To Chris Weller’s way of thinking, everyone has a song to sing and anyone can be an instrument of change. With that in mind, Weller has launched an Asheville-based podcast — Fret Knot Radio Hour — that he hopes will give voice to those folks, no matter the medium.
The idea was born more than two years ago, Weller says.
“I had a passion for folk music, advocacy, the arts and sustainable living, and I liked it most when I could bring all those elements together,” says Weller. He was working for Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine and figured he start his own publication, which would encompass “departments” he called earth, life, craft and song.
The idea got moved to a back burner, and Weller moved on from the magazine to working as marketing director for Pristine Clean, an eco-friendly cleaning service in town. He found himself working long hours alone, and he started devouring podcasts such as Radio Lab, and This American Life. That’s when he decided his magazine idea was better suited to an audio podcast.
“I was struck by the fact that music is an entrance into a person’s soul,” Weller says, “so I figured it would be more powerful with audio.”
Weller’s first Fret Knot Radio Hour includes an interview with environmental activist Larry Gibson and musician Scott Avett of the Avett Brothers. A live recording of the next Fret Knot Radio Hour is set for 7 p.m. March 2 at Malaprop’s, and will feature indie folk artist Tom Thumb, Franzi and Caroline from the Asheville Grown Business Alliance, and Brian Knopp, author of the non-fiction book “Mayhem in Mayberry: Misadventues of a P.I. in Southern Appalachia.”
Dusty Allison, public relations coordinator for the podcast, says each audio session will try to incorporate the four elements Weller first mapped out.
“The big focus is on the Appalachians and the culture here, both old and new,” Allison says. “It’s a way to integrate music, storytelling, art and sustainability” and spotlight homegrown issues that may be ignored by the mainstream media, he says.
“There’s a lot of hope and optimism here,” Allison says. “We want to showcase those hometown heroes who are working in their own medium to make change.”