Peter Thompson

Producer and Host, Bluegrass Signal

Peter Thompson's first radio-like experiences involved recording concerts (hand-held mic + cassette deck), making mix tapes for friends and attending/hosting listening parties with other enthusiasts.  These proclivities found a broadcast outlet at Vancouver Co-op Radio, where, starting in 1975, Peter not only produced a wide variety of programs but also served as Program Director and Music Director.  For many years, Peter also was a freelance producer for CBC Radio, and taught in a college media production program.  Following a move to the Bay Area, Peter hosted programs at KCSM and KPFA before launching Bluegrass Signal on KALW in October 1995.  Since 2004, the program has been syndicated on WAMU's Bluegrass Country.

Peter has also been a member of Redwood Bluegrass Associates' Board Of Directors since 1994, served on the Freight & Salvage's BOD for eight years, and currently is a volunteer for the California Bluegrass Association and an active member of the International Bluegrass Music Association.

He's married to Kathy Kallick, who also happens to be my favorite singer/songwriter/band leader/guitar player; neither of their daughters, sad to say, have shown much interest in music from the true vine.

Peter grew up in Michigan, quite a distance from those "deep rolling hills," but the little hairs on the back of his neck went straight up the first time he heard the Stanley Brothers sing, and not much has changed since then.

Ways To Connect

This Saturday at the special time of 5:00 - 8:00 pm, it's the Bluegrass Signal Fall Membership Drive Special! Great music from great thank-you gifts -- including Rounder's "Foggy Mountain Special: A Bluegrass Tribute to Earl Scruggs," the Kathy Kallick Band's "Time," and Foghorn Stringband's "Outshine the Sun" -- plus your great support at 1-800-525-9917 or "Donate Now" at kalw.org. Thanks in advance!

Bluegrass Signal host Peter Thompson welcomes Berkeley Old Time Music Convention Director Suzy Thompson (no relation) to talk about the annual event and play music from some of the participants, including Pharis & Jason Romero, Riley Baugus, Rafe & Clelia Stefanini, Trevor & Travis Stuart, Thomas Maupin & Daniel Rothwell, and the Stairwell Sisters.  Broadcast Saturday 9/1 at 6:30pm.  Listen anytime through 9/8 via KALW's Local Music Player.

On Saturday (Aug. 18th) from 6:30 - 8:00 pm, the celebration of live bluegrass recordings continues on "Bluegrass Signal." Featured are the Good Ol' Persons (pictured) live in Canada and the Netherlands and Hot Rize live in Winfield, Kansas. Both bands were grounded in traditional bluegrass, and both took the music to some new places.

Peter Thompson continues his "Bluegrass Signal" celebration of live bluegrass recordings continues with a few songs from the 1973 Old & In the Way shows that made them the most influential bluegrass band between the pioneers and Alison Krauss.  Also: one of those pioneers (the Stanley Brothers) plus the New Lost City Ramblers, Roscoe Holcomb, and Cousin Emmy - all from a 1966 tour of Germany.  Airs 8/28 at 6:30pm; listen antime through 8/4 via KALW's Local Music Player.

 

Host Peter Thompson continues his broadcast of highlights from live performances.  This week:  two fabulous bluegrass concerts in the '70s: Mac Martin & the Dixie Travelers live in Pittsburgh (at a club where they played every Saturday night for many years), and J.D. Crowe & the New South live in Japan.  Listen anytime until 7/28 via KALW's Local Music Player.

The details:

Mac Martin & the Dixie Travelers

Live On Arrival!

Jul 9, 2012

Throughout July & August, host Peter Thompson presents programs of live concert recordings.  The series kicks off this week with highlights from two 1970 shows in New York with Doc & Merle Watson, plus Doc and the Nashville Bluegrass Band at MerleFest in 2006.   Available for listening through Saturday 7/21/12 via KALW's Local Music Player.

Saturday on "Bluegrass Signal" - a celebration of the 45th anniversary of WAMU's first bluegrass radio show. On July 2, 1967, Dick Spottswood and Gary Henderson presented "Bluegrass Unlimited," an event that is being commemorated on www.bluegrasscountry.org -- and on KALW.

New Bluegrass!

Jun 25, 2012

Host Peter Thompson offers some deep listening to four new releases from The Karl Shiflett & the Big Country Show, Audie Blaylock & Redline, Travers Chandler & Avery County, and the Rounder Tribute To Earl Scruggs with banjo players Craig Smith, David Talbot, Ron Stewart, and others.  Listen anytime through 7/7 via KALW's Local Music Player.

Live On Arrival!

Jun 10, 2012

Peter Thompson presents a variety of bluegrass bands recorded live (mostly in the 1970s), a traditional show on the weekend of the California Bluegrass Association's festival in Grass Valley. Included: Doc & Merle Watson (70), Mac Martin & the Dixie Travelers (71), Old & In the Way (73), Hot Rize (86), a variety of contemporary performers (06-11), and the pictured band, J.D.

This Saturday (June 9th) from 6:30 - 8:00 pm, "Bluegrass Signal" presents music by many of the bands performing at the California Bluegrass Association's annual Father's Day Weekend Bluegrass Festival at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley. Participants include: Bigfoot, Blue & Lonesome, The Deadly Gentlemen, Flatt Lonesome, Foghorn Stringband, Loafer's Glory, Rock Ridge Bluegrass Band, Seldom Scene, Snap Jackson & the Knock on Wood Players, Steep Canyon Rangers, The Tuttles with A.J.

Saturday (6/2) from 6:30 - 8:00 pm, "Bluegrass Signal" presents a memorial tribute to Doc Watson, who once said, "I'm not a legend.

… it's a Bluegrass Holiday.

Time for the annual break from the high lonesome sound as guest host Jose Segue returns with some of the latest and greatest of Bay Area Twang: roots Americana, honky-tonk, alt-country, rockabilly, western swing, country boogie/bop/rock, and more. Sure to be included: a new 45 rpm single from the B-Stars (Greg Yanito, Eric “Yang” Reedy, and friends).

This Saturday -- May 12th -- at the special time of 5:00 - 8:00 pm, "Bluegrass Signal" presents music from three new CDs offered as thank-you gifts for your support of the program and the station.

 

Red Wine: RED  -  The latest and greatest from Europe's premier bluegrass band; astonishing variety.

Loafer's Glory: Loafer's Glory  -  A new super-group combining traditional bluegrass and old time music.

Evie Ladin Band: Evie Ladin Band  -  Evocative playing, clever songwriting, and a rhythmic tour de force.

 

Wade Mainer in the early 1940s, when he and his Sons Of the Mountaineers band were among the most popular acts on the radio.

On Saturday, April 14th (6:30 - 8:00 pm), scant hours before your tax returns are due, "Bluegrass Signal" presented some songs for a tax-ing weekend, including Del McCoury's exploration of "Moneyland" (and "If You've Got the Money, Honey" …). Other lucre-related music by the Dreadful Snakes, Karl Shiflett, Curly Ray Cline, Nashville Bluegrass Band, High Country, Blue Highway, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Jody Stecher & Kate Brislin, and, yes, others.

Listen anytime this week via KALW's Local Music Player.

  

Loafer's Glory

Apr 2, 2012

Loafer's Glory is a band of SoCal musical vets: Herb Pedersen, Bill Bryson, Tom Sauber, and Patrick Sauber.  To get you ready for their impending Bay Area visit, "Bluegrass Signal" host Peter Thompson welcomed them to the KALW studios on his April 7 broadcast. 

Missed the show?  Listen anytime this week via KALW's Local Music Player.

On Saturday (3/31) from 6:30 - 8:00 pm, Bluegrass Signal producer Peter Thompson hosts Bay Area banjo players Larry Cohea, Bill Evans, Avram Siegel, and Ryan Breen to honor and reflect on the contributions of Earl Scruggs, who died on Wednesday.  As a member of Bill Monroe's "classic" Blue Grass Boys, co-leader with Lester Flatt of the music's most influential band, the Foggy Mt.

Saturday (March 3rd), 6:30 - 8:00 pm -
Peter Thompson presents musical previews of the annual Sonoma County Bluegrass & Folk Festival, Redwood Bluegrass concerts, Rhonda Vincent's and Jayme Stone's visits to the area, and other upcoming events.

A few of those taking part in Bill Evans' new album, "In Good Company" are pictured above (L->R): Tashin Clarridge, Tristan Clarridge, David Grier, Bill, Todd Phillips, engineer Tom Size, Mike Marshall, and Darol Anger.

 

 

 

Now on KALW's Local Music Player:  The incomparable singer who first came to prominence with the Johnson Mountain Boys in the early '80s.

Europe's premier bluegrass band, Red Wine, is coming to the Bay Area from their home in Genoa, Italy.  Martino Coppo and Silvio Ferretti recently celebrated the band's 30th anniversary by adding a couple of 20-somethings to the group, and Red Wine sounds better than ever.

You'll hear music from six Red Wine releases, including their latest (a world-wide radio debut!), to get you ready for concerts in Mountain View, Berkeley, and Winters.

(Listen to the show anytime this week via KALW's Local Music Player.) 

Preview of the San Francisco Bluegrass and Old-Time Festival

Previews of the 13th annual San Francisco Bluegrass and Old-Time Festival.