Welcome to the BGS Radio Hour! Since 2017, this weekly radio show and podcast has been a recap of all the great music, new and old, featured on the digital pages of BGS. This week, we bring you new music off of the beautiful new album Outside Child from Allison Russell, as well as bluegrass songs to celebrate springtime, and much more! Remember to check back every week for a new episode of the BGS Radio Hour.
To start off this week’s roundup, we visit our conversation with Athens, Georgia-based Kaoru Ishibashi, better known as Kishi Bashi, about his new EP Emigrant. When COVID hit, he and his daughter packed into a camper and hit the road, from the southeastern U.S. all the way to Oregon, over a period of several months. Along the way, he fleshed out the songs that became Emigrant through visiting places like the Ozarks, the Dakotas, and Montana, including Heart Mountain: a World War II Japanese internment camp he visited many times during the production of his documentary Omoiyari: A Songfilm by Kishi Bashi.
Reid Zoe – “When I Go”
This new track from singer-songwriter Reid Zoé is, on the surface, a song about dying, but really it’s about all of the questions that come with being a human on earth.
With a catchy melodic hook and low-tuned banjo, “Right in Step” is a lovely bluegrass tune full of love, hope, and togetherness – hopefully a respite from the uncertainty of the pandemic.
It’s been said that everything in this world comes with a price. For Nashville’s Sean McConnell, that price is reflected in loving someone — be it family, friend, or significant other — and the eventuality and certainty of you losing them. Yet still, he suggests, most of us are willing to take that risk for love, to give up our hearts completely. It’s the price that our heart pays for love in return.
A new song from pan-Atlantic singer-songwriter The Deep Dark Woods was inspired by English folk band Steeleye Span. Featuring Kacy Anderson on fiddle, the tune asks the titular question, “How Could I Ever Be Single Again?”
“Raining Sideways” is one of Sam Robbins’ most-requested songs, a stream of consciousness lyric that’s one of the most raw and authentic he’s ever written.
A recent episode of The Show on the Road featured a deep dive with silky-voiced, southern gothic-folk songwriter Lera Lynn. Stick around to the end of the episode to hear Lynn introduce her favorite broken-romance number, “So Far.”
BGS recently caught up with Steep Canyon Rangers’ banjo player and songwriter Graham Sharp about the release of his new solo record, Truer Picture. We talked about Steve Martin’s influence on the Rangers and Sharp himself, as well as his approach to songwriting, nature inspirations, and the way literature and music coincide.
Our Artist of the Month for May, Allison Russell, wrote this song for her many-times-great-great-grandmother Quasheba, who survived being enslaved, being ripped away from everything she knew, the horrible Middle Passage, having her children taken, and more. Russell says her art and a loving community have inspired her to connect with her ancestors and find connection through intergenerational strength, resilience, and transcendence, despite intergenerational trauma and abuse.
Singer-songwriter Grace Pettis literally dreamed up “Paper Boat,” a song about coming of age, trying to fit in, and losing our innocence. She’s joined by her producer, Mary Bragg, on tender harmony vocals.
We spoke with our May Artist of the Month, Allison Russell, about the inspiration behind and creation of her honest and stunning album Outside Child, including this track “The Runner.” Read our two-part interview here.
We hope, wherever you’re reading this from, that snow, frost, and the cold are truly retreating, giving way to longer days, warmer weather, and the gorgeous, humid, cicada-soundtracked days of summer. But, before we get to full-blown bluegrass season – and, hopefully, our first live music forays since COVID-19 shut the industry down in early 2020 – let’s take a moment to intentionally enjoy spring with 12 bluegrass songs perfect for collecting a wildflower bouquet, romping and frolicking in the meadow, and pickin’ on the back porch while the evenings are still cool.
The Accidentals spoke with BGS on loving and learning from Brandi Carlile, singing on stage with Joan Baez, the magic in meeting strangers and finding common ground, and much more in this edition of 5+5.
Photos: (L to R) Lera Lynn by Alysse Gafkjen; Allison Russell by Marc Baptiste; Kishi Bashi by Max Ritter