Halfway through James Intveld’s swooning, swaying deep-country set at the Loveless Barn last night, my friend Tom Perryman said “he’s hot!” and I thought ‘Well, he should know.’ And I thought how if it had merely been 1958, Intveld would have been a top artist on Decca or Mercury or Capitol putting out records that would have fit great between Ray Price and Faron Young and that Perryman would have been spinning his 45s on his WSM overnight show.
You see, Perryman, our guest of honor last night, was one of the first overnight DJs on WSM (starting in 1956) and one of the founders of the Country Music Disc Jockeys Association, which later morphed into the CMA. And he’s a member of the Country Music DJ Hall of Fame. So when he and his wife Billie called to say they were in town, I knew I had to get them out to Music City Roots. I had a feeling he’d appreciate the way the show tries to tap into the energy and honesty of radio from the years he was with WSM.
I really wish more people knew about Intveld. He’s a torch-carrier if ever there was one – but nobody’s retro act. He’s a contemporary and friend and collaborator of and with the stars of the LA country wave of the 1980s, including Dwight Yoakam and Rosie Flores (who had success with Intveld’s song “Cryin’ Over You.” He’s every bit as magnetic as they are, and with a big band graced with two lovely backup singers, James brought some real magic.
Our hillbilly lineup was bookended by two superb bluegrass bands. Josh Williams, who kicked off the night, is a 28-year-old rising star who sings and plays the flat-top guitar in the manner of his hero Tony Rice. He has a top-flight, rangy voice and his guitar chops are famous; he just won his second consecutive IBMA Guitar Player of the Year Award, and he showed us all why.
Capping off the show we had the Grascals, certainly one of the top acts on the circuit today. Their strengths are many, but for me it comes down to the strong three-part vocal attack and their open-minded approach to repertoire. Last night they did the Monkees song “Last Train To Clarksville” and made it sound like it might have been written by Carter Stanley. Hey it has a train in it right? Thanks to founding members Jamie Johnson and Terry Eldridge for a great on-stage interview where they talked about their busy, busy year on stage and in the studio.
You can hear my interview with our Vietti Emerging Artist Shawn Byrne elsewhere on the website. He’s a buddy of mine and a neighbor, so it was a pleasure to have him out at the show, because he’s as talented as he his nice. He took the show into more eclectic and rock-influenced terrain with his too-short set. We’re hoping to have him back.
Hey, and one last word. They’ve moved Eddie Stubbs’ post-show DJ set from the stage up to the Loveless Barn loft, and it’s a sweet scene up there. Trouble is nobody seems to know that after our show you can hang out, have a beer and chat with Eddie between songs. They brought him a beautiful WSM desk and it’s a great hang. Be sure to come upstairs and plan on staying late.
‘Til next time.