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Finally Friday Gets Wild

Shelby M'lynn Mick
The Arcadian Wild

A few months ago, Isaac Horn and Lincoln Mick of progressive string band The Arcadian Wild came over to my studio to listen to the vinyl test pressing of their new album. With its warm woody tones and thrilling harmonies, it was an exceptional experience. Now that album - simply titled Welcome - is about to hit the world, and its release will be part of a particularly rich edition of Finally Friday. We’ll also hear from married duo Megan And Shane and East Tennessee roots music master Ed Snodderly, also with a release-day performance. So each in turn…

Horn and Mick play acoustic guitar and mandolin respectively. The Arcadian Wild is rounded out by Bailey Warren on fiddle, plus Eli Broxham on upright bass. The Nashville-based group works in the pop-grass school of Nickel Creek and Punch Brothers, with echoes of the indie rock the members grew up on. It’s crafted and quite formal in places, so if you’re seeing mandolins and expecting bluesy rustic soul, that’s not the vibe. But I love how the AW marries groovy chamber music with intricate and advanced vocal harmonies. The founders met at Lipscomb University some years back, and it wasn’t surprising to learn that they’d sung in choir, given the tight-fitting vocal parts they work out. They’ve released four singles from Welcome so far, including the pensive “Corner” which grows gradually as it celebrates loving support, values they seem to infuse into their sound.

Having Ed Snodderly on hand is like an anchor to the history of Tennessee roots music. Many people learn his name when they visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and see his lyrics for the song “The Diamond Stream” etched into stone where a fountain/waterfall kind of thing connects the hall’s rotunda to the front door. A deeper look shows a life devoted to preserving and expanding on tradition. Raised in East Tennessee, Ed has pursued his service of music in many ways. He’s released now ten albums, including several on Sugar Hill with The Brother Boys. His songs have been cut by Sam Bush, Missy Raines and others. He co-founded the legendary venue the Down Home in Johnson City, in biz since 1976. And he passes on the legacy teaching at ETSU’s Department of Appalachian Studies. His excellent new album Chimney Smoke, produced by R.S. Field, is a modern, individual statement grounded in old songwriting and picking, with a stunning array of guests from Amythyst Kiah to Kenny Vaughan.

Megan and Shane are new to me, but the first song on their new album features their friends Lillie Mae and Brit Taylor, so what a credible introduction! The couple hails from Minnesota by way of Arizona, and when they arrived in Nashville they astutely reached out to super sound crafter Brandon Bell to help them realize a vision. Out just last Friday, Peaks And Valleys comes across as a nurturing, nourishing country rock project that’ll hold up.

The event is, as always, free and open to the public at 3rd & Lindsley, and the music starts at noon.

Craig Havighurst is WMOT's editorial director and host of The String, a weekly interview show airing Mondays at 8 pm, repeating Sundays at 7 am. He also co-hosts The Old Fashioned on Saturdays at 9 am and Tuesdays at 8 pm. Threads and Instagram: @chavighurst. Email: craig@wmot.org