We do try to stay on the cutting edge of antique-inspired music here at Music City Roots, and in all humility, I think we’ve nailed it this week. We’ve got a superb lineup that’s going to wrap up with two acts that comprise a remarkably wide picture of what’s going on in Americana/roots/indie music. One’s a songwriter from here in Nashville who was tapped this summer to tour with the super-hot Civil Wars. The other’s an uproarious band from New York that’s leading that city’s old-time country music revival scene.
Rayland Baxter has Nashville/music biz pedigree. It’s not going to tell you anything about his music, nor is it the most important thing about him, but his dad is Bucky Baxter, who played steel and other instruments in session and on the road with Bob Dylan, Steve Earle and others. Those songwriters certainly have ties to the tradition in which Rayland works, but instead of elaborate, literary lyrics or edgy snarl, Rayland scores with very direct words and melodies. He got on folks’ radars in a big way with 2010 EP called The Miscalculation of Song. Then this summer he opened a bunch of dates for the Civil Wars, one of the hottest tours of the summer in Americana music. A full length debut album is coming very soon from Rayland. We’ll be sure to ask him about it.
Closing the show will be New York’s Defibulators. No, that’s not quite the same word as defibrillator, but they DO tour in an old ambulance, and they will get your heart started. It’s one of those stories that can only be explained by the enduring power of music. A bunch (seven!) of Brooklyn transplants discover each other and a shared love of old-time hillbilly music. Playing turns to gigging turns to touring and the release of the wildly well received debut album Corn Money in 2010. The authoritative Crawdaddy magazine described them thusly: “The six-man, one-woman band blends bluegrass, country, honky tonk, rockabilly, Dixieland jazz, punk, and maybe a touch of anti-folk into an intoxicating, good-time mélange that’s guaranteed to slap a smile on your face. Roots-heavy, post-punk music that reinvents the conventions of country music with a CBGB-meets-Grand Ole Opry feel.”
I first saw the Defibs at Bristol Rhythm & Roots last year and then soon thereafter on our own Roots stage. It’s a big sound and a great time.
The night will be rounded out with the local roots rock of Tommy Womack, the atmospheric folk pop of Valley Young and Toronto singing/songwriting up-and-comer Jerry Leger. Come on out. Your heart will thank you.