Summer Cool

Time off is good and necessary, especially in the summertime, when the Southern heat and humidity sap one’s strength. We’ve enjoyed our two weeks’ break, but we also find ourselves itching to get back on stage and continue our weekly exploration of the wide Americana music-scape. That happens July 14 at the Loveless Barn when Music City Roots premieres its Summer 2010 season.

We have a lot in store. We’ll feature the itinerant, rail-hopping folk music of Frank Fairfield and the motorcycle-touring quirky country music of Johnny Corndawg, a returning MCR alum. We’ll have pop-folkie Tristen, tagged as a rising star of 2010 by Paste magazine. And we’ll get a listen to Athens, GA roots rockers Futurebirds. But I’m especially excited to tell you about two of the most buzzed-about acts of the past year, Sarah Siskind and The Dexateens.

In the case of Sarah Siskind, I make no pretense of objectivity. She’s an old friend and somebody whose music was so special to me I asked her to sing at my wedding. That was back when she was Nashville’s secret. I first heard and met her in the late 90s when she played the Radio Café in East Nashville. And for all the many singer-songwriters who come and go through this city, I’ve heard nobody who impresses me more in terms of beauty, vision and originality than Sarah. She’s one I always include in my list of the artists you must know from contemporary Nashville.

Siskind is from Winston Salem, NC. Her parents were and remain traditional and bluegrass musicians who are always up for a good jam. Instead of hewing closely to old time sounds, however, Sarah developed a songwriter’s voice that blends mountain and city, poetry and plainspoken expression. Her first big album, Covered, attracted the guitar talents of the great Bill Frisell. Her most recent disc Say It Louder has attracted huge praise from NPR and artists like Al Anderson and Bonnie Raitt. And she’s been tapped of late to share tours with Irish songwriting guru Paul Brady, indie star Bon Iver and Glen Hansard of the big film Once. If you haven’t seen her, make a point.

The Dexateens meanwhile, have been one of the most talked about rock bands of the last couple of years. Hailing from Tuscaloosa Alabama, they’re built around the long-time duo of John Smith and Elliott McPherson. They’ve worked with members of the Silver Jews and the Drive By Truckers in getting their garage-meets-honky-tonk sound on tape. If you loved the Kinks, or Television or the Plimsouls, you’re well on the way to being a Dexateens fan. The bloggers are loving them, and so are we.

So come escape the heat with us, in our cool barn with some cool sounds and a cold beverage. You’ll probably meet some cool folks as well. See you Wednesday.

Craig H

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