A new public television program featuring South Carolina musicians recorded live in concert will air this summer.
“Live at the Charleston Music Hall” is a joint venture between Hootie & the Blowfish guitarist Mark Bryan and Charleston Music Hall director Charles Carmody.
Two episodes will air on Thursday, June 30 and two will air Thursday, July 7 on S.C. ETV statewide.
In each 30-minute episode, musicians like Edwin McCain, Elise Testone and Stop Light Observations perform at Charleston Music Hall and are interviewed by Bryan, who hosts the show. He is also co-producer with Ashley Flowers for the Chucktown Music Group.
“You get the energy of a live show mixed with a really fun interview-slash-hangout between professional musicians,” Bryan said. “And you really get an inside look at musicians and artists before a show.”
Carmody said he had been kicking around the idea for a show since he became the director of the Hall in 2012. The historic venue was built in 1850 as a passenger depot on the South Carolina Railroad and has been a music venue since the mid-1990s.
“I grew up across the street from Mark Bryan in Mount Pleasant,” Carmody said. “When I came to the Hall in 2012, he was one of the first people I called.”
It took a while to bring the idea to fruition, he added, but now, the plan is to have 10-12 episodes in the first season of “Live at the Charleston Music Hall.”
When Bryan came on board, he called in some of his friends in the industry – McCain and bluegrass artist Sam Bush – to help film the pilot.
Bryan said he enjoyed interviewing the musicians as a music industry insider as well as a fan.
“If I already know a lot about them, I try to keep it fun,” he said. “With Edwin, we talked about the old days and how we came up together. Then with Sam, we talked more about how he took bluegrass music to a new place, fusing it with rock and jazz and reggae, and how that influenced a whole new generation of artists.”
Besides Bush, most of the artists are from Charleston or other cities in South Carolina.
“We really wanted to focus on Charleston and the regional bands that are here,” Carmody said.
Bryan said he hopes the show does for Charleston what Austin City Limits did for Austin. That show inspired the Austin City Limits Music Festival and is credited with helping Austin become the “Live Music Capital of the World.”
“I would love to see (‘Live at the Charleston Music Hall’) put South Carolina music on the map,” Bryan said.
And he didn’t rule out an episode with Hootie & the Blowfish, who has never performed at the Charleston Music Hall.
Upcoming “Live at the Charleston Music Hall” episodes
Episode 101 with Edwin McCain airs 9 p.m. Thursday, June 30.
Episode 102 with Sam Bush airs 9:30 p.m. Thursday, June 30.
Episode 103 with Elise Testone airs 9 p.m. Thursday, July 7.
Episode 102 with Stop Light Observations airs 9:30 p.m. Thursday, July 7.