The third season of "Rolling Hills Radio" is in full swing with the live recording of episode No. 18 set for tonight.
The show, which airs on WRFA-LP, will feature Western New York based singer-songwriter Alan Whitney, in addition to Suzi Willpower and Don Anonymous. Seating begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Labyrinth Press Company, 12 E. Fourth St. in Jamestown.
According to Ken Hardley, musician and host, the show was originally supposed to feature Chris Bell and John and Mary, who will now be performing during the Thursday, Dec. 27 show.
Pictured is Suzi Willpower, who will perform with Don Anonymous during tonight’s recording of episode No. 18 of “Rolling Hills Radio.”
"They just traded, so that worked out pretty well," said Hardley. "Traditionally our December show is our biggest show of the year, so it will be nice to have John and Mary for that. But, it works out as well that Suzi Willpower will play in November because traditionally that's when the show really seems to take off. But, also what I didn't know is that Suzi and Alan Whitney went to school together. So, they are really psyched to be on the show together, especially since we always have the finale where everyone gets on stage to play together."
Whitney, who plays Americana, will appear with two accompanists for the show. He is an experienced performer with several albums from his band ADub and The Healing Committee. For more information visit alanwhitney.com.
"Right now Alan Whitney is making a CD with Jim Reilly, the famous hit-maker, producer and songwriter from Nashville who was a member of the New Dylans," said Hardley. "I'm going to try to convince him to do at least one of his new songs."
Suzi Willpower and Don Anonymous are a songwriting duo who describe themselves as a "neo soul outfit with a New Orleans honky tonk feel." Their performance is a combination of Don's piano playing and Suzi's vocals. For more information visit anonymouswillpower.com.
"I was in Rochester and went to an open mic to check out acts," said Hardley. "Just before leaving Suzi came on and was bigger than life, so we had to stay to see what it was about. She hopped up on stage and captivated the room, so we booked her and her husband Don immediately. They just released a new CD, and it's first rate."
According to Hardley, "Rolling Hills Radio," formerly known as "Woodsongs Coffeehouse Radio Hour," underwent the name change at the beginning of this season to head in a more independent direction.
"We're looking at the possibility of syndication," said Hardley. "And, it's definitely a process of going more in the direction of independence both in terms of getting the show out to people and in terms of what we're doing with the show itself. Our original mission was to bring grassroots music to people, and we're still doing grassroots music. But, we're not going to paint ourselves into a singer-songwriter corner. We've never had an artist like Suzi Willpower before, so we're expanding the notion of what grassroots music is for folks. People stereotype it as folkish music, but it's really not. Grassroots means genuine music, music that's not commercialized and comes directly from the people, and that's what we're focusing on."
The show has also been an unintentional vehicle for creating opportunities for artists to collaborate, said Hardley. For instance, Cammy Enaharo was discovered by Preach Freedom of Rusted Root who took her down to Pittsburgh to record an EP in their studio. The show has put musicians with national acclaim in the same room with area musicians and residents, including acts such as Bat McGrath and John and Mary, to create a program rich with creativity.
Tickets to the show are available for $5 at the Reg Lenna Civic Center ticket office, online at reglenna.com or at the door if the pre-sale doesn't sell out. A meet and greet will be held at Forte on Third Street following the performance. For more information search for "Rolling Hills Radio" on Facebook, or visit wrfalp.wordpress.com/rolling-hills-radio to purchase tickets, stream WRFA's broadcast debut of each show or listen to previous performances. The show will debut on WRFA on Thursday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m.