Articles and Interviews – 2013
James King has been plowing the furrows of the bluegrass fields for more than 20 years now. He's a gifted storyteller whose emotionally expressive voice can make you cry on the sad songs and laugh at the tall tales some of the songs tell. His straight ahead guitar provides the rhythmic foundation on which he builds his stories of heartache, sacrifice, and joy.
Husband and wife duo Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist have been creating intricate sonic sculptures with their musical brain trust Over the Rhine for the past two and a half decades and aren't any closer to being pinned to a specific genre than when they started out in Cincinnati in 1989.
Mandy Barnett has been singing big since she was five years old, gracing county fairs, political rallies and church services with her riveting voice. At 18, she captured audiences' hearts at the Ryman Auditorium with her portrayal of Patsy Cline in "Always…Patsy Cline," channeling Cline's spacious alto.
On her new album, "I Can't Stop Loving You: The Songs of Don Gibson," chanteuse Barnett pays loving tribute to Gibson with captivating interpretations of his songs.
Why did you decide to make this album now? How long did it take you to make it?
I started making it a couple of years ago, but at the time I had no idea what I was going to do. I had met Don Gibson around 2000, and I got to be close friends with him and his wife, Bobbi. He and I talked about doing an album of duets, but he was not doing so well, so I told him I was going to record an album of his songs one day. I needed to get this out of my system, so in many ways the album's been a long time in the making.
Lindi Ortega has come a long way from her urban home of Toronto to her current digs in Nashville. Her songs about murder, love and the things that connect the two are reminiscent of country artists like Johnny Cash.
Far from an overnight sensation, Lindi Ortega independently released her first album "The Taste of Forbidden Fruit" back in 2001. She followed this up with a second full length and a couple of EPs over the seven years, including one for Interscope Records. Ortega built a following in her hometown of Toronto, but struggled to breakthrough outside of the city limits. She toured as a backup singer on The Killers' lead vocalist Brandon Flowers solo excursion, which she credits as inspiring her return to the front of the stage. After spending so much time on the side of the stage, Ortega was itching to sit down and write some new music of her own.
A few months shy of his 75th birthday, Del McCoury is at an age when many of his bluegrass contemporaries and peers are scaling back their recording and touring activities or even hanging it up altogether. No rocking chair for McCoury, though, as he remains one of the most active and energetic performers in American music. The latest Del McCoury Band release, "The Streets of Baltimore" dropped in September on his McCoury Music label.
The title track of the new disc is a cover of Bobby Bare's 1966 hit, and McCoury says, "This was kind of an afterthought, doing that song. I had a bunch of songs all ready to record, and I thought, ‘you know, I should do a song about Baltimore because that's kind of where I got started.'"
The Steep Canyon Rangers are riding high these days following the release of its new album, "Tell the Ones I Love." The band also gained some notoriety when Steve Martin joined them for an album, 2011's "Rare Bird Alert, "which was nominated for a Grammy; later that year, they won IBMA's Entertainer of the Year Award.
In 2012, the band went up to Levon Helm's studio in New York- he had invited them to come up and record just a few weeks before he passed away - to record the new album.
Banjo player Graham Sharp spoke in late September as the band was on the road to Raleigh, N.C. for the IBMA.
The son of a Methodist minister, Peter Cooper hails from Florence, S.C. and kicked around South Carolina and Virginia before landing in Nashville in 2000 as the Tennessean's music critic. He has worked in the studio as a performer, producer or session musician with Tom T. Hall, Todd Snider, Emmylou Harris, Nanci Griffith and Bobby Bare, among many others, and he's recorded two solo albums – "The Mission Door" (2008) and "The Lloyd Green Album" (2010) - and three duo albums with Eric Brace – "You Don't Have to Like Them Both" (2008), "Master Sessions" (2010), and "The Comeback Album" (2013).
As consummate a musician and songwriter as he is, Cooper is also Nashville's most trusted and respected music writer, and when he's not playing the bass or the guitar at the Family Wash or another Nashville establishment, he's reporting on a new singer around town or on one of country music legend's new projects.
In her new book, They Came to Nashville, Marshall Chapman asked the people she... »»»
As banjo player for 22 years in one of the most successful bands of the past quarter-century, Alison Krauss + Union Station, Ron Block has undoubtedly heard all the "banjo jokes" and has probably told more than a few himself. But as those who have seen Union Station live and bought the records know, he's also a gifted guitarist and songwriter whose contributions to the band and the catalogs of other artists are numerous.
On a bright June afternoon, Darrin Vincent and his partner of six years, Jamie Dailey, are out on the road yet again, en route with their band from their Nashville base to a festival gig in Kentucky, just a few hundred more miles on the odometer of the bus that carries them around the country. The title of their new Rounder release, "Brothers Of The Highway" is a testament to the bond they've forged since going out on their own and taking the bluegrass world by storm in 2007.
Some folks listening to Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison's new duet album, "Cheaters Game," may well exclaim, ‘Well, it's about time!' after finally hearing these two talented country singer/songwriters recording music as a pair for the first time.
Last fall, singer/songwriter Steve Forbert dropped the 14th studio album of his 35-year career, the impeccable "Over With You." Critics recognized the album as a return to the form Forbert displayed on his earliest works - 1978's stripped back and personal "Alive on Arrival" and 1979's more lushly produced and commercially accessible "Jackrabbit Slim" - but the fact is that Forbert has never strayed far from their basic folk/rock tenets.
Over the course of the past 20 years or so, Jim Lauderdale and Buddy Miller have both experienced a certain rise in their respective rootsy country profiles. Miller has become one of Nashville's hottest speed dial numbers, as an artist, a guitarist-for-hire (a role he has performed for Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris and Robert Plant, among others) and an intuitive producer (he's currently working with Executive Music Producer T Bone Burnett to provide the soundtrack for ABC's "Nashville" television series).
For 16 years, Eddie Stubbs has ruled the airwaves in Nashville; since 1996, he's regaled listeners with stories about country and bluegrass artists new and old, cued up 45s and 78s of classic country songs, and introduced the pure strains of country music and the deep history of that music to everyone who's tuned into 650 WSM-AM.
From 7 p.m. to midnight, Monday through Friday, Stubbs' evening show can be heard over the airwaves on WSM from 38 states and parts of Canada as well as worldwide over wsmoline.com. As the longest-running DJ in that time slot in the 87-year history of the station, Stubbs - the 2002 Country Music Association's Large Market Broadcast Personality of the Year and 2012 inductee into the Country Radio Hall of Fame - has become a legend in his own time, adored by his listeners and beloved by country music artists.