Music City Roots Blog

Great Guns – 2.22.17

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The theme of Folk Alliance International in Kansas City, where I’m filing this dispatch, was “Forbidden Folk: Celebrating Activism in Art,” and heaven knows our community, our whole national community, is mobilizing like we’ve not seen in decades. I’ve heard many shades of anthems, declarations, pleas and protests, but it’s not been as confrontational as… Read more »

They Got Real Gone


  I don’t often lead these reports with our Nashville Jam, but sometimes our show-closing, all-hands feature goes exceptionally well. And this week it felt like some cathartic starburst that brought together all of the energies and chemistries of the nights four acts. And that is exactly what it’s supposed to do under ideal circumstances…. Read more »

Inside Lane – MCR 2.15.17


We in Americana-land are always going on about authenticity and its many meanings and implications. Not that we insist that singers of country music come from the country, but we do basically expect that an artist is figuratively coming from someplace that’s true to themselves and not putting on a costume or show-biz affectations that… Read more »

Million Dollar Quartet


    Later this month (2/23), the series SUN Records premieres on CMT, with music supervision by friend of the show and friend of hillbilly music Chuck Mead. We’ve been thrilled to follow Chuck’s journey on this unexpectedly large gig. Years ago he was hired to keep the music real in the then off-Broadway production… Read more »

Twang Cheese Incident – 2.8.17!


One of the more enlightening and enlivening ways to start your week is dropping by Tommy Womack’s web world for his “Monday Morning Cup of Coffee” video series. It’s cathartic indeed to sip the black nectar along with our roots rock hero and join the emphatic “Ahhhhhhh” that follows. This week, Tommy previewed the impending… Read more »

All Trad. No Rad.

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We at Roots probably have you conditioned by now so that when we say “bluegrass” you know we mean the whole range, from roots to branches. Our all-bluegrass shows generally include a Greensky or a Sam Bush Band, because one of the greatest things about the field is its freedom. It’s one of the ultimate… Read more »

Mid-Winter Bluegrass


As January turns to February, many people slide into the mid-winter blues. But a hale and hearty group of American music fans and music makers take up banjos against their sea of troubles and head to Nashville for mid-winter bluegrass instead. The gathering has a grand name – the Society For The Preservation of Bluegrass… Read more »

De La Soul – MCR 1.25.17


Soul is that staggeringly overused but somehow necessary word in music writing, and don’t even get me started on “soulful.” Yes, I’ve used it. Yes, it’s a crutch. And yes, it is real. We heard it in a couple of bands this week that I think are going to be lighting up your concert calendars… Read more »

That Buzz We Love


  Every now and then in this journal I am prompted to remark on and refresh my own appreciation for music’s capacity to surprise and thereby achieve something insanely rarified and special in this journey we call life. As we age, we are subject to repetitions of everything until, despite ourselves, we grow inured. Even… Read more »

Salty Songs and Songwriters


      I got to meet country singer and songwriter Cody Jinks on Wednesday, and I am pleased to report that, as his album title asserts, he is Not The Devil. While his merch is full of flaming skulls and his web site depicts him as the black-bearded former death metal artist turned honky… Read more »