Each week I look at the lineups for Music City Roots and think to myself, ‘what’s the theme?’ What’s the hidden connection between these artists who were booked on this special day, because that’s when their booking agent said they’re available? Sometimes we set out to design a show and sometimes a collection of artists falls together by happenstance and the alignment of the planets. But always, always, always, they share one thing in common, and that’s a fealty to the founding fathers and mothers of our nation’s musical life – the traditions that bind us and define us, whether plunked on a clawhammer banjo, blown on a trumpet or shredded on an electric guitar.
This is one of those planetary weeks, but it sure looks like fun. For one thing, we’re getting a full set from a guy who came to us earlier this year as a Vietti emerging artist. And when David Jacobs-Strain played a few songs we all said, ‘hold everything, he hath emerged!’ The touch and tension on the guitar, the searing slide, the rough hewn voice so wise beyond his years and the SONGS, well, everyone in the Loveless Barn was blown away, and we know you will be if you come out this week for a full dose of the DJS experience.
From the bluegrass camp, we’re being visited by a group that is new but by no means green. Five veterans of stage and studio, including Adam Steffey, the great mandolinist from Alison Krauss and Union Station and the Dan Tyminski Band, have formed The Boxcars. Three of the guys have been with J.D. Crowe and the New South. The great Ron Stewart plays banjo and a few other things besides. It will be a great showcase for the superb material Steffey put out on his under-exposed solo album of 2009, One More For The Road.
From the department of spooky gothic roots music, we’ll be visited by the Pine Hill Haints, an Alabama with a penchant for songs about ghost trains and hanging hills. We don’t expect it to be too scary though. And rounding out the night, we’ll experience the songwriting prowess of Ernie Hendrickson, a prize winner at Mountain Stage and a new favorite in the Americana scene.
So we hope your planets line up and you can find yourself transported to the Loveless Barn on Wednesday night. The Haints’ll haunt you if you don’t.