Music City Roots Blog

Carolina & Celtic

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You may know that a couple of years ago during World of Bluegrass in Raleigh I got a silhouette of my home state North Carolina tattooed on my left forearm. It was a gesture of pride in the place that birthed Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, Edward R. Murrow and Jim Lauderdale, among other claims to… Read more »

Collectivism – MCR 5.25.16

My Bubba, Bonnie Bishop, Session Americana and Dave Eggar and friends perform at Music City Roots Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at The Factory in Franklin in Franklin, Tenn. PHOTO BY STEVE HARMAN

While it has a decidedly mixed track record as a political philosophy, there’s a lot to love about musical collectives. They tend to spring out of scenes and communities, which comports with roots music values. And the format – a core band with fluxing instrumentation – lets every show take on its own personality. If… Read more »

Bishop Takes Queen – MCR 5.25.16

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We music scribes are writing about Dave Cobb a lot these days, but for good reason. The Geogia-raised musician moved from LA to Nashville in 2011 and quickly became the most admired and successful record producer in the city, steering projects that did brisk sales and topped the critics’ charts as well. MCR Alums who’ve… Read more »

We Knew A Guy – MCR 5.18.16

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The week was dominated by the passing of the mighty Guy Clark, a painful farewell that we’ve seen coming for some time. It’s different than the loss of the world-famous Merle Haggard, because Guy was more of an intimate, an artist and man woven in to the fabric and family of Nashville. We knew him… Read more »

A Really Big Shewww – MCR 5.18.16

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Life’s full of trade-offs, and one price we’ve paid as a society for the micro-targeted, ultra-personalized media world we now inhabit is the end of the galvanizing national TV event. It’s incredibly rare that any one cultural moment is seen live and simultaneously by most Americans. One of the biggest ever of course was The… Read more »

British Invasion – MCR 5.11.16

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You are aware, I hope, that it’s been a huge week for underdog lovers of the world in England. Scrappy, cinematic Leicester City beat preseason odds of 5,000-1 to win the coveted English Premiere League season title in soccer, a run that’s being called the biggest upset in the history of sports. The team is… Read more »

Tear ‘Em Down – MCR 5.11.16

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There’s been a lot of loose talk about walls lately, and without getting too particular, I know I speak on behalf of an overwhelming majority of roots musicians when I say that Americana doesn’t do walls. In fact one of the most vital and attractive reasons to respect roots music is that it enabled America’s… Read more »

Entertain Us – MCR 5.4.16

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It’s always a good day at work when a conga line breaks out. In this case it was the Shinyribs Express snaking all around the audience in Liberty Hall, with the Austin roots music Svengali Kevin Russell leading the parade in a mint green suit. Our lineup of four-by-four excellence and rootsy variety would have… Read more »

The Soul of Country – MCR 5.4.16

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When they write the history of roots and Americana music in the 21st century (or maybe when I write it, if somebody gives me funding) I think two broad themes will be front and center. One is the passing of the bluegrass/newgrass torch to a new generation of formally trained, deeply eclectic string bands, i.e…. Read more »

Group Dynamics – MCR 4.27.16

4.27.16 Jam

We had this incredible group, the Whiskey Buffalo Brothers String Band, at Music City Roots this week, and I have to wonder why we didn’t think of inviting these folks before; the show was simply stellar. Okay I jest, but our four bands did seem to fit together into some kind of platonic ideal of… Read more »