[Audio Interview] Michael Johnathon talks about the Woodsongs Front Porch Association and Gathering

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The Woodsongs Front Porch Association (WFPA) is an amazingly and elegantly simple creature.

Based in Lexington, Kentucky and the brain child of Michael Johnathon, singer-songwriter and 36 other titles, it’s spreading its tendrils across the USA and the world.

I’ll not steal any WFPA thunder by block copying and pasting here – yet, but please follow the links, and your rewards shall be many and bountiful.

The Cliff Notes, as MJ would say: it’s a cheap-as-chips member association which opens everyone up to a world of information, resources and networking, and opens its arms and invites the world of art and artists in to share, share, share. Stop, collaborate and listen!

On Friday 23 and Saturday 24 September 2016, the WFPA is holding its second annual Gathering in Shaker Village, Pleasant Hill, Kentucky – see main picture for all the salient details of the wheres and whens.

Full details at www.songfarmers.org

It’s the how much that’s the real news story here. And it’s a good, good news story at a time when good news stories are pretty gosh-darned thin on the ground.

Choose your preference: click on a hyperlink or click on the audio file link below, and listen in as Michael explains WFPA and the Gathering in his signature succinct, clear, resonantly-voiced vocal stylings (even over the tech equivalent of two cans and a 9063 mile piece of string!)

ENDS (for now, but really it’s just the beginning!)

Some basic notes for the interview… which I never referred to!

 

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Image courtesy of www.songfarmers.org

 

Interview: Michael Johnathon of Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour

Image courtesy of Woodsongs dot com and Michael Johnathon. Photo by Larry Neuzel.
Image courtesy of Woodsongs dot com and Michael Johnathon. Photo by Larry Neuzel.

Image courtesy of Woodsongs dot com and Michael Johnathon. Photo by Larry Neuzel.

From humble beginnings in 1998, from a small venue that sat just 20 people in the audience, Michael Johnathon has built the Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour into a public broadcasting colossus. Woodsongs is heard and seen around the globe each week from its current home in the Lyric Theatre, Lexington KY.

The program showcases bands, performers and troupes from across the broad spectrum of bluegrass, Americana, roots, acoustic and alt-country, and a few others around the blurred edges of folk.

It’s a 100% community and volunteeer-run operation, making its longevity and sustainability all the more remarkable. And laudable.

It gets even better than that – but you’ll have to listen to the interview for the part that rocked me back on my heels.

And upturned kayak.

The show has reached an eye-watering 750+ episodes as of April 2014, many of which are freely available from the Woodsongs website in audio and video formats. Apart from its legion of individual listeners, Woodsongs has spawned a string of coffeehouse groups which meet to experience the show as a community.

The log cabin. Image courtesy of Michael Johnathon.
The log cabin. Image courtesy of Michael Johnathon.

And it’s not like Michael has anything else to do with his spare time.

Like being a singer-songwriter of many years standing. Or touring. Or arranging other concerts. Or building a log cabin and surrounding structures plus landscaping and bridges etc. bare-handed. Or being a father of two adult children (and two more on the way in one hit).

No, I lied. He’s all of that and more.

An just get a load of where he got his folk beginnings from. I can only interpret my silence at hearing who his neighbour was in upstate New York as a little mild shock and awe.

On a chilly autumnal morning in Sydney, I stepped off the Manly* Ferry and found a suitable-ish place to record an interview over the shaky airwaves from Australia to Lexington, Kentucky. A picture of my luxurious chair in the ‘recording studio’ appears below.

* For international audiences, ‘Manly’ refers to a suburb and location on the north side of Sydney Harbour named ‘Manly’. We don’t believe in forcing gender stereotypes onto our aquatic transport vessels. Actually, if anything, we refer to them as ‘her‘ for the most part. Continue reading