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Folk Music

Tent Show Radio live from Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua featuring author humorist Michael Perry, the Blue Canvas Orchestra and Grammy Award winning musical guest Bill Miller.

Tent Show Radio live from Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua featuring author humorist Michael Perry, the Blue Canvas Orchestra and Grammy Award winning musical guest Bill Miller.


Washburn, WI


Tent Show Radio live from Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua featuring author humorist Michael Perry, the Blue Canvas Orchestra and Grammy Award winning musical guest Bill Miller.




Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua PO Box 455 101 West Bayfield Street - Washburn, WI 54891 715-373-5552


Tommy Emmanuel & Leo Kotke | Episode 21-33

This episode of Tent Show Radio this week features two amazing artists, Tommy Emmanuel recorded at the Big Top in 2006 and Leo Kottke recorded in 1998. Tommy Emmanuel is an Australian guitar virtuoso known for his complex fingerstyle technique, energetic performances and the use of percussive effects on the guitar. Although originally a session player in many bands, Emmanuel carved out his own style as a solo artist winning several awards and accolades after his 2006 visit to Big Top...


Cowboy Junkies & The Wailin' Jennys | Episode 21-32

This week on Tent Show Radio, we have two great groups who played under the Big Top Tent in 2008. In the first half of the show, the award-winning Cowboy Junkies rocked out with us here in Bayfield during their 2008 international tour promoting their new album Trinity Revisited, which was a 20th anniversary of their original recording of the Trinity Session. You'll enjoy this Toronto alternative country/blues/folk rock band formed in '85 by Margo Timmins (vocalist), Michael Timmins...


Best of Arlo Guthrie | Episode 21-31

This week on Tent Show Radio, living legend, songwriter and singer, Arlo Guthrie. Mr. Guthrie has performed everywhere from Carnegie Hall too, well, just about everywhere! Born in Coney Island, Brooklyn, Arlo is the eldest son of America’s beloved singer, songwriter and philosopher Woody Guthrie. Arlo grew up surrounded by dancers and musicians like Pete Seger, Leadbelly, Ramblin Jack Elliott, and Brownie McGee. Arlo gave his first public performance and age 13 and has returned to the Big...


Ruthie Foster | Episode 21-30

From houses of worship to houses of blues, Ruthie Foster has always been a rafter-rattler. And with a soul-filled voice honed in Texas churches, she can move audiences to tears or ecstasy – sometimes in a single song. Her two albums, 2009’s The Truth According to Ruthie Foster and 2012’s Let It Burn, moved the Recording Academy to deliver Best Blues Album Grammy nominations. Her latest release, Promise of a Brand New Day on Blue Corn Music, earned her a third Grammy nod in 2015. Ruthie...


The Best of the Sam Bush Band | Episode 21-29

If joy were a person, he’d bring both peace and frenzy. He’d be full of music, light, and energy that soothes even as it stirs us up. Eyes closed, wire-rim glasses in place, mandolin pressed against his ribs, joy would be Sam Bush on a stage (info from @sambush). For this week's Tent Show Radio episode, we bring to you The Best of The Sam Bush Band. Live from Big Top Chautauqua, this show consists of two acts recorded in July of 2002 and 2006. Sam Bush is an American Mandolinist who is...


Joan Baez | Episode 21-28

Joan Baez is a singer, songwriter, musician and activist, whose music encompasses genres including folk, rock, pop, gospel and country. Joan performed music for over 60 years and released over 30 albums, in which her first three achieved gold record status. A long and impressive list of awards, Joan has received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 49th annual Grammy Awards® in 2007, Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award in 2015, and she was inducted into the Rock and Roll...


Lost Nation String Band + Kathy Mattea - Episode 21-25

In 1980 the Lost Nation String Band moved to the Bayfield Peninsula and quickly became the band to see and dance to. In 1986 at the founding of Big Top Chautauqua they were the heart of the shows. Come join us as we celebrate their legacy with members of the original group and special guests. Kathy Mattea is an American country music and bluegrass singer. Active since 1984 as a recording artist, she has charted more than 30 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, including four...


Vintage BCO - Episode 21-24

Broadcasting music, stories and happiness wrapped in canvas since 1994, Tent Show Radio is a weekly one-hour variety series showcasing national and regional acts in live performance at Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua, Bayfield, Wisconsin. This episode features classic Blue Canvas Orchestra performances. Tent Show Radio is hosted by bestselling author, humorist, singer-songwriter and intermittent pig farmer Michael Perry.


Charlie Parr | Koerner, Ray & Glover - Episode 21-23

An easily confused and very shy individual, Charlie Parr has been traveling around singing his songs ever since leaving Austin Minnesota in the 1980's in search of Spider John Koerner, whom he found about 100 miles north at the Viking Bar one Sunday night. The experience changed his life, made him more or less unemployable, and brings us to now: 13 recordings, 250 shows a year or more, 200,000 miles on a well broke in Kia, and a nasty fear of heights. Resonator fueled folk songs from Duluth...


Blue Canvas Orchestra | Bill Miller - Episode 21-21

Bill Miller is an award-winning Native American recording artist, performer, songwriter, activist, painter, and world-class native flute player. Over the entirety, Miller has produced over a dozen albums, received three GRAMMY® Awards, numerous Native American Music Awards & Association (NAMA) awards (including a “Lifetime Achievement” Award) and led Wisconsin’s La Crosse Symphony Orchestra. He has long been one of the most admired figures in the Native American arts and activist arenas,...


Nickel Creek | Punch Brothers - Episode 21-20

Nickel Creek is an Americana music group, formed in Southern California in 1989. The group consists of Chris Thile (mandolin) and siblings Sara Watkins (fiddle) and Sean Watkins (guitar.) Since its formation, the group has released six albums and have earned a number of Grammy and CMA nominations. Punch Brothers was formed in 2006 by mandolinist/singer Chris Thile with four other musicians: fiddler Gabe Witcher, banjo player Noam Pikelny, bassist Paul Kowert and guitarist Chris...


The Whites | Del McCoury - Episode 19

The Whites is an American country music vocal group from Fort Worth, Texas. It consists of sisters Sharon White and Cheryl White, and their father, Buck White. Active since 1972, the group has recorded multiple albums and charted multiple songs on the Hot Country Songs charts. Delano Floyd McCoury is an American bluegrass musician. As leader of the Del McCoury Band, he plays guitar and sings lead vocals along with his two sons, Ronnie McCoury and Rob McCoury, who play mandolin and banjo...


Blue Canvas Orchestra | Iris Dement | Greg Brown | Episode 21-18

Blue Canvas Orchestra Join us for our own unique brand of shows that feature songs and stories performed by Big Top’s Blue Canvas Orchestra and Singers that bear the hallmark of exquisite musicianship illustrated by big-screen visuals. The Blue Canvas Orchestra (BCO) is Chautauqua’s house band that, together with Co-Founder and Visuals Director Betty Ferris and a multitude of talented guest artists, provides the entertainment engine that powers the Big Top. Iris DeMent "Iris DeMent...


Nanci Griffith | Tent Show Radio | Episode 21:17

Nanci Griffith got an early start on her path to performing and songwriting. At the age of 6 she began to write songs, thinking of it as “part of the process of learning how to play guitar.” While she doesn’t remember many of her earliest songs, she does recall that “the first original song my mother commented on…was a song about Timothy Leary.” Then at the age of 14, when a campfire turn at the Kerrville Folk Festival caught the ear of singer-songwriter Tom Russell, she was on her way....


Roy Clark | Tent Show Radio | Episode 21-16

Roy Clark was an American singer and musician. He is best known for having hosted Hee Haw, a nationally televised country variety show, from 1969 to 1997. Clark was an important and influential figure in country music, both as a performer and in helping to popularize the genre. This recording is from his 2004 performance at Big Top Chautauqua. During the 1970s, Clark frequently guest-hosted for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show and enjoyed a 30-million viewership for Hee Haw. Clark was...


Merle Haggard | Tent Show Radio | Episode 21-15

The word “legend” usually makes an appearance at some point when discussing Merle Haggard. It’s an acknowledgement of his artistry and his standing as “the poet of the common man.” It’s a tribute to his incredible commercial success and to the lasting mark he has made, not just on country music, but on American music as a whole. He performed under the Big Top in 1999 and again in 2013 to adoring audiences. This week's Tent Show Radio is a recording of Merle Haggard's 1999...


Best of the BCO & Friends | Big Top Chautauqua | Episode 21:14

In 2019 we cut the band loose on some of their favorite songs from the season and from summers past. Severin Behnen leads the famed house band that has graced the Big Top stage since its founding in 1986. They are an eclectic blend of string instruments, driving rhythm section, and stunning voices that together rock the tent with their unique fusion of bluegrass, folk and jazzy blues. Available for free and airing continuously for 26 years, Tent Show Radio is hosted by best-selling author...


Different Drums of Ireland | Tent Show Radio | Episode 21:13

This week, Drifferent Drums of Ireland joins us on Tent Show Radio. Different Drums brings the indigenous drums of Ireland, the Lambeg and the Bodhran together for the first time ever in celebratory performance. The music also features the Uilleann or elbow pipes,whistles, guitar, snares, long drum, 4 voices and is driven by the engine of the African djembe. Adding myriad percussion and other instruments to original and traditional songs makes a unique and exciting combination of traditions...


Rosanne Cash | Tent Show Radio | Episode 21-12

This week's Tent Show Radio performance is from August of 2019 when Rosanne Cash came to play under the pearl grey and blue canvas tent! One of the country's preeminent singer/songwriters, Rosanne Cash has released 15 albums, winning her four GRAMMY Awards and 11 nominations as well as 21 top 40 hits, including 11 No. 1 singles. First broadcast in 1994, Tent Show Radio is a one-hour public radio program created from the best live recordings from acclaimed musical acts who grace the Big...