If this week’s show was presented like a resume, you wouldn’t believe it. You’d call a few references to check it out. “So, this bunch SAYS it wrote a massive hit for Eric Clapton, had a multi-platinum country album, fiddled with the Texas Playboys and played guitar for the legendary Sam Bush? Really?”
Yes, really. Let’s break it down.
Start with Danny Flowers, one of those reasons Nashville has the world’s deepest musical bench. He left his home town of Henderson, North Carolina as a teenager and began exploring the world with music as his muse. He met and befriended Emmylou Harris then developed the chops to back up a range of artists like Dobie Gray and new Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Don Williams. He worked with past MCR guests Gove Scrivenor and Cowboy Jack Clement. And his quiet contributions became a bit less quiet when he wrote “Tulsa Time” in a hotel room and played it for Don Williams and Eric Clapton, who were on tour together. They both recorded it.
As a recording artist, Flowers has been, um, selective. His most recent album Tools For The Soul is only the second or third in a long career. But as with his spare and carefully chosen gestures on his slide guitar, his recordings are works of grace, grit and beauty. Tools has been compared to Buddy Miller’s United Universal House of Prayer for its gospel foundation and redemptive themes. We’re sure he’ll have some great stories to go with his songs.
And we’ll be hearing from David Ball, who hails from that other Carolina and who made his name initially as a member of Uncle Walt’s Band with Walter Hyatt. Truly one of the most innovative and inspired ensembles ever to never make the big time, UWB put Ball’s comprehensive musicianship to great use and polished him up for a solo career. He became a country standout with his single “Thinkin’ Problem,” one of the greatest stone cold country songs of the 1990s and a radio perennial. His surprise 2002 single “Riding With Private Malone” shot up the charts and gave lovers of real country music a nice shot in the arm. Now Ball returns with his first album of new material in many years, and we hope to hear some songs from that disc, due this spring, on the Roots stage.
Riding along with Ball and Flowers will be a couple of bluegrass music’s hot sidemen who’ve formed their own enterprise. Nedski and Mojo is not a skateboard manufacturer but a duo of Ned Luberecki, banjo man and radio broadcaster, and Stephen Mougin, guitarist in the Sam Bush Band. As a duo, these guys cut up, pick hard, sing great and generally make folks glad they came out.
Also as proficient with her voice as her instrument is the lovely Amanda Shires, a Texas-raised fiddler/singer/guitarist/songwriter/rising star. At 16 years old she went to work for Tommy Allsup and the Texas Playboys and has chased music ever since. She’s been a valued band member for many of our favorite artists, and she’s recently been traveling the world in a duo with Americana troubadour Rod Picott. But her solo breakthrough album West Cross Timbers is showing the way to a very interesting solo career.
Last but not least, as they say, is a newcomer to our barn, Mr. Jerry Leger, a true folkie from Toronto, Canada and a favorite of the great Ron Sexsmith. That’s good enough for us. Can’t wait to hear Mr. Leger turn in some tunes.
Wow. Great. Y’all are hired. When can you start? Wednesday at 7 would be just great.