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Arts and Entertainment

  • I always feel fulfilled and very much at home when I visit western North Carolina, the place where I first spent nights in the woods, first rafted on whitewater rivers, and first heard Doc Watson. I grew up in the central Piedmont region of the state, but those Smoky Mountains always felt close by, and in the years I’ve been on the music beat, my relationship with the area in and around Asheville has only grown richer and more rewarding. One big reason is Amanda Anne Platt and the Honeycutters.
  • This Friday is an especially rich date for live shows in Music City. Banditos are throwing an album release party outdoors at the Basement at 5 pm. Joshua Hedley and Dawn Landes are on the Musicians Corner bill at Centennial Park. Christina Vane celebrates her new CD at Dee’s. And I’m taking my kid to see Haim from the lawn at Ascend. But folks, none of that distracts from or overlaps with WMOT’s stacked lineup at lunch hour at Eastside Bowl. You can do it all.
  • Brandi Carlile, Allison Russell and Yola have emerged as game-changing artists in roots music in recent years, and on Monday afternoon they were informed that they’d each earned three nominations for 2022’s Americana Awards, in the prestige categories of Song, Album and Artist of the Year.
  • Monoflora, the fourth album from Asheville, NC quartet River Whyless draws on the musical values that have made them cult favorites since 2012 - complex harmonies, layered textures and worldly grooves, while letting their folk influences flourish as well. This conversation reveals an especially deep bond of friendship that's endured creative tensions to produce ultimately exceptionally enthralling music.
  • When folks like me advocate for more fine arts education and exposure in public schools, success stories like The Accidentals are part of the agenda. This ultra-creative, musically daring trio from Traverse City, MI was born when two teenage students volunteered for a string ensemble, met one another and became, as they put it, musical soulmates. That’s why Katie Larson and Sav Buist and I spend so much time in Episode 205 of The String talking about high school.
  • Fun fact about Nashville and Friday is that back in 1972, you could have found Rodney Crowell and Marshall Chapman working at T.G.I. Fridays’ on Elliston Place, which back then was actually one of the hipper places in town. She was a server, and he was a dishwasher, which just goes to show ya. Another fun fact about Friday is that we have this weekly series where artists from around town and around the country set aside time to perform for y’all. We call it Finally Friday, and it’s cycling back again with finely tuned soul from Teddy Grossman and the smart Texas country of The Wilder Blue.
  • In the spring of 2021, country music fan Holly G launched the blog and artist directory BlackOpry.com little suspecting what would come next. The site and its social media reach inspired an AmericanaFest gathering space - The Black Opry House - last September, which in turn inspired a touring Black Opry Revue that’s been filling theaters around the country since last October. On Monday night, the Black Opry’s official Anniversary Party takes place at the City Winery.
  • In Episode 204 of The String, Craig sits down with bluegrass patriarch and Hall of Famer Del McCoury, backstage at the Grand Ole Opry. With his warm voice and always twinkling humor, Del talks about joining Bill Monroe's band in 1963, finding national renown after 50 years old, and the pandemic-inspired song scouting on his new record Almost Proud.
  • The reason those comedic hosts always shout like crazy people when they say “LIVE FROM NEW YORK, IT’S SATURDAY NIGHT!!” on the famous NBC show. That’s because there’s nothing like the energy of a live broadcast, with an audience and artists all together in a special space. All those pieces are in place for April 15 when we return to the Wash at Eastside Bowl for Finally Friday in person. We’ll hear country from Katilin Butts, hearty roots rock from Nashville’s Hollier and southern rock from the Georgia Thunderbolts.
  • When the first iteration of the Songbirds museum closed in the summer of 2020, it looked like the pandemic had taken down a unique and history-laden destination in the under-appreciated Chattanooga music scene. It was a venue, a charitable foundation, a community gathering place and a museum featuring one of the finest (and most accessible) historic guitar collections in the world. But as of last September, it's back with a new look and refreshed mission.