Music City Roots Blog

Americana, Deep and Wide

8.24.16 Pano

Typically when I submit these journal entries after an episode of Music City Roots, the only news I have to break is who sang what and maybe something Jim said, wacky and impetuous guy that he is. But today dear friends, we have world-rocking news – news that’s just made the actual newspaper! As I… Read more »

Keeping It Real – MCR 8.24.16

Jars of Clay Promo Pic

  When I started covering music full time in 2000 for the local newspaper, the part of the beat that I found most challenging was Christian pop. It was huge and growing – a parallel world of record labels, publishers and touring that had its own culture and clearly a lot of talent. But I… Read more »

Vox Populi – MCR 8.17.16

8.17.16 Jam

Photo by Shelly Swanger. For a full slideshow of the show click here!   As the (inexplicably) controversial Dixie Chicks took the stage in downtown Nashville for the first time in years and as the campaign trail increasingly resembled a David Foster Wallace novel, a simple man with a simple musical plan took our stage… Read more »

Welcome Shelly Swanger!


We’re thrilled to welcome to the team our new in-house photographer Shelly Swanger. Here’s a bit from her website bio: Growing up in Memphis, I was always a dreamer. I loved music and all things visual. I used to take my Grandmother’s Kodak Instamatic camera and play around with it all the time. My true love… Read more »

Hitting The Spot – MCR 8.17.16

Tim Carroll Promo Pic MCR

I keep an obscure volume on the reference book shelf next to my desk called Modern Twang: An Alternative Country Music Guide and Directory, published in 1999 by David Goodwin. It’s a time capsule of where our music was at the end of the century and the dawn of the Americana chart, so it’s fun… Read more »

Melting Pot – MCR 8.10.16

8.10.16 Jam

    The contrasts between two of this week’s leading men couldn’t have been more striking. One, a 19-year-old African American with Choctaw blood who performs down home parade music in a big blue feathered suit. The other, a lanky 55-year-old violinist/fiddler who’s spent much of the last two decades on the finest concert stages… Read more »

Fiddles and Feathers – MCR 8.10.16

O'Connor Band Promo Pic MCR

Most of my roots and bluegrass music epiphanies came in the 1980s and 90s so it was inevitable that Mark O’Connor would keep popping up on my radar screen and my then-new, fancy pants CD player. He was far and away the field’s top fiddler (though the term doesn’t do justice to his scope and… Read more »

Automatic Americana – MCR 8.3.16

08.03.16 Blogpic

I’ll remember this week’s show for two standout things, I suspect. First is hearing Jim Lauderdale get back to deep country music with a shockingly great band playing unreleased songs. Second, it was the first Roots where our teen daughter came out with me A) of her own free will and B) to help out… Read more »

Wagon Masters – MCR 8.3.16

16-08-03 carousel

Every week I rifle through the catalog and web histories of our upcoming Roots guest artists looking for connections, themes or trends that might help all of us better prepare for the music ahead. Sometimes it’s something historical or regional or genre-based, but this week it’s just a hilarious and frankly meaningless coincidence. The same… Read more »

Rockin’ Revelry – MCR 7.27.16

6.27.16 Jam

Compared to our long-time (and sadly former) house photographer Tony Scarlati or Nashville standouts like John Partipilo and Bill Steber, I’m an absolute hack behind a still camera. But I think I have a good eye, and frequently I see on the Roots stage a fleeting moment or a juxtaposition that I wish I could… Read more »