On the Air: Tony Furtado’s Portland living room goes live on KVMR Thursday night | TheUnion.com
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On the Air: Tony Furtado’s Portland living room goes live on KVMR Thursday night

Steve Baker
Special to Prospector

KNOW & HEAR/SEE

WHO: Americana roots artist Tony Furtado, singer/guitarist Stephanie Schneiderman and Portland indie pop trio Swan Sovereign

WHAT: “Thursday Nights Live” special concert from a Portland, Oregon, living room

WHEN: 7:05 p.m.to 8:05 p.m., Thursday, May 21

WHERE: KVMR 89. 5 FM, Truckee 105.1 FM, kvmr.org streaming and live streaming video on KVMR Facebook

Tony Furtado is an award-winning Americana roots music artist who was getting ready for dozens of live performances, except when they started being cancelled in March.

Yup, another casualty of the coronavirus pandemic.

You see, he’d been home for months and was looking forward to the shows.

“March was when I was going to hit the road,” he recalled. “I literally had a year of gigs fall away.”

Instead, he and his wife, singer/guitarist Stephanie Schneiderman, decided they were at home and why not do something online from their living room in Portland, Oregon.

Some of their early living room concerts have streamed via Jefferson Public Radio in Ashland, Oregon, and the fabled Americana station KPIG-FM,will air the next one after KVMR gets in the game tonight at 7 p.m. both on KVMR 89.5 FM and on KVMR’s Facebook page, where the live video will be available.

“My wife and I said let’s make it a regular weekly concert and why not?” Furtado said. “It was clear things were locking down.”

Now they’re on show number 10 of “Thursday Nights Live.”

Back in the day, Furtado first got the banjo itch when he was watching television’s “The Andy Griffith Show.” Tony did a 6th grade report on it, and took the instrument up at age 12.

He first attracted national attention in 1987, when he won the National Bluegrass Banjo Championship in Winfield, Kansas. Not long after that, Tony opted for the life of a full-time professional musician, joining Laurie Lewis & Grant Street. A second victory at Winfield, in 1991, bookended his years with Grant Street.

A series of acclaimed Furtado albums followed on Rounder Records, one of the premier roots music labels.

Beginning in the late 1990s — influenced by such musical heroes as Ry Cooder, David Lindley and Taj Mahal — Tony added slide guitar, singing and songwriting to his musical toolbox and began leading his own band. He’s known as a tireless road musician who performs in a dizzying variety of formats: solo, in a duo or trio or with a full five-person band.

Bluntly says David Lindley, “Tony Furtado is a major musical force without a doubt. He has a black belt in voice, bottleneck guitar and his banjo playing scares the crap out of me.”

Meanwhile, Relix Magazine hit the nail on the head when writing of Tony: “True talent doesn’t need categories.”

Oh, Furtado is also an accomplished sculptor, and, yes, you can see his work online at the sculpture gallery at tonyfurtado.com

This guy sure gets around, only he’s staying at home instead.

This week’s musical guests on their show is Swan Sovereign, a Portland indie pop trio that used to be known as Dirty Martini. Each week, a second camera captures performing guests in the backyard.

Social distance, you know.

It might be a little different this time around. Wife Stephanie is part of Swan Sovereign.

And Furtado fondly remembers the time he and Stephanie performed in KVMR’s studios when they were in town for a local concert.

“I love what you guys do, and I know I have a good fanbase in that neck of the woods,” he added. “And it would be an honor to have you guys on for this.”

Now KVMR Facebook viewers get to see what their living room (and backyard) look like.

TOWN HALL TODAY

Nevada County’s Office of Emergency Services and YubaNet.com are sponsoring a Virtual Town Hall on wildfire season and fire prevention today from noon to 2 p.m., and KVMR 89.5 FM will broadcast the event in its entirety.

Representatives of a bevy of fire agencies are among those participating, with YubaNet’s Pascale Fusshoeller moderating.

On The Air is a weekly feature from community radio station KVMR 89.5 FM, Nevada City, with indie pop and younger music streaming on kvmrx.org, with NPR newsmagazines and Democracy Now! weekdays on sister station 105.7 FM, also heard on kvmr.org.


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