Category Archives: Arts

Chris Thile, MacArthur Fellow, and mandolin virtuoso to host Prairie Home Companion




(Here is the feature which aired on WUFT on October 31st, 2013, the day before Chris Thile performed on the UF campus) [Audio clip: view full post to listen] Mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile, who has served as guest host several times on the popular radio variety program, “A Prairie Home Companion,” will replace Garrison Keillor … Continue reading Chris Thile, MacArthur Fellow, and mandolin virtuoso to host Prairie Home Companion

The Jessie and Lee Townsend Band’s Will McLean Festival Highlights




                  The 2016 Will McLean Music Festival was a tremendous success for the Jessie and Lee Townsend Band.  If you didn’t have an opportunity to go, you can watch a few of their performances on the Magnolia, Azalea and Cypress Stages below.  Thanks to Red Henry, Andy Garfield and … Continue reading The Jessie and Lee Townsend Band’s Will McLean Festival Highlights

2016 Will McLean Best New Florida Song Contest Winner and Finishers Named




The winner and 2nd and 3rd place finishers of the 2016 Best New Florida Song Contest (out of 51 entries) performed their songs at the Will McLean Music Festival which ran March 11th through Sunday, March 13th at the Sertoma Youth Ranch near Brooksville, FL.  The first place winner is Lauren Heintz from Winter Park, FL … Continue reading 2016 Will McLean Best New Florida Song Contest Winner and Finishers Named

Will McLean performing

Will McLean: The Father of Florida Folk




Click here to hear full length archival interviews with Will McLean  (recorded by Donna Green-Townsend in 1985 & 1987) Will McLean is considered the “Father of Florida Folk.”  The “Black Hat Troubadour” travelled all across his beloved state writing hundreds of poems, songs and stories.  After his death in 1990 he was inducted into the … Continue reading Will McLean: The Father of Florida Folk

Honoring the late guitar-picking, storyteller Gamble Rogers




Every spring St. Augustine  plays host for the annual Gamble Rogers Festival.  The festival honors the late singer songwriter who joins the late Will McLean in the Florida Artists Hall of Fame. Rogers is known for his Travis-style guitar fingerpicking along with his storytelling which brings a mythical Florida county called Oklawaha into the national spotlight. … Continue reading Honoring the late guitar-picking, storyteller Gamble Rogers

Remembering Singer Songwriter Jesse Winchester




Editor’s note:  It’s been just a little more than a year since the Memphis-bred songwriter Jesse Winchester died from cancer. Since that time a variety of artists have released a tribute album to the beloved songwriter called “Quiet About It: Tribute to Jesse Winchester.” The album includes such artists as Jimmy Buffett, James Taylor, Vince … Continue reading Remembering Singer Songwriter Jesse Winchester

The Winner and Finishers of the 2015 Will McLean Best New Florida Song Contest Named




The first place award for the Will McLean Best New Florida Song Contest goes to poet Hank Mattson from Lake Placid, FL and musician Dana Robinson from Cabot, VT for the song, “When This Old Hat Was New.”  Mattson says the poem depicts the dogged determination of Jacob Summerlin, a famous Florida Cracker of the 1800’s, to … Continue reading The Winner and Finishers of the 2015 Will McLean Best New Florida Song Contest Named

Christmas Special With Gainesville Flutist George Tortorelli and Harpist Lisa Lynne




(From my audio archives for the holiday season) Flutist George Tortorelli and harpist Lisa Lynne can often be found at Gainesville’s Downtown Arts Festival each November.  You can also often find them performing at the Florida Folk Festival in White Springs on Memorial Weekend or any number of festivals around the state…that is when they’re … Continue reading Christmas Special With Gainesville Flutist George Tortorelli and Harpist Lisa Lynne

Legendary Guitarist Doc Watson




Doc Watson, the Grammy award-winning guitarist who has influenced and been revered by virtually every great bluegrass flatpicker in the country died on May 29, 2012. The 89-year-old musician, who was blind from age 1, had undergone abdominal surgery at a hospital in Winston Salem, N.C., but died a few days later. Donna Green-Townsend had the … Continue reading Legendary Guitarist Doc Watson

Meet singer Jessie Townsend




Jessie and Lee have been performing as a brother/sister musical duo for several years now singing and playing at a variety of venues including the Will McLean Music Festival and the Florida Folk Festival, special events at the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Historic Site and a variety of church programs and private events. Jessie has … Continue reading Meet singer Jessie Townsend