“Down Home Radio Is A Hardcore, Unreconstructed, Paleo-acoustic, Folk Music Program.”
Eli Smith (host/producer) is a banjo player, writer, researcher and promoter of folk music living in Brooklyn, NY. Eli is a Smithsonian Folkways recording artist and produces two folk festivals annually, the Brooklyn Folk Festival in the Spring and Washington Square Park Folk Festival in the Fall. He has appeared as a guest on terrestrial radio stations such as WBAI, WNYC, WKCR and WDST in New York and KPFA, KPFK and KUCI in California. Eli has presented panels and discussions on folk music at the Left Forum conference and at the Podcamp podcasting conference in New York City. In 2004 He traveled to Caracas, Venezuela as an American delegate to the Encuentro Mundial de Intelectuales y Artistas “En Defense de la Humanidad” (World Encounter of Intellectuals and Artists “for the Defense of Humanity). Eli also served as music consultant for the Civil War film “Racing Daylight” (2007). He has performed and recorded with his old time string band The Down Hill Strugglers, as well as with Peter Stampfel and John Cohen. The Down Hill Strugglers were recently featured on the soundtrack album to the Coen Brothers’ film “Inside Llewyn Davis,” which was produced by T Bone Burnett.
Contact Eli: DownHomeRadio@gmail.com
Down Home Radio was founded in the summer of 2006. We believe it to be the first show of its kind on the internet.
What some folks have said about DHR:
Down Home Radio offers innovative coverage you won’t find anywhere else. An excellent program.” – Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!
“Everyone complains about how the local airwaves suck, but instead of bitching, you should go online to find a Gotham-based program that actually has good roots music—the podcast-formatted Down Home Radio Show..“ – The Village Voice
“Keep on! The people who listen to you really depend on you.” – Pete Seeger
“Down Home Radio “ presents an ever-widening view of traditional music today…. It showcases young performers of Old Time music and Blues, as well as extraordinary rare recordings from 78s, and interviews with folklorists and traditional musicians. The program is the brainchild of Eli Smith, a rare bird who is as respectful of the past as he is concerned with the present. Being an excellent musician himself, he wanders widely and reports on happenings all over, including California as well as the downtown music scenes in Brooklyn & Manhattan. He is the only young musician I know who is single-handedly reporting on the present scene and documenting its continuity with the past. His radio show will keep you posted on the gossip, truths and anecdotes that course through this vital traditional music panorama. – John Cohen (of the New Lost City Ramblers)
“Keep the faith.” – David Grisman
“… [an] internet-based vernacular music program that I highly recommend for its lucid and coherent thematic perspectives.” – Nathan Salsburg, Curator, Alan Lomax Archive/Association for Cultural Equity.
“Always terrific…” – Jambase.com
Guests on Down Home Radio Have Included:
The Carolina Chocolate Drops
David Honeyboy Edwards
The Otis Brothers
Baba & Steven Israel
(Some of these interviews have not yet been produced as programs. Soon…)
In Memorium: Many early episodes of Down Home Radio were hosted by Professor Henrietta Yurchenco; a veteran folk and world music radio personality and pioneering ethnomusicologist. Beginning her radio career in 1940, she was Leadbelly’s producer on WNYC and was the first person to put Pete Seeger on the radio. She produced and hosted many shows featuring Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and many other now well known folk musicians. Prof. Yurchenco is the primary field recordist and researcher of pre-Columbian Mexican Indian music and has conducted extensive research in all parts of Mexico, as well as Guatemala, Spain, Morocco, Puerto Rico and the Georgia Sea Islands in the U.S. She was Professor Emerita at The City College of New York.
PRESS RELEASEContact: Eli Smith
Statement (from summer 2006):
NEW YORK- “Down Home Radio” is a program devoted to traditional folk music. The program will air via internet streaming from www.DownHomeRadioShow.com and will be archived for future listening. Down Home Radio is a “hardcore, unreconstructed, paleo-acoustic folk music program,” said host Eli Smith, “folk music is America’s cultural public secret.”
Down Home Radio will feature recordings, live interviews and performances from the best artists in the field of traditional folk music of the United States and Mexico as well as music with a political message. This includes old types of blues, old-time country, gospel/spirituals, Mexican and Cajun/Zydeco music which constitute a truth telling attack on our so called “pop” culture and a window into the interior of our culture, from which the public has been systematically excluded. “This music gives reality to our history and to our present by expressing the deepest thoughts and feelings of regular people from different parts of the country, different backgrounds and different time periods,” said host Henrietta Yurchenco. The content of Down Home Radio will be extraordinarily diverse.
Down Home Radio will make this music, often drawn from obscure field recordings or other out of the way sources, readily accessible to the general public. “Listen at the roots, with a mind for detail. Given this information, you will no longer accept stereotypes of or fall for clichés about our cultural past. Let this program be your introduction and a continuing guide to this trove of material. For musicians and fans of music alike you will find a fresh and clear perspective in your evolving appreciation and critique of music,” said Smith.
In times of crisis such as the Great Depression of the 1930’s and the world revolutions of the 1960’s folk music, both as a mirror and a hammer, has come to the fore and played an important role in cultural movements and movements for social and political change. Today, as we are once again in an economic and political crisis, Down Home Radio hopes to offer traditional vernacular music as both a spring board for innovation and as a candid lens with which to view, appreciate and participate in our culture.
For further information, please contact Eli Smith at:
The Down Home Radio header graphic used on this website was designed by Ernesto Gomez.