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For immediate release
June 27, 2003
Laura Gross

Morning Edition from NPR News Presents "Honky Tonks, Hymns and the Blues"

WASHINGTON - Beginning July 4, NPR News traces the evolution of America's most distinctive forms of country music. "Honky Tonks, Hymns and the Blues," will air on public radio's most listened to program, Morning Edition, every Friday from July 4 through September 12, 2003. The 11-part series makes vivid connections between our nation's musical roots and modern popular music through dynamic performances by singers Emmylou Harris, Merle Haggard, Hank Williams, Jr., Alison Krauss, bluesmen Honeyboy Edwards and Taj Mahal, Jimmie Rodgers, accordionist Flaco Jimenez and fiddle great Mark O'Connor.

"Honky Tonks, Hymns and the Blues" segments highlight the best in a unique musical genre and the groundbreaking performers who made these traditions popular music. The segments, hosted by NPR's Paul Brown include interviews with groundbreaking artists, oral histories, historic performances, rare archive tape and discussion of how this music continues to influence culture around the world.

Segments include:

- Honky Tonk Women: The Changing Role of Women in Country Music (July 4) - Country Guitar: The Music Meets Technology and Changing Times (July 11) - A Pure Sound: Country Music and the Moral Message (July 18) - Thomas A. Dorsey: From "Georgia Tom" to the Father of Gospel Music (July 25) - The Rise of the Blues (August 1) - Jimmie Rodgers: Birth of the Country Superstar (August 8) - Riding the Rails to Stardom: The Maddox Brothers and Rose (August 15) - Música Norteña: Accordion on the Texas Border (August 22) - From Back Porch to Big City: The Commercialization of Country Fiddling (August 29) - Lone Star Swing: Bob Wills and the Texas Tradition (September 5) - Black and White: Crossing the Border, Closing the Gap (September 12)

Additional information about each segment is available at

"Honky Tonks, Hymns and the Blues" is developed and independently produced by Kathie Farnell, Margaret Pick and Steve Rathe with a network of producers across the country. Series host Paul Brown is also NPR's newscaster and executive producer for weekend programming. In addition to 20 years of work in radio, Brown has a distinguished career as a fiddle and banjo player. NPR's Tom Cole is the editor of the series.

Published reports cite Morning Edition as the 2nd most listened-to national radio program in the U.S. - exceeded only by Rush Limbaugh. NPR's audience has grown substantially in the past five years, from 13 to 21 million listeners, a gain of 56 percent.

Major funding for production of "Honky Tonks, Hymns & the Blues" comes from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional support comes from The National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute of Texan Cultures, San Antonio.

About Artemis Media Project
Artemis Media Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation located in Foley, Ala., was founded by producer Kathie Farnell in 1998. Its mission is to develop and produce quality humanities-based media programming in collaboration with state of the art technical facilities. Recent Artemis projects include "Gee's Bend: Songs from Beyond the River," a public radio music documentary produced with Alabama Public Radio, distributed nationally for Black History Month 2001 by Public Radio International with funding support from Alabama State Council on the Arts. Current Projects include "Voices From Slavery" and a series of three modules for Alabama Public Radio which trace the influence of Alabama musicians on the development of this All-American music.

About Pacific Vista Productions
Pacific Vista Productions is a media services organization, specializing in national broadcast and web development, book collaboration, and educational outreach projects. Pacific Vista is headed by Margaret Moos Pick, the founding producer of "A Prairie Home Companion", "City Arts & Lectures", and "Riverwalk, Live From The Landing", among other award-winning national broadcasts. Current projects include: Terry Gross' first book of "Fresh Air" interviews to be published by Hyperion 2004, and "The Riverwalk Jazz Education Outreach Project" with the YMCA. Honors received include: George Foster Peabody, International Radio Festivals and Corporation for Public Broadcasting awards.

About Murray Street
Murray Street is a program development, production and marketing organization with a focus on collaborations to create distinctive programs for CD, radio and the Internet. Murray Street productions including One People Many Voices, HEAT with John Hockenberry, Sweet Honey In the Rock at Carnegie Hall, SportsBand live broadcasts, and Jazz From Lincoln Center have won three Grammy® nominations, two George Foster Peabody Awards, honors from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the International Radio Festivals, the National Federation of Community Broadcasters and a share in the National Medal of the Arts (2000). The company was founded in 1981 by Steve Rathe. Rathe also created NPR's long running Jazz Alive! and Folk Festival USA.

About NPR
NPR is renowned for journalistic excellence and standard-setting news and entertainment programming. A privately supported, non-profit, membership organization, NPR serves a growing audience of nearly 21 million Americans each week via more than 730 public radio stations. International partners in cable, satellite and short-wave services make NPR programming accessible anywhere in the world. With original online content and audio streaming, offers hourly newscasts, special features and seven years of archived audio and information. NPR's several hundred awards include a 2000 National Medal of Arts.