Have You Herd?

Like last year’s awesome Double Rainbow guy, I sometimes just stand there astonished, meekly asking “What does it MEAN?” Case in point – studying the Music City Roots lineup for Wednesday. We’ll be visited by: A star of the singer/songwriter circuit. A semi-ironic old-school country band. A dulcet-toned newcomer with a showpiece moustache. A hot folk/rock outfit. And my favorite dance band in the world. It’s a smorgasbord. It’s musical tapas. And I’m hungry.

Opening up the evening will be Catie Curtis, one of the kingpins of the 1990s Boston folk scene and a veteran of the early Lilith Fair tours. She’s had all kinds of songs on major television shows and played the White House. Her powerful stories and sweet voice have made her a star of the genre. And now she’s on Nashville’s own Compass Records and making her albums in Music City. She’ll sooth your soul.

On the front end of his singer/songwriter career is Rayland Baxter, a compelling fellow from tiny town Tennessee who starts with deep roots influences and uses them to inform his own stories and voice. He has buzz (as in reputation, not haircut), so we’ll be pleased to help make it louder. Up next we’ve got The Cleverlys, a band I keep hearing is great. They certainly LOOK like something different, this band of not-exactly young gentlemen who may or may not be brothers but whose taste for thrift store suits, thick glasses and cowboy hats is not to be impugned.

The Black Lillies are becoming Roots regulars, which is a treat for us because they also seem to be landing the biggest possible gigs out there: Bonnaroo, the Ryman, Rhythm And Roots… They’ve got an all-star lineup from the Knoxville music scene and a sound that is a near perfect fusion of old-time and smart modern pop. Their badass name helps too.

And in a late-breaking lucky break, we got a call from the guys in Donna The Buffalo. Could they join in this week? Absolutely! These twenty-year veterans of the roots circuit pull in more influences than just about any band I know. But they make me want to dance with the poly-rhythmic zydeco backbeat that underlies most of their open-eyed, socially conscious songs. They always draw a great group from their fan base, affectionately called The Herd. So get there early to carve out space on the dance floor.

Craig H


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