The Pleasures of Winter 2008

TUE, NOV 25, 2008 (55:48)

'The Pleasures of Winter' is an annual, live-performance, winter holiday music special hosted by folk duo Jay Ungar and Molly Mason and recorded at the Bardavon 1869 Opera House in Poughkeepsie, New York. The music includes fiddle tunes, vintage jazz, beautiful waltzes, and original songs, all with a seasonal flavor.

This year's show is a collection of the hosts' performances, featuring a variety of guest musicians sitting in with the house band including: Butch Thompson, David Bromberg, Kate Pierson of the B52s, Tony Trischka, Laurel Masse, and many more of Ungar and Mason's musical friends.

+ BIO: Jay Ungar

Since joining forces both artistically and romantically (the two would marry in 1991) Jay Ungar and Molly Mason have become one of the most celebrated duos on the American acoustic music scene. It started with a chance meeting in the late 1970s. Jay and Molly were each performing at the Towne Crier, a rural New York club. They hit it off musically and played together from time to time until Molly headed off to Minnesota to work in the house band of a new radio show. Back in New York, Jay put together a band with fellow fiddlers Evan Stover and Matt Glaser and guitarist Russ Barenberg. When Fiddle Fever, as the collaboration was called, needed a bassist, Molly signed on. The group recorded two classic LPs, now available on CD as The Best of Fiddle Fever.

The early '80s also saw the beginning of Jay's Ashokan Fiddle & Dance Camps, a world-renowned destination for enthusiasts of American music and dance traditions. Several years later, Molly became a full partner in designing and running these programs, which are still going strong. 1984 found Fiddle Fever band members Matt Glaser and Russ Barenberg working with a young filmmaker on a documentary called The Brooklyn Bridge. They gave Ken Burns a copy of Fiddle Fever's second LP, Waltz of the Wind, which included Jay's Ashokan Farewell. Burns was so taken with the evocative and haunting melody, he used it in his next film, Huey, about Louisiana Governor Huey Long, and he wound up inviting Jay and Molly to provide music for many of his projects. The high point to date of this long relationship was the selection of Ashokan Farewell as the main theme of Burns' landmark PBS documentary The Civil War. The result: an Emmy nomination for Jay and a Grammy for the soundtrack album.

On radio and television, Jay and Molly have appeared on CBS Good Morning, The Rosie O'Donnel Show, All Things Considered, A Prairie Home Companion, and the BBC's Transatlantic Sessions. They continue to broadcast their own live-performance radio show, Dancing on the Air, and they have no shortage of future projects.

+ BIO: Molly Mason

Molly Mason grew up in Washington State. She had a fondness for traditional fiddle music and '30s and '40s popular tunes. She played clubs and colleges on the West Coast and took a liking to the jazzy sound of the Swing Era.

Since joining forces both artistically and romantically with Jay Ungar, Molly Mason and Ungar have become one of the most celebrated duos on the American acoustic music scene. The early '80s also saw the beginning of Jay's Ashokan Fiddle & Dance Camps, a world-renowned destination for enthusiasts of American music and dance traditions.

Several years later, Mason became a full partner in designing and running these programs, which are still going strong. On radio and television, Jay and Molly have appeared on CBS Good Morning, The Rosie O'Donnel Show, All Things Considered, A Prairie Home Companion, and the BBC's "Transatlantic Sessions." They continue to broadcast their own live-performance radio show, "Dancing on the Air," and they have no shortage of future projects.

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