The biggest news of the week… at least in WDVX’s corner of the world… was the announcement late Friday afternoon that Tony Lawson will be leaving WDVX at the end of this month to program a new radio station and media center in Bristol at the Brithplace of Country Music Museum.
This is a huge opportunity for Tony to move on to a new challenge in his career and once again create something special on the radio dial the way he did at WDVX. Everyone at WDVX wishes Tony nothing but the best in his new endeavor, and we all look forward to seeing what he will create. WDVX has worked closely with The Birthplace of Country Music foundation in the past, and we know we will have collaborations with Tony in the future as well.
At the same time, we also recognize that this is a huge loss for our station. WDVX would not exist without the vision and work that Tony began putting behind the station over twenty years ago. From a tiny radio station broadcasting from a camper, WDVX has grown over its 18 years on the air into a major presence in downtown Knoxville and a major voice for Americana and Bluegrass music around the world. Tony was the driving force behind much of what the station has accomplished in that time.
He put me on the air at WDVX just two days after I moved to town back in 2006, and I have greatly enjoyed my time working with him and under him over this past decade. Somehow, I think I even learned a few things from him along the way as well. He will be missed.
As Tony begins a new chapter, so does WDVX. We have a great group of volunteers, office staff, and air staff at the station, and we will continue forward with the same vision and commitment to the music that we have put on the air for 18 years now. We hope you all continue to stay on the ride with us.
Here’s a song the great Chip Taylor (“Wild Thing” “Angel of the Morning”) wrote that features a verse about his good friend, Tony Lawson.
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 3/14 at 10:00 AM: Kidstuff Live with Farmer Jason
Jason Ringenberg is a hero of mine due to his work with Jason & The Scorchers. My daughter may love him even more due to his alter ego of Farmer Jason. I’m writing this post after the two of us went to see him perform on WDVX Kidstuff Live. I loved hearing him talk about his days with The Scorchers with our host Sean McCollough. My daughter loved hearing his songs about farms, forests, and Santa driving a John Deere tractor. He even dedicated “Moose On the Loose” to her early in the set.
Wednesday 3/11 at Noon: Amy Speace and The Fireside Collective on The Blue Plate Special
Amy Speace is a special kind of songwriter and her new CD That Kind of Girl rates as one of the best of her career. Speace creates warm, literate landscapes with her songs and it was a treat to have her (and fiddle player Megan Palmer) play on our stage.
Wednesday 3/11 at 7:00PM: Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley on Tennessee Shines
Our second Tennessee Shines broadcast from Boyd’s Jig & Reel in the Old City featured some hot bluegrass picking from Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley. Ickes is the veteran dobro master from Blue Highway. Hensley is a young guitar whiz and vocalist who first appeared on the Grand Old Opry at the age of 11. The two of them set the Jig & Reel stage on fire Wednesday night.
Friday 3/13 at Noon: 2/3 Goat and Left Coast Country on The Blue Plate Special
A couple of weeks ago, I linked to a new track from the New York based band 2/3 Goat. Vocalist Annalyse McCoy was a member of the children’s cast at Jenny Wiley Theatre in Eastern Kentucky several years back when I was on staff there in the late 90’s. Until Friday, it had been over 15 years since the last time I heard her sing. McCoy and co-lead singer Ryan Dunn traded vocals on a set of tunes that blend bluegrass with more electric elements. The band is currently raising funds for their next project through PledgeMusic.
Wednesday 6:00-7:00PM, 8:00-11:00PM: This Week in Americana & The Americana Pulse
These are my shows on WDVX. While things were a little different this week due to the fund drive, you should still get a decent idea of where things are going with the new format. The 6:00 hour looked at the Americana Chart, shared a lot of new tunes (John Morland, The Steel Wheels, Sarah Gayle Meech, The Pine Hill Project, & more), and paid tribute to the late Billy Block. On the Americana Pulse, I played some of my favorite Three Songs segments starting in the last half of the 8:00 hour. We heard conversations and songs from Mike Farris, Sons of Bill, and Billy Joe Shaver.
*If you’re reading this, you probably are a fan of Townes Van Zandt… or Outlaw Country… or both. If you are either or both of those things, then you need to see Whitey Morgan’s video for his cover of Townes’ “Waitin’ Around to Die.” Our friend Baron at Twang Nation posted it earlier this week, and it is required viewing. Morgan’s new album, Sonic Ranch, will be released in May.
*I got my hands on the new MilkDrive CD (Places You’ve Not Been) this week, and it’s full of catchy progressive acoustic numbers. You’ll instantly be reminded of outfits like The Punch Brothers when you check in on this Austin-based band. They, however, cite fellow Austinites Spoon as a big influence on the first track from their new record. “As They Go” was released through The Bluegrass Situation on Tuesday.
*Finally, Ben Sollee went to twitter on Friday to release a few new tracks…