The Life Of A Musician with Brandon Adams

A new program is scheduled to debut this fall on several PBS television affiliates, with a close association to bluegrass music. Titled The Life Of A Musician, the show is hosted by Brandon Adams, noted flatpicker and acoustic music performer, and will feature a mixture of in depth interviews and intimate performances with a different artist in each episode.

Episodes begin airing on several Virginia PBS affiliates next month, and the program will be available for national distribution in January of 2023. Viewers who watch using the PBS Passport app will also have access in October.

Brandon and his wife, Mindy, serve as co-Executive Producers, and have already completed the first season which features some big names in bluegrass and acoustic music, one to each 30 minute episode.

Set to appear in season one are:

  • John Jorgenson
  • Sammy Shelor
  • Larry Cordle
  • Kristy Cox
  • Alicia Nugent
  • John McEuen
  • Vintage Silk
  • Jonah Horton
  • Jerry Salley
  • Scott Fore

Based in Danville, VA, the show has the enthusiastic support of the city’s tourism board, and a number of local businesses in the historic district where the show is filmed. Instead of a single spot, or a sterile television studio, episodes are shot in various locations in and around Danville, including a number of the region’s carefully preserved Victorian homes. Since it’s simply Brandon and a single guest, setting up for a shoot isn’t a major production, and the city is excited to be able to show off its historic sights to a national audience.

A number of Brandon’s professional partners are also on board as sponsors, like Santa Cruz Guitars, LR Baggs, and Ear Trumpet Labs.

For Adams, this show is the culmination of several years of pre-production, and a lifetime in the business of music. He is a gifted interviewer, whose own knowledge of the “Life Of A Musician” makes him the ideal prompter for a series like this, whose goal is to bring the creative process and the ‘method to the madness’ to an audience who may not be familiar with how it all works.

Each show will begin as a discussion between Brandon and his guest, and will then feature three songs of the artist’s choosing played together with the host. Adams tells us that he has had to get back in shape following the pandemic layoff in order to learn all the songs and tunes his guests have suggested, and accompany them in a manner that supports them and allows them to shine, while also satisfying his own artistic standards.

“It has been a lot of work getting this first season done, but Mindy and I are already looking at season two, where we will bring even more serious musical artists in to talk and play. It won’t all be bluegrass, but it will always be acoustic.”

Starting October 15, viewers in Richmond, VA can see The Life Of A Musician on VPM TV, and in Roanoke and other southwestern Virginia markets on Blue Ridge Public Television.

Brandon and Mindy expect to both highlight well established artists who will be familiar to a large audience, as well as help introduce new ones to the wider world. For example, season one includes an episode with young Jonah Horton, an amazing mandolin prodigy who Adams tells us is primarily a jazz bassist. Of course, the discussion with each guest is tailored to their speciality, with writers like Larry Cordle and Jerry Salley elaborating on that process, while instrumentalists like Sammy Shelor, John Jorgensen, and John McEuen talk pickin’ (and studio production), and vocalists Cox and Nugent talk about the voice.

Here is a short trailer put together to promote the new program in Virginia.

Keep an eye out in your local listings for The Life Of A Musician, and if you think you would enjoy this sort of programming, contact your regional affiliate and ask them to include the show in their 2023 offerings.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.