Feb 2 Jon Fuller. A talented pianist/singer-songwriter with classical training, Jon Fuller released his debut album full-lenth CD Skipping Away from Dissonance in 2013, when it was selected for one of the Mixed Bag weekly album reviews. It spotlighted his creative, sophisticated and appealing original music. This is an encore of his 2013 Homegrown Music debut in a session that includes some new songs performed in a solo piano/vocal setting.
Feb 8 A Live Homegrown Music concert with THE EMPTY POCKETS and JEFFERSON THOMAS. WVIA’s monthly series of two-hour radio concert-broadcasts continues with a creative, melodic rock band and a veteran rock-oriented singer-songwriter.
The Empty Pockets formed in 2007 with the members originally appearing in a stage production of “The Buddy Holly Story.” They soon began creating their own melodic, often soulful original music and released their debut album in 2008. Since then they have been attracting attention nationally with the Nickelodeon channel licensing several of their songs for TV series. The group put in two first-rate studio appearances on Homegrown Music during 2015, and they make their debut live Homegrown Music concert for this show.
Singer-songwriter Jefferson Thomas has been on the scene since the 1990s, with his albums featured on WVIA’s Mixed Bag since then. After living in Atlanta for a while, he returned to his native Northeast, and has been maintaining a steady touring schedule. He makes his Homegrown Music concert debut in an acoustic setting performing his often energetic original music.
As usual, WVIA’s members and listeners are invited to attend the live two-hour concert broadcast originating from WVIA’s Sordoni Theater. Free audience reservations are available on a first-come first-served basis by clicking here or phoning 570-655-2808. Note Start time: 8:00 PM.
Feb 9 Megan Jean and the KFB. Megan Jean and her husband Byrne Klay have taken to describing their duo as “a metal band, if it was 1927.” With Byrne’s amplified banjo and Megan Jean’s strong vocals and variety of percussion, the group creates original music that defies ready categorization, but is steeped in Americana roots. The KFB (Klay Family Band) make their Homegrown Music debut on this week’s show.
Feb 16 Scott Chasolen. A talented keyboard player, Scott Chasolen spends much of his time as a supporting musician touring internationally with The Machine, the Pink Floyd tribute band. He was also part of a jazz-rock fusion band called ULU. As a singer-songwriter Chasolen has released four albums, with the most recent one consisting of music from his three Homegrown Music performances. This encore segment features highlights from those sessions from 2011 and 2012.
Feb 23 The Strand. From the archive comes this 22-year-old session by a first-rate, musically sophisticated art-rock influenced band from Northeastern PA. They released one EP and soon went their separate ways, but fans still remember their music. This encore features their 1993 Homegrown Music session.
February 2016 Homegrown Music Concert
Quirky and charismatic, The Empty Pockets perform their Americana rock ‘n roll with a smack of Texas saloon and a taste of Motown soul during the next live broadcast of WVIA-FM’s Homegrown Music Concert on Monday, February 8, 2016 at 8 p.m. in the Sordoni High Definition Theater at the WVIA Public Media Studios in Pittston, Pennsylvania. Seats are free, but limited. Reserve your free seats by calling 570-655-2808 or by clicking here.
It was a scorching Chicago summer in 2006 when long-time friends Josh Solomon, Danny Rosenthal and Nate Bellon officially became a band. After recording their first original demo, the boys starred in a 2007 theatrical production of the Buddy Holly Story which served as a showcase for the new group. The band attracted the attention of local morning show personality Scott Mackay (WLS-FM) and the show’s success lead to a tribute album and critical acclaim in print, along with television and radio appearances. Playing as Buddy Holly and the Crickets each night was a rock and roll roots education that left an indelible mark on The Empty Pockets’ music, focusing their sound on driving rockabilly grooves thick with rhythm and blues, and thoughtful melodies and harmonies in classic pop song structures.
With the Buddy Holly buzz, the boys went back in the studio to complete an album of their original music. They released "Under the Bed" using early band name, “Josh & the Empty Pockets.” The single “Fall Right Now” tells the story of a young romance that almost too eagerly becomes true love.
Josh’s muse for “Fall Right Now,” Erika Brett, was soon asked to join the band and the new foursome, now simply “The Empty Pockets,” headed into another studio session, this time for a holiday duet. While on their first tour, The Empty Pockets' single, "Baby It's Cold Outside” – a spirited mash-up of two holiday classics – hit radio with airplay on over a hundred markets nationwide peaking at #25 on the Medibase AC Chart. Their song, “Take Me,” about the conflict in Afghanistan was featured in award-winning documentary, “Patrol Base Jaker.” “The Empty Pockets” pride themselves on delivering what they call, "handcrafted rock and roll."
Additionally, singer-songwriter Jefferson Thomas will be performing. When both your parents are musicians, you might end up doing something else with your life, but by his eleventh birthday, Jefferson Thomas had already surrendered, sitting in on bass for the old man's gigs. Within a year the kid had switched to guitar and was writing his own songs and playing clubs, fairs, and festivals all over the northeastern US.
Next came a move to Atlanta, where he broadened his musical palette playing and singing on R&B gigs and recording sessions which landed him a brief stint as touring guitarist for a reunion tour by seminal R&B legends, The Impressions. Spending his formative years on both sides of the tracks of American roots music irrevocably blurred his musical lines; an R&B back-beat is woven into the twang that Jefferson has never quite been able to exorcise from his sound.
“Glory Bound” - the first single from 2008’s Western Front - garnered airplay on over 400 Adult Album Alternative and Adult Contemporary radio stations across the US, and was the most-added song at secondary-market AC stations its first week out, and rose to the top twenty in only its fifth week. Still another single, “Thursday’s Girl”, appeared in the Matthew Broderick/Brittany Snow film Finding Amanda.
Now further exposed to a new national audience, Jefferson spent the next two years touring to support Western Front before taking 2011 off to produce several New York City-based artists. In 2012 his live video of "Jacksonville" from an NPR broadcast in New York City went viral and introduced him to audiences worldwide. Coincidentally, the Finding Amanda film found a second life at cable outlets and international distribution, broadening Jefferson’s audience even further. As a result, Jefferson did his first European tours in the spring and fall of 2013, taking him to the UK, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Austria, and Denmark.
Jefferson spent 2014 back home in the US, touring domestically and recording The Yale Sessions, a solo acoustic record released in the fall of that year. 2015 saw the release of Come Alive, which spawned another round of spring and summer tour dates in the US and another European tour in the fall.
Radio - Local Programs
with George Graham
Part of Mixed Bag, Tuesdays at 9pm on WVIA-FM
Homegrown Music with George Graham presents a wide range of rock, folk, bluegrass, jazz, blues, reggae, World Music, fusion, etc., in short, all the types of music that Mixed Bag presents, with new studio sessions from the region's finest and most creative musicians. The emphasis is on all-original material, or highly original interpretations of old, obscure, or seldom-heard music. Each show features a different performance, with occasional encore broadcasts from the series' nearly 40-year archive.
The series presents monthly two-hour concert-broadcasts from the Sordoni High Definition Theater at WVIA. To reserve your seat for an upcoming concert,.
Listen to Full Episodes
Homegrown Music Sessions
Generally, a performer must has no less than 20 minutes of completed music to be considered to be part of Homegrown Music. The ideal length is about a half hour, with the maximum length of just under an hour. (Longer segments can be broken up and broadcast on two different programs.) The length of each song thus determines how many tunes would be involved. Submit a physical demonstration recording on CD (or even cassette) to the following address: WVIA-FM, George Graham - Homegrown Music, 100 WVIA Way, Pittston, PA 18640-6197. The sound quality of the recording is not important, as long as all the instruments and vocals can be heard. Homemade recordings or recordings made from the mixing board at a live show are fine. Include what you feel is representative of the music you wish to perform on Homegrown Music, and the recording should preferably include all the personnel you hope to use during the studio recording session. You may include a large selection of songs, or just a few if you feel they accurately represent your style, level of musicianship and creativity. Be sure to include an e-mail address or phone number at which you can be reached during the evening.
If you wish to check on your demo's status, phone (570) 602-1165, during weekday evening hours. Because of the huge proliferation of music and bands on the internet, there is no guarantee that sending a link to a website will result in an audition. To ensure that the music will get a fair hearing, please send a physical recording to the above address.
Meet the Team
One of the first staff members at WVIA. Produces and hosts Mixed Bag, All That Jazz and Homegrown Music on WVIA Radio, and the Homegrown Music Concerts on WVIA-TV.
Graham was the first employee of WVIA Radio, and has been on the WVIA staff since 1972. A native and resident of Carbondale, PA, he is a magna cum laude graduate of Duke University, where he majored in electrical engineering. He joined the WVIA staff in connection with the studio design and construction of WVIA-FM, but with his four years of on-air experience at the Duke University radio station, he immediately moved into on-air work. He sought to bring the kind of eclectic contemporary music radio programming that marked student radio at Duke (where he was program director) in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
He introduced Mixed Bag, which has become purportedly the longest continuously-running program of what is now called "album adult alternative" music in the country. Graham introduced Homegrown Music, a program to spotlight talented regional artists in performances from the station's studio. The series has been running continuously as a weekly series since 1976, and includes weekly recording session broadcasts, and monthly live concerts performed before a studio audience.
He also hosts WVIA's All That Jazz, and presents extensive annual radio coverage of the region's jazz festivals from Delaware Water Gap and Scranton. Graham has written for regional publications, and also works as a free-lance recording engineer, producer and mastering engineer.