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.

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“We never intended to make ourselves the poster children for independence or anything like that. It’s honestly been out of necessity,” says singer songwriter Ron Pope in the new episode of The String. He’s not using some flouncy royal “we” when asked to talk about the strategies and tactics that have made him one of the more successful independent roots artists at work today.

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It shouldn’t take a shelter-at-home order to indulge in your hi-fi, but with the venues quiet (for now), it’s an ideal time to sit still with your best speakers or headphones, and savor the wealth of recorded music released so far in this young and troubled year. I noticed a star cluster of new albums by leading roots women whose voices and musical auras are especially serene and fortifying. They include veterans returning to the field, top acoustic artists and an anticipated newcomer.

Grand Ole Opry

In the early days of radio, announcers and hosts would regularly offer special greetings to “the shut-ins” among their audience, those housebound with infirmities and illness for whom radio was a vital companion and mental health care. Thanks to Covid-19, we’re all shut-ins now, and over recent days, Nashville’s century-old tradition of broadcasting live music to reach the people where they are rose up out of calamity and went online. (This story has been updated.)

Sometimes you hear people talk about bands as a marriage, which is to say, bound together with a promise and destined to weather stress at close quarters. It’s a good metaphor. But some bands truly are married, and this week The String features conversations with artists who are on that long journey together in life and music. They play live and they’re in love.

Author

In the space of about 48 hours last week, the music business as we know it ceased to function. A dangerous new coronavirus made its way around the world and at last to the heart of the United States, and as scary as it is for individuals, it’s already proving fatal to music’s number one need, which is crowds. With increasingly urgent calls from the US Centers For Disease Control to bar close-packed public gatherings, artists and promoters realized there was no choice but to cancel or postpone tours, shows and festivals.

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