Connect with musicians who are improving life for themselves and their communities in “Appalachia” on THE EXPRESS WAY WITH DULÉ HILL – April 30 at 9 pm

Posted on:

< < Back to


New Four-Part Series Airs Tuesdays at 9:00 pm

Join the Renowned Actor, Singer and Performer as He Travels Across the Country to Find Artists Using Their Creativity as a Force for Self Expression and Positive Change



Episode 2: “Appalachia” (Premieres Tuesday, April 30, 9:00 pm)

The Appalachian region has some of the highest poverty and addiction rates in the nation and in this episode Dulé connects with artists who are improving life for themselves and their communities through music.

Joe Troop poses with his banjo inside a large dark room. Credit: Larkin Donley/Joe Bressler; CALICO
Joe Troop poses with his banjo
Credit: Larkin Donley/Joe Bressler; CALICO

First Dulé speaks to Doug Naselroad, who is the founder and director of Troublesome Creek Stringed Instrument Company and  co-founder of The Culture of Recovery— a program that assists individuals on the road to recovery from opioid addiction by teaching them to make stringed instruments.

In Johnson City, Tennessee, Dulé learns about the black community’s contributions to traditional American music from Amythyst Kiah, a queer, black, bluegrass musician whose dedication and talents have earned her a Grammy nomination.

Finally, in Durham, North Carolina, Dulé meets Grammy-nominated artist Joe Troop, the creator of “Latin-grass,” a fusion of Latin and American folk music played with traditional bluegrass instrumentation. Joe is taking this music to a whole new level by teaming up with Venezuelan musician and asylum-seeking migrant, Larry Bellorin, on a new musical odyssey while standing up against xenophobia and racism.


In this new series, multi-talented actor and performer Dulé Hill (“The Wonder Years,” “The West Wing”) and director Danny Lee (“Who Is Stan Smith?”) take audiences on an emotional and celebratory road trip across the nation to explore the transformative power of the arts. Along his journey, Hill travels to California, the Appalachian region, Texas and Chicago to connect with local visionaries, activists, changemakers and pioneers who are using their artistic passions to foster connection, deepen empathy, and create meaningful change within their communities.

What would it be like to create art without sight? How does one explore dance through music that cannot be heard? And how can creative expression be used to break down barriers, combat hate and create safe spaces for everyone? As Hill crisscrosses the country, he explores these questions and more, meeting with a wide array of creatives who are challenging traditional narratives, reclaiming space for themselves and their communities and paving a pathway forward for others to follow.

Doug and Dillon play their guitars outside in front of a forested hilly background for the town radio show. Credit: Larkin Donley/Joe Bressler; CALICO
Doug and Dillon play their instruments for the town radio show
Credit: Larkin Donley/Joe Bressler; CALICO

“The power of the human spirit is really an inspiring thing. There are many people in this world who create space out of nothing. They are the ones turning on the light, setting the path, and then guiding others along the journey,” said Hill. “As a lifelong dancer, actor and singer, the arts are what drive me. There’s something about when you see yourself reflected that allows you to believe that you exist.”

“For me as a filmmaker of color, art has not only been a way to be seen, but a deeply transformative force in my life,” said Lee. “As a pillar of American culture, PBS has always impressed upon me the importance of the arts. So to be able to craft a moving series that shines light on the power of creative expression, alongside such a phenomenal talent like Dulé Hill and my team at CALICO, is a dream come true.”

“PBS is deeply committed to arts and cultural programming and recognizes its importance in a thriving and healthy community,” said Sylvia Bugg, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager of General Audience Programming, PBS.  “As a celebrated artist himself, Dulé is the perfect person to be our guide, as we meet artists across the country who are supporting cultural understanding through creative expression.”