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The Old Fashioned
Saturday at 9 a.m. and Tuesday at 8 p.m.

The Old Fashioned is a weekly bluegrass and old-time program, hosted by Craig Havighurst and Amy Alvey. As they say on the air, The Old Fashioned (yes, named for the world-famous cocktail) stirs up strong spirits with a bit of sugar, a dash of bitters and a twist of zest, telling the ongoing story of traditional music in Americana. With commentary and context to bring their listeners along for the journey, Craig and Amy spin old-time bands, traditional bluegrass, regional folk styles, acoustic blues, and gospel. Audio for each episode stays up for two weeks, but you can search our catalog for past playlists any time.

Latest Episodes
  • When we think about the youth brigade in bluegrass and traditional music, we have to think about hyper-talented and hyper-enthusiastic Mason Via who recently moved from rural North Carolina to Nashville, where he became the newest and youngest member of Old Crow Medicine Show. Mason’s been the subject of much buzz for years in folkie circles and in episode #11 you can hear his single “Gettin’ Gone,” which he says is connected to the vibe of Jack Kerouac. Also very new is “How It Ends” from the album Narrow Line by the Halifax, Nova Scotia duo of Lisa Maria and Amy Lou Keeler. We’re way into their haunting and personal spin on old-time. From the classic past you’ll hear John Hartford and Reno & Smiley. And we kick it all off with Theo and Brenna bluegrass-ifying a girl group classic from the 60s.
  • We’ve proudly featured the Po’ Ramblin’ Boys recently as an exemplar of the old bluegrass ways playing out by young artists on a modern stage, but they’re not the only band sporting flamboyant vintage stage wear and a close-knit, hard-boned bluegrass sound. And that’s why we kick show #10 off with the new single from the Kody Norris Show out of East Tennessee.
  • Our opening theme this week tips our hat to the western swing side of fiddle music with a 1940s track called “My Life’s Been A Pleasure,” while our official first song is Sturgill Simpson’s bluegrass take on his song “Life Ain’t Fair And The World Is Mean.” We hope you personally feel more like the former than the latter, but then bluegrass is famous for taking the tragic and making it sound downright pleasant. Also in this hour of happy, we hear back-to-back tracks form the perfectly paired Honey Dewdrops, the husband and wife duo from Virginia, an old favorite plus “Heart Wants” from the brand new, guitar-forward album Light Behind Light. Multi-instrumentalist Andy Leftwich plays fiddle and mandolin on his new single “Kimper County.” The wonderfully named Swamperella updates the world’s first Cajun hit. And our throwback artists include Flatt & Scruggs and Michael Cleveland.
  • We open this week’s Old Fashioned talking about the spontaneity and resourcefulness of traditional roots musicians. Nobody’s waiting around for a record deal to make an album. Brittany Haas, the amazing fiddler renowned for her work in the band Hawktail, the Live From Here band, and the Dave Rawlings Machine, took inspiration from a jam she enjoyed and assembled friends for a new album so in-the-moment that it’s called Impromptu Sessions #1.
  • New discoveries abound in this week’s Old Fashioned. Nashville mandolin man and hat-maker Scott Simontacchi slipped us the most recent album by his friend and collaborator David Long, whose project called Public Record: Songs and Stories sounds like a true 1950s throwback with its vintage recording gear and timeless songwriting. David’s played with Mike Compton and Karl Shiflett among others and he’s got a true swing. Also emerging is Eli West, a guitarist and song-singer from Seattle. His “Johnny Wombat” here features fiddler Christian Sedelmyer and mandolinist Andrew Marlin. Full Cord Bluegrass was new to us out of Grand Haven, MI, but not new to the ROMP festival, where they won 2021’s band contest. Jake Xerxes Fussell is garnering buzz out of Durham, NC for his folkloric song interpretation, and this one’s a special reading of “Handsome Molly” called “Breast of Glass.” Also in the hour, new hits from Molly Tuttle and Del McCoury, plus Tex Mex from Belen Escobedo and hearty a cappella gospel from the Fairfield Four.
  • We’ve been eagerly waiting for the release of Hurricane Clarice, the second album by the duo of Allison DeGroot (banjo) and Tatiana Hargreaves (fiddle), so we were pleased to drop their version of “Each Season Changes You,” a song from the catalog of the Osborne Brothers that gets a truly unique treatment here. Also in the show, rising star fiddler Laura Orshaw of the Po’ Ramblin Boys sings Hazel Dickens’s feminist anthem “Ramblin’ Woman,” which just had to happen. We offer up a pair of Cajun numbers and throwback favorites from JD Crowe, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, O Brother Where Art Thou? and Peter Rowan.
  • The April 1 release of Molly Tuttle’s first-ever full-length bluegrass album is a cause for celebration in the roots music community and an excuse for us to play a block of music telling the story of her new record Crooked Tree and her influences. Besides her Woody Guthrie-style frolic “Big Back Yard” and the haunting ballad “The River Knows,” we spin a track from Tuttle’s California mentor Laurie Lewis and her girlhood friend and bandmate AJ Lee, whose band Blue Summit actually includes Molly’s brother Sullivan Tuttle. Also new is “Once Again,” a lonesome honky tonk number sung masterfully by Del McCoury. And we feature some of the hippest string bands going – The High And Wides fro Baltimore, The Wooks from Lexington, KY and Nashville and Fireside Collective from western NC. Nokosee Fields stands out in our old-time music as a young star bringing a bit of his Native American culture to traditional music.
  • We were able to fit in quite a few legendary figures into Episode 4, because many of them are alive and well and releasing new music. Larry Sparks put out the album New Moon Over My Shoulder just before the pandemic, almost exactly 50 years after his first release. Danny Paisley and Dale Ann Bradley, both IBMA vocalists of the year, joined forces for the fine song “One By One.” And we’ve got Roland White collaborating with a young Jim Lauderdale on the lost then found tapes that gave us Jim’s earliest recorded album, which was newly released in recent years. Also here, thrilling vocals from High Fidelity and Appalachian Road Show.
  • In Old Fashioned #3, we kick off with new music from East Nash Grass, the collective that holds down Monday evenings at Dee’s Lounge in Madison. The song comes from their 2021 self-titled debut. We also feature the band’s national champion fiddler Maddie Denton from her first solo debut Playin’ In This Town. Elsewise, you’ll hear music from the understated new duo project by Nashville’s Kieran Kane & Rayna Gellert, Justin Moses duetting with Blue Highway’s Shawn Lane and vintage Black string band music from Walter Jacobs and Lonnie Carter. Stick around to the end to hear one of the greatest bluegrass harmony duets of the 1990s.
  • In Old Fashioned #2, Craig and Amy spin new singles by the Po Ramblin’ Boys and Hogslop String Band, an a cappella number from Sad Daddy and Della Mae’s 2021 back-to-bluegrass album Family Reunion. Female bluegrass pioneer Alice Gerard is here, as produced by Hiss Golden Messenger’s M.C. Taylor. The voice of Sierra Ferrell is heart-stopping in a waltz-time ballad. And we get two sides of Vivian Leva and Reiley Calcagno, as a duo and a quartet in their old-time project The Onlies.