Grateful Dead Celebration & A Rockin’-N-Stompin’ Retrospective
Written by Steve Baker on February 28, 2020
The ever popular Grateful Dead and the beloved, late KVMR volunteer broadcaster Wesley Robertson are a pair of KVMR 89.5 FM icons the Nevada City community radio station hopes will successfully close out its one-week-only winter membership drive this Leap Day Saturday.
“What a long strange trip it’s been, definitely,” quipped Membership Coordinator Adriana Kelly. “Wesley passed just two years ago, the Dead always seem to come through for us, so they are still two truly positive 2020 visionaries here at KVMR 89.5 FM this week.”
Folks like General Manager Ali Lightfoot, Development Associate Jessica Faulks, Music Director Sean Dooley-Miller and, of course, Kelly have put a lot of work into this thing, along with the rest of the staff and a couple hundred volunteer broadcasters at the eclectic, homemade radio station.
And the last show of the whole drive just might be one of the station’s best.
Chris Towne and Joel Brungardt will host a 4-hour version of “Dead Air”, one of the longest running shows in the nation honoring the Grateful Dead, this Saturday 8 p.m. to midnight, honoring not one , but two, Grateful Dead classic albums turning 50 this year, those being “Workingman’s Dead” and “American Beauty”, both released in 1970.
“Those two albums aren’t only two of the best albums ever released by the Grateful Dead,” says Towne. “They are two of the best albums ever released in that entire creative musical era.”
So what did Towne and Brungardt do?
They went through KVMR’s vast collection of vintage Dead shows (courtesy the late Dead Air host Richard Dunk) to gather up onstage versions of songs on the two 1970 studio albums.
And they’ve found some grate, er, great ones.
Meanwhile, Thomas Greener and Kim Rogers are combining their “Ragged But Right” and “Good Stuff” shows into “Pirate Rockin-N-Stompin’: The Right Stuff” this Saturday 1 to 4 p.m., including offering a commemorative teeshirt in honor of Wesley and his “Rockin’-N-Stompin'” program.
Rogers designed the all-cotton black shirt, which features a cow wearing a cowboy hat and bandana, the program’s logo, Wesley’s name and 1990-2018, the years the show ran on KVMR.
The shirt was offered just once before — during a 2018 membership drive — but is being revived to allow Saturday afternoon listeners another chance to pick up the collectible or get it as a gift for a fellow Rockin’-N-Stompin’ friend.
In addition, broadcaster Laura Miller, host of Saturday night’s “Diamonds and Rust” show (6 p.m. to 8 p.m.), will hold a drawing for those listeners who call her show for an autographed Kate Wolf album, yup, a vinyl copy of “Safe At Anchor”.
And you know that Walkin’ Larry Hillberg will have some shenanigans up his sleeve that Saturday morning at 7 a.m. on “Backroads”, while Eric Rice always seems to find a way to draw a crowd to “County Line Bluegrass” from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Earlier in the week, Jennifer Robin (a/k/a Miss Jiff) will offer “Resilience Radio” show teeshirts and keychains for indigenous music and culture fans during her Thursday 10 a.m. show.
At noon Thursday, Jeff Wright holds a birthday party for Fats Domino, George Harrison and Brian Jones (The Rolling Stones), all born this week.
Brian Terhorst — whose longtime “Harmony Ridge” program is now on alternate Thursdays at 2 p.m. — is calling his drive special “North Of The Border”.
“We’ll be featuring singer-songwriters who got their start in the Great White North – Canada,” noted Terhorst. “But you’ll hear a lot more than Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and Gordon Lightfoot.”
And guess who’s back at 4 p.m. Thursday?
Why, it’s Captain-Save-A-Show, who won a special Program Committee award in December for representing “the future of KVMR” in his unique substitutions. Steph D Luna will be subbing for Elisa Parker, who is away on business.
Fans of the British folk rock group Jethro Tull, take note:
Volunteer broadcasters Paul Berger and Miriam Limov will profile the group in a two-hour special, “Jethro Tull: 50 Years Of Living In The Past”, Thursday night 8-10 p.m.
Then host Jerianne Van Dijk will be joined by sidekick Todd Wahoske for an animated “Friday Morning Show” 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.
“There’s only room for so much fun,” she pointed out.
Noon Friday is a special edition of “Higher Frequency”, the cannabis issues program, with the wit of Martin Webb joining Maria Herrera, Sarah Grow and engineer Claudio Mendonca for this two hour show of interviews, news and humor in the newly legalized business.
Friday night closes out with “Ital Culture”, featuring reggae and dub with Redlocks, a good party guaranteed for all.
Then we’ll see what happens Saturday.