Tent Show Radio

Tent Show Radio

First broadcast in 1994, Tent Show Radio is a weekly one-hour radio program showcasing the best live recordings from acclaimed music acts and entertainers who grace the Big Top Chautauqua stage each summer in beautiful Bayfield, WI. In the program's nearly 30 year history it has featured artists like Johnny Cash, B.B King, Brandi Carlile, Willie Nelson, Don McLean, and many more. Hosted by celebrated New York Times best-selling author Michael Perry-who weaves stories and humor throughout each episode - Tent Show Radio features performances from renowned national & regional artists, with regular appearances featuring Big Top’s own unique brand of shows that feature songs and stories performed by its acclaimed house band, The Blue Canvas Orchestra. Tent Show Radio is independently produced by Big Top Chautauqua, a non-profit performing arts organization, with a mission to present performances and events that celebrate history and the environment - along with their annual summer concert series - nestled in the woods on the shores of Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands.

Episodes

February 4, 2023 59 min

Take a classic rock song, add Big Top Chautauqua's famed house band the Blue Canvas Orchestra, and the result is something that is sure to move an audience. Led by Molly Otis & Ed Willett, Pickin' on Rock debuted at the tent in the summer of 2022 and immediately became an audience favorite. In this rousing show, classic rock songs are interpreted into the bluegrass and alternative string stylings of the Blue Canvas Orch...

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This week on Tent Show Radio, enjoy a high-voltage hour featuring the rough-neck poetics of troubadour Steve Earle and The Dukes. He has run a lot of roads and run ragged, but the singer-songwriter has never run out of things to say or songs to sing. Over the course of twenty studio albums, Earle has distinguished himself as a master storyteller, and his songs have been recorded by a vast array of artists, including Johnny Cash, Wa...

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Charlie Parr is an incorruptible outsider who writes novelistic, multi-layered stories that shine a kaleidoscopic light on defiant, unseen characters thriving in the shadows all around us. With a sound deeply tied to the blues and folk traditions of an earlier era, Parr has released 14 studio albums and tours the globe performing at legendary venues like Newport Folk Festival, The Kennedy Center, The Troubadour, and Bowery Ballroom...

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January 12, 2023 59 min

One of the most ambitious string bands to emerge in the early 21st century, Punch Brothers built their sound on a platform of virtuosic instrumentalism and dazzling arrangements. The GRAMMY Award-winning band consisting of Chris Thile, Chris Eldridge, Paul Kowert, Noam Pikelny, and Gabe Withcer, has spent more than a decade changing the face of acoustic music, stretching the limitations of instruments, and influencing a generation ...

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Led by Corey Carlson & Severin Behnen, the team that brought you “Big Top Does the Beatles” and “Back to the Garden: The Music of Woodstock”, take on the work of Neil Young in this Big Top original show. One of the most celebrated artists in popular music history, the Canadian-born, two-time Rock & Roll Hall of Famer's music blurs the lines between rock, folk, & country with hints of other musical genres as well. Hi...

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December 31, 2022 59 min

In this very special episode of Tent Show Radio, Big Top's very own Blue Canvas Orchestra does Christmas "Chautauqua" style. Tune in to hear your favorite BCO musicians cover Holiday favorites as they present a "Blue Canvas Christmas.

First broadcast in 1994, Tent Show Radio is a weekly one-hour radio program showcasing the best live recordings from acclaimed music acts and entertainers who grace the Big Top Chautau...

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Enjoy an electric hour of the Blue Canvas Orchestra’s beloved tribute to the Woodstock Music Festival on this episode of Tent Show Radio. In 1969, nearly half a million people gathered on a dairy farm northwest of New York City for a three-day rock concert and celebration of peace, love, and music that became one of the most defining moments of their generation. Featuring the Blue Canvas Orchestra, this multimedia event pays tribut...

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On this week’s episode of Tent Show Radio, savor an hour featuring archived recordings of music legends Richie Havens and Robert Cray. Richie Havens, known for his ragged voice, percussive musicianship, and soulful sensibility, is considered as one of the most influential artists of the 1960’s. From playing Woodstock to Carnegie Hall, Havens had an extensive touring career that lasted up until the year before his passing in 2013. T...

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December 14, 2022 59 min

On this week’s episode of Tent Show Radio hosted by Michael Perry enjoy a special recording from the archives featuring award-winning acapella sensation Home Free. With praise rolling in wide ranges from the likes of Billboard and Rolling Stone, their incredible liveshows showcase each member's vocal talent, their combined rich harmonies, and quick-witted-humor - bringing audiences to their feet time and time again. The extraor...

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December 3, 2022 59 min

This week on Tent Show Radio, enjoy a full episode featuring the best of host Michael Perry. A celebrated New York Times best-selling author, musician, and humorist, Michael Perry shares tales of life in Wisconsin with an eye toward how his stories of the past connect us to the future.  

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November 30, 2022 59 min

This week on Tent Show Radio, enjoy an unforgettable episode from the archives, featuring eclectic Americana singer-songwriter Shakey Graves. 

Playing a smoky, spectral fusion of blues, folk, and rock in a stripped-down one-man-band style, Shakey Graves is the stage name of singer, songwriter, and guitarist Alejandro Rose-Garcia. Originally from Austin, his esoteric bedroom recordings quickly developed a cult following, and he soon...

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November 30, 2022 59 min

This week on Tent Show Radio, experience 35 years of love featuring the best of the 2021 Blue Canvas Orchestra. The Blue Canvas Orchestra has graced the Big Top stage countless times since its 1986 founding, Through their 36 year history, the band has had many iterations, and has performed on stages around Wisconsin, played across the airwaves on Tent Show Radio. As they honor their history, listeners will experience love, comrader...

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This week on Tent Show Radio, enjoy the distinctive artistry of Minnesota songwriters and musicians Cloud Cult and Charlie Parr. 

Known for incorporating live painting into their performances, Cloud Cult’s experimental style, philosophical lyrics, and alternative-orchestral-folk-rock sound has been lauded by critics and has garnered a dedicated following.  With a sound deeply tied to the blues and folk traditions of an earlier era,...

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November 5, 2022 59 min

This week on Tent Show Radio, enjoy an electric episode from the archives featuring multi-national Celtic juggernaut Gaelic Storm.

Since forming in 1997, Gaelic Storm has risen from hometown pub performers to a world-famous touring and recording act that continues to grow stronger with each live performance. The band’s first major career breakthrough came with their appearance in the 1997 Blockbuster Film Titanic as the “steerage b...

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October 29, 2022 59 min

This week on Tent Show Radio, enjoy a high-voltage hour featuring the rough-neck poetics of troubadour Steve Earle and The Dukes. 

He has run a lot of roads and run ragged, but the singer-songwriter has never run out of things to say or songs to sing. Over the course of twenty studio albums, Earle has distinguished himself as a master storyteller, and his songs have been recorded by a vast array of artists, including Johnny Cash, W...

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This week on Tent Show Radio, we celebrate Earth Day, with performances from the Big Top Chautauqua original show Dear Earth: A Love Song - Letter of Hope. This episode features our very own Blue Canvas Orchestra musicians and singers as they perform original songs and sentiments that celebrate the planet we all call home. 

 

Created by Ed Willet & Betty Ferris, Dear Earth: A Love Song-Letter of Hope pulls original music from t...

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This week on Tent Show Radio, enjoy a very special two-part episode from the archives. Enjoy electric folk-rock from the powerful, unyielding, and ultimately uplifting Buffy Sainte-Marie, as she performs tunes from across her career. 

Since her groundbreaking debut, 1964’s It’s My Way!, the Cree singer-songwriter has been a trailblazer and a tireless advocate, an innovative artist, and a disruptor of the status quo. Sainte-Marie ha...

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This week on Tent Show Radio, enjoy a very special two-part episode from the archives. Enjoy electric folk-rock from the powerful, unyielding, and ultimately uplifting Buffy Sainte-Marie, as she performs tunes from across her career. 

Since her groundbreaking debut, 1964’s It’s My Way!, the Cree singer-songwriter has been a trailblazer and a tireless advocate, an innovative artist, and a disruptor of the status quo. Sainte-Marie ha...

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Relive an electric night under the tent in this special two-part episode of Tent Show Radio, featuring Grammy award-winning country-rock band The Mavericks. 

Founded in 1989 in Miami, Florida, The Mavericks - revered for their unique sound that fuses Tex-Mex, neotraditional country, Latin, and rockabilly influences - became one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful groups of the early 1990s with culture-cross...

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September 24, 2022 59 min

Relive an electric night under the tent in this special two-part episode of Tent Show Radio, featuring Grammy award-winning country-rock band The Mavericks. 

Founded in 1989 in Miami, Florida, The Mavericks - revered for their unique sound that fuses Tex-Mex, neotraditional country, Latin, and rockabilly influences - became one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful groups of the early 1990s with culture-cross...

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