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Relive rare performances from The National Barn Dance as part of this historic documentary.

June 3, 2014

3 Min Read

The Hayloft Gang traces the history of the pioneering radio show, The National Barn Dance, and examines its role in shaping American music and popular culture. In its heyday, The National Barn Dance was owned by famed Prairie Farmer publisher Burridge Butler.


Narrated by Garrison Keillor, The Hayloft Gang: The Story of the National Barn Dance is a one-hour documentary that tells the story of a changing America, through the lens of one of early radio's most popular and influential programs. The film's lively soundtrack features over 70 songs, spanning from the mid 1920s to the Great Depression, through World War II. The radio show was a melting pot of Americana music; listeners could hear everything from mountain string bands and polka trios, to folk balladeers and cowboy crooners. 

The Hayloft Gang premiered on PBS, fall of 2011. After additional fundraising for money to clear the music rights for DVD/Home Video release, and the time consuming process of researching copyright ownership and licensing, The Hayloft Gang is finally available on DVD. 

 According to Producer/Director Stephen Parry, "Our goal has always been to bring The Hayloft Gang to audiences beyond public television." The DVD includes the original one-hour PBS version of the documentary, plus lots of additional content and interviews. 

The DVD is only available from the film's website 


About The Film
The Hayloft Gang was nominated for a 2012 Chicago/Midwest Emmy Award for "Outstanding Achievement for Documentary Programs – Historical. For rural listeners unsure of the future, or homesick transplants confronting the city, The National Barn Dance served as a touchstone, from its first broadcast in 1924 to its last in 1960. Preceding the success of the Grand Ole' Opry, in

Nashville, by nearly two decades, The National Barn Dance made Chicago the capital of country music prior to World War II. The radio program was a marketing pioneer, making millions for network sponsors like Alka Seltzer. Moreover, it launched national superstars like Gene Autry, Patsy Montana, Lulu Belle and Scotty, Andy Williams, George Gobel and Pat Buttram. 

The Hayloft Gang weaves rare performance footage and never before seen, home movies, with first-hand accounts from performers and fans of the radio show.  Interviews with preeminent historians, folklorists, and media experts reveal historical and cultural perspectives on the story. A wall-to-wall soundtrack of traditional American folk and country music, suggests the experience of listening to the live radio show. 

DVD Extras Include
•A special feature on Lily May Ledford "The Mountain Gal"
•Slim Bryant on playing with Clayton McMichen's Georgia Wildcats in 1933
•Captain Stubby discusses his musical washboard & the Hoosier Hotshots.
•Beverly Losey tells us stories about her mother Patsy Montana
•Musician Billy Constable demonstrates Scotty Wiseman's banjo style.
•Wisconsin writer Jerry Apps, on the impact of radio on rural communities.
•Cari Norris, granddaughter of Lily May Ledford plays her grandma's banjo.
•Former IN State fiddle champ Francis Geels plays an old Slim Miller tune 

Source: The Hayloft Gang

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