‘Rolling Hills Radio’ To Feature Autoharp Hall-Of-Famer Bryan Bowers May 25

WRFA-LP 107.9 FM’s “Rolling Hills Radio” will feature a performance by Bryan Bowers, a 1993 inductee of the Autoharp Hall of Fame, on Thursday, May 25, at the Robert H. Jackson’s Carl Cappa Theater. Submitted photo

One of traditional music’s pioneers in the world of autoharp will make a cross-country journey to Jamestown in order to perform on WRFA-LP 107.9 FM’s “Rolling Hills Radio.”

The monthly radio program that aims to highlight various forms of live folk, Americana, bluegrass and traditional music, will feature Bryan Bowers in the live taping of its 64th episode Thursday, May 25, at the Robert H. Jackson Center’s Carl Kappa Theater.

Bowers, born in Yorktown, Va., and now based in Seattle, is a nationally renowned autoharp player who is frequently credited with introducing new generations of musicians to the instrument. His innovative playing techniques, including finger picking, as opposed to strumming, has helped to revolutionize the versatility of the autoharp while working strictly within the framework of traditional music.

“I first ran across Bryan in the ’70s when I was transitioning from one style of music to another,” said Ken Hardley, “Rolling Hills Radio” host. “When I heard him play, he blew me away, because he picks the autoharp and it makes it into an entirely different instrument when it’s in his hands. Anybody who wants to know anything about autoharp listens to Bryan. He’s probably one of the most authentic artists we’ve ever had on this show.”

Bowers became very popular with the audience of the comedy radio program “The Dr. Demento Show” with his 1980 recording of Mike Cross’ song “The Scotsman” — which Hardley hopes Bowers will play on “Rolling Hills Radio.” In 1993, Bowers was inducted into the Autoharp Hall of Fame.

Bowers has been releasing music since 1977, and has a discography of seven studio albums. His most recent releases are 2006’s “Bristlecone Pine” and 2007’s “September in Alaska.”

Tickets still remain for Bowers’ upcoming May 25 performance, and are available at $10 each by calling 484-7070 or visiting reglenna.com. Doors to the live show will open at 5:30 p.m., when a pre-show reception known as “Rolling Happy Hour” will commence. The program’s live taping will begin promptly at 6:30 p.m., and a meet-and-greet will immediately follow.

This will mark the final “Rolling Hills Radio” concert to be held at the Carl Cappa Theater while renovations continue at the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts. The program will present two summer shows: one in the form of a live broadcast of Jim Donovan and the Sun King Warriors in the band’s 10 a.m., Saturday, July 1, performance at the Great Blue Heron Music Festival; and the other being the program’s 2016-17 finale at the newly constructed Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater on Sunday, July 30, at 2 p.m. — featuring the Honey Dewdrops and pianist Matt Nokoa.

The “Rolling Hills Radio” program is broadcast each Thursday at 7 p.m. on WRFA-LP 107.9 FM, with new episodes being introduced the week following their live taping.