by Tara Morgan
Wide Eye Productions wants to turn punk legend John Doe into the next Anthony Bourdain. With its new show John Doe, American Music, this local video production company is hoping to create a traveling TV phenomenon on-par with No Reservations. But instead of food and libations, they’ll be tackling regional American music.
“We’ve been pitching shows for quite a while to national networks,” explained Tom Hadzor, director of photography at Wide Eye. “We’re all kind of music heads and just wanted to do a music show.”
The concept goes something like this: Each episode will showcase a different city across the country. By day, host John Doe will explore the town with local musicians, and by night they’ll hit the clubs to rock out. The show promises to feature everything “from Ghettotech to Miami Latin Fusion to Zydeco to Chicken Scratch to San Francisco Psychedelic.” Last Sunday evening, Wide Eye loaded all of their camera equipment into Pengilly’s to film local blues and folk acts like Curtis Stigers, Bill Coffey, Jeremiah James, A.K.A. Belle (formerly Belle of Les Bois), Ned Evett, Hillfolk Noir and Joshua Tree. (To read more about the show, be sure to check out Noise News in tomorrow’s BW.)
“This is all a spec project, it’s all coming out of our bank account,” said Hadzor. “So, to save money we decided to [shoot the pilot episode] here, and we’ve been pleasantly surprised with just the energy of music here and so was John. It really was the perfect place for us to cut our teeth in doing this project.”
But Sunday wasn’t Wide Eye's only day of filming in Boise. “We shot Friday, Saturday and Sunday and we did profile pieces on individual musicians," said Hadzor. "We did one on Ned Evett and we did one on Hillfolk Noir. We went to their houses and shot them doing what they do when they’re not playing music.”
On Saturday afternoon, the crew also followed Doe and
Grammy-award winning Emmy-nominated local musician Curtis Stigers around Boise for a walking tour that included stories about jazz-legend Gene Harris and the Idanha Hotel, where, according to Stigers, Roger Miller wrote his hit song “King of the Road."
Though Wide Eye already has around 10 hours of Boise footage shot for the pilot, they still plan to hit up both Los Angeles and Seattle before whittling it all down to a five-minute preview that they’ll take to the TV networks. Check back for updates on the show's progress.