Latest Articles and Interviews
Some folks listening to Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison's new duet album, "Cheaters Game," may well exclaim, ‘Well, it's about time!' after finally hearing these two talented country singer/songwriters recording music as a pair for the first time.
Last fall, singer/songwriter Steve Forbert dropped the 14th studio album of his 35-year career, the impeccable "Over With You." Critics recognized the album as a return to the form Forbert displayed on his earliest works - 1978's stripped back and personal "Alive on Arrival" and 1979's more lushly produced and commercially accessible "Jackrabbit Slim" - but the fact is that Forbert has never strayed far from their basic folk/rock tenets.
Over the course of the past 20 years or so, Jim Lauderdale and Buddy Miller have both experienced a certain rise in their respective rootsy country profiles. Miller has become one of Nashville's hottest speed dial numbers, as an artist, a guitarist-for-hire (a role he has performed for Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris and Robert Plant, among others) and an intuitive producer (he's currently working with Executive Music Producer T Bone Burnett to provide the soundtrack for ABC's "Nashville" television series).
For 16 years, Eddie Stubbs has ruled the airwaves in Nashville; since 1996, he's regaled listeners with stories about country and bluegrass artists new and old, cued up 45s and 78s of classic country songs, and introduced the pure strains of country music and the deep history of that music to everyone who's tuned into 650 WSM-AM.
From 7 p.m. to midnight, Monday through Friday, Stubbs' evening show can be heard over the airwaves on WSM from 38 states and parts of Canada as well as worldwide over wsmoline.com. As the longest-running DJ in that time slot in the 87-year history of the station, Stubbs - the 2002 Country Music Association's Large Market Broadcast Personality of the Year and 2012 inductee into the Country Radio Hall of Fame - has become a legend in his own time, adored by his listeners and beloved by country music artists.
Way, way back in the last century – in 1998, to be exact – an assemblage of Nashville's primo session players and sidemen were looking for a way to kill time between turns on stage at the Grand Ole Opry. Among them was Kenny Sears, a veteran fiddler whose resume included stints with Mel Tillis, Dottie West, Ray Price and Faron Young.
In business, in sports and in music, the conversation often turns to the concept of the indispensible man, the person whose talent elevates the entity in question above all others and whose absence would cause that entity to stumble and fall. The fact is that indispensability is largely a myth; no single person holds that much sway in any given enterprise.
In the midst of what is almost certainly the busiest and most exciting of their dozen or so years as a professional bluegrass band, the Steep Canyon Rangers were en route to a late April festival gig in Texas, touring in support of â€śNobody Knows You," their first â€śsoloâ€ť release in three years (and first on Rounder following four earlier on Rebel).
By Michael Rampa
Trampled by Turtles is one of the best bluegrass bands around, sort of. They hesitate to ascribe any particular label to their unique sound.
When asked to clarify, front man Dave Simonett said, "I don't really know what to say when I'm asked that. I hesitate to say bluegrass because I'm familiar with that kind of music. I feel that is a genre that has set boundaries that, and anytime you stray out of that, you're not really considered a bluegrass band no matter what instruments you're playing on. I would say it's Americana with string instruments, but whatever anyone wants to call it, that's fine."
With its latest full-length, "Leaving Eden," the uniquely modern, old-timey jug and/or string band Carolina Chocolate Drops was faced with the daunting task of following up a highly successful major label debut album. After all, "Genuine Negro Jig" earned the act a Best Traditional Folk Album Grammy.
Martina McBride was introduced at a CMT awards presentation as "one of the greatest voices ever created by God." While debatable that her voice may be the result of divine creation, her high octane soprano is one of the most beautiful and powerful in music.
Her latest studio release, "Eleven" ("Hits And More" came out in January as a greatest hits plus package) is her most personal to date. Most everything about the record is unorthodox starting with its launch via train tour. Twenty years into her career, she severed ties with the long-time label and management that brought her superstar status and with which she has garnered multiple awards and 24 Top 10 singles.