WoodSongs Celebrates 900th Broadcast With Legendary Roger McGuinn


LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY — The WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour celebrated its 900th broadcast Monday night with folk rock pioneer Roger McGuinn. Hosted by folksinger and founder Michael Johnathon and produced by an all-volunteer crew, WoodSongs welcomed McGuinn before a capacity crowd at the historic Lyric Theater in Lexington, Kentucky.  


The celebration began last week with show #898 with English guitarist Mike Dawes (The Moody Blues) and Australian songwriter Anthony Snape (Tommy Emmanuel). Show #899 was with New Grass legend Sam Bush, who said, “With me being from Kentucky, it’s a big deal that this show has succeeded. There can’t be enough shows like ‘WoodSongs.’ They are a part of our culture.”


Then came show #900 with McGuinn and his 7-string Martin guitar.


The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member entertained the audience with stories from his early days with The Byrds, performed stripped down acoustic versions of hits “Turn, Turn, Turn” and “My Back Pages,” and spoke of the importance of preserving  folk music while performing traditional pieces like “The Preacher and The Bear.”


McGuinn gained fame for his work with the Limelighters, the Chad Mitchell Trio and ultimately as the founding member of The Byrds. Because of massive global hits like Turn, Turn Turn and Mr. Tambourine Man, he was soon inducted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame. In the mid-1990’s Roger pioneered one of the first streaming websites in the world, called FolkDen   (mcguinn.com). To this day it is one of the most extensive archives of America’s folkmusic legacy.


A special guest on the 900th broadcast was scholar and music historian John Lomax III, of the Lomax musical dynasty. His family was directly responsible for discovering and introducing Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, leadbelly, Muddy waters, Josh White and many other folk artists to the listening public.


Like many of the WoodSongs broadcasts, a team of teachers will write lesson plans for middle, high and college level classes and the broadcast will be available, free of charge, to teachers and homeschool families nationwide (woodsongs.com/CLASSROOM).


Over the past 15 years Johnathon has built a massive, multi-media "front porch" that celebrates the roots and acoustic music he loves.  WoodSongs, as a broadcast, is treated like a global front porch.


“Once upon a time, the front porch was the grand pulpit of America,” says Johnathon from his own front porch at his log cabin home in Kentucky. “It is where families and neighbors gathered, where the sun set each day with community and song. I wanted WoodSongs to re-create that wonderful legacy of that time. We need it, especially now. Heck, they don’t even build front porches on new homes anymore.”


The all-volunteer run show has built a worldwide audience on more than 500 radio stations, public television coast-to-coast as well as being heard in 173 countries through American Armed Forces Radio, effectively making WoodSongs the biggest live audience roots music broadcast in the world.  


Now, that global front porch is growing even larger as WoodSongs has added RFD TV to its media imprint, airing nationwide Fridays at 6 p.m. (EDT) With the new weekly television time slot, the show is available to nearly 100 Million TV households in America.


“I’ve always believed that the grassroots audience is bigger than country and rock combined,” Johnathon says. “So I went about to prove it.”


The live-audience, music and conversation show has consistently offered an eclectic array of popular artists from genres of folk, blues, country, jazz, new-age, rock, and more for an appreciative audience that assembles each and every Monday at Lexington, Kentucky’s beautiful, historic Lyric Theatre.


Over its 15 year history, WoodSongs has presented such legendary artists as John Oates (Hall & Oates), pianist George Winston, guitarist Tommy Emmanuel, Ralph Stanley, Chris Thile, folk-pop star Jewel, bluegrass supergroup The Earls of Leicester, Odetta, the Mavericks, the Kentucky HeadHunters, Judy Collins, and Western star Michael Martin Murphey.  


Mostly, WoodSongs focuses on the brilliant but unknown artists that haven’t found their audience yet.


“You don’t have to be famous, you just have to be good,” Johnathon said. “I say that every single week. It is about the love and passion for the music an artist brings to our show. It is not there in something that is marketed and manipulated and financed.  It comes through the heart of those who are simply trying to communicate with their audience.


“Love is the greatest transaction in the arts and I wanted WoodSongs to prove it,” he continued. “We’re bringing our musical front porch to RFD TV, and it’s a perfect fit for everything we’ve done.”

You can catch Woodsongs on CMR Nashville every Thursday at 7pm, Friday at 3am and 11 am UK time

The program website is WoodSongs.com

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