Ozark Highlands Radio is a weekly radio program that features live music and interviews recorded at Ozark Folk Center State Park’s beautiful 1,000-seat auditorium in Mountain View, Arkansas. In addition to the music, our “Feature Host” segments take listeners through the Ozark hills with historians, authors, and personalities who explore the people, stories, and history of the Ozark region.
This week, Canadian Ottawa Valley fiddler, singer, and stepdancer April Verch recorded live at the Ozark Folk Center State Park. Also, interviews with April. Mark Jones offers an archival recording of Ozark originals Tim & Dennis Crouch performing the tune “Dill Pickle Rag.” Writer, professor, and historian Dr. Brooks Blevins recounts the American geographer, geologist, and ethnologist Henry Schoolcraft’s experience in the early Ozark region.
Fiddler, singer, and stepdancer April Verch knows how relevant an old tune can be. She was raised surrounded by living, breathing roots music—her father’s country band rehearsing; the lively music at church and at community dances; the tunes she rocked out to win fiddle competitions. She thought every little girl learned to stepdance at the age of three and fiddle at the age of six. She knew nothing else and decided early on that she wanted to be a professional musician. She took that leap, and for over two decades has been recording and captivating audiences worldwide, exploring new and nuanced places each step of the way.
While Verch is perhaps best known for playing traditional fiddle styles from her native Ottawa Valley, Canada, her performances extend into old-time American and Appalachian styles and far beyond, for a well-rounded tour-de-force of North Americana sounds. Verch and her fellow trio members pare down their arrangements, highlighting the simple pleasures of upright bass, guitar, clawhammer banjo, voices, fiddle, and stepping in intimate conversation. At the heart lie Verch’s delicate voice, energetic footwork, and stunning playing. Sometimes she sings, steps and fiddles all at once with apparent ease and precision. Verch is – as they say – a triple threat in performance, her live show a beautiful companion to her music: versatile, robust, and masterfully executed.
In this week’s “From the Vault” segment, musician, educator, and country music legacy Mark Jones offers an archival recording of Ozark originals Tim & Dennis Crouch performing the tune “Dill Pickle Rag,” from the Ozark Folk Center State Park archives.
From his series entitled “Back in the Hills,” writer, professor, and historian Dr. Brooks Blevins recounts the American geographer, geologist, and ethnologist Henry Schoolcraft’s harrowing experiences in the early Ozark regions of Arkansas & Missouri.
- Folk & Singer-Songwriter