Grassroots celebrated its 35th anniversary recently at Cooper's Glen Great Lakes Acoustic Music Festival. Since its inception, Grassroots has been playing its self-described mix of "real music for real people" across the region no matter what.
Listeners can tune in from 10 a.m. to noon every Sunday with a repeat on Saturday nights. The show's lengthy service to the local acoustic music scene was celebrated at the 2013 Cooper's Glen Great Lakes Acoustic Music Festival in February. The two-day festival included a salute to Sahlgren and the show's "new" co-host, WMUK's Lorraine Caron, who has been at the microphone a mere 19 years, along with recording engineer Martin Klemm.
Sahlgren is well into the 36th year of spinning albums, and now CDs, for both diehard bluegrass fans and casual listeners who just happen to tune in, drawn in by the show's catchy pickin'-and-grinnin' style of music and thoughtful commentary from Sahlgren and Caron.
"Mark has done this for almost 36 years as a volunteer," says Caron. "He's not a station employee. He's never received any compensation for doing this."
Grassroots goes back to several members of the local bluegrass band Sweetcorn, who were kicking around the idea of starting a bluegrass music program. Sahlgren, a longtime guitarist for the band, was joined by Sweetcorn sound man Fred Sang and fellow members Dick Atwell and Bill Halsey.