The Americana Week that Was: 2/22 – 2/28



*As I begin writing this post, Brittany Howard and Alabama Shakes are performing on Saturday Night Live. After being introduced by a Joy Division t-shirt wearing Dakota Johnson, the band belted out the funky and powerful single “Don’t Wanna Fight” from their upcoming album Sound & Color. It looked a little something like this (Sorry for the quality. It’s the only one I could get to embed):

Of course, I was passed out asleep halfway through Weekend Update, so I missed their second song (and the return of Riblet, apparently.) Their new record comes out April 21.

*Also this week, Kacey Musgraves came to Knoxvile to play a sold out show at the Tennessee Theatre on Friday night. I’ll write more about that show later this week. I will tell you that I got to speak with Musgraves after the show, and I came away quite impressed. Her new record will be out this summer. More on that later in this post…


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.

Unfortunately, we had a few technical issues with the archive at the end of the week, but there are still some things worth checking out.

Wednesday 2/25 at Noon – Banjo Babes & The Lowest Pair on the Blue Plate Special

The Banjo Babes Calendar is in it’s second year of promoting female roots artists through a, “fun, lighthearted thematic calendar and seriously good compilation album showcasing their music.” Erin Inglish, Megan Saunders, Megan McKamey, & The Lowest Pair treated the WDVX audience to a full hour of banjo tunes on yet another snowy Knoxville day.

Wednesday 2/25 6:00-9:30 – The Americana Pulse

Speaking of snow. My show was cut short again this week due to a winter storm that moved in during my shift. Lot’s of cool stuff happened before my evacuation, however. Tim Lee and Susan Bauer Lee stopped by the studio near the end of the 6:00 hour to drop of copies of a couple new records. We chatted for a bit and then debuted tracks from the new Tim Lee 3 record (33 1/3) and the new one from their side project, Bark (self titled). Just after that at 7:00, John Cowan talked about Marty Robbins and The Allman Brothers Band on Three Songs. We also spent a good amount of time with the classic 6 String Drag album High Hat throughout the night.

News, New Tunes, Links, etc…

*As is becoming the norm, lots of new music found its way onto the internet this week. We’ll start with a song I actually got to see performed live Friday night. Kacey Musgraves announced late this week that the follow-up to her Grammy winning debut album will be released this summer. The first single, “Biscuits,” will hit radio in a couple weeks. Musgraves unveiled a live version of the song Thursday at the Country Radio Summit in Nashville as part of the announcement. After that performance, this video of the song from 2014 started making its way around the internet.

*Also announced this week is a new project from Mandolin Orange. The new CD is titled Such Jubilee and will be released May 5. The folksy first track from the record, “Old Ties & Companions,” is streaming over at NPR Music.

*Joe Pug released another track from his upcoming CD Windfall (March 10). The song is a musically upbeat, yet lyrically dour tune that has already gotten a few spins at WDVX. You can stream the track for yourself over at The Bluegrass Situation to tide you over until the album’s release next week.

*Finally, I mostly know Chris Porter through his many visits to Knoxville with is band Some Dark Holler. Porter’s new album (This Red Mountain) also comes out March 10, and was produced by Will Johnson from Centro-matic. Other contributors to Porter’s debut include Jon Dee Graham, Bonnie Whitmore, and The Mastersons (Chris Masterson, Eleanor Whitmore, & Falcon Valdez). As a bit of a double bonus, Porter has released one track via American Songwriter and another through No Depression.



*We’ll close out this week by touching on the comments made by Sony Nashville CEO Gary Overton at the Country Radio. The main thing people took away from Overton’s remarks was the line, “If you’re not on Country radio, you don’t exist.” I could take a lot of space here to debate the validity/arrogance of that statement, but it’s already been done my many other in many different forums. Aaron Watson, Charlie Robison, Jack Ingram, Bobby Bones and The Triggerman from Saving Country Music are just a few artists and industry types who have weighed in on one side of the issue or the other.

My favorite, and possibly the most elegant, response comes from Music City Roots’ Craig Havighurst on his String Theory blog.

*I exist… as do all of the wonderfully talented artists I and my fellow DJ’s play at WDVX. Come listen to us some time.

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