The ancient scholar Petrarch (you know all about him, right?) wrote that “sameness is the mother of disgust, variety the cure.” It’s as if he’d been listening to modern-day radio and dreaming of relief, maybe something on the order of a wildly eclectic live show with feeling, spontaneity and artistry from all over the map. Well brother, we have his answer and yours. Music City Roots is always full of twists and turns, but rarely do we get a smorgasbord of influences like this week’s lineup. There’s no one artist that sums up the night, so here’s a little bit about each of them.
Scott Miller has been our guest before. He’s the perfect example of a guy who can rock it out or folk it up, depending on the circumstances. The former founding member of the V-Roys, icons of the Knoxville Americana scene, has made a string of remarkable albums during a ten-year run as a solo artist. He’s acerbic in a good way and a rather brilliant storyteller and showman. When he played Roots before, he opened the show as a solo act. This week he’ll close the show with a band.
Opening the night we’ll have an all-star songwriter triple-play. Nashville hitmakers Don Henry, Tom Kimmel and Sally Barris – all impressive solo artists in their own right – have banded together into the trio The Waymores. I’ve heard nothing but great stuff about how they blend their voices and their personalities into something “way more” interesting than another Music Row in-the-round. Glad our longstanding efforts to coordinate our crazy schedules finally paid off.
We’ll be hearing next from a very curious band whose YouTube videos have us quite excited. HuDost is a global outfit, with musical influences reaching from the Arab world to Appalachia. They remind me going in of the Duhks or the Ragbirds, but I also have a feeling that the big percussion attack and the bold and beautiful voice of Moksha Sommer will leave us thinking of nobody else. They truly represent the world-spanning vision we have for Music City Roots.
Another returning guest, the Dirt Daubers, rocked our barn a year ago with energized takes on classic mountain folk songs like “Little Birdie.” The voices, the hot banjo and the washtub bass make a lot of music for three people, and we’re excited to welcome J.D. Wilkes and his wife Jessica back to the show.
And last but certainly not least we were able to snag a late-breaking visit from Austin music kingpin Gurf Morlix. He may be best known to followers of alt-country as a long-time bandleader and producer for Lucinda Williams, but if you lived in Austin, you’d know Morlix as an all-around enabler of talent. He’s worked with Patty Griffin, Buddy Miller, Warren Zevon, Ray Wylie Hubbard and a bunch of other eminences. As a solo artist, he’s released seven acclaimed solo albums, including the most recent, a tribute to his late friend Blaze Foley. He’ll have songs and stories about that wild, almost mythical figure.
So be not disgusted. Come join us for a variety-pack of deeply rooted, authentic artistry.