Roots Radio News

WMOT featured in Public Radio's Current

Oct 17, 2016

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (HAVIGHURST)  --  The birth of Roots Radio on WMOT 89.5 FM has become a big story in the world of public media. Last week Current, a journal covering public media, featured the new all-Americana WMOT in a lengthy story. The in-depth piece by Sara Wise offers a detailed look at the innovative partnership between Middle Tennessee State University and Music City Roots.

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Singer-songwriter Bob Dylan has won the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature.

It was a stunning announcement that for the first time bestowed the prestigious award on a musician for "having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition."

Reporters and others gathered at the Swedish Academy's headquarters in Stockholm's Old Town reacted with a loud cheer as his name was read out.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — For the second year in a row, Christian singer Lauren Daigle won three awards at the Gospel Music Association's Dove Awards on Tuesday night, including artist of the year.

Two worship groups, Hillsong UNITED out of Australia and Bethel Music based in California, also took home two awards apiece during the award show held at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (GILBERT) -- For lovers of roots music, it’s pickin’ time on the Harpeth River. The inaugural Hoedown On The Harpeth music festival is set to take place Oct. 14-15 on the Hayshed Farm in Kingston Springs.

Hoedown On The Harpeth seeks to preserve and showcase the authentic sounds of classic country. Bluegrass, old time, western swing, & honky-tonking music will be celebrated for two days in an outdoor setting, something festival founder Robert Dunn believes has been a long time coming.

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  (AP/WMOT) —  Lady Gaga showed that she could rock a club just as hard as arenas, playing a short set at the 5 Spot bar in Nashville Wednesday night.

A small crowd of fans and guests got to hear her perform three new songs from her forthcoming album, "Joanne." Gaga says she'll appear at two more small bars this week, a nod to the album's "raw Americana" vibe and where she got her start

In a statement, Gaga said finding a way to bring people together is important to her.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Country star Dolly Parton will receive the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award at the upcoming 50th annual Country Music Association Awards.

Parton will receive the award in Nashville on Nov. 2, the CMA said Tuesday. The show will air on ABC. Parton, who wrote "I Will Always Love You" and "9 to 5," is a nine-time CMA winner, including entertainer of the year.

Nashville Opera opens its season with Don Giovanni

Oct 4, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  The Nashville Opera will this week perform what may be the perfect opera for Bible Belt audiences.

The Nashville Company will perform Mozart’s Don Giovanni Thursday and Saturday. The famous opera is, of course, a morality play that ends with the title character being dragged off to hell for his womanizing and other sins.

In spite of the dark subject matter, Nashville Opera CEO and Artistic Director John Hoomes says Mozart created an entertaining work.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  Garth Brooks will perform a free concert at Ascend Amphitheatre in late October.

Brooks says the concert is his way of thanking fans for his seventh Diamond Certification from the Recording Industry Association of America.

A press statement from the State of Tennessee says Brooks is the first artist to receive seven certifications, surpassing six earned by the Beatles.

Seven of Brook’s albums have now sold more than 10 million copies each. All seven albums were recorded here in Tennessee.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The 47th annual Gospel Music Association Dove Awards are coming up soon. This year's theme is "Love Amplified." The top nominee is Jason Ingram with 7. Artist Lauren Daigle, David Garcia, Paul Mabury, and Wayne Haun have six nominations each.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (RHIANNON GILBERT)  --  It’s a Monday night at the 5 Spot in East Nashville. The little barroom is packed with people mingling and dancing to the upbeat sound of artists like The Jackson Five, Chubby Checker and The Supremes.

This is a dance party called “Motown Mondays,” hosted by Reno Bo and Jacob Jones, the DJ duo known as Electric Western. Their aim with Motown Mondays is to give folks a place where they can bust a move to doo wop, garage rock, girl groups and rock ‘n’ roll hits from the 50s and 60s.

Get it on your calendar: Free Music Day October 22

Sep 29, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  The Nashville Symphony’s 11th annual Free Music Day is set for October 22.

Twenty artists will make music on four stages in and around the Schermerhorn. Spokesperson Kelley Bell says the Orchestra will perform at noon, playing Beethoven, Dvořák, Copland, Prokofiev, Gershwin and Williams.

“Usually we have people hanging from the rafters," Bell noted. " It’s open seating, so I would suggest getting there a little early.”

You can also enjoy classical Chinese music, a dulcimer choir, fiddle ensemble, African drumming and more.


MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  Mid-state fans of the B-52s will get a musical treat Thursday as band front man Fred Schneider puts in an appearance at Middle Tennessee State.

Schneider will speak to students about the band’s big hits like Love Shack, and Rock Lobster. Schneider, a poet-musician, is best known for his spoken singing style.

Schneider will talk about his four decade career in new-wave rock at 4:30 on the MTSU campus. The lecture is free  and open to the public.

WMOT staff, Rhiannon Gilbert

2nd annual Muletown Musicfest this weekend in Columbia

Sep 27, 2016

COLUMBIA, Tenn. (HAVIGHURST)  --  With high profile music events such as AmericanaFest and the Pilgrimage Festival dominating the Fall calendar, a plucky startup festival down the road from Music City is eager to get on the radar of roots music lovers.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A spokeswoman for the Grand Ole Opry says Country Music Hall of Fame artist Jean Shepard has died. She was 82.

Spokeswoman Jessie Schmidt says in a news release that Shepard had entered hospice care last week and died Sunday in Nashville.

Shepard joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry in 1955 and helped set the standard for women in country music. She presented a strong female point of view in songs like "Twice the Lovin' in Half the Time" and "The Root of All Evil (Is a Man)."

Jim Lauderdale wins WagonMaser award at 2016 Americana awards show

Sep 22, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Singer songwriter Jason Isbell won album of the year and song of the year at the 2016 Americana Honors and Awards show, extending his legacy as the star of Americana music.

Since launching his solo career after years with the Drive-By Truckers, Isbell has been racking up both critical acclaim as well as Americana and Grammy awards with his Southern rock albums. He won Wednesday night for his album "Something More Than Free," and his song, "24 Frames."

Americana Music Honors and Awards Show Replay

Sep 21, 2016

In case you missed it last night, check out the Americana Honors and Awards Show from the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (HAVIGHURST)  --  The Americana Music convention is into its second day and industry issues are expected to take center stage.

Panels scheduled for Wednesday include a discussion about radio, the legacy of songwriter Woody Guthrie, and the controversial economics of digital streaming.

Streaming is something you’ve likely heard recording artists complain about. Specifically about how little they get paid when their songs get played. But the moderator of a panel on today’s agenda believes the conventional wisdom is wrong.

AMERICANAFEST 2016: A Roots Radio Tipsheet

Sep 19, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (HAVIGHURST)  --  The Americana Music Association Festival and Conference was a steady-state affair for industry insiders during its first decade, but in recent years the convention has grown and changed like the Nashville skyline. The 17th edition of the event launches at the Sheraton Downtown Hotel on Tuesday morning and spreads its musical tendrils across more than a dozen venues until Sunday night. The Association reports that in 2006, Americana showcased just over 50 bands for an audience of about 400 registered attendees.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  Councilman Brett Withers says he’ll be sponsoring a resolution to have October 12 officially designated Captain Tom Ryman Day in Nashville.

The date marks the 175th anniversary of Ryman’s birth.

The wealthy riverboat captain provided the funds used to build the Union Gospel Tabernacle. The tabernacle is, of course, now known as the Ryman Auditorium - the Mother Church of Country Music.

According to a press statement, a full slate of Ryman commemorative events are planned for October 12 beginning at 2 p.m. at Fort Negley in Nashville.

Back to her roots: A profile of Roots Radio program director Jessie Scott

Sep 12, 2016


WMOT staff, Rhiannon Gilbert

Roots Radio Personalities

Sep 6, 2016


Weekday Roots Radio Schedule

Sep 6, 2016

Starting Monday, Sept. 5 WMOT Roots Radio will broadcasting live Americana music shows each weekday with special programming evenings and weekends.

Here's a snapshot of the weekday schedule:


Midnight to 2 a.m. Roots Radio Live Cuts

2 a.m. to 6 a.m. Undercurrents from Native Voice One

6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Mornings with John Walker (Americana music and news)

9 a.m. to Noon Keith Bilbrey

Noon to 4 p.m. Whit "Witness" Hubner

4 p.m. to 7 p.m Jessie Scott

7 p.m. to 8 p.m. MTSU Coaches Show

Signaling A New Era In Nashville Radio

Sep 3, 2016

Roots Radio staff writer, Craig Havighurst

With an “opera” to “Opry” genre hand-off that recalled the birth of Nashville’s most famous radio show in 1927, WMOT/Roots Radio went on the air Friday morning at a warm and celebratory gathering at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Music City Roots co-founder John Walker had the idea to segue from Aaron Copland’s famous orchestral “Hoedown” into a live take on the old fiddle tune that inspired it, “Bonaparte’s Retreat.” And by golly it worked.

WMOT's switch from classical to Americana jam

Sep 2, 2016

The most amazing thing happens at the 1:53 minute mark, WMOT went from a classical station to Americana in the blink of an eye.