10 p.m. to Midnight Host: Steve Winters
This was to be a joyous night of mixing jam bands with balladeers, especially with the final concert from Phish having just taken place. However, with the sudden death of second-generation bluegrass pioneer Charlie Waller on Aug. 18 at his Virginia home, the show obviously took on a more somber tone. The show featured about 40 non-stop minutes of Waller’s early work with the Country Gentlemen, closing with three pieces from one of his more recent albums.
Waller, 69, was the heart, soul and lead vocalist for 47 years of the many, many configurations of the Country Gentlemen, the progressive bluegrass band he helped found in 1957. In the 1960s and early 1970s, it was the Country Gentlemen who were leaders of the “newgrass” movement that incorporated folk, jazz, blues, gospel and country into traditional bluegrass along with a repertoire borrowed from pop and rock songs of the day. The Gents became the most influential bluegrass group since the original Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass boys and one of the first bluegrass bands to attract a broad audience.
The program closed with Chuck Brodsky’s newly recorded “The Ballad of Stan Rogers and Leo Kennedy” followed by a trio of songs from Rogers, who died an untimely death in 1983 in a plane fire.