Roots Culture Redefined

Jake Eddy & Jordan Tice Duet on “Orphan Annie”

Back in December of 2022 we brought together two talented flatpickers, Jake Eddy and Jordan Tice, to pick a few songs on their brand new Yamaha acoustic guitars at a shoot in Los Angeles, California. Both Eddy and Tice performed a couple of tunes solo, then they joined together on a Norman Blake-penned song that Tony Rice popularized called “Orphan Annie.” Though both of these musicians came into bluegrass and guitar-picking from seemingly disparate points of entry, their styles blend seamlessly as they swap licks inspired and influenced by Blake and Rice.

Discover more about Yamaha’s just-released FG9 model at

WATCH: Black Opry Revue & Vanessa May, “Sally Over the Water” (BGS + Sixthman Sessions at Sea)

We’re sad to say goodbye to June and lose the Black Opry as our official Artist of the Month, but just as the Black Opry carries on elevating Black country artists and fans through showcases, touring, and community building, we look forward to supporting their endeavors for years to come. We have one more session up our sleeve, another communal moment from the Black Opry Revue’s time on Cayamo. Vanessa May (Rainbow Girls) led the group in her arrangement of the traditional “Sally Over the Water.” We hope you enjoy this final session from our Artist of the Month celebrations!

Sitch Sessions: Fruit Bats, “We Used to Live Here”

We recently caught up with singer-songwriter Fruit Bats (AKA Eric D. Johnson) to shoot a sunny Sitch Session in New York City just prior to his April 2023 appearance at Webster Hall. His simple, acoustic performance of “We Used to Live Here” reflects the stark, unencumbered production and arrangement of the studio recording of the track on his latest album,  A River Running to Your Heart. Tender longing and exhausted resignation in the lyric remind of country classics new and old like Lee Ann Womack’s “If These Walls Could Talk” or Miranda Lambert’s (and Tanya Tucker’s) cuts of “The House That Built Me.” A home holds so much more than just knick-knacks and memories. “All that we had then was you and me/ living on love and making believe/”

Directed by Wonderscope Cinema

WATCH: Black Opry Revue & Jake Blount, “Give up the World” (BGS + Sixthman Sessions at Sea)

As we celebrate the Black Opry as our Artist of the Month for June, we’re excited to premiere another live session from this year’s Cayamo cruise. In true Black Opry fashion they hosted memorable collaborations and celebrations onboard, from Black Opry Revue writers’ rounds, to a Motown vs. Stax tribute set hosted by Devon Gilfillian, and group sessions like this one, led by Jake Blount, who released “Give up the World” on his 2022 album The New Faith.

We hope you enjoy this session with the Black Opry Revue!

WATCH: Mama Magnolia, “Dear Irvington” (Live from WinterWonderGrass)

Mama Magnolia share stories of love, loss and growth in their performances of “Yer’s Song” and “Dear Irvington,” recorded live at this year’s WinterWonderGrass festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

WATCH: Robert Ellis, “On the Run” (Luck Sessions at TX Whiskey Ranch)

Artist: Robert Ellis
Hometown: Lake Jackson, Texas
Song: “On the Run”
Album: Yesterday’s News
Release Date: May 21, 2023
Label: Niles City Records

In Their Words: “There’s this stretch of Interstate 10 somewhere near Bakersfield, Texas. There’s a gas station there. It’s the only one for miles in any direction. You more or less have to stop if you want to make it to the next town. I’m getting gas as quickly as I can, nervously scanning the horizon. I have to keep going. Just keep going. I get back in the car and drive.” — Robert Ellis



WATCH: Leftover Salmon Lament to Woody Guthrie in the High Country

Leftover Salmon retreated to the high country of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, for this year’s WinterWonderGrass festival and shared a few of their songs with us: “High Country” and “Woody Guthrie,” a cry to the Dust Bowl Troubadour about an ever-changing landscape and a new way of life.

WATCH: Abe Partridge, “Young Love (Alabama Skies)”

Artist: Abe Partridge
Hometown: Mobile, Alabama
Song: “Young Love (Alabama Skies)”
Album: Love In the Dark
Release Date: May 12, 2023
Label: Baldwin Country Public Records

In Their Words: “This is a song I wrote about a post-high school, summer-long relationship I had that went deep quickly and ended about as fast. It’s about that kind of love that really only happens in your youth. People identify with it. Folks find ways to tell me their ‘young love’ stories. I tried to capture what it was like to be a kid losing his love to life … growing up, and going different directions.” — Abe Partridge

WATCH: Jordan Smart, “Lonely Is the Wheel” (Gems On VHS)

Artist: Jordan Smart
Hometown: Ludlow, Kentucky
Song: “Lonely Is the Wheel”

Editor’s Note: Jordan Smart is the winner of the 2023 Gems in the Rough contest, hosted by GemsOnVHS, for his submission of “Apple Don’t Fall.” He will be supporting Tommy Prine on tour dates from June through October.

In Their Words: “I entered the Gems in the Rough contest a couple times before and had never placed. This year I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to submit or not and actually didn’t get my submission in by the time they had planned to close submissions. Apparently there was an error and they reopened submissions so I figured what the heck. I didn’t expect much from it, and especially did not expect to win. Third time’s a charm I guess. I was able to get down to Nashville the day after receiving the news to shoot videos with GemsOnVHS and Western AF. The song featured here is one I wrote a couple of years ago during quarantine, a love song of sorts. You can expect it to be on my next album later this year.” — Jordan Smart

WATCH: Clay Street Unit, “Weight of the World” (Live from WinterWonderGrass)

Denver’s own Clay Street Unit were kind enough play for us when they came over to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, for this year’s WinterWonderGrass festival, sharing two songs from their debut EP A Mighty Fine Evening. Watch their live performances of “Weight of the World” and “1200 Miles” right here on BGS.