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.

Lyza Renee

Black Pumas, the three-year-old Austin soul-funk duo that earned two Americana Award nominations this year, made a splash on Tuesday with three Grammy Award nominations, including Best American Roots Performance and Record of the Year for “Colors” and an overall Album of the Year nod for their debut Black Pumas (Deluxe Edition). The highly danceable band is the brainchild of Eric Burton and Adrian Quesada, who met through colleagues only in 2017.


Stars illuminate everything around them, but they also exert tremendous gravitational force, sucking in anything not fast enough to orbit on its own. This little physics lesson might be a way of thinking about the challenge facing the North Carolina string band the Steep Canyon Rangers. When superstar Steve Martin upped his banjo game ten years ago, he adopted the Steeps as his band, exposing them to huge audiences in live and TV settings. But the group preserved its identity, especially lately with three diverse albums in one calendar year.

Alysse Gafkjen

The very first sound we hear on Lera Lynn’s new album is a low-throated shaker, perhaps an African gourd, covered in a net of seashells? “To answer your question,” Lynn says, “It’s a box of Runtz candy.” Just another instrument for an artist making an album completely alone, at home. This shimmering track “Are You Listening?” proposes good advice, because every note and beat tells a story of self-reliance and resourcefulness.

Chris Phelps

Since May, Margo Price’s live album Perfectly Imperfect at The Ryman has been quietly hanging out at Bandcamp, raising money for the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund. Last Friday, the recording was released to the streaming services, while plans were announced for a vinyl release along with a companion concert film. 


The Grateful Dead are the Rorschach test of American music, and given the chemistry, social science and voodoo technology that have come out of Menlo Park, Palo Alto and San Francisco where the Dead were born, I’m not even sure this is a metaphor. Maybe it was all a big clinical trial, run on our peculiar national psychology. Stare into the Dead’s kaleidoscopic ink blots and you’ll see something about yourself and the culture. Skeptics and fanatics of the band don’t know quite what to make of each other (we’ve long been a divided nation).