker’s introduction to bluegrass music, however, was through her husband Mike, when they met 24 years ago. According to Tucker, that’s when she first started listening to the music that’s now a major part of her life. “He plays banjo and taught me to play the bass,” she says. In 1994, they formed a bluegrass Gospel group called East Mountain, which has played at numerous festivals, churches, benefits, and nursing homes throughout Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana over the last twenty years. They also play a monthly show at their local homeless shelter, the Hiway 80 Rescue Mission in Longview, TX.
Tucker recently took the time to answer a few questions for us about her thoughts on bluegrass music. Here’s what she had to say.
How would you define bluegrass music as a genre?
“Clean (sound) acoustic music with a country influence.”
What form of bluegrass do you most enjoy?
Which artists do you consider examples of that form?
“Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers, Volume Five, Dale Ann Bradley, The Marksmen Quartet.”
If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, which one would it be?
“I can’t answer that – seriously!”
What album or artist is currently in your car stereo?
“The Johnson Mountain Boys.”
Artists who would like to submit their music to Tucker for airplay consideration on World of Bluegrass, which Tucker says reaches 15 counties in North East Texas and is also broadcast online, can send a physical copy of their album to her at:
302 Ramblewood Place
Longview, TX 75605
If you host a bluegrass radio show and would like to participate in our chart as a weekly reporter, please fill out this form and we’ll get right back to you.