John Lawless of Bluegrass Today – hey that’s me! – is the guest this week on Bluegrass Stories, the spoken word podcast hosted by Katy Daley and Howard Parker. We talk about the genesis of Bluegrass Today, formulated over many months of phone calls and planning sessions in 2011, as well as my other activities in the music since I discovered it in the early ’70s.
Katy and Howard decided to launch this project in the late winter of last year, putting their many years of experience in the business to the task of telling the stories that make the music. Today’s new episode is the final one of their fourth season since last April, and they are delighted to report that more than 11,000 individual episodes have been downloaded in that time.
Podcasting has become a rich vein in the bluegrass world, with several high quality shows offering regular episodes for free online. If you use one of the popular podcast aggregators, simply search on the word bluegrass to see the many options that exist. In fact, the podcast has become the home for long form interviews these days, along with YouTube. A tremendous catalog of discussions, about bluegrass and every other imaginable subject, are being archived every day.
If you are not familiar with the medium, think of the podcast as a radio program, but instead of being broadcast over the air at a specific time, is made available online to be accessed at the listener’s convenience. Almost all shows are distributed at no charge, with a number of free apps available that will automatically download new episodes when they become available, so that they are ready for you to listen to whenever it suits. For urban commuters, these podcasts are a marvelous way to combat the tedium of a long train or auto ride, to and from work.
They can be downloaded to your computer, but it seems that most podcast listeners do so with their phones. iPhone users typically use the Apple Podcasts app that comes installed with each phone, while Android users like Pocket Cast or Podcast Addict. There are several podcast apps that will work on either phone, and some offer additional features that users enjoy.
Other episodes in the fourth season of Bluegrass Stories include interviews with Dudley Connell, Chris Teskey of Bluegrass Country, Phil Chorney and Adam Kirr of Charm City Bluegrass, plus Eric O’Hara, the first music teacher of The Gibson Brothers, and musician and educator, Tara Linhardt. You can see and hear all the episodes since the beginning online.
To listen to today’s episode with yours truly, simply follow this link. It runs about 50 minutes.
Many thanks to Katy and Howard!