A surge of techno-rock escaped from the small, silver cell phone on a table in the Grafton Community Television Studio. After a few seconds of humorously moving his arms and hands to the beat, Jeff Boudreau, clad in a blue floral Hawaiian shirt, turned off the phone and said, "That's not my kind of music."
Mr. Boudreau, a Grafton native and not-for-profit concert producer, prefers the raw instrumentals and storytelling
of folk, new grass, Americana and traditional music, which will be the focus of his new television program, "Blackstone Valley, the Grafton Sessions."
"I've always had a love for traditional and folk music," he said. Boudreau also co-hosts the WCUW-FM program "In the Tradition," a folk, old-time, bluegrass, Celtic and country program, on Tuesday evenings alongside Russ Bellemer.
The TV program, which will be shot in front of a live studio audience every other Thursday evening, will feature performances by local musicians and nationally touring artists who pass through Blackstone Valley. The first taping will be Aug. 26, with performances from Marylou Ferrante, a Millbury native and pre-war blues musician, and The Whiskey Boys, a traditional fiddle and guitar duo composed of recent Berklee College of Music graduates David Delaney and Mark Kilianski.
Mr. Boudreau already has two recordings in the can for "Blackstone Valley, the Grafton Sessions." The date of the program's premiere has not been scheduled yet, but it will feature the bluegrass ballads of Jim Hurst, two-time International Bluegrass Music Association guitar player of the year, who performed at the Grafton television studio in May. The program's second airing will be of Blackstone Valley Bluegrass' July performance on the Grafton Common.
Mr. Boudreau began planning the program in March, while enrolled in an eight-week production course at the Grafton Community Television Studio. Successful completion of the course certified Boudreau as a producer at GCTS and enabled him to create "Blackstone Valley, the Grafton Sessions."
Boudreau compiled a list of performers by first reaching out to contacts he made through years of attending and volunteering at Northeast music festivals. "I had my wish list," he said.
Mr. Boudreau then publicized the show through a Facebook page, media press releases and a mailing list. The season was planned with intentional gaps for last-minute interests or musicians passing through the area, he said.
Committed musicians include Neptune's Car, Wide Open Spaces, Lenny Solomon Band, Andrew McKnight, Whalebone Farmhouse, Chuck Williams and Fall River's Michael Troy, who Mr. Boudreau said, "is a tremendous musician not recognized by commercial media."
The featured musicians are people he admires and respects, Mr. Boudreau said, "many of whom I'm lucky to call personal friends."
Although Mr. Boudreau welcomes musicians interested in performing at a television studio or touring musicians passing through the valley, he said he'll give considerable thought to musicians from the Blackstone Valley area.
"The best music I hear is local," he said. "I gravitate toward small, ensemble playing. I feel that music is personal, authentic... it's real."
Mr. Boudreau said he hopes to bring traditional music to Grafton and "to make this wonderful music genre better known to people that are unfamiliar with it."
Although he doesn't play an instrument, "I've got a very good ear, for talent, for tone," he said. And in 2007, this prompted him to create notloB, "a not-for-profit labor of love," which produces music series in the Boston area. He also created the notfarG house concert series, where artists perform in a home in Grafton (notfarG is Grafton spelled backward). Mr. Boudreau will resume with the concert series in September. For more information, www.facebook.com/pages/notfarG-House-Concerts/113318892031180.
Seating is limited for the tapings of the "Blackstone Valley, the Grafton Sessions. " The studio is at 296 Providence Road, South Grafton. Reservations can be made through firstname.lastname@example.org.