Movie and music night features Czech Bluegrass and Eclectic-Americana

Northeast State and the PUSH! Film Festival are sponsoring a movie and music night Oct. 13, featuring a mix of Czech Bluegrass and Eclectic-Americana at the College’s Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts.

The night kicks off at 6 p.m. with Banjo Romantika: American Bluegrass and the Czech Imagination, a documentary produced by two East Tennessee University faculty members. Filmed primarily in the Czech Republic in 2011, the film highlights Czech musicians who are part of the global interest in bluegrass music.

According to the film’s website, Czechs first heard bluegrass during World War II when the Armed Forces Network broadcast American music for soldiers. The music represented freedom to dissatisfied Czechs living in a communist state.

The Czechs’ love for the music was solidified when Pete Seeger visited and performed in 1964. Inspired by classic American bluegrass sounds, an assortment of musicians from across the formerly communist Czech Republic have melded the past, the political, and the present into a lively musical tradition entirely its own.


The film was produced by Dr. Lee Bidgood, an assistant professor of Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music Studies in the ETSU Department of Appalachian Studies; and Shara Lange, who leads the Radio, Television, Video and Film division in ETSU’s Department of Mass Communication.

At 7:30 p.m., Wise Old River, a popular regional band, brings its mix of tradition and originality to the stage. The band shares songs about the human experience, finding hope, grace, truth, and spiritual growth with its earthy, harmonic vibe.

The group has performed on local and national television programs such as the PBS syndicated show Song of the Mountains.  Other venues and events in the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, the Paramount Center for the Arts, the Virginia Highlands Festival, and the Little Chicago Blues Festival.

The group features vocalist/guitarist Jamen Denton; Jeanne Denton on harmony vocals and percussion; Jim Denton on acoustic lap steel, 12-string slide guitar, and bouzouki; and bassist Stephen Marshall. The band’s sound has been described as Eclectic-Americana.

For more information about movie and music night, contact Jessica Barnett at or 423.354.2589.

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