NEW YORK (AP) – VH1 is getting back to the music – and the music makers.

After making its name as a powerhouse in music television, VH1 shifted its focus in recent years to pop culture and nostalgia shows (think “I Love the 80s”).

Now, it’s back to focusing on the music and those who make it with “VH1’s April Music Month,” a month of fresh programming that will offer live performances, music video premieres and specials.

“VH1 is about music, artists and pop culture,” said Christina Norman, the network’s president. “We’ve been spending so much time on the pop culture aspects; although the music aspects have not gone away, we felt it was time to focus on the music.”

And the effort seems to be resonating with musicians and performers, who have lined up to participate.

The music kicks off Saturday with the return of “Storytellers,” a 90-minute show that gives musicians a setting to tell the story behind a particular song and then perform the song live before an intimate audience. First up: “Storytellers: Green Day” (10 p.m.) which will see the punk trio perform the 13 songs from their critically and commercially acclaimed “American Idiot” album.

“All of my favorite stories are stories behind my favorite songs. It’s the true history and story of the band,” Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong told The Associated Press.

The song Armstrong said he looks forward to telling the audience about is “Jesus of Suburbia,” the disturbing portrait of Bush era suburbia and a turning point for the band during the recording process.

Armstrong said he was pleased VH1 has returned the focus to music.

“Music should always be the focus of music television. It’s what people truly want from that kind of programming,” Armstrong said.

Since most of the channels have gone “to more long-form programming,” R&B singer John Legend said: “It does mean something that they are saying “Let’s focus on the music.”‘

The highlight of the music month, though, is “Save The Music: A Concert To Benefit The VH1 Save The Music Foundation,” which airs 9 p.m. April 17. Lined up to perform in the concert, which will raise money for music education in public schools, are Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys, Joss Stone, Rob Thomas, Legend and others.

“Great artists, great cause. It’s a no-brainer,” said Legend, whose debut album “Get Lifted” has spawned the hit single “Ordinary People.”

Thomas of matchbox twenty said the benefit concert was the draw for him.

“I realize now how much better a musician I would have been if I had paid more attention in school to music,” he said. “Now with the budget problems, music and art are the first things to go. But that’s what makes us human. It makes us able to understand each other.”

Thomas said he’s heard the common criticism of music television: “The amount of music they don’t play.”

But he says he understands it to an extent.

“They are more like pop culture channels than just music channels. That’s not a bad thing. But that’s why they have come out with these other channels like … VH1 Classic. It puts the focus on music,” he said.

As part of the focus, VH1 will offer new music or music-related programming daily:

• Mondays: VH1 will offer a prime-time video world premiere from the Black Eyed Peas and the Dave Matthews Band, among others.

• Tuesdays: New episodes of “” at 11:30 p.m., featuring performances from the Killers, Kelly Clarkson, Keane and others.

• Wednesdays: “Movies That Rock,” film with strong music stories or themes. Among them, Eminem’s “8 Mile” and “Brown Sugar,” starring Taye Diggs and Sanaa Latham.

• Thursdays: New music specials and rockumentaries. Among the specials: “Eminem: The Ultimate Encore,” which takes a look at the rapper’s new music and videos from his upcoming album, and “All Access Spotlight: U2,” which documents the band’s every step as they prepare for their world tour. Also, new episodes of “Remaking,” the celebrity makeover show, and “Behind The Music.”

• Fridays: Over on VH1 Classic, various concerts, beginning with Duran Duran’s 1984 tour documentary “Sing Blue Silver.”

• Saturdays: Various programming on VH1’s channels, highlighted by an April 23 “Storytellers” installment with Bruce Springsteen at 10 p.m.

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