The String is weekly think radio featuring conversations and features on culture, media and American music - anchored by veteran journalist and broadcaster Craig Havighurst. Music makers, enablers, instigators and documentarians are featured with enough time to go deep and burrow into issues, while letting the music play too. Music news, previews, Time Machine Tape and 90 Second Spins round out the hour.
49 Winchester and Town Mountain
Episode 228: One day during AmericanaFest 2022 I visited the headquarters of leading label New West Records to catch up with their two newest band signings - bands that fit on the label and in an episode with each other. 49 Winchester, school friends from tiny Castlewood, VA, had a breakout year while releasing Fortune Favors The Bold. Town Mountain began 15 years ago as a trad bluegrass band that writes its own fine songs. Recently they've added a drummer and let their sound find new levels of energy and groove. Together, the bands offer a look at how country rock is faring in Appalachia.
Amy Ray and Tami Neilson
Episode 227: This week dwells on origins and growth with two artists who've had very different journeys but who had to get resourceful in their own way. Amy Ray put the Indigo Girls on the map with her partner Emily Saliers in part through a relentless focus on activism and support of causes they cherished. They were given the Americana Lifetime Award for Free Speech in September. Tami Neilson grew up in a family band playing gospel and country in and around Canada, but she had to start over from square one when she moved to New Zealand to get married 20 years ago. She found multiple ways to stand out and make her own scene, driven by her outstanding voice and her provocative feminist anthems.
Episode 226: The 5 Spot is a nightclub at the heart of East Nashville's music community, and for 12 years, Derek Hoke was at the heart of the 5 Spot. His showcase series Two Dollar Tuesdays offered newcomers a chance to play and music lovers 4-5 artists to sample in a cozy scene, many of whom would become the next wave of Americana stars. Hoke came from South Carolina with a ton of humility and eagerness to learn the ropes of Nashville, and he's created a fine body of work as a songwriter/artist, including his new album Electric Mountain. Nashville insiders will love this one.
Southern Strings And Stories With Joe Kendrick
Episode 225: When you serve a community on a good radio station, you get a feel for the soul of that place, and for me over these many years, that place is Nashville. So I thought it would be fun to join forces for a week with a friend of mine who has a similar gig in western North Carolina who has developed expertise and perspective on the amazing music scene around Asheville. He's Joe Kendrick, host of Southern Songs And Stories. We met up at the Earl Scruggs Music Festival over Labor Day weekend to talk about culture, history and the artists we're loving these days from our respective markets. We're calling it Southern Strings And Stories, and we hope you enjoy it.
Daniel Tashian and Dan Knobler
Episode 224: It's a double Dan special as I visit with two movers and shakers who've contributed perhaps more behind the scenes than most musicians of their stature. Daniel Tashian is a Nashville lifer who's worn all the hats - songwriter, artist, band-leader and producer. He won a Grammy for Kacey Musgraves's Golden Hour and collaborated with Burt Bacharach. Now he's co-written the classic country rock album Night After Night with Paul Kennerly. Then it's Dan Knobler, recently in-demand Americana producer for luminaries like Erin Rae, Rodney Crowell and Allison Russell. His new project is whimsical and gorgeous - a multi-artist album of great cover songs chosen by his four-year-old son. It inspired a great conversation about how we maintain our youthful love for music.
Episode 223: Americanafest 2022 is in the books, and as usual, I took advantage of all the visiting talent to collect a bunch of interviews with artists from stars to newcomers. Here, I speak with three fascinating emerging artists who will be shaping the scene for years to come. Tray Wellington is a new voice on the banjo from rural Appalachia, but his take on Scruggs style is modern and devoted to jazz as much as bluegrass. Nora Brown is a new phenom in old-time music based out of Brooklyn. Her new Long Time To Be Gone album is gorgeous and deep. And Austin, TX-based Taylor Rae has found extraordinary radio support for her indie debut album Mad Twenties.
I loved the episode on Tulsa. Looking forward to the Blonde on Blonde episode as well as many others.
So glad I found this show. Thoughtful, respectful interviews with important artists. Just great!
Good, good stuff
Craig Havighurst is one of the smartest guys around and, luckily for us, he's not afraid to show it. He also has great taste in music. Tie those two things together and, yeah, that's the String.