The Roots of Oates

It might not be immediately obvious listening to “Private Eyes” or “Kiss Is On My List,” but John Oates of the smash duo Hall & Oates cut his teeth on real deal folk and roots music. It wasn’t all he listened to as a young guy growing up outside of Philadelphia in the 50s and 60s, to be sure, but he says Doc Watson and Mississippi John Hurt were among his favorites.

Even Hall & Oates had more folk influence layered in there than the critics gave them credit for he says. As Oates told American Songwriter this year: “If you really want to steal what we do, it’s this blending of acoustic traditional American music with urban R&B. You put those two things together, and that’s what we evolved into. That’s this common foundation that we have that never seems to go away.”

And of late Mr. Oates, a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, has been right there with legends Robert Plant and Elvis Costello in hanging out and making music with Americana music champions. A few years ago, as I understand it, John Oates met Sam Bush at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and they wound up doing “Maneater” on stage in the reggae style in which Oates originally wrote it. The chemistry worked and Bush contributed to Oates’ 2008 album 1,000 Miles of Life. And now Oates is coming with a new, even rootsier album that was also recorded in Nashville with Nashville cats. I’m looking forward to getting the full story in my interviews this week on the show.

Yes, Music City Roots should be exciting on Wednesday, because our pal Sam Bush will be working with Oates as well as playing his own set. And completing the family scene will be a set from the amazing Jeff Black, a complex songwriter who has given Bush many of his signature songs a frontman, including the always popular “Same Ol’ River.” Rounding out the night will be North Carolina-based rocking folkie Brian McGee and Yarn, a band I’m very excited about that updates the Flying Burrito Brothers vibe.

Come join us for a Blackstone beer, some Loveless down home cuisine and a varied night of music and stories, plus guest host Webb Wilder and guest emcee Kyle Cantrell. Like the chicken, we’ll be winging it.

Craig H

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