WUWF hosts RadioLive
WUWF hosted its monthly RadioLive program Thursday night. Featured artists were Sam Pacetti, Lani Nash and Rob Picott.
WUWF hosted its monthly RadioLive program Thursday night at the Commerce Museum in historic Pensacola Village. Featured artists were Sam Pacetti, Lani Nash and Rob Picott
Two songs into a three-song set, Rod Picott, who describes his songs as being about “welding and unemployment,” deadpanned to the audience.
“Folk music is meant to be endured, not enjoyed,” Picott said.
The enthusiastic audience clearly disagreed.
Picott was one of three artists who performed on WUWF’s RadioLive program Thursday night at the Commerce Museum in historic Pensacola Village. Sam Pacetti and Lani Nash alternated sets with Picott on the monthly show that has been running since 1988.
Pat Crawford, executive director of WUWF and the show’s host, started the show 26 years ago as live entertainment at the inauguration party for then-president of UWF, Morris Marks. It started out as more of a variety show, but Crawford quickly steered its focus solely toward the music.
“When I was in high school I was a real audiophile,” Crawford said. “Whenever I’d go to the record store, I would go to the cutout bin, which is where all the albums that nobody ever bought were. So I’d discover these great groups and I’d take them home and I’d invite my friends over and I’d say ‘you gotta hear these groups, these are awesome,’ and now I do it with real people.”
The Commerce Museum, which is part of the University of West Florida’s Historic Pensacola Campus, served as an intimate venue with just enough room for a few rows of chairs wrapped around three sides of the red afghan rug that was the stage. The backdrop for the performance was a façade of old-time main street buildings that wouldn’t look out of place on Bourbon Street. A single trolley car provided additional seating for those looking for a more unique perspective.
Pacetti opened the performance with a guitar-only piece before moving into a song about his hometown of St. Augustine, Florida, simply titled “Augustine.” Imagine Bruce Springsteen as a folk singer with just an acoustic guitar and you have a basis for Pacetti’s nostalgia-laced ballad.
Nash followed, alternating between upbeat bluegrass-inspired numbers and heavier, somber tunes. All of her songs were emotionally-charged, even the “happier” tunes. She looked almost on the verge of tears when she pleaded: “Tell me I’m good enough/Tell me what I’m made of,” on “Tell Me Again,” and the raw emotion comes through even more on “I’ll Be Your Reason,” which she dedicated to her sister, who had recently passed away.
Picott rounded out the three performances. He quipped about having only one “happy” song in his catalogue and about mistakes he’d made with album titles (“Welding Burns” makes for a good album title, but turns up some gruesome results in a Google search). Picott’s songs are very literal, often dealing directly with issues in his past like his childhood and struggles with employment in the floundering economy of northern New England. He appreciated the crowd’s warm reception.
“Sometimes you walk into the studio and there’s 15 people standing against the wall with cold coffee,” Picott said. “When I saw all the chairs I thought this was gonna be good. It’s a real gift to a musician to walk in to an audience that’s already receptive, because that’s the thing that we fight for every night.”
The crowd at RadioLive was decidedly older, reflecting the typical public radio audience, but Crawford has noticed a shift toward a younger crowd and continues to seek out more artists who appeal to a college-age crowd.
Many of the event’s attendees were not there for the first time. For Linda Owens, this was her third time at RadioLive.
“Every time is a surprise, but every time is a delight,” Owens said. “I’ve never been disappointed. I’d highly recommend it to anyone.”
WUWF hosts RadioLive the first Thursday of each month at the Commerce Museum. Admission is free, however, non-perishable food items are accepted, with the proceeds going to Manna Food Pantries of northwest Florida. The next program, on December 4th, will feature Richard Gilewitz, Sally Spring and Eric Taylor.
For more information on RadioLive, visit www.wuwf.org.