Noah Fallis

The genre name Country & Western music was retired, at least by the Billboard magazine charts, in 1962. The term became an anachronism, so over the years since it’s become too easy lose sight of the majesty and specificity of Western country music, a realm with its own lore, subject matter and swing. When we do hear Western music today, it’s most often a nostalgia show, but there are important contemporary artists renewing the tradition. One who may well be on his way to legendary status is the long-haul, square jawed Rocky Mountain songwriter Corb Lund.

Rodney Bursiel

Eliza Gilkyson turned 18 years old in 1968, the year many historians are pointing to as a precedent for the national turmoil of 2020. Those are formative years for anyone, but as a budding folk singer with a progressive outlook, it was a stirring, motivating time. Problem is, when Gilkyson watches the world now, she sees that famous era as one that produced a lot of consciousness-raising but too little actual change. “We really thought we were moving the ball down the court,” she says on The String. “We patted ourselves on the back prematurely.”

One of the essential stories that will be told inside the new National Museum of African American Music, set to open in downtown Nashville this Fall, is the pivotal role of music in the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s. Yet the exterior of the building became part of that story in the present day as well. Early in Black Music Month for 2020, June 4 to be exact, one of the largest protest marches in the history of Nashville rolled past the front door of NMAAM, and its director Henry Beecher Hicks III tells WMOT that felt like a proud moment.

Charlie Daniels

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Country music firebrand and fiddler Charlie Daniels, who had a hit with "Devil Went Down to Georgia," has died at 83.

A statement from his publicist said the Country Music Hall of Famer died Monday at a hospital in Hermitage, Tennessee, after doctors said he had a stroke.

He had suffered what was described as a mild stroke in January 2010 and had a heart pacemaker implanted in 2013 but continued to perform.

Gov. Bill Lee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  County mayors across Tennessee now have the power to require residents to wear masks in public as the health crisis worsens.

Gov. Bill Lee signed Executive Order 54 on Friday granting mayors that authority. The governor announced the change on Twitter over the weekend saying local governments were asking him to make the option available.

Nashville, Knoxville and Metro Memphis have already issued mandatory mask orders through their county health departments.


MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (Ashley Norman)  --  Daily COVID-19 case counts have nearly quadrupled in Davidson and Rutherford counties in the last six weeks, an analysis of Tennessee Department of Health data shows.

Dr. Ken Blake, an MTSU data journalism professor who has been tracking local COVID-19 numbers, said the counties’ sharp upward trends of daily cases and positivity rates appear alarmingly similar to the rapid case spikes in current COVID-19 hotspots around the country.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Nashville health officials say it's no mystery what led to the COVID-19 spike forcing the city to roll back its economic recovery plan.

Speaking to reporters Thursday, Metro Coronavirus Task Force member Dr. James Hildreth was blunt, saying “What’s happening is a failure of responsibility.”

Hildreth urged Nashville residents to be diligent about social distancing, hand washing and wearing masks in public.

Metro Schools

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Nashville Mayor John Cooper meets Friday with Metro Schools Director Dr. Adrienne Battle to discuss the fate of the coming school year.

Dr. Battle recently announced a school reopening plan that lets parents choose one of two options: have their children learn remotely from home, or return to in-person classes beginning August 4.

But a recent surge in new COVID-19 infections has forced the mayor to roll back his economic recovery plan and once again shutter some businesses.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Gov. Bill Lee has launched what he’s calling the first steps toward police reform in Tennessee.

Gov. Lee announced the changes Thursday backed by the state’s top law enforcement officers.

The governor is asking police departments statewide to review their use of force policies, and officer duty to intervene policies, within 60 days. He’s also expanding police officer training to include more hours and mandatory instruction in de-escalation techniques.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Nashville is again shuttering some parts of its economy in response to a recent spike in cases of COVID-19.

Mayor John Cooper announced the reversal Thursday morning as the city recorded 608 new infections over the previous 24 hours, the all-time highest one-day count in Metro since the pandemic began.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  The Tennessee Department of Labor has again reported a small increase in the number of workers filing initial unemployment claims.

State officials say 22,256 residents reported being furloughed or laid off in the past week. That’s a jump of more than 1100 new jobless applicants over the previous week.

The number of employees filing initial jobless claims fell steadily between April 11 and June 13, but began rising again slowly two weeks ago.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Middle Tennessee State University says it’s 'winding down' its relationship with the Confucius Institute.

Institutes on the campuses of the University of Tennessee and the University of Memphis have already closed.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nashville District Attorney General Glenn Funk says his office will no longer prosecute individuals for possession of less than a half-ounce of marijuana.


A statement released on Wednesday said the new policy will benefit people who would otherwise have to deal with criminal charges, possible jail time and corresponding negative consequences for their employment and housing.


The change is also expected to decrease court and jail costs.



Liner Notes

Courtesty of the artist

Happy Independence Day weekend! Nashville’s Matt Lovell talks about feeling free after a long, sometimes dark and painful road to his debut full-length, Nobody Cries Today. It’s out now, but there was a time shortly after the songs were recorded four years ago, that he wasn’t so sure this album would ever see the light of day. On January 20, 2017 Matt Lovell was walking to his car when he happened upon someone trying to steal it. That sixteen-year-old then shot Matt in the chest.

Courtesy of the artist

New Singles from Charley Crockett, Joshua Ray Walker, a new album from Joe Ely, a new visual companion for Ondara and the Fisk Jubilee Singers celebrate 150 years of changing America.


Courtsey of the Artist

by ANA LEE ∙ JUNE 26, 2020

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WMOT Video: Live Sessions on NPR Music


Sisters Megan and Rebecca Lovell, aka Larkin Poe, join Jessie Scott for a Words and Music session via Zoom. The sisters talk about their new album 'Self Made Man' and their love of blistering, loud and powerful music.




Elizabeth Cook joins a Words and Music session with Jessie Scott from the shower at her home in East Nashville. Cook talks about her upcoming record 'Aftermath' (due out September 11, 2020), her garden and working with Butch Walker in Los Angeles.



The Mastersons chat with Jessie Scott via Zoom from their home in Los Angeles for a Words and Music session. Chris Masterson and Eleanor Whitmore, talk about their recent album 'No Time for Love Songs' and how they spend their days in quarantine. 



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Arizona is one of just five states that has seen new coronavirus cases climb by the thousands each day in the past couple of weeks.

The state's governor, Republican Doug Ducey, in May lifted a stay-at-home order he put in place in March so the economy could begin reopening. But a week ago, Ducey ordered bars, gyms, movie theaters and water parks to shut down again for 30 days as daily caseloads topped 3,000.

The border between Australian states Victoria and New South Wales will close because of a spike in coronavirus cases, officials announced on Monday.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said the closure is for an undetermined period.

As the coronavirus has spread to communities across the U.S., among its effects has been physical upheaval. People have moved from one place to another, or welcomed new members into their households, because of either the virus or its economic impacts.

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