Nothin’ But The Honey

You guys know Eddie Stubbs, right? The great country music DJ. An icon of broadcasting in the modern age AND a throwback in the best sense of the word. Very importantly to us, he was the first emcee of Music City Roots. For a year, we were on the legendary WSM 650 AM (near to your correspondent’s heart) and Eddie was our first man behind the podium. Of course he and our own Keith Bilbrey worked together for ages at WSM and the Grand Ole Opry. I say this because it’s important to grasp the continuity from Nashville’s first big important radio station to what we do today. Eddie is an amazing person and one of our heroes. There’s even a picture of him hanging back stage.

So Eddie has a thing he says (as a good DJ should have) when a record is just oh-so-fine-it-hurts. “Nothin’ but the honey,” he’ll intone in that resonant baritone. He might say it about a rare Carl Smith record or a Buddy Emmons steel solo. It’s one of his ways of pointing his listeners to the greatest of the great.

Nothin’ but the honey is the standard we aspire to in booking Music City Roots, and this week it would seem we’ve hit our target in a very literal way. Honeyhoney, the band so nice they named themselves twice, is coming to play, and we feel like we scored a coup. This very popular Los Angeles based duo of Suzanne Santo and Ben Jaffe is less sweet than they sound, with songs that go to dark places and shed some light. She plays fiddle and banjo but even more, she sings with an etched alto that whips you around on songs like “Little Toy Gun” and confesses on the amazing track “Glad That I’ve Done What I Did.” Jaffe’s harmony vocals always kick in at the right time, and he seems to contribute punch in a variety of ways, from acoustic guitar to kickdrum to songwriting. The music is mostly rooted in country, and when the tinges of pop are layered in, it’s a pretty thrilling sound. We are excited excited about Honeyhoney.

And what about the rest of this lineup, huh? Rod Picott will be at the barn, fresh off another tour in the UK where he’s practically been knighted as Americana royalty. I’ve known Rod since the late 90s when I’d play at his storied Fireside Whisky Hour songwriter nights at the long-gone Guido’s near Vanderbilt. I was knocked out then by his song “Angels & Acrobats” and he’s continued to impress and grow over the years with songs that clarify and satisfy. The current album Welding Burns has been justly celebrated as one of the standout releases of 2011, and Rod won a bunch of awards for it from Freeform American Roots Radio.

Derek Hoke returns to the show, and since he last swung by, his swinging take on cool country music has been recognized nationally on NPR, Daytrotter and elsewhere. The new album Waiting All Night is a charmer, with an ease that’s rare and seductive. We could easily have had him out for East Nashville night last week, because he’s made such an impact with his Two Dollar Tuesdays at the Five Spot. But hey, we’ve got him now.

Who else we got? We got Barry Waldrep that’s who. The Atlanta music maven returns with his ever-changing cast of special guests and side-talents. He’ll be performing with Paris Luna, a hot vocal talent he’s just produced and Bob Banergee, fiddler from Gaelic Storm. There’s sure to be some stormy picking, with Barry’s multifaceted chops.

And new for me will be Delta Moon, a band built around the sliding, aching guitars of Tom Gray and Mark Johnson. Also Atlanta-based, we’ve got a feeling they’re pals with Waldrep. We’ll find out in the interview room by golly. They sound like the deep, dark and dank real deal. Love what I’ve heard on the ‘net.

And so, join us at the barn. Doors at 6. Show at 7. Tell your friends to tune in live via Lightning 100 or the webcast. It’ll be sweet.

Craig H.

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