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Arts and Entertainment

  • Artists have come from the West, South, and East to make this week’s Finally Friday possible. We’ve set up a particularly interesting trio of musical concepts as we feature the hard swinging cowboy country of Wylie Gustafson, the blues-drenched slide guitar of Jeff Plankenhorn, and thoughtful commentary on Appalachia from native son Erik Vincent Huey.
  • Emily Nenni didn't fall in love with country music and then move to Nashville. She did the reverse, using the city's honky tonks and local haunts like a country music college. And instead of chasing the allure of the CMA Awards, the Bay Area native dove fully into the traditional end of the pool. Her sparky voice and detail-rich songs grabbed the attention of New West Records, which released her breakout album On The Ranch late last year.
  • Nashville musicians are champs when it comes to putting together artist-driven benefit concerts to help others, but the recent Love Rising show set a new bar for speed, intensity and participation. As soon as Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed Republican-led laws that targeted the LGBTQ community, leading artists like Allison Russell and Jason Isbell started rounding up friends and a team to stage a full-scale arena show at Bridgestone in a matter of days. This slide show of the event featuring Allison Russell, Jason Isbell, Hozier, Sheryl Crow and more, comes from veteran Nashville music photographer Ed Rode.
  • She sounds like she was born into a country music family, but Sunny Sweeney was actually a late and somewhat reluctant bloomer as an artist. Her friends had to beg her to record her first album when she was playing bars in Austin. Then that record got picked up by a Nashville label and got her to the Grand Ole Opry. The major label system was a bad fit, but Sunny has pursued an exemplary indie career in the years since. Her mix of smarts, sass and lonesome blues infuses her latest album Married Alone.
  • A while back one of those business guru types wrote a book whose core idea was that you should never eat lunch alone. The idea was that meal time is simply too valuable to not be making connections and networking. What he didn’t know was that it’s even cooler to eat with friends taking in live music because it’s good for your soul. In that spirit, we hope to see you Friday at noon for an all woman bill with a charming newcomer, an acclaimed veteran and a hot new(ish) duo.
  • Thomm Jutz and Tim Stafford are two of bluegrass music’s most experienced songwriters - both Songwriter of the Year winners - who share an unquenchable fascination with history, especially the life and lore of Appalachia. And they’re both interested in widening the scope of bluegrass and folk songwriting beyond rural tropes. On their new album Lost Stories, their first together, that’s the spirit - an attentive affection for character, time and place.
  • When Nashville’s Allison Russell disembarked from a week of sun, music and escapism as the Cayamo music cruise 2023 came to a close in February, the reality of what was happening on land hit her hard. The Americana star saw Tennessee on the verge of enacting two new laws restricting the health care options for transgender youth and expressive freedom for the LGBTQ community. She helped organize a major benefit and protest concert taking place on Monday.
  • Since arriving in Nashville in 2007, cellist Larissa Maestro has built a rich and varied life as a studio and stage musician, with a long list of live and recorded credits that includes Margo Price, Brandi Carlile, Kyshona Armstrong, the Lone Bellow, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, and Eric Church. She’s been part of high profile recording sessions for John Legend, Mickey Guyton, Wanda Jackson, and Ms. Lauryn Hill. And in recent years she’s had a particularly strong bond working with Allison Russell, last year’s three-time Grammy nominee - who calls Maestro “one of the most extraordinary musicians it has ever been my privilege to know - and one of the best people.”
  • While Bob Weir didn’t move around much on stage playing guitar with his late life project the Wolf Bros at the Ryman on Sunday night, the songs - mostly Grateful Dead but not entirely - moved in multiple planes of motion as they have in Bob’s hands and bands since he co-founded The Dead in the mid 1960s. It was the second of two back-to-back shows at the Mother Church that put a bow on Wolf Bros. winter tour.
  • Ron Sexsmith's brilliant solo debut album of 1995 - the one with the song "Secret Heart" - was on the verge of being overlooked and forgotten when Elvis Costello endorsed it as one of his favorite projects in a major magazine. It changed the conversation about the young balladeer, and he was soon recognized as one of Canada's finest songwriters. Now a dozen great artists have covered "Secret Heart" and Ron is 17 albums in to a rewarding and esteemed career. We talk about those tenuous early days, about his move from Toronto to the country and the resulting album The Vivian Line.