Soundbreaking is an 8-part documentary series about the art of producing records, featuring both legendary and lesser-known producers like Quincy Jones, Linda Perry, Don Was, RZA, Brian Eno, Questlove, and of course George Martin. [more inside]
Flipping through public access or PBS channels one might have seen Classic Arts Showcase with it's familiar ARTS bug. The 24-hour non-commercial free-to-air satellite channel broadcasts a repeated 8-hour mix of about 150 video clips weekly a mix of various classic arts including animation, architectural art, ballet, chamber, choral music, dance, folk art, museum art, musical theater, opera, orchestral, recital, solo instrumental, solo vocal, and theatrical play, as well as classic film and archival documentaries. The channel has no VJs and only silent interstitials encouraging the viewer to “...go out and feast from the buffet of arts available in your community.” [more inside]
Next week, for the first time in 22 years, PBS will televise the four dramas of Richard Wagner's Ring cycle on consecutive nights - a rare opportunity to encounter in the manner intended "the most ambitious and most profound work of art ever created". [more inside]
Bob Dylan famously "went electric" at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. 47 years later, experts believe a woman in New Jersey has the guitar the Dylan played on stage that day. [more inside]
The first episode of the second season of PBS Arts web-original series Off Book is Animated GIFs: The Birth of a Medium (mini-documentary, ~7 min). "OFF BOOK explores cutting edge arts and the artists that make it. Breaking the mold of the definition of art, OFF BOOK explores the avant-garde, the experimental and the underground artforms that are supported by online communities." [more inside]
In 1969 banjo virtuoso and bluegrass innovator Earl Scruggs parted ways with his longtime musical partner Lester Flatt and the band they led to great popularity and acclaim, The Foggy Mountain Boys. Scruggs wanted to push his musical gifts as far as they could go. In 1970 he was the subject of a PBS documentary where he played with artists such as Bob Dylan, Doc Watson, The Morris Brothers, The Byrds, Charlie Daniels, Bill Monroe, Joan Baez, various friends and family members, and even records a track accompanying a Moog. You can watch the whole thing online: Earl Scruggs, His Family and Friends.
Keeping Score is designed to give people of all musical backgrounds an opportunity to explore signature works by composers Hector Berlioz, Charles Ives, and Dmitri Shostakovich in depth, and at their own pace. The interactive audio and video explores the composers’ scores and pertinent musical techniques as well as the personal and historical back stories. [more inside]
Soul! New York City PBS affiliate WNET have digitized 9 episodes of Soul!, a early 1970's live music program, providing a groovy video interface with chapters to break down each hour long episode. [more inside]
Jackie Brenston, Ike Turner, Joe Hill Louis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and of course Elvis all passed thur Sun Records in the 1950's. PBS American Masters Good Rockin' Tonight The Legacy of Sun Records has good music and history of the blues and rock and roll. Paul McCarty, Live and other preform the old tunes.
Is American "Roots Music" here to stay, or will it peter out like the "folk revival" of the 1960's? The recent PBS series, as well as re-issues of classic bluegrass sets, portend well for those of us who love bluegrass. But is it just a flash-in-the-pan? What was the magic behind O Brother, Where Art Thou? Does anyone remember the old masters like Doc Watson, Merle Travis, or Vassar Clements? (Not to mention the Queen of the genre, Mother Maybelle Carter.) Or maybe you prefer the newcomers like Alison Krauss/Union Station.
Accordion Dreams is a great new PBS show that I just got to see a preview of on my local Texas station. Try to catch it when it comes out nationally on August 30.