Front Porch Sound

‘Rolling Hills Radio’ To Feature Deeply-Rooted Contemporary Americana

The 73rd episode of “Rolling Hills Radio” will feature the duo of Geoff Goodhue and Nick Vandenberg, pictured below, and The Urban Pioneers, pictured above, live in concert Monday at Shawbucks. Submitted photos

Two acts deeply rooted in contemporary Americana will take the Shawbucks stage next week as “Rolling Hills Radio” forges ahead into the second stretch of its eighth season.

The program will feature the duo of Geoff Goodhue and Nick Vandenberg — who go by their surnames when they perform — and The Urban Pioneers in the 6:30 p.m. live taping of its 73rd overall episode at the 212 W. Second St. venue Monday.

Goodhue and Vandenberg are multi-instrumentalists whose contemporary, original music evokes the “front porch” sound that has been the essence of Americana music since its inception. The duo can be heard on a video which they recorded earlier this month, specifically to introduce themselves to the “Rolling Hills Radio” audience. The three-minute “kitchen concert” of the original song “Hard Road” can be found at

“After more than a decade of collaboration, Geoff and Nick’s seemingly effortless vocal harmonies have become greater than the sum of the parts,” said Ken Hardley, program host.

Goodhue previously appeared on the program as an accompanist for autoharp legend Bryan Bowers last May. In addition to his work with Vandenberg, he performs regularly with Beg, Steal or Borrow and appeared with that quintet last year on West Virginia’s iconic Mountain Stage — which has been National Public Radio’s home for live music for the past 30 years.

“As a solo performer, Goodhue’s engaging vocals and mastery of the mandolin led many audience members to request that we have him back. On March 26, you’ll hear why,” Hardley said.

Vandenberg grew up in West Virginia, and spent time in Los Angeles and Chapel Hill, N.C., where he worked as a music producer and composer. His journey into the genre of Americana has been circuitous and unconventional. He originally performed violin before transitioning to trumpet and discovering music influenced by Louie Armstrong and Dizzie Gillespie.

Though his initially foray into music was as an instrumentalist, he soon found a propensity for storytelling and began writing his own lyrics.

“Once I started singing I realized that most of the music I was writing was concise and in standard-type songs forms. That led me to the music I perform today,” he said.

Hailing from Texas, The Urban Pioneers write and perform a unique blend of music referred to by the group as “hillbilly swing.” Comprised of Liz Sloan on fiddle, Jared McGovern on banjo and Martin Sargent on bass, the string band hammers out a variety of original songs that encompass old time hillbilly music, western swing, rockabilly and even a few gypsy type songs for good measure.

Hardley invites those interested in “finding out for themselves if this wonderfully quirky description captures the group’s sound” to visit –where they will hear “Walk This Earth.”

“Rolling Hills Radio” continues to grow its media presence. Past shows can now be seen on multiple platforms at Open Stage Media, which reaches over one million people on public access cable in Schenectady and the Capitol Region.

All shows take place at Shawbucks. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for the “Happy Rolling Hour.” Food and drink are available until 6:15 p.m. at which time audience members take their seats. Audio and video recording begins promptly at 6:30 p.m. The bar reopens for 10 minutes at intermission and then again after the show when the audience and performers are invited to a meet-and-greet.

Tickets for this show are $15. They can be purchased in advance from the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce by calling 484-1101, online at or at 512 Falconer St. during regular business hours.