Best of Big Top Opry

Radio air date: June 28, 2019

About This Episode

Celebrate the best country and western music from the 30s through the 80s in this third installment of the popular Big Top Opry series led by Severin Behnen and Corey Carlson. The Blue Canvas Orchestra and special guests bring together the music of Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash and many more stars of the Grand Ole Opry. This show mashes up our favorites from Big Top Opry, and Big Top Opry 2: The Outlaw Years.

About Michael Perry

Michael Perry is a New York Times bestselling author, humorist and radio show host from New Auburn, Wisconsin.

Perry’s bestselling memoirs include Population 485, Truck: A Love Story, Coop, and Visiting Tom, and his latest, Montaigne in Barn Boots: An Amateur Ambles Through Philosophy. His first book for young readers, The Scavengers, was published in 2014 and first novel for adult readers, The Jesus Cow, was published in May of 2015.

Raised on a small Midwestern dairy farm, Perry put himself through nursing school while working on a ranch in Wyoming, then wandered into writing. He lives with his wife and two daughters in rural Wisconsin, where he serves on the local volunteer fire and rescue service and is an intermittent pig farmer. He hosts the nationally-syndicated “Tent Show Radio,” performs widely as a humorist, and tours with his band the Long Beds (currently recording their third album for Amble Down Records). He has recorded three live humor albums including Never Stand Behind A Sneezing Cow and The Clodhopper Monologues.

Learn more about Michael and where to get his publications at www.sneezingcow.com.

Follow Michael Perry

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Blue Canvas Orchestra at UW-Superior

Radio air date: June 22, 2019

About This Episode

This episode catches the Blue Canvas Orchestra on the road, playing a live show at the University of Wisconsin Superior. They feature some of their favorite original classic songs performed over the years at the tent.

About Michael Perry

Michael Perry is a New York Times bestselling author, humorist and radio show host from New Auburn, Wisconsin.

Perry’s bestselling memoirs include Population 485, Truck: A Love Story, Coop, and Visiting Tom, and his latest, Montaigne in Barn Boots: An Amateur Ambles Through Philosophy. His first book for young readers, The Scavengers, was published in 2014 and first novel for adult readers, The Jesus Cow, was published in May of 2015.

Raised on a small Midwestern dairy farm, Perry put himself through nursing school while working on a ranch in Wyoming, then wandered into writing. He lives with his wife and two daughters in rural Wisconsin, where he serves on the local volunteer fire and rescue service and is an intermittent pig farmer. He hosts the nationally-syndicated “Tent Show Radio,” performs widely as a humorist, and tours with his band the Long Beds (currently recording their third album for Amble Down Records). He has recorded three live humor albums including Never Stand Behind A Sneezing Cow and The Clodhopper Monologues.

Learn more about Michael and where to get his publications at www.sneezingcow.com.

Follow Michael Perry

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Asleep at the Wheel

Radio air date: June 15, 2019

About This Episode

Ray Benson founded western swing band Asleep at the Wheel in Paw Paw, West Virginia 48 years ago. “We were too country for the rock folks and we were too long-haired for the country folks. But everybody got over it once the music started playing.”

Today the band holds 10 Grammy awards, 20 studio albums and 20 singles on the Billboard charts. They’ve collaborated with legends such as Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and George Strait and newcomers like the Avett Brothers, Amos Lee, Old Crow Medicine Show and many other fine talents.

Asleep at the Wheel is bringing a fresh look, sound and New Album in 2018. With recent additions Katie Shore (fiddle, vocals), Dennis Ludiker (fiddle, mandolin) Connor Forsyth (keyboard, vocals) and Josh Hoag (Bass) Asleep at the Wheel’s newest members have given a newfound energy and their own unique style within the band. Asleep at the Wheel veterans David Sanger (Drums) Eddie Rivers (Steel Guitar) and Jay Reynolds (Saxophone and Clarinet) round out the now 8 piece band. Between those Texas Twin Fiddles and Boogie Piano, you can bet you’ll be swingin’ all night long when the Wheel rolls into town!

About Michael Perry

Michael Perry is a New York Times bestselling author, humorist and radio show host from New Auburn, Wisconsin.

Perry’s bestselling memoirs include Population 485, Truck: A Love Story, Coop, and Visiting Tom, and his latest, Montaigne in Barn Boots: An Amateur Ambles Through Philosophy. His first book for young readers, The Scavengers, was published in 2014 and first novel for adult readers, The Jesus Cow, was published in May of 2015.

Raised on a small Midwestern dairy farm, Perry put himself through nursing school while working on a ranch in Wyoming, then wandered into writing. He lives with his wife and two daughters in rural Wisconsin, where he serves on the local volunteer fire and rescue service and is an intermittent pig farmer. He hosts the nationally-syndicated “Tent Show Radio,” performs widely as a humorist, and tours with his band the Long Beds (currently recording their third album for Amble Down Records). He has recorded three live humor albums including Never Stand Behind A Sneezing Cow and The Clodhopper Monologues.

Learn more about Michael and where to get his publications at www.sneezingcow.com.

Follow Michael Perry

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Shakey Graves, Part 2

Radio air date: June 8, 2019

About This Episode

Shakey Graves’s 2018 show at Big Top was so good, we’re bringing you the whole thing! This week’s Tent Show Radio is the second half of his performance.

Shakey Graves has been categorized as an Americana singer/songwriter, thanks to his traditionally rooted songs, fluent acoustic-guitar picking, and Texas roots. He was named Best Emerging Artist at the 2015 Americana Music Awards. But that tag will undoubtedly be dismissed as restrictive and irrelevant when his radical new album “Can’t Wake Up” is released and performed for live show audiences.

About Michael Perry

Michael Perry is a New York Times bestselling author, humorist and radio show host from New Auburn, Wisconsin.

Perry’s bestselling memoirs include Population 485, Truck: A Love Story, Coop, and Visiting Tom, and his latest, Montaigne in Barn Boots: An Amateur Ambles Through Philosophy. His first book for young readers, The Scavengers, was published in 2014 and first novel for adult readers, The Jesus Cow, was published in May of 2015.

Raised on a small Midwestern dairy farm, Perry put himself through nursing school while working on a ranch in Wyoming, then wandered into writing. He lives with his wife and two daughters in rural Wisconsin, where he serves on the local volunteer fire and rescue service and is an intermittent pig farmer. He hosts the nationally-syndicated “Tent Show Radio,” performs widely as a humorist, and tours with his band the Long Beds (currently recording their third album for Amble Down Records). He has recorded three live humor albums including Never Stand Behind A Sneezing Cow and The Clodhopper Monologues.

Learn more about Michael and where to get his publications at www.sneezingcow.com.

Follow Michael Perry

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Shakey Graves, Part 1

Radio air date: June 1, 2019

About This Episode

Shakey Graves has been categorized as an Americana singer/songwriter, thanks to his traditionally rooted songs, fluent acoustic-guitar picking, and Texas roots. He was named Best Emerging Artist at the 2015 Americana Music Awards. But that tag will undoubtedly be dismissed as restrictive and irrelevant when his radical new album “Can’t Wake Up” is released and performed for live show audiences.

About Michael Perry

Michael Perry is a New York Times bestselling author, humorist and radio show host from New Auburn, Wisconsin.

Perry’s bestselling memoirs include Population 485, Truck: A Love Story, Coop, and Visiting Tom, and his latest, Montaigne in Barn Boots: An Amateur Ambles Through Philosophy. His first book for young readers, The Scavengers, was published in 2014 and first novel for adult readers, The Jesus Cow, was published in May of 2015.

Raised on a small Midwestern dairy farm, Perry put himself through nursing school while working on a ranch in Wyoming, then wandered into writing. He lives with his wife and two daughters in rural Wisconsin, where he serves on the local volunteer fire and rescue service and is an intermittent pig farmer. He hosts the nationally-syndicated “Tent Show Radio,” performs widely as a humorist, and tours with his band the Long Beds (currently recording their third album for Amble Down Records). He has recorded three live humor albums including Never Stand Behind A Sneezing Cow and The Clodhopper Monologues.

Learn more about Michael and where to get his publications at www.sneezingcow.com.

Follow Michael Perry

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The New Power Generation

Radio air date: May 25, 2019

About This Episode

On this episode of Tent Show Radio, listen to The New Power Generation’s fantastic show played live at the Big Top in 2017. Their show Celebrating Prince with The New Power Generation is an epic tribute to the superstar artist with musical performances by a stellar ensemble of alumni from Prince’s legendary backing band along with other world class musicians, singers and artists.

Celebrating Prince is a non-stop, electrifying concert with performances of the most iconic, chart-topping hits from all eras of his music career. Set lists feature classic songs from throughout the superstar artist’s four-decade long career, such as “Diamonds and Pearls,” “Gett Off,” “Cream,” “7,” “Sexy MF,” “1999,” “Lets Go Crazy,” “Sign O’ The Times,” “Purple Rain,” and “KISS.” All Prince music performed by the very musicians who toured, wrote, played and recorded with him for years.

About Michael Perry

Michael Perry is a New York Times bestselling author, humorist and radio show host from New Auburn, Wisconsin.

Perry’s bestselling memoirs include Population 485, Truck: A Love Story, Coop, and Visiting Tom, and his latest, Montaigne in Barn Boots: An Amateur Ambles Through Philosophy. His first book for young readers, The Scavengers, was published in 2014 and first novel for adult readers, The Jesus Cow, was published in May of 2015.

Raised on a small Midwestern dairy farm, Perry put himself through nursing school while working on a ranch in Wyoming, then wandered into writing. He lives with his wife and two daughters in rural Wisconsin, where he serves on the local volunteer fire and rescue service and is an intermittent pig farmer. He hosts the nationally-syndicated “Tent Show Radio,” performs widely as a humorist, and tours with his band the Long Beds (currently recording their third album for Amble Down Records). He has recorded three live humor albums including Never Stand Behind A Sneezing Cow and The Clodhopper Monologues.

Learn more about Michael and where to get his publications at www.sneezingcow.com.

Follow Michael Perry

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Vince Gill

Radio air date: May 18, 2019

About This Episode

One of the most popular singers in modern country music, Vince Gill is famous for his top-notch songwriting, world-class guitar playing and warm, soaring tenor, all wrapped up in a quick and easy wit. Gill achieved his big breakthrough in 1990 with “When I Call Your Name,” which won both the Country Music Association’s Single and Song of the Year awards as well as a Grammy. Gill has won 18 CMA Awards, including Song of the Year four times – making him the mostawarded artist in that category in CMA history. Since 1990, Gill has won 21 GRAMMY Awards.

A wide-ranging songwriter, his compositions earned him entry into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005. The Academy of Country Music has conferred on Gill eight awards, including its prestigious Home Depot Humanitarian Award and the 2011 Career Achievement Award. Gill was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007. He is also a member of the Grand Ole Opry. In August 2012, Gill was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He is a member of the four-time Grammy-winning band The Time Jumpers. Gill has produced albums for LeAnn Rimes, Amy Grant and Ashley Monroe and has made guest appearances on more than 500 albums including on those by Barbra Streisand, Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, George Jones and others.

About Michael Perry

Michael Perry is a New York Times bestselling author, humorist and radio show host from New Auburn, Wisconsin.

Perry’s bestselling memoirs include Population 485, Truck: A Love Story, Coop, and Visiting Tom, and his latest, Montaigne in Barn Boots: An Amateur Ambles Through Philosophy. His first book for young readers, The Scavengers, was published in 2014 and first novel for adult readers, The Jesus Cow, was published in May of 2015.

Raised on a small Midwestern dairy farm, Perry put himself through nursing school while working on a ranch in Wyoming, then wandered into writing. He lives with his wife and two daughters in rural Wisconsin, where he serves on the local volunteer fire and rescue service and is an intermittent pig farmer. He hosts the nationally-syndicated “Tent Show Radio,” performs widely as a humorist, and tours with his band the Long Beds (currently recording their third album for Amble Down Records). He has recorded three live humor albums including Never Stand Behind A Sneezing Cow and The Clodhopper Monologues.

Learn more about Michael and where to get his publications at www.sneezingcow.com.

Follow Michael Perry

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All Aboard: Songs of the Railroad

Radio air date: May 8, 2019

About This Episode

For this episode, we hear the music of Big Top’s house band, the Blue Canvas Orchestra. They play selections from the show All Aboard: Songs of the Railroad.

All Aboard features songs from the Nelson Ferris Concert Co. production On the Velvet and other songs and stories of trains, train travel, and rail men. On the Velvet is a musical by Warren Nelson and Betty Ferris that debuted at the Big Top in 1992 about the golden age of the U.S. railroads – with original music illuminated by big screen visuals. Other train songs featured in the show include everything from Johnny Cash to Boxcar Willie. Come ride the rails of time with the Blue Canvas Orchestra in a new show compiled by Severin Behnen and Tom Mitchell with special guest Warren Nelson. All Aboard!

About Michael Perry

Michael Perry is a New York Times bestselling author, humorist and radio show host from New Auburn, Wisconsin.

Perry’s bestselling memoirs include Population 485, Truck: A Love Story, Coop, and Visiting Tom, and his latest, Montaigne in Barn Boots: An Amateur Ambles Through Philosophy. His first book for young readers, The Scavengers, was published in 2014 and first novel for adult readers, The Jesus Cow, was published in May of 2015.

Raised on a small Midwestern dairy farm, Perry put himself through nursing school while working on a ranch in Wyoming, then wandered into writing. He lives with his wife and two daughters in rural Wisconsin, where he serves on the local volunteer fire and rescue service and is an intermittent pig farmer. He hosts the nationally-syndicated “Tent Show Radio,” performs widely as a humorist, and tours with his band the Long Beds (currently recording their third album for Amble Down Records). He has recorded three live humor albums including Never Stand Behind A Sneezing Cow and The Clodhopper Monologues.

Learn more about Michael and where to get his publications at www.sneezingcow.com.

Follow Michael Perry

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Michael Perry and the Long Beds

Radio air date: May 4, 2019

About This Episode

For this episode, we hear the music of Tent Show Radio’s host himself, Michael Perry, joined by his band The Long Beds.

“First time I ever heard Waylon Jennings,” says Michael Perry, “was on an 8-track tape in a four-wheel drive truck doing sixty miles an hour down a Wyoming hay meadow. We were running late for Bible study.” The songs on Tiny Pilot (Perry’s latest musical release with his band the Long Beds) are a direct reflection of that experience. Ranging from straight-up twang to churchly harmonies and populated by characters drawn straight from rural and small-town America, they launch from places like the overpass outside Perry’s beloved hometown of New Auburn, Wisconsin (population currently 562), a gospel service in a granary, and the kitchen floor of a woman about to drop a world of hurt on her drunken husband. “I was raised by farmers and preachers and tough country women, and I suppose my songs reflect that,” says Perry. “Then again, certain wisdoms are available only from whistlers, frauds, and sinners, so I try to slide them a line or two as well.”

Raised in a church so austere that hymns were sung with no choir, no accompaniment, and no church (the congregation met in a farmhouse and sat on straight-backed wooden chairs) Perry and his brother learned to sit side-by-side and work out harmonies on the fly. Those Sunday mornings instilled in Perry a love of singing “clear and pure” that can be heard throughout Tiny Pilot – most especially on the songs, “842 Miles,” “If They Give You Wings,” and “Sweet Edge of Time.” Conversely, anyone introduced to Ol’ Waylon by means of a four-wheeling 8-track is bound to shoot for some boogety-boogety now and then, as Perry and the Long Beds do on “Undone,” “Somewhere South of Sunday,” and (in a respectful nod to Ol’ Hoss himself) “After Waymore’s Blues.”

Perry began writing songs in the early 1990s during long nights when he was struggling to survive on prose (he is the author of numerous books including: Population 485, Truck, The Scavengers,and the New York Times bestseller Visiting Tom). With no arts background (he has a nursing degree) he found himself drawn especially to the work of poets and singer/songwriters. (In interviews Perry tends to list his greatest literary influences as Dylan Thomas and Steve Earle – and not necessarily in that order.) “I remember writing late one night and hearing a Kevin Welch song with the line, ‘I whiskey’d up my coffee cup… sittin’ here tryin’ not to call you up,'” says Perry, “and I was floored by the rhythm and the story in that single line…” He began writing songs as a way to break up all-night typing sessions, and eventually he had enough of them that a musician friend invited him to play a coffee shop. “I’m not saying I was nervous, but I ripped out a sixty-minute set list in thirty-two minutes flat,” says Perry. By 2004, he had begun recruiting Long Beds. In 2006, he released his first album, Headwinded.

While the music made by Perry and the Long Beds has been variously described as ‘country folk,’ ‘roughneck folk,’ ‘folk-twang,’ and Americana, they prefer the description given by an audience member after a benefit concert in Perry’s old high school gym: “You sound just like Gordon Lightfoot… only zippier!” Nice – but there are limits. “Zippy or not,” says Perry, “when ‘The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald’ comes on the radio, we sit down, shut up, and listen.”

About Michael Perry

Michael Perry is a New York Times bestselling author, humorist and radio show host from New Auburn, Wisconsin.

Perry’s bestselling memoirs include Population 485, Truck: A Love Story, Coop, and Visiting Tom, and his latest, Montaigne in Barn Boots: An Amateur Ambles Through Philosophy. His first book for young readers, The Scavengers, was published in 2014 and first novel for adult readers, The Jesus Cow, was published in May of 2015.

Raised on a small Midwestern dairy farm, Perry put himself through nursing school while working on a ranch in Wyoming, then wandered into writing. He lives with his wife and two daughters in rural Wisconsin, where he serves on the local volunteer fire and rescue service and is an intermittent pig farmer. He hosts the nationally-syndicated “Tent Show Radio,” performs widely as a humorist, and tours with his band the Long Beds (currently recording their third album for Amble Down Records). He has recorded three live humor albums including Never Stand Behind A Sneezing Cow and The Clodhopper Monologues.

Learn more about Michael and where to get his publications at www.sneezingcow.com.

Follow Michael Perry

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The Lowest Pair, also featuring Blue Canvas Orchestra

Radio air date: April 27, 2019

About This Episode

Kendl Winter, born in Arkansas, moved to Olympia, Washington after high school, drawn to the evergreen forests and the lively and thriving music scene. She put three solo records out on Olympia’s indie label, K Records, and performed in nationally-touring northwest string bands before beginning The Lowest Pair in 2013 with Palmer T. Lee. Palmer built his first banjo when he was 19 from pieces he serendipitously inherited. Shortly after deciding songwriting would be the most effective and enjoyable medium for his musings, he began cutting his teeth fronting Minneapolis string bands and touring the midwest festival circuit, which is where he and Kendl first met, on the banks of the Mississippi.

“Both of us studied roots music and traditional banjo techniques, three finger and clawhammer. We started there and then from our understanding of them have diverged, perhaps because of our own limitations, and probably because we both tend to err on creative. Even when we are attempting to recreate old sounds, we can’t help but have our own twist on it. We approach our instruments as vehicles to explore poetry, song, and melody and have kind of been making up our own sounds in the places where we couldn’t find ones that seemed to fit or make sense to us. We recorded our first album (36cents) in Dave Simonett’s basement a month after we began playing together, and our second (The Sacred Heart Sessions) , a year later, in a beautiful old church in Duluth, MN.” -Kendl

The Lowest Pair had been planning to release a new record in the Spring of 2016. So in early 2015 Palmer convinced Kendl to spend a winter in Minnesota, with the temptation of working with local greats Dave Simonett and Erik Koskinen on the new material. The duo then set off on what would be a successful season of touring their second, critically acclaimed album, The Sacred Heart Sessions (Spin: “solemn and humble;” The Bluegrass Situation: “deeply felt”), and a new-old-time record, I Reckon I’m Fixin’ On Kickin’ Round To Pick A Little, Vol. 1. In the fall, returning to the midwest to finish up the recordings they had begun a few months prior, Kendl and Palmer found themselves with a whole new batch of songs ready to lay down. After much deliberation, they ambitiously decided the two collections should be released together in 2016.

The two records, Fern Girl and Ice Man, as well as Uncertain As It Is Uneven, could be viewed as two windows into the growing and changing world of The Lowest Pair. Uncertain stays the course of their previous releases, being focused on stripped down, intimate arrangements to support their timeless songwriting and haunting vocals. Fern Girl is a more moody and adventurous exploration of new sounds, new studio production directions, and what it might sound like for The Lowest Pair to be supported by a full band, while keeping one foot planted in the rootsy aesthetics which drew them together from the beginning.

With little attention to tedious practicalities and with an eye focused securely on delivering to their growing fan base a truly special treat; a rootsy, bluegrassy, old-timish version of meiosis has happened as one new album became two new albums.

For Kendl, making two albums was a natural reflection of the pace they had set and the experiences they had accumulated. “It’s not that the two records have to be next to and with each other, it’s just that it’s all there, our current story, and the stories we’re figuring out.”

Fans already know that the chemistry between Palmer’s Midwestern charm, those long winters spent listening to a steady diet of Townes Van Zandt and John Hartford, and Kendl’s poetic and playful way with words, her unique approach to the banjo, and her barefoot-in- the-cool-river-water mystique combine to make a powerful sound, but what’s new in 2016 is both the inclusion of those non-banjo sounds (harmonica, drum, bass, violin) and an incredible expansion of their songbook. In a way, two records, the playful and the hush, the dark and the rooted, the pillow and the nightmare, the pin drop and the starry night; the juxtaposition of the ups and downs that are experiences in a day, in a year, in a minute, all this has demanded from the band more than just “a new record.” Fern Girl and Ice Man and Uncertain As It Is Uneven mark the arrival of America’s next great musical duo, and it’s over the course of these two albums that that boast becomes clearly rooted in truth.

This episode also contains a selection from the Blue Canvas Orchestra’s show Wild Woods and Water.

About Michael Perry

Michael Perry is a New York Times bestselling author, humorist and radio show host from New Auburn, Wisconsin.

Perry’s bestselling memoirs include Population 485, Truck: A Love Story, Coop, and Visiting Tom, and his latest, Montaigne in Barn Boots: An Amateur Ambles Through Philosophy. His first book for young readers, The Scavengers, was published in 2014 and first novel for adult readers, The Jesus Cow, was published in May of 2015.

Raised on a small Midwestern dairy farm, Perry put himself through nursing school while working on a ranch in Wyoming, then wandered into writing. He lives with his wife and two daughters in rural Wisconsin, where he serves on the local volunteer fire and rescue service and is an intermittent pig farmer. He hosts the nationally-syndicated “Tent Show Radio,” performs widely as a humorist, and tours with his band the Long Beds (currently recording their third album for Amble Down Records). He has recorded three live humor albums including Never Stand Behind A Sneezing Cow and The Clodhopper Monologues.

Learn more about Michael and where to get his publications at www.sneezingcow.com.

Follow Michael Perry

Other Ways to Stream