Back in the day, there wasn’t one thing called country and another called bluegrass. It was all country (or hillbilly) music then, and everybody appeared side by side on the barn dances and in the record bins. This week’s Music City Roots recalls that era with one classic country singer and two state-of-the-art bluegrass bands.
Lanky and lean James Intveld comes out of the same LA alternative country scene of the 1980s and 90s that produced Dwight Yoakam and Rosie Flores among many others. With a dashing look and an artful voice, Intveld draws clear influences from Waylon Jennings, Marty Robbins and even a little bit of Orbison and Elvis. He’s also an actor/director who’s co-starred with Billy Bob Thornton and others. It’s a cool cocktail, but the main event are his songs – straight and simple like shots of bourbon. If you haven’t experienced Intveld, this would be the perfect time.
Then MCR will spirit you from the LA/Bakersfield axis to the mountain states of the East for a double shot of bluegrass. For the aficionados of the flat-top guitar (not to mention tall handsome singers), we’ll be featuring the Josh Williams Band. After four years with Rhonda Vincent and The Rage, Josh formed his own group. Not long after that he took two consecutive IBMA award for guitar player of the year, including the fall of 2009. Rest assured, he’s got the songs and the singing chops too, but crowds in Nashville always appreciate a tasty, speedy picker, and in Josh you’ll meet one of the finest.
And speaking of IBMA recognition, we’re fortunate to host the Grascals, two-time winners of the IBMA’s top prize – Entertainers of the Year. Formed in 2004 as something of a Nashville sideman super-group, the Grascals have toured as Dolly Parton’s bluegrass band, played every major festival and released three albums on Rounder Records. With the recent addition of banjo player Kristen Scott Benson, the band took on new chemistry this year, but their commitment to the rich bluegrass tradition and classic country music continues to make them one of the top acts in acoustic music.