Music City Roots Blog

From Boston to Austin

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Two music cities that could scarcely be more different in tone, history, climate, architecture or sound will shape Music City Roots this week. But that’s what’s grand about America and Americana. Boston is the epitome of the old Eastern fine arts, and it has a decades old bluegrass scene as well. Improbably, those spirits have… Read more »

Rising Above – 11.9.16

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  It’s my last intent in the world to make this column “all political” but it wouldn’t be an honest review of 11.9.16 without noting that as our team/family got together for show day, we were all reacting to the result of the presidential election, which was not even 24 hours old. And if you… Read more »

Send Us The Bill

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Do you share my cellular-level love for the round, chiming sound of undistorted electric guitars, especially those of the Rickenbacker and Fender Telecaster species? It’s the bright light that seems to explode out of the speakers at the opening of The Byrds doing “Turn, Turn, Turn” or R.E.M. kicking off “Don’t Go Back To Rockville.”… Read more »

Holy Cow! MCR 11.2.16

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Photos by Shelly Swanger     Setting aside the day I got married and the day we met our adopted daughter, has there been a more ecstatically wonderful night of my life than November 2, 2016? I don’t think so. My 83-year-old Chicago native Dad got to see his beloved Cubbies shake off the curses… Read more »

Listener Supported – MCR 11.2.16

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The Honeycutters return to MCR this Wednesday. Photo by Scarlati.   I was raised on National Public Radio. From the time I was in middle school, All Things Considered played quietly on the kitchen counter while dinner was being prepared. Almost as soon as I was driving I was having “driveway moments,” when some narrative… Read more »

Acoustic Travelers – MCR 10.26.16

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  Ben DeBerry, the guitar-slinging dude half of The Danberrys, brought his old and loved copy of String Wizards to the show so that John McEuen, the man who made it in 1991, could sign it. Not only did Ben get that autograph backstage at this week’s MCR, he got a spontaneous invitation to join… Read more »

The Master And Apprentices

When we last saw the String Wizard John McEuen on our stage, the Christmas season was underway and Liberty Hall glowed with sweetness and light. The great multi-instrumentalist and entertainer was living two mega anniversaries – his own 70th birthday and the 50th anniversary of his world-changing Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. His colleague Jeff Hanna… Read more »

Seventh Inning Stretch – 10.12.16

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  It must be October. A day after the Chicago Cubs pulled off a four-run ninth-inning comeback against the Giants to secure their Division title (rock!), this week’s Roots featured: a band called the WPA Ball Club, Aly Sutton dressed like a cast member in A League of Their Own and four basses (we pun… Read more »

Best. Lineup. Ever. * 10.12.16

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  My journalist wife and I have conversations and inside jokes about hyperbole and language inflation. We lament that “awesome” has gone from being a rarely used superlative reserved for cosmically consequential things to just another adjective worthy of yummy pizza. And she laughs at me sometimes when I come home from Roots proclaiming that… Read more »

The Gold Standard – 10.5.16

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Photo by Jeff Fasano.       I just finished my friend Tamara Saviano’s heartfelt and fascinating new biography of Guy Clark, the lion of literate Texas/Nashville songwriting of the past 50 years. We’re still grieving the passing of Guy, who died in May. He was remembered and honored at a gala show at the… Read more »