The Bluegrass Situation: Roots Culture Redefined

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Interview
That Ain't Bluegrass: Flatt LonesomeArtist: Flatt Lonesome Song: “Where Do You Go” (originally by Glen Campbell) Album: Silence in These Walls Where did you first hear this song? Charli Robertson: I actually found this song on one of those days where I was just driving around, running some errands, riding around town. When I’m…
InterviewSep 20, 2017

Lizz Wright admittedly wasn’t thrilled when her label approached her about doing a covers album to follow her gospel standards release in 2015, Fellowship & Surrender, but she charged herself with a task: Find a message and use other people’s voices to help convey it. To that end, she turned to a musical past ripe…

InterviewSep 15, 2017

Robert Cray’s voice betrays a sense of electrified giddiness as he talks about recording with Hi Rhythm, the house band from famed Memphis label Hi Records that joined him on his latest project, Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm. For a musician who has performed with Eric Clapton, John Lee Hooker, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, it seems…

InterviewSep 12, 2017

For cellist Leyla McCalla, everything begins with rhythm. On the titular single off her sophomore album -- A Day for the Hunter, A Day for the Prey -- the formally trained McCalla takes her bow, drawing it back like an arrow and embodying for a moment the song’s noted hunter before releasing it in quick, short bursts that suggest…

InterviewSep 8, 2017

Every now and then, a voice comes along that is so thoroughly in tune with the times that it can't -- and shouldn't -- be ignored. This year, that voice belongs to Rhiannon Giddens. Her latest album, Freedom Highway , takes its cues from the warriors of justice who came before her … Joan Baez,…

InterviewSep 1, 2017

A queer Jew from Brooklyn seems like the most unlikely candidate to front a country band, right? If you factor in Karen Pittelman’s past experience singing and performing punk and queercore, her current old country-influenced, honky tonk-inspired group, Karen & the Sorrows, seems even more implausible. Addressing these kind of assumptions about who “owns” country…