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‘Life in Music’ series keeps ETSU students connected

Session with legendary Sonny Osborne reaches thousands

JOHNSON CITY — An ongoing series of online conversations with noted musicians hosted by the Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country Music Program is getting wide participation. In fact, this week’s interview with Grand Ole Opry star Sonny Osborne reached over 18,000 people within less than 24 hours of its airing!
 “Life in Music” is a 12-week Summer Guest Artist Series designed to keep students engaged and the community involved through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
 In this series, both music industry legends and up-and-coming artists from different backgrounds are sharing stories of how they started out in music and life on the road, as well as advice for ETSU’s student musicians. Some of the artists also share music during the sessions.
 The conversations are hosted on Facebook Live and Zoom by Kalia Yeagle, a lecturer in the Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country Music Program in ETSU’s Department of Appalachian Studies. Students and community members who tune in live have the opportunity to ask questions of the artists.
 Program Director Dan Boner commended Yeagle, who has worked to schedule and have pre-event meetings with all of the guests, and spring 2020 program graduate Lincoln Hensley for making the June 23 interview with Osborne happen. He noted that Hensley invited Osborne to participate and drove to Nashville to assist with the technology.
 “Sonny is influencing a whole new generation of young artists who are discovering the Osborne Brothers’ music through YouTube and vinyl-collecting,” Boner said. “He simply doesn’t do interviews anymore, which made this live Zoom and Facebook event extra special for bluegrass and country fans.
 “He is a very smart man with a lifetime of experience. I was impressed with how intently he listened and processed every question and gave such thoughtful responses. And the viewers delivered very good questions, which speaks worlds about their deep respect for Sonny. We had such a great time that it was hard to stop our conversation!”
 The “Life in Music” series continues through July, with live sessions to be held each Tuesday at 7 p.m. Upcoming sessions will feature singer and multi-instrumentalist Jody Stecher on June 30; two former directors of the Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country Music Program —founder Jack Tottle and Raymond McLain— on July 7; musician and popular storyteller David Holt on July 14; bassist Missy Raines and recording engineer and producer Ben Surratt on July 21; and musician and songwriter Kaia Kater on July 28.
 Those who would like to tune in to upcoming sessions may visit the program’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ETSUBluegrass for links to view via Facebook Live or Zoom.
 Viewers may also visit the Facebook page to watch previous sessions with Doyle Lawson, Stephen Mougin, Amythyst Kiah, Sammy Lind and Nadine Landry, Ed Snodderly and Dan Boner.