Continued from page 1

Instead, he found the acoustics “excellent,” he said. “I didn’t know what to expect the first time we came here, but I found out the acoustics were just great. I was worried not so much for us _ we use in-ear monitors so the separation would always be fine for us. What I was worried about was would the resonance be too much for the audience, too much bouncing around or whatever.”

Turns out nature has been working out the kinks for a very long time.

“The Volcano Room has been formed by 3 1/2 million years of water and time entwining,” Mayo said. “There were two rivers running through the Volcano Room, one north-south, one east-west, and they created a whirlpool that through the ages carved out these wonderful porous, uneven spaces.”

Just a few months after starting the process, Mayo put on his first show. He quickly lined up a radio deal, but had bigger things in mind. He hooked up with local producer Todd Jarrell, who has a history with PBS, and with the help of friends they built a show they hope will one day be as popular as PBS mainstays like “Austin City Limits” and “Soundstage.”

Joining Gill in Season 2 will be The Del McCoury Band, The Civil Wars and Lawson with his band Quicksilver. So far, 60 PBS markets, including Boston, Dallas, Chicago and Seattle, have picked up the show, with about 60 percent showing it in primetime. And it continues to grow.

Even before the boost of TV exposure, however, the monthly show became a destination. Mayo has had several attendees from overseas and audiences often have a mix of locals and visitors. Mayo recently asked a couple where they were from. They responded California, but said they had heard about the show from friends in Michigan who’d already been.

“It’s kind of a bucket list destination for folks,” he said.

___

Online:

http://www.bluegrassunderground.com