Throughout April 2012, public radio stations and their supporters in the music community are celebrating Public Radio Music Month to highlight the partnership between public radio and music. While our own listeners know first-hand the critical role that WUMB has played in our local music culture and industry -- unfortunately, this role is often overlooked.
We've dug through our vault. Below, are examples in sound, story, video and pictures of how WUMB has been a pioneer in providing a unique platform for new talent and serves as a staging ground for musical discovery and preservation. We're very pleased that Public Radio Music Month has given us the opportunity to showcase some of the work that stations like ours does everyday in preserving America’s music traditions and fostering music’s development and evolution.
Over the past 30 years, WUMB has aired several thousand interviews and has produced hundreds of live events with local, national and international performers. These are are a small example of some of our fondest memories.
Since WUMB-FM's launch in 1982, many artists have performed live in our studios. Among the gems we found in our archives, is the first live radio interview Tracy Chapman ever did - in November 1985 while a student at Tufts University! We will be presenting this interview in celebration of Public Radio Music Month's celebration as a trilogy: You can hear Part One here, You can hear Part Two here, and you can hear Part Three here. Our deepest gratitude to Tracy Chapman for allowing us to share the beginnings of her stellar career.
In September, 2006, only weeks before he passed away, 91-year-old Delta Blues legend Robert Lockwood, Jr. performed at a special concert for WUMB. View a video of two of the songs Robert performed that night -- Steady Rolling Man and This is Sweet in Windows Media Player format here. View a video of the same two of the songs in Real Player format here.
In September, 2002, after just coming off a cruise to Alaska, Nanci Griffith (along with the Blue Moon Orchestra) performed at WUMB's Boston Folk Festival under sunny skies and alongside wonderful songwriting and singing by other folks such as Richard Thompson, Cheryl Wheeler and Utah Phillips. Listen
It felt strange as the sun rose on Saturday, September 22, 2001, only a week after the September 11th tragedies; we were concerned if anyone would be in the mood for a Festival. But as the "curtain rose" on the weekend, performers like Darrell Scott and Tim O'Brien were committed to a great shared experience for all. Listen
In September, 2005, at WUMB's 8th Annual Boston Folk Festival, 250 volunteers and staff nervously watched the weather reports hoping that the Festival wouldn't receive any of the residual effects of Hurricane Rita. Their wishes came true as Suzanne Vega performed under sunny skies. Listen
September, 2007 - the tenth anniversary of WUMB's Boston Folk Festival started as so many of our Festivals had done - coming off a rainy couple of days! But the rains parted just before the festivities began and a bright blue sky was the back-drop to a fall crispness that featured a celebration of local artists such Patty Larkin, Catie Curtis, Mark Erelli...and, of course - Vance Gilbert. Listen
September, 2006 - spirits were higher than the few white wisps of clouds that floated high above the main stage for the ninth annual WUMB Boston Folk Festival. Besides notables such as Richie Havens, Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul and Bruce Cockburn, attendees got to hear some incredible music in English and in Spanish by Texas Singer-Songwriter Tish Hinojosa. Listen
On March 30, 2012,Dave Palmater had a great time chatting with Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem and got an earful about what they thought about Public Radio's positive benefits to the music community. View the video of part of their interview and performance here.
On April 17, 2012, Nashville Singer-Songwriter Kate Campbell came in to the WUMB studios for live conversation and music. Her songwriting, clearly influenced by her southern roots is evident in her performance of "Crazy in Albama" which she performs here.
Talk about brand new music!! On April 13, 2012, Singer-Songwriter Catie Curtis performs a song she had just written the day before her appearance for this interview. You can listen to "It's Alright If I'm Wrong," performed in public for the very first time... here.
You get can learn more about Public Radio Music Month in a few ways. If you're on Twitter, follow @PubRadioMusic and tweet with #PRMM to show fans you love public radio. Visit the Public Radio Music Month blog at publicradiomusicmonth.org.