Articles and Interviews – 2012
Way, way back in the last century – in 1998, to be exact – an assemblage of Nashville's primo session players and sidemen were looking for a way to kill time between turns on stage at the Grand Ole Opry. Among them was Kenny Sears, a veteran fiddler whose resume included stints with Mel Tillis, Dottie West, Ray Price and Faron Young.
In business, in sports and in music, the conversation often turns to the concept of the indispensible man, the person whose talent elevates the entity in question above all others and whose absence would cause that entity to stumble and fall. The fact is that indispensability is largely a myth; no single person holds that much sway in any given enterprise.
In the midst of what is almost certainly the busiest and most exciting of their dozen or so years as a professional bluegrass band, the Steep Canyon Rangers were en route to a late April festival gig in Texas, touring in support of â€śNobody Knows You," their first â€śsoloâ€ť release in three years (and first on Rounder following four earlier on Rebel).
By Michael Rampa
Trampled by Turtles is one of the best bluegrass bands around, sort of. They hesitate to ascribe any particular label to their unique sound.
When asked to clarify, front man Dave Simonett said, "I don't really know what to say when I'm asked that. I hesitate to say bluegrass because I'm familiar with that kind of music. I feel that is a genre that has set boundaries that, and anytime you stray out of that, you're not really considered a bluegrass band no matter what instruments you're playing on. I would say it's Americana with string instruments, but whatever anyone wants to call it, that's fine."
With its latest full-length, "Leaving Eden," the uniquely modern, old-timey jug and/or string band Carolina Chocolate Drops was faced with the daunting task of following up a highly successful major label debut album. After all, "Genuine Negro Jig" earned the act a Best Traditional Folk Album Grammy.
Martina McBride was introduced at a CMT awards presentation as "one of the greatest voices ever created by God." While debatable that her voice may be the result of divine creation, her high octane soprano is one of the most beautiful and powerful in music.
Her latest studio release, "Eleven" ("Hits And More" came out in January as a greatest hits plus package) is her most personal to date. Most everything about the record is unorthodox starting with its launch via train tour. Twenty years into her career, she severed ties with the long-time label and management that brought her superstar status and with which she has garnered multiple awards and 24 Top 10 singles.