One of the most ambitious and diverse lineups for a WMOT Wired In show yet will play an outdoor mini-festival in the late afternoon on Sunday, Sept. 2 at Westhaven Residents Club in Franklin. The show with Chuck Mead, The War And Treaty, Carolina Story and The Watson Twins will celebrate the second anniversary of WMOT Roots Radio, which flipped to its current Americana music format in 2016.
It’s been an eventful and mind-expanding two years for the staff and friends of WMOT, as a 50-year-old public radio station reinvented itself and made a bold commitment to Nashville-centric roots music. The station hears a lot of feedback from its community, including its 1,100 sustaining members, and most of it celebrates the diversity and quality of the music. “It's a throwback to the days when a station and the program director didn't have blinders on when it came to genres,” wrote listener Sunny Stevens recently. “Thanks for the variety, and for playing the good stuff.”
Wired In has been a big part of building a regional radio family with shows that are broadcast live on the air and presented in streaming video via the national VuHaus platform, a partnership with NPR. This coming Wired In lineup conveys part of the scope of WMOT’s wide ranging format, with fresh voices, veterans and one of the most praised and talked about new acts on the circuit. That’s The War And Treaty, the married duo of Michael and Tonya Trotter who will release the much anticipated album Healing Tide on Aug. 10. Through the friendship and fandom of Buddy Miller, the Albion, MI couple were virtual surprise walk-ons at last Fall’s AmericanaFest. They blew a hall of strangers away with their specific hybrid of rocking soul. NPR’s Jewly Hight wrote this week in advance of the new album that the pair “convey an ecstatic, empowering sense of partnership.”
Carolina Story is another married duo that leans more toward a serene and moonstruck take on folk music. Ben and Emily Roberts met just over a decade ago at college in Memphis. They honed their duo sound patiently and deliberately, and it shows in the careful breath control and intimate connection they display on stage. Now Nashville based and signed to the new Americana line of Black River Entertainment, they’re touring the tires off their van in support of the lush and lovely new album Lay Your Head Down.
The Watson Twins are definitely not married because they’re identical twin sisters, and they’re not newcomers, but they’re in a season of renewal with their first album coming soon since moving to Nashville five years ago. Stalwarts of the Los Angeles scene in the early 2000s, they made a very cool album with Jenny Lewis among many other accomplishments. They’re having a big summer, coming off of appearances at Bonnaroo and the Newport Folk Festival. And they’re set to play a showcase at AmericanaFest. But you can get ahead of the curve and hear songs from DUO, coming in mid October.
Chuck Mead, who’ll close out the bill with his Grassy Knoll Boys, earned his icon status in Nashville’s Americana story by relentlessly championing the greatest country music ever made and adding to the repertoire with original songs and 20 years of leading great bands. The first was BR548, the hillbilly revival project that helped revive Lower Broadway’s music scene. Now it’s the Grassy Knoll Boys, with whom Mead has made a string of fascinating albums that are both uniquely quirky and categorically country.
As always with Wired In shows, it’s a free event for WMOT members, but the public is invited as well to join the station community for a recommended donation of $20. Lawn chairs and blankets are encouraged. Food trucks will be on hand for food and drink. (No coolers please.) Free parking is in an adjacent lot or on the streets of Westhaven. Metaphorical doors open at 3 pm. Music runs from 4:00 to 8:00. TICKETS AND INFORMATION HERE.