In the midst of the holiday season, the live recording of "Rolling Hills Radio" episode No. 19 will feature a lineup not to be missed.
"Rolling Hills Radio" episode No. 19 is scheduled for today at 7 p.m. at The Labyrinth Press. Co. in Jamestown. The show will include John and Mary, Chris Bell and host Ken Hardley's daughter Bess Raynor.
According to Hardley, the December show, which in the past has been the most popular episode, is going to be special for a variety of reasons.
The folk-rock duo John and Mary, featuring John Lombardo, a founding member of 10,000 Maniacs, and Mary Ramsey, current 10,000 Maniacs lead vocalist, will take the stage during the recording of episode No. 19 of “Rolling Hills Radio” today at 7 p.m., at The Labyrinth Press. Co. in Jamestown.
"December always brings a big turnout for us," said Hardley. "I think part of the reason is because people are in from out of town for the holidays, and people are also looking for a nice entertaining thing to do to wind down."
One of the out-of-towners who will return to the area for the holidays is Raynor, who will open episode No. 19 with a performance.
"My daughter, Bess (Raynor), will be in from Colorado Springs and will open the show with me," said Hardley. "This will be her third appearance on the show and her only appearance of this season of 'Rolling Hills Radio.' She is very interested in indie music, cutting edge progressive type, and some of her inspirations are Wilco and Julia Nunes. She does a little singing in Colorado Springs, and she has played at the Great Blue Heron twice. She will sing and quite possibly play the melodica."
After Hardley and Raynor perform, Chris Bell will take the stage. In addition to being a vocalist, Bell, a native of Jamestown, plays a variety of instruments including banjo, guitar, cello, viola, violin, keyboard and more. Hardley is very excited to have Bell on the show, he said.
"Chris (Bell) has a new CD coming out fairly soon, and he promised he would do a tune from that," said Hardley. "He's also going to do some acoustic tunes with us, but I think I'm going to have to talk him into doing at least one of his tunes with all the looping and technical things he does. We like to have a wide range of genres on the show, so he would represent something that we've never had before. Something we focus on at 'Rolling Hills Radio' is genuine music. Does it come from a real place, and is it good? Bell meets all of those criteria."
Another new addition to the lineup is John Lombardo, a founding member of 10,000 Maniacs, who will take the stage the stage with Mary Ramsey, current 10,000 Maniacs lead vocalist. So, episode No. 19 of "Rolling Hills Radio" will feature for the first time, the folk-rock duo known as "John and Mary." Ramsey previously appeared on "The Woodsongs Coffeehouse Radio Hour" in 2011 with her band Mary Ramsey and the Healers, but featuring the John and Mary duo is a first for the show.
"The two of them together make a really darling and interesting chemistry," said Hardley. "Last season we devoted an entire show to Mary Ramsey and the Healers, and it was really something. She is an interesting interview because she is very articulate and has a wide perspective on what music is. And, thankfully we talked John (Lombardo) into joining her this season. They are going to bring a lot of people into the show because they don't appear that often nowadays, so this is going to be a very rare opportunity to see John and Mary in public and in this intimate setting."
Although this show is held smack-dab in the middle of the holiday season, Hardley said there aren't any plans to incorporate the theme into the show. However, he did mention that there is a WRFA holiday show in the works for next year that he will release more details on in the future. He also spoke about what he called a "special performance" scheduled for the finale of "Rolling Hills Radio."
"We're going to have Mary Ramsey on the show again later this season," said Hardley. "10,000 Maniacs will play our season finale of 'Rolling Hills Radio' on Sunday, July 28, at the Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater. It's a venue that is quite a bit bigger than we're used to, and we're very much looking forward to it. We're also going to have John Latini, Cammy Enaharo and some comedy so it will be a longer show that involves more variety. But, it will still have the music and interviewing."
In the meantime fans can also check out episode No. 20, featuring John Latini and the Modified Nouns on Thursday, Jan. 31.
Tickets to today's show are available for $5 at the Reg Lenna Civic Center ticket office, online at reglenna.com or at the door while they last. A meet and greet will be held at Forte on Third Street following the performance. For more information, search for "Rolling Hills Radio" on Facebook, or visit wrfalp.wordpress.com/rolling-hills-radio to purchase tickets, stream WRFA's broadcast debut of each show or listen to previous performances. The show will debut on WRFA on Thursday, Jan. 3, at 7 p.m.