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Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook: Best Band In The Land

Airs Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Michael Feinstein performs with his big band during PBS’ "Michael Feinstein's American Songbook" session at the TCA Summer Press Tour in Los Angeles on August 4, 2010.

This three-part series coming to PBS in October, 2010 is a dynamic, documentary-style road trip and cultural primer, with Michael Feinstein as the leader of an expedition through the glorious history of American popular song.

Viewers follow him both on stage and back stage, hear him interpret great standards, listen in on personal stories about the songwriters and entertainers he’s known and worked with over three decades, and accompany him on his quest to find and preserve the rare treasures of classic American music Rare archival audio and film footage combine to reveal the social and historical forces behind the music that helped shape the style, attitude, and self-image of America for more than a century.

Filled with generous portions of live performance, this series offers both an intimate portrait of a unique entertainer, and a history of 20th Century pop culture.

Episode two, "Best Band in the Land," examines how popular songs provided emotional solace and patriotic inspiration during World War II. While preparing an original patriotic song, Michael weaves in the history of 1940s big bands, USO shows, V-disks, war bond rallies, and the powerful role popular music played in boosting morale.

The first episode, "Putting On the Tail Fins (1950s–1960s)" aired on October 6th.

Episode Three "A New Step Every Day (1920s–1930s)" airs Wednesday, October 20, 2010 at 8 p.m.

Video

Interview with Michael Feinstein

Above: The three part series is a dynamic, documentary-style road trip and cultural primer, with Michael Feinstein as the leader of an expedition through the glorious history of American popular song. Viewers follow him both on stage and back stage, hear him interpret great standards, listen in on personal stories about the songwriters and entertainers he's known and worked with over three decades, and accompany him on his quest to find and preserve the treasures of classic American popular music.