Roots artists and songwriters are grappling with the state of the nation and what it means to be American more directly than they have in many years. Austin’s Band of Heathens, searching for the best way to add their voices to the chorus, took the tack of rediscovering and re-imagining a little known classic.

At the tail end of the tumultuous summer of 1968, The Byrds, flying high as America’s coolest psychedelic folk-rock band, released Sweetheart of the Rodeo, a radical and visionary homage to classic country music.

C Havighurst

While their musical terrain overlaps, there’s a foundational difference between the recently concluded AmericanaFest in Nashville and World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, NC, and that’s the picking. Picking is what ensues when musicians, professional or amateur, friends or strangers, encounter each other, hang out and jam on tunes they share as a common language. Americana people come to Nashville as either performers or listeners. They do not pick amongst themselves. Bluegrass people pick ubiquitously in a liminal overlap of performer and audience.

NPR Music, WMOT and VuHaus Project Slingshot

Check out the NPR Slingshot Playlist on VuHaus. Americana is front and center with video from Ruston Kelly, Liz Brasher and Jade Bird

Relive Wired In with Chuck Mead, War and Treaty, Carolina Story, Watson Twins

Watch the full sets from Chuck Mead and His Grassy Knoll Boys, The War and Treaty, Carolina Story and The Watson Twins performed at our Birthday Bash last weekend

Media asks Tennessee high court to boost press protection

Oct 3, 2018


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A group of Tennessee publishers and broadcasters is asking the state Supreme Court to overturn precedent and strengthen protections for the press.

The request comes in a defamation case against Nashville television reporter Phil Williams. At issue is whether accurately reporting on a court case protects Williams from prosecution.

Davidson County District Attorney Glenn Funk claims Williams' defamed him by reporting that Funk was accused in a lawsuit of soliciting bribes.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  Nashville’s Sexual Assault Center says it’s seen a 500 percent increase in call volume since last week’s Senate hearings into allegations of sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Dr. Christine Ford told Senators Thursday morning that Kavanaugh had assaulted her when the two were in high school.

“It was hard for me to breathe and I thought that Brett was going to accidently kill me. Both Brett and Mark were drunkenly laughing during the attack.”

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  They’ve started moving dirt at the Church Street site of the new $194 million Nashville federal courthouse.

An official groundbreaking was held Friday, but so far work has been limited to demolition of existing buildings, a bit of excavation, and installation of sewer lines.

The General Services Administration says design work for the new 280,000 gross square feet courthouse won’t be finished until this coming spring. They hope to have the facility finished by early in 2021.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (AP) — President Donald Trump is returning to Tennessee for a public rally and a fundraiser for Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn's Senate bid.

Trump will be in Johnson City for the events Monday in support of Blackburn in her tight race against Democratic ex-Gov. Phil Bredesen. The rally will be Monday evening at Freedom Hall and tickets are available free online.


MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  A mid-state First Amendment scholar says if Congress wants to promote free speech on college campuses, legislation isn’t the answer.

Ken Paulson is the Dean of Middle Tennessee State’s College of Media and Entertainment. He’s also President of the Freedom Forum’s First Amendment Center.

Paulson was on Capitol Hill Wednesday to testify before the House Education Committee about campus free speech issues. The hearing came in response to recent, high-profile free speech clashes at public universities.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  City leaders are digesting the news that five more Metro schools have been added to the list of Tennessee’s worst performing schools.

Of Nashville’s 130 plus schools, 21 now have that designation.

School Board Chair Sharon Gentry says the system is committed to improvement. But she also wants parents to understand the challenges faced.

She says both the state and city are failing to provide adequate funding. She also says schools are spending ever more resources on problems outside the classroom.

LEBANON, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  The candidates vying to be Tennessee’s next Senator faced off in a heated, hour-long debate last night.

Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn and Democratic former Gov. Phil Bredesen clashed on most issued, including healthcare, immigration, and gun control.

One of the harshest exchanges came in response to a question about the opioid epidemic. Bredesen called Blackburn a crisis “enabler” citing legislation she sponsored at the request of drug companies.


WASHINGTON (AP) — Legislation to substantially overhaul the way music is licensed and songwriters compensated for songs online is being sent to the president's desk for his signature.

Congress cleared the bill Tuesday, giving final passage to a rare bipartisan accord between Republican and Democratic lawmakers. It enjoyed wide support in both the House and Senate, and within the music industry.

President Donald Trump is expected to sign it into law.


As far as Nashville’s City Winery knew, their big room was supposed to be dark on Sunday night after a cancelation. About noon though, the team of Brandi Carlile and the venue got in touch with each other and mounted a ticketed show for nearly 700 fans on a few hours notice.



WASHINGTON, D.C. (OSBORNE)  --  Music City songwriters are on the verge of getting a real shot in the arm following passage of copyright legislation by the U.S. Senate.  


The Music Modernization Act passed the senate this past week. The House passed the measure earlier this year. The Act updates the way songwriters are paid for their work.


Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander is a bill sponsor. He noted from the Senate floor that the legislation was a compromise hammered out over several years.



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Tennessee Senate candidates exchange barbs in final debate

2 hours ago


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn repeatedly attempted to tie her Democratic opponent Phil Bredesen to national Democrats in their second and final debate on Wednesday, while the former Tennessee governor deflected the attacks by once again promising to improve bipartisanship in Congress.



NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A federal appeals court has temporarily halted the execution of Tennessee death row inmate Edmund Zagorski to allow time for consideration of arguments that he had poor legal representation during his trial and sentencing.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  The troubled Veterans Administration is out with its yearly assessment and Middle Tennessee’s VA facilities are reporting modest improvements.

 The VA’s annual performance study ranks 25 quality measures; everything from death rates to patient wait times.


Nationwide, more than half of all VA facilities saw improvement over the last year. The mid-state’s Tennessee Valley System moved up from a one star rating to two stars out of five.


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Latest from NPR

A Soyuz rocket booster failed during the launch of a capsule carrying NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin Thursday, forcing officials to abort their mission. The capsule made a "ballistic landing" and rescue teams recovered the pair, who are reportedly in "good condition," NASA says.

Hague and Ovchinin launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:40 a.m. ET, heading to join the crew of the International Space Station. But more than a minute after launch, their Soyuz MS-10's booster failed.

Dave Huhn is a sheriff's deputy for Montezuma County, Colo., a stretch of sagebrush mesas and sandstone cliffs bordering Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, home to Mesa Verde National Park, where ancestral Puebloans' cliff dwellings still stand.

Huhn specializes in the complex world of water law. His job has become more important in this region after a series of hot, dry summers have made farmers more desperate for water, and more willing to steal it, or go to battle over it.

"You're bouncing off the atmosphere."

Early in director Damien Chazelle's First Man, this is one of the cautions given to Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) during his pilot training, years before he walked on the moon. That idea of the barrier between Earth and space, the violence of making the journey through it and the almost mystical experience of being on the other side of it forms the spine of the film.

WMOT Video on VuHaus

Check out music videos from our favorite Americana performances