Mountaingrass is very lucky to have some wonderful supporters and helpers! Over the coming months we’d like to introduce you to some of them.This month roving reporter Susan Boothroyd caught up with Jan Dale.
Jan Dale started the Southern Style program in early 1997 and moved it to PBS 106.7 FM in Melbourne in 2001.
Jan’s interest in American roots music led her to leave her job in the 1990s and travel to the US where she spent several years living in an old Kombi van travelling over 160,000 miles hunting down traditional music in every mainland state except Alaska. It was at the Bluegrass festivals where she fell in love with this lively, all acoustic string band music with its beautiful harmony vocals. She even had her first MC job at the Poppy Mountain Bluegrass Festival near Morehead, Kentucky where IIIrd Tyme Out was the host band. It had an audience of about 30,000 and, at that time, was billed as the largest traditional Bluegrass festival in the world.
Jan’s Southern Style program offers a good mix of styles, instrumentals and vocals and she makes sure that female musicians are well represented, as well as local bands.
Some of the earliest exponents of Bluegrass and Old Time music are usually included as well as more contemporary bands. She loves to share unusual or historic recordings of musicians like Ray Myers who had no arms and played slide guitar with his toes! Sometimes she will showcase the first Bluegrass music ever recorded in Australia, (in the 1960s,) and she usually includes some Cajun and Blues.
Jan with Nine Mile Creek: Colin Weight, Mark Pottinger, Doug Wallace and Andrew Barcham.
In 2017 Jan won the Mick Geyer Award – “To recognise outstanding service to PBS and the broader music community.” In 2019 she was very proud to be one of five nominated for IBMA’s Broadcaster of the Year. She was the first non-American to be nominated.
In these days of isolation, I asked Jan what she has been doing when she is not preparing her weekly shows. I’ll let you in on a little secret – she is busy writing a memoir of her travels. Keep watching, it’s due out later this year. I can’t wait!
Jan Dale’s Southern Style can be heard in Melbourne on 106.7FM on Tuesdays 1-3 pm. You can also hear her programs anytime by going to the Southern Style page at www.pbsfm.org.au/program/southern-style
ABOTMA is a proud Business level member of PBS 06.7FM, which is a membership based community-funded station in Melbourne. You can help PBS continue its good work by either supporting the station or by supporting a particular program, like Southern Style. To make Jan’s day, please support Southern Style by going to PBS Memberships. and giving a tax-deductible donation or by becoming a member!
Thank you to Susan Boothroyd and Susan Gordon-Brown for the photos.