PLAYTIME FOR PICKLES ON PBS

The Michigan jugga-jam band Deep Fried Pickle Project is known for its vivid imagination. On October 11 the group will performs its first nationally televised concert, and sitting in on washboard will be an eight-year-old rabbit.

Yes, that's correct. The rabbit's name is Buster, and he is the star of the half-animated, half-live action kids series Postcards from Buster. Many people will recognize Buster's character from the Emmy-Award winning Arthur show on PBS Kids.

On October 11, the new show starts its maiden season off with the Pickles in tow. In this episode Buster finds himself at a Country Fair with his video camera. With his camera, he films everything he sees with the curiosity and energy of a kid. He uses his videos as "postcards" to send back to his friends back home. Buster meets the Pickle Project who show Buster and his fair friends how to make homemade "jug band" instruments. Later, the band asks Buster to sit in on washboard as the Pickles perform to close the show.

According to the PBS Kids web site, Postcards From Buster isn't just a fun and funny show; it's also founded on an educational curriculum that focuses on two areas, cultural awareness and English language learning. And as Buster makes his way across North America, video camera in paw, it's easy to see how the show will fulfill those goals.

The Deep Fried Pickle Project (DFPP) spent most of summer '04 on the road, performing shows for both kids and adults, as well as holding instrument-building workshops throughout the country. Highlights of their "Trailer Trash Tour" included Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Colorado and Jerry Garcia Birthday Bash in West Virginia. The group also appeared in two festivals at the Church of Universal Love and Music in Pennsylvania. According to Telluride's festival coordinators, the kid-friendly environment of the festival makes it appealing to festivarians with families. Sharing the bill with such musical greats as Ani DiFranco, Sam Bush, Yonder Mountain String Band, Bela Fleck, and String Cheese Incident was a dream come true according to the Pickles.

The response for quality music both kids and adults can enjoy has been overwhelming. In 2003 the band was awarded with a John Lennon Songwriting Contest Award. In September, band co-founder Alan Selvidge was honored to appear on a new Fred Eaglesmith Tribute Album 20 odd Hollers II, and Spin magazine is planning to feature the band in their October issue.

DFPP's members include Daniel Daniel on washtub bass, kazoo, harmonica and saw; Alan Selvidge on guitar, mandolin, and vocals; Jerry Hoffman on guitar and vocals; and Jim McAllister on drums and washboard. The Pickles will be on tour throughout the Midwest this fall and winter, then nationwide next summer.

JamBase | Michigan
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[Published on: 9/16/04]

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