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Roots Radio News

  • AmericanaFest is the anchoring annual event for Nashville's roots music community and industry, and it's back after a forced year off. Here's our music writer's take on what to expect at the top of the bill and some recommendations for artists with bold new directions or newcomers emerging on the radar.
  • Nonesuch Records has released Ramble In Music City, a recently discovered 1990 live recording from the Tennessee Performing Arts Center that lends new context to Emmylou Harris's classic live Ryman album and brings us 23 new performances from one of her greatest career chapters.
  • Launched in the shadow of 9/11 in a struggling mountain town, Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion has bolstered the music of its region, launched careers, and helped Bristol itself recover from the small town atrophy of the late 20th century. Working in tandem with the city's Birthplace of Country Music Museum and its in-house Radio Bristol, the Reunion has become a key Americana festival and an anchor for a place central to country music history. The 20th anniversary comeback edition, after a year scrubbed by Covid, called for a road trip.
  • Kathy Mattea has lived in Nashville since before 1980, but she’s never stopped loving or speaking up for her home state of West Virginia. Now the Grammy-winning country and folk artist is taking on a new role as cultural ambassador for the state, having been announced Thursday as the new host of the nationally distributed show Mountain Stage, which has been produced in Charleston since 1983, one year before the release of Mattea’s debut album.
  • The jangle pop branch of the rock family tree was on my mind as news of two upcoming albums crossed my path from bands I’d enjoyed very much during two different chapters of my life. From here in Nashville, The Delevantes hit the studio after a nearly 25-year break from recording as a duo. Their disc A Thousand Turns will arrive Sept. 17. From my North Carolina teen-hood, The Connells announced Steadman’s Wake, set for Sept. 24, the first album the Raleigh outfit had composed since 1998.
  • In May of this year, folk star Sarah Jarosz released the album Blue Heron Suite, a song cycle inspired by emotional family connections to a beach on the Texas Gulf Coast. It’s one the year’s most fully-realized and sophisticated Americana records, with thematic through lines and recurring motifs. And that’s by design. In the notes to the album, Jarosz observes that taking time to write a complete work rather than the usual collection of discrete songs, was made possible by a 2017 grant from the Fresh Grass Foundation.
  • Nashville's Maggie Rose has made a lane of her own, where show business execution and roots music aren’t incompatible. Over 13 years in town, many of those spent chasing a country music comet, she’s built a tribe of excellent musicians and fervent fans. Now she's fused the past and future of roots soul on her third album, Have A Seat.
  • Five years ago this week, WMOT as we know it today was born. The NPR affiliate station flipped its longstanding jazz/classical format to a new Roots Radio concept, setting the station on a path to become a champion and tastemaker in the Nashville-centered field of Americana music. This Thursday, Sept. 2, the station celebrates its birthday with a triple-bill benefit show that exemplifies the format and vision, featuring Rodney Crowell, Shannon McNally and Carlene Carter at the City Winery.
  • He goes by "Ferg" and he's one of the most interesting and influential creative forces in Nashville, whether you've heard of him or not. David Ferguson grew up in town, connected as a teenager with the great producer Cowboy Jack Clement and learned the mystic arts of recording and producing records. He engineered Johnny Cash's iconic comeback albums with Rick Rubin. He's worked the board or produced for John Prine, Sturgill Simpson, Margo Price and recently become a creative partner at Dan Auerbach's Easy Eye Records. Now he's made an album of his own, featuring easy country arrangements of classic and favorite songs.
  • Nashville underground legend Greg Garing is performing and curating hard core country music at a charming community general store and cafe on the side of Clarksville Highway north of Nashville.