Dear Friends of Music City Roots,
We are excitedly preparing for our annual Thanksgiving eve show with its cast of outstanding and familiar artists who have become part of a real tradition for us. More on that in a moment, but first a word about how traditions like ours become possible.
We have been on the air now for four years, and it has been an incredible adventure and privilege to curate a nationally-recognized showcase for artists of integrity and mastery who are working in or passing through today’s Nashville. We’ve heard folks we admire say we’re doing a good job and that Roots is an asset to Music City and to the new independent music business. Jerry Douglas (our hero) said we’re tapping the spirit of the early days of the Grand Ole Opry. Mayor Karl Dean has called Roots a must see show for tourists visiting Nashville. Our friend John Oates said he comes “with full faith that whomever is performing will be amazing.” That validates our mission, so we deeply appreciate it. We also deeply appreciate you, those who’ve been with us from the start and those who’ve joined the bandwagon. As we head into this week’s Thanksgiving show, a perennial favorite, we extend our deepest gratitude.
And now we need your help. For the first time ever, we are turning to you, our friends and believers, for contributions to our operating overhead. We’ve definitely learned how much it costs to do this show the way we think it ought to be done, cutting no corners, including the multi-camera, professionally directed webcast, Tony Scarlati’s gorgeous photography, quality audio and hospitality for our artists and their teams.
We give all of our content away, through local live radio, webcast, syndicated radio, YouTube and the 24/7 streaming RootsRadio.com. The ten dollar ticket at the door for a live Loveless show goes to the artists that night, as it should. Our wonderful sponsors cover about 80% of our production costs. We are confident that you, our community can easily make up the rest and put us on solid ground for the long term.
Speaking of tickets, our fund raiser is called the Buy A Ticket Campaign. We’re calling on you to buy at least a ten dollar virtual “ticket” at our website as your contribution to keeping MCR on the air and free. We’d appreciate it if you could offer more, and it will be clear how to do that when you visit our Donate page. If everyone who enjoys Roots on the web, the radio or TV contributes just that small amount each year, we’d be able to fully cover our costs and expand our mission.
(This is a heads-up for now. Our donations page and on-line cash register will go live later this week!)
As for the artists playing the show on this special Wednesday night, when for many of us the Holiday Season truly begins, they’re like family. 18 South was on one of our earliest shows, soon after this assemblage of Music City master musicians and songwriters got together. There’s just nothing like the vocal blend of singers Jessi Alexander and her husband Jon Randall Stewart. Guthrie Trapp is a dazzling, crafty guitarist. Jimmy Wallace plays New Orleans-fueled piano and contributes some of the band’s most entertaining songs. Physically in back but spiritually holding the whole thing on their shoulders is the rhythm section of Mike Bub and Larry Atamanuik. It’s chemistry is what it is, and it’s special.
We’ll open the show this time with Mike Farris, whose rock gospel career has been well documented on this blog and on our stage. Whether solo with an acoustic guitar or backed by a big band and a chorale of singers, his electrifying voice touches the soul. We’ll get to hear a set that always makes me giddy, because Shawn Camp is the kind of country I feel for when I fell for Johnny Cash, Buck Owens and Marty Stuart. Camp has seen his star rise as a songwriter and he’s seen his earliest solo album re-issued by a major label not because it was bound for radio hit-world but because it was so undeniably good and so abjectly sad that it was out of print. He’s quite a picker too.
And Thanksgiving Eve will close with John Cowan, who somehow builds a bridge between bluegrass, blue-eyed soul and grand opera. His tenor voice soars with emotion and clarity; it’s the gift that got him gigs as a leader of New Grass Revival and as a member of the vocally magisterial Doobie Brothers. And his repertoire is just plain cool, with hits from the NGR days, modern-day newgrass discoveries and string jazz instrumentals. We’ll hear details about the new album he’s cooking up now with guest artists who will blow your mind.
So whether you’re near our barn or around the world, please join us for this night and for as many others as you can. Dive into our archives and see the depth that’s there, built up through more than 700 exceptional performances. Please share this message and let your friends know about what we do. Buy a $10 ticket at our web site or name your own contribution to our effort. Join us in trying to give the artists who come through the best possible chance of long term success. That’s what gratitude is all about.