Eye On KELOLAND: Back to the wall

Eye on KELOLAND

SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — White Wall Sessions, the popular music show that airs weekends here on KELOLAND TV, has started recording new performances from inside its Sioux Falls studio. The White Wall went dark during the pandemic, and this summer, the show has been re-airing classic episodes Saturday nights. Now, the cameras are rolling, again.

Musicians are strumming and singing once again in front of the White Wall.

“I’m super-excited. It’s such a neat culture-thing,” Joe Fokken of Snakebeard Jackson said.

The local group Snakebeard Jackson is a gray-beard when it comes to the White Wall Sessions, having performed during the very first season of the show.

“I was honored to be invited and to come out and see this White Wall what it’s all about, it was a really neat experience,” Fokken said.

White Wall Sessions is now entering its ninth season, following a challenging year of the pandemic that nearly shut-down production, permanently.

“We really had no idea if we would be able to keep it going. I luckily was able to get some PPP money, that kind of got us through that period, so we’re back at it,” White Wall Sessions Executive Producer Jeff Zueger said.

White Wall Sessions is recording performances again, in front of an audience, after having tapped into its archives and re-airing segments from previous seasons during the pandemic. The goal is to record ten acts that, starting next month, will air as instant classics.

“It’s been a lot of fun getting back, getting the cameras up and going again and getting musicians back in here, getting people in the audience. It gives us some sense of normalcy, I guess,” Zueger said.

But normalcy remains elusive in some corners of the music world. Certain bands are still reluctant to take the stage during the pandemic, making it a challenge for the White Wall Sessions to re-book acts that the show had to cancel last year.

“It’s been a little tough jumping back on the merry-go-round, I’ll be honest with you. As far as rescheduling acts, not everybody’s out touring yet. So it’s been a little difficult, but we got her going,” Zueger said.

Snakebeard Jackson, however, jumped at the chance to perform before the White Wall Sessions cameras.

“We decided that we wanted to do a little bit of playing and now some opportunities have shown up and Jeff reached out, we were super-excited to get over here and do it,” Fokken said.

Even as the White Wall Session records new bands, Zueger is concerned about what kind of impact the Delta variant of the coronavirus may have on the future of his show.

“We’ll play it and follow whatever guidelines we need to follow to somehow keep the shows going,” Zueger said.

Performers say the White Wall Sessions is a valuable showcase for local and regional musical talent.

“Sioux Falls has had wonderful musicians for a long time and it’s going to keep on coming and it’s something like this that makes that continue,” Fokken said.

And during these uncertain times of the pandemic, the White Wall Sessions, along with the bands in the recording studio, will simply play it by ear.

Zueger hopes to start airing the new segments September 18th.

They record Thursday evenings. If you’d like to be part of the audience, you can purchase tickets at the Last Stop CD Shop on East 10th Street, where the studio is located.

White Wall Sessions airs every Saturday night at 10:30 p.m., on KELOLAND TV.

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