Thursday, March 13, 2014

Music City Roots at the Loveless Barn - Welcome to Nashville

After a delightful night spent at Guntersville Lake State Park, we got off to Nashville early and with some turmoil as high winds and cold weather were predicted. Irene wisely chose a route avoiding interstate highways with their high speeds and the impact of massive trucks' wakes moving our trailer. The trip traversed lovely countryside in northern Alabama and south-central Tennessee, which, unfortunately, we couldn't really enjoy because of fighting the wind. We were greeted at Two Rivers Campground,  our home for the next twelve days, with the news that a freeze warning was predicted requiring us to disconnect our water overnight to avoid damage to the pipes. Our mail arrived at the desk just at the moment we did. We took a brief rest and headed onto the maze of highways surrounding Nashville, a little cranky and encountering the kind of speed and aggressive driving we're generally not accustomed to. Nevertheless, the GPS brought us to the Lovelace Barn right on schedule. We pulled into the parking lot to be greeted by the very fine new wrap on Rhonda Vincent's Martha White Express.

The Martha White a new dress

Music City Roots is a live, two-hour radio broadcast from the Loveless Barn, a comfortable space with terrific sound provided by Sound Image, presented weekly at 7:00 P.M. on Wednesdays. Tickets are only $10.00 dollars, and those attending, viewing live online, or watching the shows from the very rich archives are assured an interesting and lively experience. Co-producers Todd Mayo and John Walker have created a show which, true to its name, cross pollinates the roots and branches of country, bluegrass, old time, Americana music, from the very traditional to the most progressive to be found. The format has proven itself to be successful, attracting on this night a standing room crowd covering just about the entire spectrum of ages and musical interests. One of the most delightful elements of this evening is that if you don't care for a band, wait twenty-five minutes and one more to your liking will appear. 

Craig Havighurst - On-Air Interviewer

At 5:30 or so, our host Craig Havighurst showed up and gave us an overview while introducing us to people we ought to meet and making sure we had wrist bands admitting us to the fine buffet catered by the Loveless Cafe, which served up notice that we need to come back to eat there, too. Craig conducts live interviews with the artists between segments, asking probing, thought provoking questions which give each performer a chance to talk about what they're doing, where they're coming from, and their new project, all in about four minutes. That's really quite a trick. He's exceptional at keeping the focus on the artists.

Keith Bilbrey

Announcer Keith Bilbrey keeps the show running smoothly and with good humor. Formerly a disc jockey at WSM and host of the Grand Ole Opry, he currently serves as sidekick to host Larry on Larry's Country Diner on RFD-TV and hosts "Nashville Country Cookin'" with his wife Emy Joe on the Rural TV network. His interactions with guest host John Cowan, Craig, and the audience were quick and to the point, a sign of a fine announcer. 

John Cowan

 The legendary John Cowan served as guest host while Jim Lauderdale sojourned in Australia. His good humor and still clarion tenor voice graced the stage with humility and good humor. It's always a real pleasure to get a chance to touch bases with him. Now...on with the show.

Josh Williams & Keith Bulla Accompany John

John Cowan

Teea Goans
Country singer Teea Goans opened the show and featured her new CD accompanied by some of Nashville's very best, Larry Cordle and Carl Jackson and joined by Jamie Dailey for "That's Just Me Lovin' You." Teea has a sprightly stage personality and a solid, clear country voice well-suited for delivering classic country. Her new CD "That's Just Me" can be purchased from her web site.

Tea Goans

Larry Cordle

With Guest Singer Jamie Dailey

Teea and Carl Jackson

Craig Havighurst Interviews Rhonda Vincent

Aly Sutton - Vietti Chili Girl

Don Duprie

Singer/Songwriter Don Duprie is a Detroit native who sings with a working man's sensitivity to the fears and issues of the times. He sang about losing jobs, the futility of hoping for the union to help solve his problems, and his own propensity to foul things up. His songs, topical, humorous and touching, are delivered in an effective baritone voice accompanied by Ian Crossman on bass.

 Don Duprie

Ian Crossman & Don Duprie

Standing Room Crowd

Craig Havighurst Interviews Teea Goans

Wild Ponies

Doug and Telisha Williams, along with drummer Jake Weinbrenner, make up Wild Ponies, an Americana band with exceptional drive, high emotional content, which develops real interest. Singer/Songwriters who bare their souls with wild abandon, yet enough restraint so their lyrics are intelligible as well as intelligent. Their song "Massey's Run" is a wild, iconic ride around a NACAR track in 1960, wherein Richard Petty ruins the day for a hapless opponent. In their interview with Craig, Doug noted that this song might be the first NASCAR folk song with a rock vibe. For me, who'd never heard of them before, they were the pleasant surprise of the evening.

Telisha Williams

Doug Williams

Jake Weinbrenner

Wild Ponies' Interview with Craig Havighurst
We were surprised to discover that Cabinet hails from Irene's early home in Clark's Summit, PA as well as from Vermont, near our present home in New Hampshire. Describing themselves as a Pennsylvania bluegrass band, the only thing bluegrass about them is the instruments they play, all of which were plugged in. Their music bore no relation to bluegrass, but that doesn't mean it wasn't energetic and interesting, just not bluegrass, but bluegrass influenced, according to their web site and their talk. Their sound is distinctive as well as distinctively interesting to many in the audience. Mandolin player J.P. Biondo has a fine singing voice, which he best demonstrated during the grand finale.

Todd Kopec

Pappy Biondo

J.P. Biondo

Mickey Coviello

Dylan Skursky

Jami Novak
A.J. Trott - Booker and Future Classmate

 Rhonda Vincent & the Rage

Rhonda Vincent & the Rage manage to rise to new heights of energy and enthusiasm each time they appear. Just returned from the Larry's Country Diner cruise and looking relatively tanned and rested, she appeared in support of her new CD Only Me, a dual country/bluegrass offering which truly fits this venue. Although their time was limited, she took the occasion to highlight each member of the band, showing them all off to their best advantage. Here discussion of being seen as too bluegrass for country and too country for bluegrass highlighted the huge strengths she has appealing to both fan bases, providing a new face to bluegrass for many country audiences. It was wonderful to see Josh Williams' dad Tony in much renewed health after several difficult years.

Rhonda Vincent & Mickey Harris

Josh Williams

Aaron McDaris

Brent Burke

Rhonda Vincent

The Grand Finale

In a thrilling grand finale, the evening's cast assembled to commemorate Taylor's sixty-sixth birthday by singing his song "Bartender Blues" which was the title song of a George Jones album, . Hearing the blend of Josh Williams' and John Cowan's voices, even among the assembled multitude, stood out in goose-bump style.

 Watch Last Night's Performance

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