Dobro players are an interesting lot. As hard as all the folks work who learn guitar, fiddle, banjo or bass, the guy or gal who feels the calling of the resonator guitar, with its sliding angularity, has to work harder. It’s unbelievably demanding on the right hand with its speed and timing, and over on the left, you’re on your own for hitting the right notes, without the aid of the guitar or mandolin’s frets. It takes a certain brassiness to even try.
So when you meet a dobro player, chances are they’ve got all kinds of musical skills. They’re often composers, band leaders, arrangers. But friends, few if any have as many musical credentials as our guest this week Randy Kohrs. He didn’t let all those hours woodshedding on his premiere instrument keep him from developing a complete presence as a songwriter, singer, solo artist and producer. He’s been showing up in prominent places since he rolled into Nashville from his Midwest home turf in 1994.
Randy got a gig with fast and furious Hank III then with mellow and bluesy Tom T. Hall. He spent time as part of Dave Parmley’s Continental Divide and Dolly Parton’s band. As a sideman, he’s sung tenor to John Cowan (ouch, that’s high) and played the signature dobro riffs on Dierks Bentley’s breakout radio hit. And he’s produced a bunch of records, notably Jim Lauderdale’s Grammy Award-winning Bluegrass Diaries.
But Randy has saved most of his energy for his own career as a recording artist, and anyone who loves strong bluegrass-influenced country should take note. He’s made five strong or fabulous solo albums, most recently Quicksand. He’s sure to play a bunch of music from that very new disc when he takes the stage at Roots. We’re thrilled to have him.
It’s a bluegrassy night in general at the show. We’ve got the striking voice and band of Larry Stephenson, one of the greatest traditionalists going. He’s beginning his third decade as a flagship artist of the great Pinecastle label, and his talents have earned him a slew of awards. On the more uproarious side of the grass equation, we’ve got Split Lip Rayfield on tap. Remember Dex Romweber? Well imagine him with two other guys playing acoustic thrash-grass. Should be interesting.
Finally, we’re welcoming The Supple Station Trio to our Vietti Chili emerging artist slot. Youth continues to thrive in bluegrass, so we’ll be excited to hear what these high school age folks bring to the stage.
So slide on down to the Loveless. It’s gonna be another good’un.