I’m just barely old enough to remember bluegrass shows that ran on television in the early mornings. During the summer I could often find Don reno, Arthur Smith or sometimes even Flatt & Scruggs appearing on one of the early morning “farm shows” that ran before the morning news.
Before those days, such shows ran on radio and most nationally touring bluegrass acts had a home radio station where they would perform live each early morning. If the station had a good reach, the band could book shows throughout the listening area, and still get back each morning for the next show.
Straight Drive, from Hasbrouck Heights in New Jersey, starts a show this week that offers something of a throwback to those golden days of bluegrass radio.
On Wednesday mornings following the 7:30 a.m. news break, they will be featured during Susan Rose’s Bluegrass Breakfast show on WDVR-FM. The new mini-show, Straight Morning Drive, will run for 15 minutes, and is pre-recorded live.
Banjo player Terry McGill has had this concept brewing for some time.
“For a long time I have wanted to do a short radio program that would be recorded live and feature our brand of traditional bluegrass music. Our show will be run much like our regular stage show. It will feature traditional and original bluegrass music as well as old time duet singing. In between the songs I will tell about each song or talk with band members and generally have a good time.
During the 1940’s through the 1960’s there were many shows of this type throughout the US, but most had faded out or switched to records by the 1970’s. I feel that today’s listeners will enjoy the vintage feel of a live band on the airwaves.”
McGill went to WDVR with this show idea based on their ongoing support of traditional music, and since he feels like the station is run like radio was in an prior era.
In addition to McGill on banjo, Straight Drive features Jen Larson on guitar and vocals, Ronnie Feinberg on fiddle, Ben Fraker on mandolin, David Hampton on guitar, and Dave Gandin on bass.
WDVR broadcasts at 89.7 and 91.9 FM with coverage in the Delaware and Lehigh Valley of western NJ and in eastern PA. Their signal is also simulcast online via live streaming.