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.


Next week, the International Bluegrass Music Association will hold its 31st Awards show. And while the ceremony will be online instead of live in Raleigh, NC, the honor will be no less for the new inductees into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame: the fiercely energetic 1980s band the Johnson Mountain Boys, Station Inn owner/promoter J.T. Gray and the game-changing New Grass Revival. In recognition of NGR’s epic influence on American music, WMOT caught up with its entire 1980s lineup, Sam Bush, John Cowan, Bela Fleck and Pat Flynn.

Tyler Childers / YouTube

Country songwriter Tyler Childers is selective about speaking for the public record, and when he does, he lands his punches, leaving people astonished and stirred up. He’s probably never sparked so much intrigue as he did over the weekend by releasing a surprise album, a powerful protest song and a video message aimed at his “white rural listeners” expressing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.


Day Three of Thriving Roots kicked off with sublime star power as Rosanne Cash put together an hour of conversation about music and activism with Ry Cooder, Bonnie Raitt, Alice Randall and Angela Davis. At a time of division and national stress, these veterans’ lifelong commitment to unity and justice felt like a balm. Read on for a summary and watch later today for more updates as the conference closes out.

4 pm


Day two of Thriving Roots, Americana’s online 2020 conference will feature a discussion clarifying the rollout of the Music Modernization Act, a case study in artist development featuring the Black Pumas, a conversation about the organizations founded this year to save live music venues, and the health of record stores. Musical performances will include Kathleen Edwards, Shakey Graves, Charley Crockett and a late of artists from North Carolina.

4:50 pm


Thriving Roots, this year’s take on AmericanaFest is underway, with panels scheduled today on streaming strategies, instrumentalists, and Black equity in the format among other issues. Big name interviews include Jackson Browne speaking with Mavis Staples and Judd Apatow interviewing the Avett Brothers. It’s not too late to register, as all panels are archived for review. We’ll be adding reports and updates as they fit from now until Friday afternoon.

5:00 pm