Beginning February 1, 2017, Radio Bristol will air “Across the Blue Ridge,” a revival of the popular show first created by former National Public Radio (NPR) newscaster Paul Brown in the late 1980s and through the 1990s.
“Radio Bristol is thrilled to add Paul Brown’s program ‘Across the Blue Ridge’ to our Wednesday afternoon lineup,” said Radio Bristol Producer Kris Truelsen. “Promoting and celebrating our region’s culture and music is core to the mission of Radio Bristol, and ‘Across the Blue Ridge’ embodies that very idea. Paul Brown’s expertise as both a musician and historian will offer a welcome perspective into the music we love and support here at Radio Bristol. We envision a long running partnership with Paul and look forward to carrying the program.”
“Across the Blue Ridge” is an entertaining exploration of the music traditions of the southern Blue Ridge, the center of the universe for old-time and traditional American music. For decades Brown spent time searching out and making field recordings in order to preserve this music for future generations.
O. Henry Magazine‘s Ogi Overman writes: “Brown’s strong suit is listening to and explaining music through the prism of culture, socio-economics and geography so that others appreciate its rich history.”
The “Across the Blue Ridge” of today not only focuses on the past, but it also highlights the traditional music of today and its future. The show returned to the airwaves on January 2, 2016.
Brown originated “Across the Blue Ridge” in the late 1980s on Wake Forest University public radio station WFDD (88.5 FM) in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The show’s final broadcast was in 1999, prior to Brown’s move to NPR where he was an executive editor, producer, and reporter. Brown left NPR in 2013 and returned to North Carolina. The well-known personality from NPR’s “Morning Edition” and “Talk of the Nation” is also an accomplished musician; Brown is an award-winning banjoist, vocalist, fiddle player, and storyteller.
The show will air weekly on Radio Bristol’s WBCM-LP channel on Wednesday afternoons at 1:00 p.m. and rebroadcast on Saturdays at 3:00 p.m. Radio Bristol can be accessed in the Bristol area on 100.1 FM and nationally and internationally online and through a free mobile app. To listen to Radio Bristol online or to receive more information, visit www.BirthplaceofCountryMusic.org.
About Paul Brown
Paul Brown learned his first songs and tunes as a kid from his mother, who carried them from her own childhood days in Virginia. As much as he loves to play and sing, Paul has also produced numerous recordings from his own fieldwork and other sources, and reported on the lives of significant traditional musicians while working at NPR in Washington. Paul started his radio career at WPAQ in Mount Airy, North Carolina. He created “Across the Blue Ridge” at WFDD Public Radio in Winston-Salem in the late 1980s. He spent years learning from and playing with master fiddlers, banjoists, and singers including Benton Flippen, Paul Sutphin, Luther Davis, Robert Sykes, Matokie Slaughter, and Tommy and Benny Jarrell. He has won the banjo prize several times at the Appalachian String Band Music Festival, where he’s also won the senior fiddle prize and was named a master artist in 2013. Over the years he has played with Benton Flippen in the Smokey Valley Boys; with fiddler Robert Sykes in the Surry County Boys; with his wife Terri McMurray as the Mountain Birch Duo; and with Verlen Clifton, Frank Bode, Ginger Bode, and Terri McMurray in the Toast String Stretchers. Paul is now a retired NPR world news journalist, once again producing “Across the Blue Ridge” in collaboration with WFDD Public Radio. The show is available worldwide online and airs on radio stations in North Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, and Florida.
About Radio Bristol
Presented by the nonprofit Birthplace of Country Music, Radio Bristol is a network of channels that showcase the diversity of American roots music from the early recording era to today. Reaching the world through their online media center, Radio Bristol produces original programming through recordings and live sessions from the Birthplace of Country Music Museum and the Bristol, Virginia/Tennessee region. Radio Bristol broadcasts on 100.1 FM in the Bristol area, online at BirthplaceofCountryMusic.org, and through the station’s free mobile app. The Birthplace of Country Music is the parent organization of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, the annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival, and Radio Bristol.