Craig Havighurst

Music News Producer

Craig Havighurst is WMOT's music news producer and host of The String, a show featuring conversations on culture, media and American music. New episodes of The String air on WMOT 89.5 in Middle Tennessee on Sundays at 8 am, repeating Mondays at 9 pm.

Dylan Johnson

By the time 2020’s pandemic shroud covered the land and stilled its musicians, Oklahoma songwriter Samantha Crain knew all too well about incapacitation. In 2017, touring behind her album You Had Me At Goodbye, she was involved in three car accidents in three months, leaving her hands nerve damaged and debilitated, threatning her career. So the brisk and bright tone of her new EP is reassuring. Her shapely, idiosyncratic voice is still very much with us.

Jim and Ilde Cook

As a rule, the sound of propeller-powered aircraft leaking into a performance is something record producers avoid. But a plane unmistakably flies around at the conclusion of “We’ll Always Have The Blues,” track 10 on The Marfa Tapes by Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram and Jon Randall. Elsewhere in the album’s live, semi-outdoor soundscape we hear the wind, creaking chairs, scuffling boots, and cows. It’s an honest field recording by three artists outstanding in their field.

Arthur Driessen

Starting about 2000, a new generation of American bluegrass and traditional string musicians came of age and launched careers. They were raised at fiddle camps and educated at conservatories, especially Boston’s Berklee College of Music. With eclectic influences and advanced skills they began to write a new chapter in the story of acoustic roots music. Among the most impactful is five-string fiddler and educator Casey Driessen.

 

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The sign for Hi Tech Service on Nolensville Road, between an auto repair shop and a mattress depot, couldn’t look more low-tech if it tried. With black letters on a white cinder block building, it looks older than the flip-phone or Netscape Navigator, because it is. “We’ve been here 33 years,” says founder and proprietor Tom Brucker sitting at the counter in the long building’s reception area. “The front area is the world’s smallest stereo store...and then the rest is all service.”

 

Stacie Huckeba

The grim toll of 2020 affected us all, but consider this. As we processed the deaths of John Prine and Jerry Jeff Walker last April and October respectively, most of us grieved from a fan’s middle distance, reflecting on shows and recordings and legacy. We felt like we knew them, but we didn’t really know them. For Todd Snider, these were father figures and mentors, benefactors and friends.

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