WPT is your home for live performances from local and national artists! We’ve got the return of the 30-Minute Music Hour, a holiday extravaganza from Washington, D.C., and not one but two Concerts on the Square®.
The groundbreaking three-part documentary American Epic takes us around the country to explore how the music of ordinary Americans was recorded for the first time in the 1920s.
In the second part, “Blood and Soil,” airing tonight on WPT at 8 p.m., viewers will explore musical stories from the rural South. Charley Patton, Elder Burch and others made audio recordings of people performing early Delta blues, work songs, gospel, and protest tunes. If you missed “The Big Bang,” last week’s series opener, no worries! Watch it online.
The new series inspired us at WPT to dig into the archives of our decade-long live music program, 30-Minute Music Hour, to find past performances by people inspired by the music you will hear tonight on American Epic.
Here are a few feature performances, captured right here in the WPT studio, that we thought you would enjoy after tuning in.
Continue reading ‘American Epic’ and WPT’s Recorded Folk Music
A lot of my favorite national dramas from PBS recently wrapped up, including Downton Abbey (let’s all share a moment of silence), and Mercy Street. In my search for great streaming content, I decided to bring it back home and focus on some of our locally-produced shows. So much of the quality content we broadcast at WPT is also available to watch online, so if you missed an episode – or if you’re a spoiled viewer like me, and only watch shows on-demand – check out some of our great, locally produced shows online.
Kyle Cherek goes all over the state in a quest to discover the hidden gems of Wisconsin’s culinary scene. From cheese makers to beer distillers, Cherek shows us why it’s great to be a foodie in Wisconsin.
When you feel like you’re in a rut, Wisconsin Life can show you a new perspective and share some of the incredible, adventurous things going on across the state. This show highlights how diverse, creative and fun Wisconsinites truly are!
30 Minute Music Hour kicked off production on a seventh season this week with three quality performances from Feufollet, Trapper Schoepp and The Cactus Blossoms. All three concerts will air on Wisconsin Public Television later this year, but you can watch all three online now. Check out photos of the bands and click on the images to see the video.
Take off work the afternoon of Monday, July 13 and enjoy some live music at Wisconsin Public Television. Three bands will be joining us to record live sets for the new season of 30 Minute Music Hour, and tickets are totally free. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your seats for one or all of the following shows.
FEUFOLLET – 1:15 p.m. concert/audience seated by 1 p.m.
It’d be easy to label this five-piece from Lafayette, La. as a Cajun band, but a deeper listen reveals experimentation with honky-tonk, rock, country and even a bit of pop. During this set, we may need to push back the chairs and make way for dancing. You can also check out Feufollet at La Fete de Marquette in Madison the weekend before their 30MMH show.
TRAPPER SCHOEPP – 2:30 p.m. concert/audience seated by 2:15 p.m.
Milwaukee’s Trapper Schoepp have toured hard the past year, sharing stages with big-name bands like The Jayhawks and the Old 97’s. Huffington Post called Schoepp a “master storyteller.” Add catchy alt-country rock to insightful lyrics and you have a recipe for musical longevity.
THE CACTUS BLOSSOMS – 4 p.m. concert/audience seated by 3:45 p.m.
The Cactus Blossoms are two brothers from the Twin Cities who are true country throwbacks. The duo’s vocal harmonies, which resemble The Everly Brothers, have garnered praise from Garrison Keillor, CMT and BBC Radio.
According to my calendar, summer is officially here. Long days and nice weather might mean more time outdoors, but summer also means more free time to catch up on the TV you missed during the hectic winter months.
Here are some of most popular WPT videos you may have missed this past TV season. Watch ’em all for free anytime at wpt.org or on your Roku, Apple TV or tablet app.
Wisconsin From the Air
This aerial tour of Wisconsin landmarks and landscapes was the most popular WPT production of the season…by a long shot! With sweeping views of the Great Lakes, northern forests and the Mississippi River, and stunning shots of cities like Green Bay, Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin From the Air is one of the most breathtaking programs we’ve ever produced. Since it premiered in December, 2014, thousands of viewers have pledged their support for Wisconsin From the Air…Thank You! If you haven’t already, watch Wisconsin From the Air now. And, check out this behind the scenes video to see how the film was made.
University Place “The Value of Having Native Plants in Our Yards”
Most of us know it’s important to help native species thrive and to weed out the invasive ones. But why? For one, this informative lecture explains that native plants in your garden can offer an important food source for animals. Since Wisconsin’s deer seem to eat everything we plant, why not give them their preferred diet! On a side note… if you want to help out the smaller critters, check out the illustration “Plant These to Help Save Bees,” which identifies several bee-friendly plants and flowers. Follow that up with a quick visit to the Wisconsin DNR’s website to find out which ones are native to Wisconsin.
Oshkosh on Wisconsin Hometown Stories and Around the Corner
The little city on the west side of Lake Winnebago got some major attention on WPT this past year in Wisconsin Hometown Stories “Oshkosh,” which offers a look at the community’s rich history — a must-watch for anyone from the Oshkosh area. For a closer look at contemporary Oshkosh, be sure to watch Around the Corner With John McGivern’s visit to Oshkosh. If your summer travel plans include Oshkosh, this episode will serve as the ultimate visitor’s guide to the city’s liveliest restaurants and attractions.
Wisconsin Life “Bronson Koenig”
Remember the Badgers Men’s Basketball team’s magical run to the Final Four?! La Crosse’s Bronson Koenig played a key role in the Badgers’ success last season. But, long before Koenig became a household name in Wisconsin, WPT’s Wisconsin Life caught up with him to see why he chose Wisconsin over several other top-tier schools. Watch the story now.
30 Minute Music Hour “Charlie Parr”
I’m stretching all the way back to last June with this one, but Charlie Parr’s performance on the 30 Minute Music Hour was our most viewed episode from the show’s sixth season. Watch Charlie Parr perform his unique style of country blues now on WPT, and check him out on tour this summer.
Wisconsin Foodie “Cheese Days”
Food is a perennially popular genre on Wisconsin Public Television and among all the episodes of Around the Farm Table and Wisconsin Foodie that aired this past season, this episode all about the annual Cheese Days celebration in Monroe was among the most viewed online…for obvious reasons!
Enjoy these and more videos streaming now at wpt.org. Have a favorite episode that’s not on the list? Let us and everyone else know by sharing it in the comments.
Mandolin Orange is performing at the The Frequency in Madison Saturday night, so it is a perfect time to share this exclusive Wisconsin Public Television 30-Minute Music Hour on the Road performance from the duo’s last visit to Wisconsin.
The North Carolina duo of Emily Frantz and Andrew Marlin invited us in to a pre-show performance of “Hey Adam” as they toured through Madison in 2014. Together, the pair blend an engaging mix of bluegrass, folk and country sounds into the music that they have carried across the highways and byways of the United States and beyond since their 2010 debut.
30-Minute Music Hour On the Road is a Wisconsin Public Television Web series capturing great live music across Wisconsin. Explore the full archive of 30-Minute Music Hour episodes, with half-hour performances from top Wisconsin, regional and national artists. Stay tuned for an all-new season of 30-Minute Music Hour coming online later this year!
Learn more about Mandolin Orange, purchase music and find a tour date near you at mandolinorange.com.
Special thanks to the Frequency for their partnership in this special backstage performance. Learn more at madisonfrequency.com.
The year’s end always brings on an abundance of “top 10” and “best of” lists. With thousands of videos streamed this year, we thought it’d be fun take a nostalgic look at some of the most popular videos on wpt.org this year.
By the numbers, here are some of the videos you watched most in 2014.
Without a doubt, Sewing With Nancy was the most streamed show, due, in part, to a loyal audience that extends far beyond Wisconsin. Among the hundreds of videos, “Sew Simple With Rectangles and Squares, Part 1” was the favorite in 2014.
30-Minute Music Hour ranked among the favorites this year thanks to Charlie Parr. The Duluth singer/songwriter performed his mix of steel guitar country and bluegrass for a live audience in Madison last summer.
Several films in the WPT Documentaries series made the list of favorites this year. “Jerry Apps: A Farm Story” and “A Farm Winter With Jerry Apps” continued to log views, as did “Being Hmong Means Being Free” as well as “Menominee History,” which is part of WPT’s new collection of Tribal Histories.
From state legislative races to the race for governor, Here and Now and WisconsinVote.org kept viewers informed throughout the election season with weekly reports and statewide candidate statements. And, fracking continued to make headlines in Wisconsin. Frederica Freyberg’s 2012 report on the booming sand mining industry in Western Wisconsin remained among the most viewed in 2014.
At the start of the year, WPT introduced the new TV series Wisconsin Life in partnership with Wisconsin Public Radio. The series showcases Wisconsin’s most interesting people and places. Some of the favorite stories were “State in Law,” “Milwaukee Gymnast,” and “Barn Quilts.”
And in December, WPT premiered another new film that invited viewers to soar over Wisconsin’s treasured landscapes. Wisconsin From the Air delighted viewers during the recent winter membership drive. The response from WPT viewers was overwhelming and resulted in a most successful membership drive. Thank you to all for your gifts of support!
University Place continued to spread education across the state and beyond by adding over 100 new videos to its collection this year. The most popular video in 2014 featured “Miracle on the Hudson” co-pilot Jeff Skiles sharing his story of the successful landing of a U.S. Airways flight on the Hudson River.
We said farewell to The Wisconsin Gardener’s Shelley Ryan this year and remembered her legacy as viewers gained knowledge – from identifying wild parsnip, to fighting tree and shrub disease and attracting hummingbirds — for growing in Wisconsin.
On Wisconsin Foodie, eager viewers dined with host Kyle Cherek at Ishnala in Wisconsin Dells. A new season of “Foodie” adventures premieres Jan. 8 on WPT, with new episodes already available to watch online. Also in the food and travel category, Around the Farm Table gained popularity in its second season this year as host Inga Witscher made egg soufflé with guest Michael Perry.
If you missed any of the above videos, don’t worry…all these and more are available to watch for free at video.wpt.org. Ring in the New Year by watching some of your favorites. And, if you don’t see your favorite video on the list, tell us what it is in the comments.
Thanks for watching, and happy New Year!
In January 2013, 30 Minute Music Hour host/producer Andy Moore announced that PHOX, an emerging musical group with roots in Baraboo, would perform for our little half-hour music program. His memo to WPT staff read, “Our show has also featured acts that will soon “break out” to national and international audiences. PHOX, a vocal-centric pop band from Madison, is surely one.”
PHOX’s “break out” is happening now! NPR’s popular “First Listen” series is currently featuring the band’s debut self-titled album. By debuting their album on “First Listen,” PHOX joins the company of Willie Nelson, Bon Iver, Mavis Staples, David Byrne and plenty more established artists who have launched albums via NPR.
See more emerging artists on 30 Minute Music Hour. The online archive has nearly 100 performances including Mama Digdown’s Brass Band, Klassik with Fresh Cut Collective, Kyle Henderson and more bands featured on the new season, which airs Saturday nights at 10:30 on Wisconsin Public Television.
30 Minute Music Hour is excited to announce Charlie Parr, Chants and William Z. Villian will record studio sessions with us Monday, June 16. The best part is, you’re invited to be part of the audience!
Sample these three musical acts below, and email email@example.com if you’d like to be part of the live studio audience. Include your name, the number of guests and which show you’d like to see.
All shows will be held in the WPT studios in Vilas Hall on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.
CHARLIE PARR (SOLD OUT 5 p.m. show/audience seated by 4:30)
This Austin, Minn. native currently resides on the shores of Lake Superior in Duluth. Parr is a self-taught guitarist who effortlessly handles 6- and 12 -string guitars, steel guitar and banjo. Get a feel for his live show, recorded here by KEXP in Seattle.
CHANTS (show at 12:30 p.m./audience seated by noon)
Percussionist/composer Jordan Cohen (aka Chants) creates base line beats, loops them and then pours them into experimental electronica that is trance-like and exhilarating. Based in Madison, Chants has produced a number of EPs and in the last year released “I Feel Like I Feel It”. He’s also opened for Dan Deacon. View a beautiful display of Chant’s sound here.
WILLIAM Z. VILLAIN (3 p.m. show/audience seated by 2:30)
The eclectic style of Madison’s William Z. Villain is best described, well, in the band’s own words… “Darting between Balkan groove, early American jazz and bossanova with jagged mathy precision; William Z. Villain continues to stun bartenders and sometimes even audiences with his dark demon-crooner vocals and fantastically furious finger-style guitar technique.”
Want to see three great Midwest bands Monday, June 16 for free? Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your seat. Fo more music, check out video of our past studio sessions at wpt.org/30mmh.