This weekend’s season-opening edition of A Prairie Home Companion will feature performances by a pair of mandolinists who smartly bookend the modern history of the instrument in bluegrass and Americana music. Sam Bush, the wizened veteran, recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Americana Music Association, while fresh-faced newcomer Sarah Jarosz is celebrating her debut CD, Song Up In Her Head, as she begins college in Boston.
But neither Bush nor Jarosz can be described simply – or even primarily – as a mandolinist. Both are distinctive vocalists and multi-instrumentalists as well, and Bush’s place as a seminal figure in the development of newgrass is uncontested. Where a young artist like Jarosz will take the music will be an interesting story to watch this next however many years.
All that aside, Saturday’s program will allow both to showcase music from their new releases with listeners invited to draw, or ignore any comparisons they wish. Sam will have his mighty band in tow, and Sarah will do a couple with the PHC house band (plus Byron House on bass), and one on her own.
The broadcast from the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, MN goes out live September 26 at 6:00 p.m. (EDT) over hundreds of public radio affiliates across the US. It will also be simulcast live online and on Sirius-XM.
Many radio affiliates delay the broadcast until later in the evening, or Sunday morning, so check your local station for air times.
We are hoping to get a behind-the-scenes report from Sarah later this weekend. Should be a whale of a show.