Beginning Feb. 3, the annual WTJU Folk Marathon goes into overdrive for a week of creative folk music programming, offering adventurous roots-oriented shows and numerous live performances.
Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Jimmie Rodgers, A.P. Carter, Townes Van Zandt, Willie Nelson, Bill Monroe and Hank Williams are some of the songwriters that will be featured during “We’ve Got You Covered,” a weeklong, on-air, fundraising folk festival.
The key word in that theme is “covered.” Instead of playing the original recordings of folk artists such as Dylan and Mitchell, the marathon will air a wide range of musicians covering their familiar songs.
“This year, the theme of the folk marathon is covers of songs by great musicians,” WTJU General Manager Nathan Moore said. “But not corny covers – good ones. The folk programmers will be playing the kind of song covers that respect the original performer – and that also add something new and great to their songs.”
There will, of course, be a program covering the songs of the forever-popular Fab Four (Tuesday at 4 p.m.).
The Folk Marathon is one of WTJU’s core fundraising activities. The station aims to raise $40,000 next week with a mix of blues, bluegrass, old-timey, country, gospel, folk-rock and various other roots-oriented styles.
As with its annual classical, jazz and rock fundraisers, WTJU treats the folk marathon like a huge ongoing party – keeping the music flowing by rolling out all sorts of tremendous programming.
An array of live musical guests will perform from 7 to 8 p.m. each weeknight. The lineup of familiar local performers is expected to include the Sally Rose Band, the Olivarez Trio, Peyton Tochterman, Gary Green, Darrell Muller, Mando Mafia, Red and the Romantics and the Buzzard Hollow Boys.
Alligator, Charlottesville’s favorite Grateful Dead cover band, will perform live on-air on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m.
That evening at 8 p.m., “Sarah White Presents the Sounds of Charlottesville” will feature many of the area’s best-known musicians. White will also perform her own music and serve as program host with her usual folksy charm.
“Live music is a hallmark of our folk programming throughout the year, bringing in touring acts and local favorites, and it definitely goes into overdrive during the Folk Marathon,” Moore said.
The regular WTJU announcers also will display a breadth of special programming, with offerings that show the full range of folk music.
“The hosts of folk music at WTJU have an immense collective knowledge and experience, as well as a passion to share this terrific music on the radio,” Moore said. “I can’t hold a candle to their musical knowledge, but I sure do enjoy listening to their programs.”
An unusual show takes place on Sunday at 2 p.m., when for two hours various recorded versions of just one song – “Long Black Veil,” a saga-ballad written by Danny Dill and Marijohn Wilkin and first recorded by country legend Lefty Frizzell – are played.
A do-not-miss cover show on Wednesday at 4 p.m. focuses solely on the recordings of the Million Dollar Quartet. On Dec. 4, 1956, four young men – Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley – got together in Sun Studios in Memphis for an impromptu session to cover the gospel, blues and country songs they loved. It remains one of the most legendary recording events in the history of American music.
Among other offerings are programs devoted to road songs, Gypsy music, songs about coal mining, acoustic guitar maestros, Cuban dance, country-rock, chickens and other fowl, outlaws, John Hartford, Charlie Poole, Dave Evans and Rebel Records, The Band, bawdy and lewd songs, the lore and stories of rivers, Bollywood film music, Alexis Zoumbas and Greek music, the Topic label and gospel groups named after birds.
Of special note, on Tuesday at 8 p.m., host Charlie Pastorfield will explore the fertile 1980s music scene in Charlottesville, featuring recordings of live shows from the bands that defined the era: the Skip Castro Band, The Casuals featuring Johnny Sportcoat, Jimmy O and The Ready Teds, The Deal, Dave Witt and Shenandoah, Michael Guthrie Band and Indecision.
These were the times when beer joints, lodges, clubs and college haunts supported musicians who loved to rock, travel and party. Guitarist Pastorfield, formerly of the Skip Castro Band, will talk to some of the founding members of these bands about the glory days.
More information about the 2014 WTJU Folk Marathon and its complete schedule, including descriptions of each program, can be found here.
Donations can be made online here or by phone, mail or in person. Pledgers can choose from a variety of premium thank-you gifts, including a WTJU tote bag, hat or T-shirt, as well as CDs from some of the best folk performers.