The next episode of the Toy Heart podcast is set to premiere tomorrow, June 11, with host Tom Power interviewing reso-guitar superstar Jerry Douglas. But our friends at The Bluegrass Situation, who produce and distribute the podcast, have offered it for our readers to hear a day early, along with an invitation to com learn more about Toy Heart and its many episodes about bluegrass music.
Like so many things that happen in the independent music world, Power tells us that his inspiration for launching the podcast was his own desire to listen to one such as he imagined. The CBC Radio One host is also a musician and performs with The Dardanelles, who focus on traditional Newfoundland music. He says his goal with Toy Heart is to bring out the great stars of bluegrass in their own words.
“I came up with the idea for this podcast because I wanted to hear it, really. I wanted to hear these legends in their own words, and in Season 2, I’m hoping to have more conversations with the people who made, developed, popularized, passed on and even challenged this great music. I hope people go into the archives and listen to some of these conversations with folks like Del McCoury, Béla Fleck, Jesse McReynolds, Alison Brown, Ricky Skaggs, Tony Trischka and Alice Gerrard and learn things about them they hadn’t heard before, hadn’t considered before, and may listen differently going forward. And while we plan Season 2, I hope people suggest more voices we can document in the long history of this music. I wish we had a two-hour podcast with Bill Monroe, or Earl Scruggs or Mac Wiseman, or John Hartford – so let me know who you think would be a great chat.”
Like any good podcaster, Tom had a number of interviews recorded before starting to release episodes earlier this year. This one dates back to last September during the 2019 World of Bluegrass convention.
“I spoke with Jerry in his hotel room at IBMA in Raleigh, NC. Since I was 15 and listening to Bill Monroe in my Dad’s car on the way to school, I dreamt of being where I was – surrounded by the music I love, people who love it, and about to talk to one of its greatest about his history in the music. I was nervous in the elevator on the way up, but Jerry could not have been kinder. We sat down at a table in the hotel room and just chatted; we both lost track of time as he told stories about hearing ‘Uncle’ Josh Graves for the first time with Flatt and Scruggs, using a toothbrush to turn his guitar into something like a Dobro, his father’s band the The West Virginia Travellers, being discovered by Country Gentlemen, his lifelong friendship with Ricky Skaggs, Tony Rice, JD Crowe, Allison Krauss, Ray Charles, O’ Brother and more! After it was over, we agreed we could’ve talked for another few hours and only barely scratched the surface. It was an honor to talk to one of the greatest living American musicians – but especially to focus the conversation (as we have been throughout the season) on bluegrass.”
Here’s a pre-release listen to the Jerry Douglas episode. It runs about an hour and a half. You can click the settings icon in the mini player to subscribe, share, or download the podcast..
All previous episodes of Toy Heart can be found online, where you can also get the RSS feed to have all episodes automatically downloaded using popular podcast aggregators.