TV program to showcase local talent

By Bill Lukitsch, @Bill_LukitschDE

Bands from Little Egypt will start seeing the screens of WSIU viewers Thursday night.

Little Egypt Live — a concert series produced by WSIU in coordination with the Carbondale Music Coalition — is a new stage for the folk, bluegrass and blues musicians of southern Illinois. The premiere episode, featuring the first of four locally known groups, Jenny Johnson & The Storm Crows, airs 8 p.m. Thursday on WSIU-TV 8 and WSIU-TV 16.

Mark St. George, lead producer and director of Little Egypt Live, said he is enthusiastic about bringing the sights and sounds of local musicians to viewers.


“We have some amazing artists in SIU’s footprint, and to do an original program right from southern Illinois with the best artists that you’re not going to find anywhere else — that’s just exciting,” he said.

All four episodes of the series were recorded in front of a live audience in April at Varsity Center for the Arts on the Strip in Carbondale.

“We wanted the biggest artists we could get, but we also wanted them to be from at least somewhere down in this area,” St. George said.

As the region’s public access station, St. George said WSIU wants to bring its audience new and locally relevant content, and focusing on Carbondale’s rich music scene was a natural progression.

The three episodes following the premier will feature local blues artists Tawl Paul & Slappin’ Henry Blue, folkgrass family band The Bankesters and rockabilly three-piece The Swamp Tigers.

Part of the appeal to this show, St. George said, is it allows the audience to experience the nuances of a live performance at home.

The show is still in its early stages, but St. George expects to see Little Egypt Live expand to include different genres next spring.


“This is going to branch out to different venues, to different types of musical artists,” he said. “We really just want to get the cream of the crop, the very best for audience to be able to experience.” 

Bill Lukitsch can be contacted at [email protected] or on Twitter @Bill_LukitschDE .