Weekly roundup time again. News, links, streams… all ahead.
First of all… Congratulations are in order for Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires. Late Wednesday night (about an hour after I got off the air), the couple announced on Twitter that they are expecting their first child this September. It’s shaping up to be another big year for the pair as they also just released a new single to iTunes last week, and Isbell is set to record the follow up to Southeastern in March.
According to Isbell’s tweet, he and Shires could not be happier with their impending arrival. Count me among those happy for them as well. I’ve interviewed them both for Three Songs and would count each of them among my favorite conversations.
This Week’s WDVX On Demand Guide:
WDVX has an average of about 15 artists per week playing live at our studio in some form or another. Those performances (along with all our programming) are archived on our website to stream for two full weeks. Each week, I give you a little guide to where and when you need to go to hear some of the week’s highlights. Simply choose the day and hour you want to listen to.
Saturday 2/14 at 5:00pm – Drew Holcomb on Feature at Five
Yeah… I should have listed this last week, but I already had that post ready before I knew this was happening. Drew Holcomb dropped by the studio Saturday afternoon before the second of two sold out shows at the Bijou Theatre. He chatted with Mark for a bit and shared a few tunes from his new CD Medicine. Holcomb went to school at the University of Tennessee here in Knoxville. He seemed happy to be back for a bit of a homecoming.
Tuesday 2/17 at Noon – Kelley Swindall and Forlorn Strangers in-studio Blue Plate Special
The weather played havoc with several of our live shows this week. Tennessee Shines with Amy Speace had to be postponed (you can hear a new track from Speace at CMT Edge), and the Knoxville Visitor’s Center was closed for several days. No Visitor’s Center meant no live audience for the Blue Plate… which meant a few special in-studio performances. On Tuesday, that meant sets from Kelley Swindall and The Forlorn Strangers.
Wednesday 2/18 at Noon – Daniel Miller on The Blue Plate Special
Wednesday was another weather whacked day on The Blue Plate Special. Knoxville native Daniel Miller came down from Massachusetts to perform a cramped acoustic set from inside the WDVX audio booth. That’s a tiny space much smaller than our regular studio. Our sound engineer and fill-in host Daniel Kimbro made it work, however. Miller made it sound pretty good too.
Wednesday 2/18 6:00-10:00pm – The Americana Pulse
The weather didn’t keep me out of the studio Wednesday night (it did make me go home early). It also didn’t keep Kelly McRae and Matthew Castelein from dropping by the studio for a live Three Songs in the 7:00 hour. Kelley and Matt shared a couple tracks from the new EP Easy on My Mind as well as a live version of Ray Price’s “Crazy Arms.” I also shared tracks from Emmylou Harris’ Roses in the Snow all night long as our Classic Album. For an extra fun Emmy > Louvin > Stanley > Cash > Emmy set, check out the last half of the 9:00 hour.
Again, all these shows and more can be found On Demand at WDVX.
News, New Tunes, Links, etc…
*Once again, a lot of cool tunes found their way onto the internet this week. First and foremost to my mind, however, is the first single and the title track from Chris Stapleton’s upcoming debut album. Traveller is set to hit in May, and the always amazing Ann Powers has a nice review of the title track over at NPR Music.
Full disclosure: Chris has been a friend of mine since we met in the second grade, so I don’t know that I could ever be fully objective when it comes to his work with The Steeldrivers, The Jompson Brothers, or his solo career. I do know that I couldn’t be prouder of his career thus far and where this new album seems to be pointing him. I also know I couldn’t be more excited that he is paired with producer Dave Cobb for this record. I also know that Angaleena Presley has already heard the album and told me it is amazing. Of all the records set for release in 2015, this is the one I most look forward to hearing.
*Another artist with a connection to my hometown is Annalyse McCoy from the New York based band 2/3 Goat. In the summers during college, I worked for a time as house manager at The Jenny Wiley Theatre in Prestonsburg, KY. Annalyse was a member of the youth cast during my time there, and I remember watching her and her brother perform in several shows. It was only by chance about a month ago that I discovered her newest project. 2/3 Goat just started a Pledge Music campaign to fund their new record, and premiered the first song from that project, “Jenny,” at American Songwriter.
*Rolling Stone Country shared a bit of a surprise collaboration this week featuring Fiona Apple teaming up with Nickel Creek’s Sean Watkins for a cover of the classic murder ballad “Banks of the Ohio.” The song is the A-side of a 7″ single the two will release in April that also features a cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Dead Flowers.”
*Also from RS this week, came the title track from Shelby Lynne’s upcoming May release I Can’t Imagine. It’s Lynne’s first new record since 2011, and comes on the heels of the expanded 15th Anniversary edition of her classic I Am Shelby Lynne disc. Lynne says she’ll tour behind the new record with a show that feature both I Can’t Imagine and I Am Shelby Lynne played in their entirety.
*This last song isn’t exactly new, but I did find it fitting that Shelby Lynne’s new track arrived in my inbox on the same day a promo copy of Allison Moorer’s Down to Believing came in the mail. Moorer and Lynne are sisters, and both have been putting out a string of solid records for nearly two decades. Moorer’s latest will hit stores in March, and this video of the lead single has been out for about a month now.
Finally, I’ll leave you with a couple of random links.
*The 2nd Annual Ameripolitan Awards were held this week in Austin. The Ameripolitan Awards were started by Dale Watson last year as a way to highlight outstanding performers of honky-tonk, rockabilly, and country music. Saving Country Music kept a live blog of the proceedings.
*Brandi Carlile’s wonderful new record The Firewatcher’s Daughter comes out on March 3. Kelly McCartney at No Depression has an in-depth look at Carlile, her new album, her career, her songwriting, The Twins (Brandi’s longtime bandmates Tim & Phil Hanseroth), and just about everything else you could want to know in advance of the new record.