July 10, 2008

Area Blues Scene Finds a Home on Small Screen

By Alyssa Harvey, The Daily News, Bowling Green, Ky.

Jul. 10--The Kentucky Blues Society will debut its new show, "Kentucky Blues TV," at 6:30 p.m. tonight on Insight Cable Channel 5.

"Kentucky has had tremendous people in the industry who have changed the world's music," Blues Society member Kenny Lee Smith said. "We're hoping the show will help make it more accessible to people."

The 30-minute program, hosted by former professional wrestler Jim "Hillbilly Jim" Morris, will feature a segment called "Kentucky Blues History Corner," sponsored by Bluegrass Cellular. The segment is part of the Blues Society's Blues in the Schools, an international program created by the Blues Foundation, parent organization of the Kentucky Blues Society. The program helps provide music education, history and performances to southcentral Kentucky school groups. Louisville's Sylvester Weaver, thought to be the first person in the world to make a blues guitar recording (in 1923), will be the subject of the first segment, Smith said.

"In all, we'll have 20 video segments on important Kentuckians in music. The host of that segment is (Blues Society member) Andy Stahl," he said. "We try to get the children involved in the music and talk about history."

"Kentucky Blues TV" will also have live music segments, featuring artists like Lil' Dave Thompson of Greenville, Miss., and The Beat Daddys' lead guitarist Tommy Stillwell of Clover Port while he was performing locally at Utley's Bar and Grill. A variety of segments will feature local Blues Society members, including the debut of 13-year-old guitarist Aaron Holder of Scottsville.

"We've been working with Insight to get a quality program. Our mission as the Blues Society is to spread the word (about the blues)," Smith said. "This is a continuation of that."

The segments are already available online at www.kybluestv.com, Smith said -- the group decided to put them on television because it will reach more people.

"The segments on TV are a little shorter," he said. "Television is the way most people get their access to anything. The Internet is going more toward video."

The group has big plans for the show, Smith said.

"We will put it around the state on channels that Insight covers. We're also working on getting it in Nashville," he said. "We're planning DVDs for the schools and libraries in the state so it can be an ongoing thing that people can access. We're talking to local business about advertising. We just want enough to broadcast the program."

The show will air at 6:30 p.m. each Thursday, but it may be a few weeks before the second episode airs, Smith said.

"We're putting together things for our next several episodes. We want to let people see it and get feedback. We'll learn more as people react to it," he said. "We hope to have continuing episodes. Our effort is to reach more people and get them aware of and involved in Kentucky's great musical output -- past, present and future."


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