It looks like we can add TV Star to the long list of Don Rigsby’s accomplishments. The Kentucky native, with stints as a member of such notable acts as J.D. Crowe & The New South and Lonesome River Band, and many years as a bandleader on his own, is set to debut as host of new live music performance program, Bluegrass Revival with Don Rigsby, launching in November.
Unlike many newcomers in bluegrass television of late, this show will be broadcast on commercial TV by WSAZ in Huntington, WV. Episodes will be filmed at the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg, KY, and offered to all 38 stations under the same ownership as WSAZ.
Plans are being finalized on the fly, but Don told us this week that he expects to see at least 20 episodes airing this Fall-Spring season, with the possibility of more. Bluegrass Revival will run for 30 minutes each week, airing on Sunday mornings at 9:30 a.m. on WSAZ. Additional affiliates who sign on may choose different air times.
Each episode will contain a mix of live performances and interviews, with Rigsby and Larry Cordle serving as co-hosts. A recurring house band will include Rigsby on mandolin and guitar, Jack Hicks on banjo, Robert Maynard on bass, Matt Hooper on fiddle, and Clyde Marshall on mandolin and guitar. Cordle will also play and sing with the house band.
Bluegrass Revival plans to shoot a year’s worth of episodes in a series of three concerts at the MAC. Tickets for the first taping, featuring The Whites, Isaac Moore and Beth Castle on November 2, go on sale this coming Monday (10/15).
Rigsby said that episodes will begin airing within a few weeks of the first taping.
Public television has always been a loyal supporter of traditional and contemporary bluegrass, but it’s a good thing to find it on commercial stations as well, sending a message that the music has a widespread appeal. Let’s hope this one gets wide distribution.