Roots Culture Redefined

Tim O’Brien Jams With Sam Bush on Irish Tune, “Land’s End”

Tim O’Brien, our Artist of the Month in July, paid a visit to another favorite of ours at BGS. On an episode of Sam Bush’s Jammin With Sam series, a weekly session with Sam Bush and his fellow bluegrass artists, the pair pick an Irish traditional tune called “Land’s End.” Its Celtic heritage shines brightly as Bush and O’Brien’s mandolins dance through the upbeat, modal waltz. Exceptional writers and pickers as they are in their own right, it’s entertaining to see Bush and O’Brien communicate through the course of the tune, each taking turns to improvise and converse before seamlessly transitioning into a harmony section and finishing the piece on a feeling of anticipation. The look on their faces as the instruments ring out the final notes indicates at least a small element of surprise at their togetherness. For as much great music and profound performances that find their way to the Bluegrass Situation, it’s a pleasure to see a lighthearted, fun jam between two such gifted instrumentalists. Watch “Land’s End” and see other clips from the Jammin With Sam series on YouTube.


 

The Enchanting Sara Watkins Sings for NPR’s Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

Sara Watkins has been lending her talents to other groups for some time, but in May, the inspired singer-songwriter herself was featured on NPR’s revamped Tiny Desk (Home) Concert series. The fiddler brings along bassist Alan Hampton and guitarist Davíd Garza to accompany her on a Tiny Desk performance that almost seems like a miniature screenplay at times, fueled by the creativity and honesty of Watkins’ music. The performance features material from her new album, Under the Pepper Tree, released on March 26 by New West Records. Made in late 2020, the record is built by songs that she says “ease the shift from day to evening, from the real to the imagined.” This four-song set, like the album, is marked by playfulness, imagination, and warmth, like if a fairytale was condensed into a song. Watch the Tiny Desk (Home) Concert above, as Sara Watkins and her band deliver a touching performance for NPR.


Photo credit: Jacob Boll

WATCH: Shout & Shine featuring Reggie Harris

BGS is proud to announce Shout & Shine Episode 6! Songwriter, educator, and storyteller Reggie Harris is our guest for this livestream iteration of Shout & Shine, which comprises short-form, intimate video performances by underrepresented and marginalized artists in Americana, folk, and bluegrass.

Please support Reggie Harris directly, via his PayPal: https://www.paypal.me/ReggieHarrisMusicNOW

 Shout & Shine is presented by Preston Thompson Guitars and will be streamed live right here on June 23, 2021 at 4pm PDT / 7pm EDT.

Nettwerk 21 in ’21: Episode Five

Every Monday in May, BGS has been proud to present Nettwerk 21 in ’21, our five-part video concert series showcasing exclusive performances from 21 must-listen artists on the Nettwerk Music Group roster. Week 5 is hosted by Wild Rivers and includes performances by Hein Cooper, Joshua Hyslop, Stu Larsen, and Wild Rivers.

Learn more about Nettwerk Music Group and discover more of their roster here.

Watch Episode 1. Watch Episode 2. Watch Episode 3. Watch Episode 4.


 

Nettwerk 21 in ’21: Episode Four

Every Monday in May, BGS is proud to present Nettwerk 21 in ’21, our new five-part video concert series showcasing exclusive performances from 21 must-listen artists on the Nettwerk Music Group roster. Week 4 is hosted by Brandon Jenner and includes performances by Anna Mieke, Hayden Calnin & Harrison Storm, Dylan Dunlap, and, of course, Brandon Jenner.

Learn more about Nettwerk Music Group and discover more of their roster here. Watch Episode 1. Watch Episode 2. Watch Episode 3.


 

Yamaha x BGS Artist Sessions: Aubrie Sellers

For this year’s virtual Folk Alliance International and SXSW conferences, BGS collaborated with Yamaha Guitars to film performances from some of the artists we are most excited about in 2021. After several weeks of publicly releasing these exclusive videos, we are down to our last performance. 

Music courses through Aubrie Sellers’ veins. The daughter of country music stars Jason Sellers and Lee Ann Womack, Sellers has proven herself a skilled singer-songwriter and musician in her own right; her 2016 debut album, New City Blues, peaked at twenty three on the Billboard Top Country Album charts.  

Here, Sellers performs “My Love Will Not Change” off of her 2020 sophomore album, Far from Home. While the song has been recorded and performed by both of its songwriters, Billy Burnette and Shawn Camp, as well as Del McCoury, Sellers’ rendition adds a rock and roll twist. Throughout, her powerful vocals ring clear over the driving guitars; it is a voice full of conviction as she sings, “My love will not change/ My love will not change/ It just rolls like a river to the sea of your name/ My love will not change/ My love will not change/ It’s as steady as the rhythm of the pouring rain.”

You can discover more about Yamaha Guitars and the Yamaha Custom Shop at YamahaGuitars.com.

WATCH: Shakey Graves, “Not Everything Grows” (From Whiskey Sour Happy Hour)

Following the release of a deluxe anniversary edition of his 2011 debut, Roll the Bones, and our Cover Story on that project, we’re excited to bring back Shakey Graves’ appearance on Whiskey Sour Happy Hour. This exclusive performance of “Not Everything Grows” comes from the third episode of our online variety show last spring. Hosted by our co-founder Ed Helms, WSHH raised money for MusiCares’ COVID-19 relief fund as well as fundraising for personal protective equipment for frontline responders through Direct Relief.

With Gwen Stefani wall art in the background of his Austin, Texas home, Graves’ bluesy, finger-picked rendition of “Not Everything Grows,” which he released on 2020’s Look Alive EP, carries that signature down-home, simple rawness that he accomplishes with ease.

We hope you enjoy this Whiskey Sour Happy Hour “rerun” performance.


 

Nettwerk 21 in ’21: Episode Three

Every Monday in May, BGS is proud to present Nettwerk 21 in ’21, our new five-part video concert series showcasing exclusive performances from 21 must-listen artists on the Nettwerk Music Group roster. Week 3 is hosted by LULLANAS and includes songs from Passenger, Woodlock, Canyon City, and, of course, LULLANAS.

Learn more about Nettwerk Music Group and discover more of their roster here. Watch Episode 1. Watch Episode 2.

Yamaha x BGS Artist Sessions: Katie Cole

For this year’s virtual Folk Alliance International and SXSW conferences, BGS collaborated with Yamaha Guitars to film performances from some of the artists we are most excited about in 2021. After several weeks of publicly releasing these exclusive videos, we are down to our penultimate performance!

Growing up in a very musical family in Australia, singer-songwriter Katie Cole taught herself to play piano and guitar. After gigging across Australia, a stroke of good luck put Cole in touch with producer Howard Willing, and thus began her American music career. After moving to Los Angeles, Cole landed a gig touring with Smashing Pumpkins and later recorded with country legends like Glen Campbell and Kris Kristofferson. Currently based in Nashville, Cole will be releasing new music later this year.

Cole begins her performance with her 2020 single “Hands Tied.” In the chorus she sings, “Another crash and burn I won’t survive/ What can you do with your hands tied?” capturing the fear and hesitancy someone with a broken heart may experience when falling in love again, but still falling all the same. 

Next, Cole sings “Time On My Hands” off of her 2018 EP, Things that Break, Pt. 1. While initially written about heartbreak and loss, the song has taken on new meaning in the last year. In the second verse, Cole laments, “Like a bird sings in a cage/ Trapped by my own mistakes/ This too will pass, all my friends say/ Guess it’s just a waiting game,” evoking all the time we’ve spent sitting in our apartments and homes over the last year wondering when things will return to any sort of recognizable normal. 

The performance concludes with Cole’s latest single, “I’m Gonna Love You,” which paints a portrait of a supportive and loving relationship: “We all fall down/ We all make mistakes/ And you’re there to save me/ With each word you say/ You are who you are/ You make me who I am/ So I’m gonna love you/ the best that I can.”

You can discover more about Yamaha Guitars and the Yamaha Custom Shop at YamahaGuitars.com.