A taste of Americana music will come to Chautauqua this weekend.
Ken Hardley will host a taping of his Rolling Hills Radio show at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, August 4 in the Amphitheater, with guests Christine Lavin and The Farmer & Adele.
Hardley’s Jamestown-based radio show celebrates grassroots Americana music, which includes the subgenres of folk and Western swing.
“Americana music, to me, is music that is ostensibly rooted in American attitudes,” Hardley said. “Interestingly, almost every subgenre of Americana has come from somewhere else. For example, the banjo did not come from America, but we think about it as a distinctly American instrument. The genre represents a beautiful quilt of inclusivity.”
Rolling Hills Radio is typically taped at Shawbucks in Jamestown, but once annually for the past few years, a show has been taped at Chautauqua Institution.
The show’s format is modeled after radio shows that were popular in the 1940s, and features music as well as interviews with the artists.
Both Lavin and The Farmer & Adele are returning guests of Rolling Hills.
Lavin is a New York City-based singer-songwriter and guitarist.
“Christine has been a folk staple since the early ’80s,” Hardley said. “Everyone in the folk genre knows Christine. She has made a name for herself as someone who is really hysterically funny.”
Lavin just released her 23rd solo album, Spaghettification.
“She’s a dynamite songwriter,” Hardley said. “She can write love songs, angry songs and she can write satirical songs.”
Nashville-based Western swing group The Farmer & Adele is made up of husband-and-wife duo, Keenan Wade and Grace Adele.
“There’s a backbeat of the music that right away gets your toes tapping,” Grace Adele said. “It has that warm, inviting, joyful sound with a bit of a jazz undertone.”
Their cowboy and cowgirl music evokes imagery of horses clopping and tumbleweeds rolling across the Western landscape. When the couple started writing in this genre of music, they took a trip out West for inspiration.
“All that beautiful open sky out there was inspiring,” Keenan Wade said.
Keenan Wade plays the mandolin, and Grace Adele plays the archtop guitar. At the Sunday performance, they will be accompanied with a fiddle player, bass player and pedal steel guitar player.
“One of the biggest jobs I have as the guy who books the acts is to make sure there’s an onstage chemistry,” Hardley said. “It’s going to be a very lively and funny show, and the technical musicianship is going to be over-the-top. They’re perfect complements for each other.”
Hardley has been hosting the now-nationally syndicated show for about a decade, with nine shows each season. This weekend’s show at Chautauqua will be the show’s 89th episode.
The show is always taped in front of a live audience, which Hardley said enhances the experience.
“We live in a two-dimensional world nowadays; we watch our computer screens and TV,” he said. “This is real, live stuff. You can see people up onstage in three dimensions. You can smell the perfume of the woman next to you.”