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Professor Kevin Finch’s Documentary Set for Wide Release on American Public Television ‘Wes Bound: The Genius of Wes Montgomery’ will begin airing nationwide Feb. 1.

kevin_finch-600x400 Professor Kevin Finch’s Documentary Set for Wide Release on American Public TelevisionKevin Finch, associate professor of journalism

Kevin Finch, associate professor of journalism at Washington and Lee University, will see his film documentary, “Wes Bound: The Genius of Wes Montgomery,” aired nationwide via American Public Television (APT) throughout February.

APT is the affiliate-to-affiliate program sharing and distribution service for Public Broadcasting System (PBS) affiliates. APT announced “Wes Bound” has been approved for 104 PBS licenses, representing 238 stations and statewide public television networks nationwide. Finch’s film will now reach 76% of the national television audience.

Locally, Blue Ridge PBS (WBRA) will air the film twice on Feb. 20 (1 a.m. and 9 a.m.) and once each on Feb. 25 (5 a.m.) and Feb. 27 (8 p.m.).

“We’re thrilled with this level of interest from public television stations,” said Finch. “Stations in big markets such as San Francisco, Tampa, Atlanta and Denver, and public television networks in Kentucky, Maryland and Connecticut, and even in Alaska and Hawaii have all jumped on board.”

The hour-long documentary chronicles the life and influence of jazz guitar legend Wes Montgomery, who died of a heart attack in 1968 at the age of 45. It debuted in March 2023 on the Indiana University PBS affiliate station in Bloomington, Indiana.

Finch began working on the film in 2019 alongside Montgomery’s youngest son, Robert. Together, they collected more than 50 hours of interview footage with family members, frequent jazz collaborators, historians and major names in the rock and jazz industry. This included discussions with significant guitarists such as Slash from Guns N’ Roses, Russell Malone, Eric Johnson, George Benson and former Steely Dan and Doobie Brothers guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter.

The film is narrated by NPR’s Eric Deggans and reveals how Montgomery defined a generation of jazz music, leaving a worldwide music legacy. His distinct sound comes from the way he would play his guitar using the direct touch of his thumb on the strings, producing a softer, more melodic tone. The musicians interviewed in the film describe their admiration for Montgomery’s iconic sound and how he still influences them today.

Finch has created several films through his company, Jukeboxer Productions, including a 2015 documentary about author Kurt Vonnegut and a 2018 film titled “Triton: America’s Deep Secret,” a Cold War submarine story.

Finch has been a member of the W&L faculty since 2013 following a distinguished career in television media and journalism. He holds a Bachelor of Science in radio-television from Murray State University and a Master of Arts in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois Springfield.

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