If you get a chance, see Jeff Horny’s new documentary “Behind the Confessions,” a close-up portrait of Texas music icon Radney Foster that tracks the making of his new album Revival. It depicts how and why Foster came to become one of the most beloved Texas singer/songwriters of his generation, a guy who has seen success at all the levels where it counts – commercially, critically and perhaps most important, on the sawdust floors of all those Lone Star State honky tonks and arenas, where to this day, folks of all ages line up to see Radney and his band.
We don’t have sawdust at Music City Roots, but we do have Radney Foster on show number eight, and it’s truly an honor. The artist seems especially revved up these days, because this new Revival CD is his most personal and affecting since 1999’s See What You Want To See. I’ve been fortunate to spend some real time with it and the songs are up to and beyond even Radney’s usual high standards. “I Know You Can Hear Me” is just universal in its picture of family love penetrating walls and time. My favorite is probably “Angel Flight” about the air crews who fly fallen soldiers back to their final resting places. He has a new video you need to see.
From Texas to Colorado, we’re importing all kinds of talent to Music City Roots this week. Besides Foster, we’ve got the Emmitt-Nershi band, the elite of Colorado jam grass fusion. Drew Emmitt was a founding member of the legendary Leftover Salmon, and in all his projects he’s built on the radical traditionalism of John Hartford, Vassar Clements and the Grateful Dead. A skilled multi-instrumentalist and showman, he pairs well with guitarist and singer Bill Nershi, founder of the famous String Cheese Incident. Don’t let all this psychedelic food imagery fool you; this is good-time music rooted in the good stuff, and with banjo player Andy Thorn and guitarist Tyler Grant, you’ll be seeing one of the hottest bunches of pickers going.
We’re also proud to present one of the bright new voices on the bluegrass circuit, Donna Ulisse. First, it’s pronounced you-LISS-ee, so say it over and over and tell your friends. This Virginia native has made music all her life and briefly had a country deal back in the day. In recent years she’s taken her lovely bluegrass singing and songwriting to the people and made her first acoustic albums, including this year’s Walk This Mountain Down. Produced by rising bluegrass master Keith Sewell, it’s one of the sleepers of 2009, full of striking original songs. And she delivers them live beautifully. You will become a new fan.
Finally, we’re excited to host Christabel and the Jons, a band in the same vein as Miss Tess and fellow Knoxville-ites the Black Lillies. Expect rhythm sweet and hot with vintage vocals and easy going blues.
It’s like waiting for Christmas. We can’t! But we’ve got to!