The BGS archives are simply a wealth of rootsy reading material. Each week we share our favorite longer, more in-depth articles, stories, and features to help you pass the time — summertime, COVID-19 time, or any ol’ free time you might have! We post our #longreadoftheday picks across our social media channels [on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram]. But of course, if you get ’em all right here in our weekly collection, that’s fine too!
This week’s long reads are about revitalization, reverence, rainbows, and real wisdom.
We love a long read, yes, but we definitely love a birthday more! On Monday, we combined the two (as we do), celebrating Oklahoma singer/songwriter John Moreland’s day-of-birth with a revisit to our February interview about his latest album, LP5. While some listeners may have found the record to be something of a departure for Moreland, for his part, the “out there” elements of the music are what helped him learn to love creating again. [Read more]
Yes, this is a podcast, so technically this is a long listen rather than a long read, but we have good reason. Four years ago this week, Dr. Ralph Stanley passed away. As more and more of our bluegrass forebears leave us, their memories are even more important. On a recent episode of Toy Heart, hosted by Tom Power, Ricky Skaggs shared stories of his time with Ralph, the Clinch Mountain Boys, and Keith Whitley. It’s worth a listen to honor one of the most pivotal popularizers of this music. [Listen to the episode]
Pride month is always full of rainbows, but never enough roots music! A couple of years ago we collected a handful of our favorite folky, country, bluegrassy, rootsy, ukulele-strumming renditions of “Over the Rainbow” to celebrate Pride month and each year since it’s been well worth a revisit. What cover of “Over the Rainbow” is your favorite? Did it make the list? [Read & listen here]
One quote from our 2017 interview with Blind Boys of Alabama founding member Jimmy Carter is enough to confirm this edition of Counsel of Elders’ excellence: “People ask me, ‘You’ve been doing this for almost seven decades, what keeps you going?’ I tell them, ‘When you love what you do — and we love what we’re doing — that keeps you motivated.'”
You’re going to want to read the rest! [Read the full interview]
Photo of John Moreland: Crackerfarm
Photo of Blind Boys of Alabama: Jim Herrington