Ed Helms and TX Whiskey Prep 'Whiskey Sour Happy Hour' Streaming Concerts
"It's a benefit. So if you watch the whole thing, and you don't make a donation— I mean, come on, don't be a jerk."
That's how funnyman and musician Ed Helms, of The Office and Daily Show fame, introduces his new streaming music variety show, Whiskey Sour Happy Hour, in the promotional clip below:
The Bluegrass Situation, an online community for lovers of American roots music, style and culture, will present the web series with sponsor TX Whiskey. The production draws inspiration from Helms' "Whiskey Sour Radio Hour" staged at L.A.'s Largo nightclub in pre-pandemic days. It will spotlight bluegrass and country acts, with debut-episode appearances by Lee Ann Womack, Aubrie Sellers, Billy Strings and Madison Cunningham.
Each musician will pre-tape sets for the show, which premieres April 22 at 8 p.m. on The Bluegrass Situation's homepage and its social channels. New episodes will drop April 29, May 6 and May 13, with contributions from Chris Thile, Yola, Billy Strings, Sarah Jarosz, Rhiannon Giddens & Francesco Turrisi, Rodney Crowell, Aoife O'Donovan, Robert Ellis, and the Watkins Family Hour.
"A good byproduct of this bad situation is the feeling that people are experiencing entertainment at the same time—a return to appointment television," says Casey McGrath, creative chief at agency Night After Night, which helped develop the project. "That can provide a feeling of community when so many are experiencing loneliness. Programs like this also give individuals an opportunity to give back, so they can feel less helpless as they're stuck inside their homes."
The project supports MusiCares' Covid-19 Relief Fund, which assists artists in the music industry, and Direct Relief, which provides personal protective gear to healthcare professionals.
"As soon as we realized the severity of the current crisis, Ed and I both knew we had to do something to support both our musical and medical community—and not just a one-time thing, but something that could promote more sustained giving," says Amy Reitnouer Jacobs, who co-founded The Bluegrass Situation with Helms and produces "Whiskey Sour Happy Hour."
"We wanted a brand partner—preferably a whiskey, for obvious reasons—that cared about the same things we do and could help us reach more people," Jacobs says. "We got in touch with the team at Night After Night, whom I knew from a prior connection. Almost immediately, they identified TX Whiskey, which was already fighting the good fight by producing hand sanitizer for first responders."
The initiative recalls Verizon's Pay It Forward Live streaming series, which features music, gaming and comedy to raise funds for small businesses struggling through the current crisis.