The Bluegrass Situation: Roots Culture Redefined

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Interview
Jumping into the Deep End: A Conversation with Billy StringsGuitar virtuoso Billy Strings (born William Apostol) is on the road somewhere between here and there, when he picks up the phone. That question “Where exactly?” gives him pause. “The other day, I couldn’t remember where I was,” he admits, a note of earnestness betraying his 25 years of age.…
InterviewSep 22, 2017

For most listeners of bluegrass, the history of the music begins (and often ends) in December of 1945, when Bill Monroe brought his Blue Grass Boys -- Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt, included -- on stage at the Grand Ole Opry. Bluegrass was created by the men on that historic stage, straight from their brains…

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,…