TVOne’s excellent biography series “Unsung” returns on June 6th, for starters. The series, which chronicles legends in the soul music world that haven’t gotten their proper due, has run for (I think) three seasons now (might be four) and has done brilliant episodes on the likes of DeBarge, Shalamar, Minnie Riperton, Bootsy Collins and many others. This year, they begin the season with an episode on soul/gospel songbird Deniece Williams. I’m sure Niecy will have a lot to say regarding her childhood in the Gary, Indiana area around the same time the Jacksons were coming up, her apprenticeship under Stevie Wonder, working with Earth, Wind & Fire’s Maurice White on her debut, and how 1984’s “Let’s Hear it for the Boy” briefly turned her into a superstar. Other episodes this season will center around The Spinners, Big Daddy Kane, and Alexander O’ Neal & Cherrelle (although I feel like they should’ve gotten their own individual episodes.) Again, this season begins on June 6th on TV One.
Over on VH-1, the “Storytellers” series has had some pretty awesome guests recently: Maxwell, Cee-Lo Green, and My Morning Jacket have been among the artists to grace that stage. Next up, Maine’s own guitar-slingin’ troubadour Ray LaMontagne. Joined by his Pariah Dogs, his episode of “Storytellers” premieres on June 10th. As someone who’s seen Ray-Ray in concert several times, I can vouch for the fact that he can come across as occasionally surly and quite awkward (in a totally lovable way) when he tries to talk to the audience, but his attempts are quite endearing, and the music more than makes up for any residual strangeness.
Check out this very cool article on VH-1’s blog about the Storytellers performance, and make sure you check out the episode in addition to the new season of “Unsung” when they premiere next week.