Photo illustration of The Station Inn by Paul Schatzkin

When Congressional negotiations broke down last week on a new round of economic aid and stimulus to a Covid-ravaged nation, America’s theaters, clubs and bars saw their hopes for survival dim a bit. Yet the recently formed National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) continues to press its case for two bipartisan bills its says could buy their members badly needed time and credit.


The household of songwriters Emma Swift and Robyn Hitchcock has become a notable East Nashville nexus of international art and intrigue. He’s from England and she is from Australia, and in recent years, they’ve lived and toured together. Most of the time, she’s sung in support of his acclaimed psychedelic roots rock and sometimes the focus is on her thoughtful neo-country. One important thing they have in common is an abiding love of Bob Dylan.

Shervin Lainez

More than ever, it’s imperative to reinforce the truth that the blues, a creation of African-Americans, is the foundation upon which our popular music was built, with infinitely more appropriation than compensation. We’d make a mistake though to think of the blues, a genre of genres with 19th century roots, as atavistic and arcane, a music for recycling and mere preservation. Adia Victoria’s vision of the blues is as defiant as the music ever was, and not here for the comfort or consolation of those who’ve institutionalized the commerce that supports the art.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  A new report from Vanderbilt researchers shows a marked improvement in Nashville’s COVID-19 metrics.


The Vanderbilt MicroBiome Initiative notes that the city has reported a declining number of new infections for the past three weeks.


The number of confirmed cases has fallen by half, from a high more than 2700 new cases per week in mid-July, to just over 1300 cases this past week.



NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  The number of gun confiscations reported at Nashville International Airport continues to rise, in spite of the dramatic reduction coronavirus related drop in the number of air travelers.


It’s part of a larger trend. The Transportation Safety Administration says, nationwide, it’s confiscating guns at three times last year’s rate, even as the number of passengers screened has fallen by some 75 percent.


Mayor John Cooper (Twitter)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Nashville Mayor John Cooper has forwarded several allegations of sexual assault and harassment within the Metro Police Department to the District Attorney and Metro Human Resources for independent investigation.

Mayor Cooper initially responded to the complaints by saying he wasn’t aware of them. In social media posts Monday, Cooper now says he’s read the complaints and finds them “deeply concerning.”

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  A new Vanderbilt study suggests Tennessee counties without mask requirements are seeing significantly more residents hospitalized due to COVID-19.

Researchers in the Department of Health Policy at the Vanderbilt School of Medicine say that in the 26 counties with mask requirements, hospitalization rates are generally stable or declining.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  The Tennessee General Assembly gets down to work on its special called session Tuesday.

So far, a total of 10 bills have been filed in the House and 12 in the Senate for the session.

Majority Republicans have introduced bills that address coronavirus liability protections for medical personnel, businesses and other groups. GOP sponsored bills would also expand the power of the state to prosecute protesters.


NASVHILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  The Nashville real estate market appears to be putting pandemic concerns in the rear-view mirror.

Home sales in the nine-county, Nashville Metro market rebounded sharply in July, according to data provided by the Greater Nashville Realtors Association.

The number of homes sold jumped 12 percent over June. July closing were also up 12 percent over the same month last year.

NASVHILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Tennessee lawmakers return to Capitol Hill Monday to consider pandemic lawsuit restrictions, expansion of telehealth services, and additional measures to control protesters.

Job one for state lawmakers will be passing new pandemic civil liability protections (HB8001) for health care providers, schools, businesses and non-profit organizations.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Nashville health officials continue to report progress in the city’s battle with the recent surge in new cases of COVID-19.

Mayor John Cooper on Thursday reported that the city’s virus positivity rate had fallen to 8.1 percent. That’s the lowest reading for that metric in Nashville since the pandemic began.

The positivity rate reflects the percentage of positive results among the total number of tests administered in a given week.

Tenn. Dept. Corrections

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Gov. Bill Lee says the Tennessee Prison for Women in Bordeaux will be renamed in honor of slain corrections administrator Debra Johnson.

It was one year ago, Friday, that Johnson was murdered in her home on the grounds of the West Tennessee State Penitentiary.

Officials say the 38 year corrections department veteran was sexually assaulted, then strangled to death by prisoner trustee Curtis Watson.

Watson then escaped and led authorities on a five day manhunt. He was captured less than ten miles from the prison.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Valley Authority says it will rescind a decision to lay off its in-house technology workers.

The authority had been planning on replacing those workers with contractors who rely heavily on foreign workers under the H1-B visa program for highly skilled workers.

Yet President Donald Trump fired the TVA chairman, Skip Thompson, on Monday and threatened to remove other board members if they continued to hire foreign labor.


Liner Notes

Photo by Sophia Lauer

Nashville native Savannah Conley was born into a musical family; her mom a background singer and her dad a busy touring and studio musician. She released an ep independently in 2017, the year after receiving the John Lennon singer-songwriter award. Grammy winning producer Dave Cobb took notice, signed her to his Elektra Records imprint Low Country Sound and they released Twenty-Twenty her major label debut in 2018 when she was just 21 years old.


Hartland Hootenanny, the wildly sincere and sincerely wild weekly variety show created by Old Crow Medicine Show’s Ketch Secor, will leap off the internet and onto the radio airwaves of WMOT 89.5 FM for a limited run starting August 8 at 8 pm CST.


Several Nashville artists and a large slate of roots and improvising musicians are celebrating Jerry Garcia in a nine-day online extravaganza called Daze Between, a fund-raiser for the Rex Foundation, the charity arm founded by the Grateful Dead in 1984. A variety of new and archival performances, as well as interviews and recollections, are being streamed from late afternoon into the evening daily through Aug. 9. A complete schedule can be found here.

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WMOT Video: Live Sessions on NPR Music

Molly Tuttle spent her time in quarantine learning Pro Tools and making her latest album, "...but I'd rather be with you". Tuttle talks about choosing the songs she covered on the album, East Nashville trains and more in this Words and Music session.



Rhett Miller of the Old 97's joins Jessie Scott for a Words and Music session from his home in the Hudson Valley. Miller talks about the upcoming release of 'Twelfth', the 97's experience recording with Waylon Jennings early in their career and spending time at home during quarantine. 



Ben Christensen

Charley Crockett joins us for a Words and Music session via Zoom from his home in Austin, Texas. Crockett talks with Jessie Scott about the making of his new album 'Welcome to Hard Times', hip-hop music, and how he approaches cover songs.



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Enormous "terror crocodiles" once roamed the earth and preyed on dinosaurs, according to a new study revisiting fossils from the gigantic Late Cretaceous crocodylian, Deinosuchus.

President Trump wants to give a $100 billion boost to the U.S. economy by hitting the "pause" button on workers' payroll taxes.

That would leave more money in people's paychecks. But the move — which Trump ordered over the weekend — is only temporary. And that could produce headaches down the road for workers, employers and the Social Security system.

As stressful as it always is for students applying to college, this year it's all that — and then some — for the admissions officials trying to decide whether to admit them. Because of the pandemic, many students will be applying without standardized test scores and several other metrics admissions officers at selective schools have long relied on, leaving colleges scrambling to figure out what else they might consider instead.

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