Digging These Roots

Article Published: May. 24, 2012 | Modified: May. 31, 2012
Digging These Roots

Americana music is a unique genre in that every generation that comes along gets to put its stamp on it while maintaining the vital traditions of country, blues and folk.

No place is that more evident than on the new various artists album, “Music City Roots: Roots Moments from Season 1.”

For those unaware of its presence, Music City Roots is a live radio program broadcast each week from the Loveless Café, a converted barn located about 25 minutes outside the heart of Nashville.

Since the program’s first broadcast two years ago, Music City Roots has showcased established artists and promising newcomers, many times at the exact same moment.

In that sense, Music City Roots is both new and follows the tradition of live radio show predecessors, such as “The Grand Ole Opry,” “Louisiana Hayride” and “Renfro Valley Barn Dance.”

The new CD highlighting outstanding performances from the first season of Music City Roots features tracks by veteran musicians, such as Jim Lauderdale (host of the show), Nanci Griffith, Scott Miller and Charlie Louvin (in one of his last recorded performances before his death last year).

Newcomers on the disc include The Black Lillies, 18 South, Holy Ghost Tent Revival (from Greensboro), Miss Tess and the Bon Ton Parade, Caitlin Rose, and the McCrary Sisters.

Featuring four or five different acts playing live every Wednesday evening, a ticket to the 400-seat Loveless Barn (just behind the Loveless Café) has become one of the hottest items in Nashville. And if you can’t make it to one of the upcoming shows or pick up the live broadcast on WRLT-FM, the new CD is the next best thing.

Holy Ghost Tent Revival’s “Walking Over My Grave” is pitch perfect with soulful dark Americana vocal harmonies lobbed over timeless picking. Miss Tess and the Bon Ton Parade provide some up-tempo boogie woogie with a wailing horn section on “That Oo Oo Oo.”

Americana fans who caught the Sam Bush Band’s scorching Levon Helm tribute on MerleFest’s main stage will enjoy the new disc’s version of “Up on Cripple Creek” featuring Bush, Lauderdale, Mike Ferris, Byron House and others.

Scott Miller, well known through his work as the leader of his bands, the V-roys and The Commonwealth, gets intimate with solo guitar, harmonica and voice on his delicate ballad, “Appalachian Refugee.”

Recorded a few months before his death of pancreatic cancer, Charlie Louvin’s “See the Big Man Cry” is a wonderful throwback to those old Nashville songs where the bad daddy/cheatin’ husband gets what he deserves by the end of the tune.

Overall, at 11 tracks, the “Music City Roots” CD leaves the listener wanting more, giving them the feeling that he or she could immediately listen to 11 more tracks. Or it might leave them wanting to gas up the car for a road trip to outer Nashville next Wednesday.

For more information, visit http://www.musiccityroots.com.

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