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Bluegrass fans who love to stay home in the winter aren’t left out in the cold, because of a bumper crop of excellent new albums. Mostly by women and younger artists, they tell a gratifying story about where today’s music is going, and we’ve been reveling in these neo-traditional sounds over on The Old Fashioned (Saturdays 9 am / Tuesdays 8 pm).
  • Thirty years ago, legendary R&B singer Delbert McClinton proved he was ahead of his time by launching his Sandy Beaches Cruise, a January festival at sea that featured his friends and associated artists from the bluesy side of Americana. Since then, the music cruise business has flourished across many genres. A company called Star Vista Live bought Sandy Beaches from Delbert a few years ago and now does the management while Delbert himself acts as host. I got a fortunate invitation to act as artist interviewer on this year’s cruise, and they let me report my own account of this luxurious but accessible experience. In this hour you’ll hear from Delbert himself, Mavericks lead singer Raul Malo, cruise lifer Marcia Ball, emerging artist Yates McKendree, singer Etta Britt, gospel great Anne McCrary, and more.
  • Lola Kirke got on America’s cultural radar as an actress - starring in the Amazon series Mozart in the Jungle, along with roles in Gone Girl and Mistress America alongside Greta Gerwig. But during those years, she was also quietly nurturing her passion for songwriting and music - specifically country music. The pandemic brought her to Nashville where her album Lady for Sale was released by Third Man Records to great acclaim. Now she’s about to release the new EP Country Curious and make her debut on the Grand Ole Opry. She’s a bold, dynamic personality and this was a really fun conversation that bridges New York, Nashville and Hollywood.
  • On a Grammy Awards when some popular genres of music represented themselves with swords and blood, the smashing of folding chairs, and a literal on-stage dumpster fire (and when classical and jazz seemed to not exist), country and roots music offered the world some moving examples of obligation, homage and collaboration. Between Joni Mitchell’s triumphant, first-ever Grammy performance and a Luke Combs/Tracy Chapman duet that stirred hearts on social media, this year’s ceremony, from a Los Angeles arena named for imaginary money, made the simplest songs look like the source of lasting value.
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