WNCW 88.7 Radio Free Bluegrass
Years ago Stroker, our lead guitar man for Neuse River, called me about a road trip. There was a new radio station in the western part of N.C. and they promised bluegrass was gonna be a big part of their weekly program. Given the paucity of our kind of music on the radio at the time, we had our doubts. I gotta give ’em credit. All these years later they are still carrying on the tradition.
They got off to a good start. They chose to bring in Doc Watson for the kick-off concert. Doc can play wonderful straight bluegrass, but also does a blend of blues, country, traditional, rock-a-billy and a touch of Tin Pan Alley. I have heard flashier guitar players in my time, but none speak to my soul like Doc. He is the best. Stroker had studied Doc from way back, so he was all about the trip. I love the way Doc Watson sings too. As Wayne Benson says, “When Doc songs, I believe every word.” Wayne is an old pro in the traditional music business, and he has it right. There are no more authentic performers than Doc Watson.
Over the 4th, I ran into Dennis Jones, the man who fronts the bluegrass shows on WNCW. Dennis not only plays traditional bluegrass on his show, but gives air play time to modern artists, too. He hosts live performances in their state of the art Studio B, and even gives good local and regional bands a shot at exposure. Bluegrass artists like Darin Aldridge got some of their first radio exposure because Dennis Jones and WNCW saw their talent early on, and put them on the air before they were well known in the bluegrass world. Dennis’s show on Saturday is called “Going Across the Mountain” and Sunday morning is “The Gospel Truth.” Both are excellent, and well worth the listen.
My readers have asked where to hear good bluegrass, and WNCW 88.7 is an excellent place to start. They are an NPR station (national public radio) so there are very few commercials. It is radio free bluegrass, but also they are a very eclectic station which has a variety of styles music and other programming. Of course, nothing is free and they do defray their costs with a twice a year fundraiser, but they have Internet streaming, so one can go on-line and listen free of charge anywhere in the world. They are on my blog roll, so ya’ll give ’em a listen and tell him Tommy Bibey sent ya.