BGS Announces The Launch of “TOY HEART: A Podcast About Bluegrass”

Hosted by Tom Power, Canadian radio mainstay and host of CBC’s daily show q

First Episode features Del McCoury

“I’ve spent years sitting down with celebrities, and while I’ve been excited and honored to speak with the likes of George Clooney, Emma Stone, Keith Urban, and Chris Rock, my background and passion has always been bluegrass,” says Tom Power, host of BGS’s brand new podcast, TOY HEART: A Podcast About Bluegrass

Premiering March 5, 2020, on thebluegrasssituation.com and everywhere podcasts are available, TOY HEART is a journey into bluegrass lore with Power, host of Canada’s all-encompassing public radio talk show, q; similar to Fresh Air or The Howard Stern Show in the U.S. While Power is best known in the north as a radio personality, he is also a musician—an accomplished guitarist with remarkable prowess in Irish and traditional Newfoundland music—and music scholar, having studied ethnomusicology with an emphasis in bluegrass at university. “I’m using the skills I’ve acquired in this field to get the ‘real’ stories behind bluegrass music,” says Power. “Not the myth; but how these musicians went from their homes in a post-industrial America and created a brand new form of music, creating a culture and a movement.” An in-depth discussion between BGS and Power ahead of TOY HEART’s launch can be found here.

The premiere episode of TOY HEART features the last great patriarch of bluegrass and Bluegrass Music Hall of Famer, Del McCoury, along with his sons Ronnie and Rob, torchbearers and Grammy Award winners in their own right. The trailer for episode one can be streamed via Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Stitcher—click here to listen.

The in-depth interview series delves into the intricacies of the lives of those who made bluegrass and helped it grow, with luminaries such as Ricky Skaggs, Alice Gerrard, Béla Fleck, Jesse McReynolds, Jerry Douglas, and more. Over the span of eight episodes—released every other week—roots music fans will hear interviews with Grammy Award-winners, IBMA Award-winners, Bluegrass Hall of Famers, and beyond; genre-defining artists discussing their lives, their stories, and their songs. TOY HEART’s theme song was composed by Chris Eldridge (of Punch Brothers).

As detailed in a preview of the show’s first episode, as a teenager Power picked up the five-string banjo and took lessons from once Blue Grass Boy and now Bluegrass Hall of Famer Neil Rosenberg, who just so happened to live nearby in Power’s native Newfoundland. Though his work as q’s host often reaches far beyond his home island and his favorite chosen folk music, Power’s ethnomusicological expertise still centers on bluegrass. His passion and urgency in documenting these stories are exhilarating and contagious, but certainly well-warranted. “As we begin to lose the likes of Earl Scruggs, Hazel Dickens, and Mac Wiseman—now is the time to do it before it’s too late.” 

TOY HEART joins the BGS Podcast Network as the brand’s fifth original podcast, joining the ranks of THE BREAKDOWN, SHOW ON THE ROAD (both in their second season)and others. BGS is proud to partner with Power and his co-producer Stephanie Coleman to present this platform for bluegrass storytelling, an examination of the true narratives that gave rise to this singular genre.

About Tom Power:

Tom Power is an award-winning musician and broadcaster who hosts the national arts & entertainment program q on CBC Radio One. Hailing from St. John’s, Newfoundland, Tom started his career programming folk music on college radio while pursuing a B.A. in Folklore from Memorial University. In 2008, after a stint as a news announcer for a local radio station, Tom joined CBC as the host of Deep Roots. At 21 years of age, he was the youngest national radio host on the station since Peter Jennings.

In 2011, Tom became the host of Radio 2 Morning, the CBC’s flagship daily morning national music program. His engaging personality allowed him to expand his listenership to a new audience of younger listeners. Tom is also an established ‘go-to’ person for arts coverage on CBC Television. He has brought critical insight and expertise to stories on David Bowie, Gord Downie, and George Martin. As host of q, Tom has been praised for his in depth conversations with artists such as Diana Krall, George Clooney Paul Simon, Guillermo del Toro, Emma Stone, and Chuck D. When not on the air, Tom leads his own band, The Dardanelles, who have introduced a new audience to traditional Newfoundland music—playing festivals and theaters around the world. He is a member of the Polaris Music Prize jury and the CARAS Music advisory committees.

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