Arts and Entertainment

With important recording studios that date back to the 70s and historic venues going strong today, Tulsa, OK has one of the more dynamic roots music scenes in the country. Now, some of its outstanding musicians are on the road together in what they’re calling the Tulsa Revue, a package show that arrives in Nashville Saturday, Oct. 26 at the 5 Spot. 

Ed Rode

If you wish to feel seen, acknowledged and befriended, get yourself to a room where Jontavious Willis is performing the blues. There are no strangers there. At a recent show at the Franklin Theatre opening for Keb' Mo', Willis engaged, cajoled and loved on the crowd as if we were family.

"I'm about making memories," he says in an interview for WMOT's The String, which will premiere Sunday Oct. 20. "When I'm on stage and the audience is quiet, I encourage them to talk back to me and feel like we're all together."

David Bragger

Belen Escobedo grew up on the mostly Tejano South Side of San Antonio, TX, hearing norteño and mariachi music on the radio and the accordion-based conjunto music of local dance halls. But earlier Tejano music had featured the violin as its central instrument, and even today the older generation of accordionists can recall tunes they learned from fiddle players many decades ago.

The List with Webb Wilder - 10.11.2019

Oct 14, 2019

Episode 32: Jonah Tolchin

Oct 14, 2019

Episode #26 - Jon Latham w Kristen Englenz

Oct 14, 2019

Ed Rode

The first time Ketch Secor and Old Crow Medicine Show played at the Ryman Auditorium, it was early in the morning, a time when the room glows with a holy light and every step on the hardwood floor, every word, reverberates with uncanny clarity. It was the year 2000, and the band of twentysomethings was new to town and a bit dazzled at their own unfolding story.


In keeping with the standard version of history, the new Ken Burns Country Music documentary spotlights the 1927 Bristol Sessions, when Victor Records producer Ralph Peer discovered The Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers. But Johnson City, 25 miles away, is part of the larger story of field recording in early country music, and it's celebrating a 90th anniversary this month, says Ted Olson, a professor in the department of Appalachian Studies at East Tennessee State University.


Episode #25 - Ladies Gun Club and India Ramey

Oct 7, 2019

Lost Sounds with Greg Reish - 10.06.2019

Oct 7, 2019

Bel-Aire Drive with Greg Lee - 09.27.2019

Oct 7, 2019

The List with Webb Wilder - 10.04.2019

Oct 7, 2019

Laura Partain

You could say that John Prine has changed Kelsey Waldon's life at least twice now, in episodes separated by more than a decade. First, she was a teenager figuring out music in western Kentucky. A vintage 1971 LP came her way with a blue collar man on a blue cover sitting on hay bales. In the grooves, she heard wit and pathos and characters that redefined what seemed possible in a song.


The sentiment that the future of bluegrass is in good hands is as perennial as, well, grass. It's music that does indeed grow its new generations from the ground up with a formal and informal support system for youth musicians in training and emerging artists in the professional realm. Last week's World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, NC proved that once again.


Joe Mullins is a banjo player and vocalist acclaimed for his old school manner and classic-sounding bluegrass, as well as 2016's IBMA Broadcaster of the Year. Now he and his band the Radio Ramblers are Entertainers of the Year. The group is no stranger to IBMA awards, having won Emerging Artist in 2012 and last year's album prize, but now the traditional-leaning, Ohio-based ensemble has the top prize in the industry.

Del McCoury is a bluegrass Hall of Famer and repeat host of the International Bluegrass Music Association Awards show. Jim Lauderdale is a beloved Nashville songwriter whose wide range of projects and songs includes Grammy Awards in bluegrass and a veteran emcee as well, having hosted the Americana Honors & Awards for more than a decade. Their personalities are as big as their resumes, so they'll make memorable co-hosts of the 30th IBMA Awards, set to take place in Raleigh this Thursday night.

Sandra Davidson for Come Hear North Carolina

The folk duo Mandolin Orange announced its first headlining engagement at the Ryman Auditorium early this year, and tickets sold so fast that the hallowed venue added a second night. On a recent hot September weekend, the shows offered a cocoon of string-band heart and refined songcraft amid the blaring bars of downtown. And it was a landmark for the artists, married couple Emily Frantz and Andrew Marlin, who launched their musical union ten years ago in Chapel Hill, NC.

Les Leverett / PBS

In 1996, I sat transfixed through a six-hour docu-series on TBS called America's Music: The Roots Of Country. I'd become a fan of country and bluegrass, but my knowledge was spotty. I'd never seen the story laid out as a cohesive narrative, connecting eras and influences, so that film was a slow-motion epiphany and a life-changing experience. With 16 hours of run time and the intellectual and artistic firepower of Ken Burns behind it, Country Music, premiering Sunday on PBS, is poised to be an even more dazzling and comprehensive revelation for millions of people.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- More wins like Sunday’s 43-13 blowout against Cleveland could change the calculus, but a new survey ranks the Tennessee Titans one of the least valuable teams in the NFL.


Forbes magazine released its latest look at team dollar values this past week. The Titans ranked at No. 29 — down from No. 27 a year ago.

Forbes estimates that the team, whose lead owner is Amy Adams Strunk, is now worth $2.15 billion — a five percent increase from a year ago.

Erika Goldring/Getty Images

When the founders of the brand-new Americana Music Association first met in Nashville in 1999, there was no Third Man Records, no 5 Spot and no Mercy Lounge. The Country Music Hall of Fame was under construction, but high-rise cranes were a rarity on the skyline. Artist showcases came along a year later, and what's now called AmericanaFest began a journey of growth that's paralleled its home city, which is to say surprisingly fast and nearly out of control.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- The Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration says paid attendance at last weekend’s contest was up slightly, but a photo by the local Times-Gazette shows large open sections in the event’s 30,000 seat arena.


The Big Lick, held in Shelbyville every year since 1939, was once one of Tennessee’s largest tourism draws pumping millions of dollars annually into the mid-state economy.


Ed Rode

So far, the artists who've been embraced into the exotic and exclusive world of Easy Eye Sound, the studio and label run by rock star producer Dan Auerbach, have had little if anything to do with Music Row. The Gibson Brothers, Yola, Dee White and others were already pursuing roots music careers, and their Easy Eye projects represented subtle shifts of style. With Kendell Marvel, we hear a successful veteran country music songwriter having his shackles removed.



MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- A Tennessee park ranger and folklorist has been named a 2019 National Heritage Fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts.


Ranger Bobby Fulcher has spent four decades documenting the work of Tennessee’s traditional artists. One of his biggest finds was musician Dee Hicks. Fulcher learned that Hicks had more than 100 folk songs committed to memory.


Fulcher explained to WMOT in 2014 why he found the work rewarding.