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Mountain Blog

News and Notes

Radio Preview: Robert Cray, Shemekia, Kelly Hogan & More

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By Mountain Stage
 · September 26, 2013

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Brian Blauser
Robert Cray, live on Mountain Stage

Mountain Stage returns to your radio this weekend with a special encore broadcast. Recorded live at the Culture Center theater, you’ll hear from the Robert Cray Band, along with Shemekia Copeland, Kelly Hogan, and Caravan of Thieves.

 

Click here to see a list of stations and times where you can tune in. And if there’s another song you’re hoping to hear, you can take a look at the show’s playlist.

 

Robert Cray first cut his teeth as a member of Albert Collins’ backing band, and it wasn’t long after that that Cray’s own recordings were helping to fuel the ‘80s blues revival. With blues as a foundation, he has since explored R&B, soul, jazz and gospel; winning five Grammy Awards. 2009's “This Time” reunited him with longtime friends and bandmates Richard Cousins and Jim Pugh. His current release with his band is titled “Nothin But Love.” Preview a song from The Robert Cray Band’s performance here, via our Mountain Stage Song of the Week.


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Brian Blauser
Shemekia Copleland, live on Mountain Stage

Shemekia Copeland opens the second hour of the broadcast. Often billed as the new queen of the blues, Copeland has been performing since she was eight - when she appeared onstage with her father at Harlem’s legendary Cotton Club. Years later, she served as the opening act for her father’s band, eventually inking a deal with Alligator Records. “Never Going Back,” issued in 2009, featured members of the Derek Trucks band and eclectic guitarist Marc Ribot Her current release, “33 1/3” - her age at the time the disc was released - was produced by The Wood Brothers’ Oliver Wood.   


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Brian Blauser
Kelly Hogan, live on Mountain Stage

You’ll also hear from Kelly Hogan. With a resume that includes fronting bands The Jody Grind and Rock*A*Teens, as well as singing alongside artists including Neko Case, Mavis Staples, Jakob Dylan, Andrew Bird and the Drive-By Truckers, the Chicago-based Georgia native has become one of the most in-demand singers in roots music.

 

Her current solo release, “I Like to Keep Myself in Pain,” features Hogan interpreting tunes written for her by M. Ward, Vic Chesnutt, Andrew Bird and more, under the direction of Booker T. Jones.


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Brian Blauser
Caravan of Thieves, live on Mountain Stage

Caravan of Thieves open the show. Based around the husband-wife team of Fuzz and Carrie Sangiovanni, Caravan of Thieves began as “a romantic, bohemian vision of a couple making music on the road and avoiding responsibility as much as possible.”

 

Expanding the group to include violinist Ben Dean and double bassist Brian Anderson, the band quickly won praise for its unique blend of gypsy swing and popular music. Naturally, their Mountain Stage set includes a note-for-note cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

 

Follow Mountain Stage on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr for the latest. As always, thanks for listening!

Radio Preview: Mike Doughty and More

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By Mountain Stage
 · August 28, 2013
Mike Doughty - Backstage at Mountain Stage

Mountain Stage returns to your radio this weekend with an episode featuring Mike Doughty, the Iguanas, Charlie Mars, Jeffery Foucault, and A City on a Lake.

 

Click here for a complete list of stations that carry Mountain Stage, along with times when you can tune in.

 

Preview this week's show via our Song of the Week - this time, it's Mike Doughty performing a solo acoustic cover of one of his very favorite songs - John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads." And get an extended preview of Doughty set above, via our latest "Backstage at Mountain Stage" video.

 


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Brian Blauser
Mike Doughty performing live on Mountain Stage

Before embarking on a solo career, singer-songwriter Mike Doughty was the frontman for the group Soul Coughing. Formed in 1992, the group released three CDs for Warner Bros before disbanding in 2000. Doughty - who had been writing a column for New York Press - began playing solo shows and released “Skittish,” a solo disc that he had recorded five years before.

 

He also contributed vocals to BT's club hit "Never Gonna Come Back Down" and collaborated with They Might Be Giants’ John Flansburgh on a CD that accompanied an issue of McSweeney's “Quarterly Concern.” In 2002, Doughty released the live “Smofe + Smang: Live in Minneapolis” and a book of poetry titled “Slanky.”

 

In 2011, Doughty issued “Yes and Also Yes” on his own Snack Bar label. The following year, he released the live “The Question Jar Show” and “The Flip Is Another Honey” which featured Doughty covering artists from Thin Lizzy to Randy Newman. That same year, he published “The Book of Drugs,” a memoir about his life with Soul Coughing and his struggles with addiction. 


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Brian Blauser
The Iguanas, live on Mountain Stage

From  New Orleans, The Iguanas have long been one of the region’s most popular live bands, combining styles that range from blues, R&B, Zydeco, Cajun, Tex-Mex and roots rock & roll. Not long after San Francisco guitarist Rod Hodges formed the group in 1989, he rediscovered the conjunto music that was a part of his mother's Mexican heritage and took up accordion.

 

Vocalist/saxophonist Joe Cabral’s first musical experience was playing in his father's Mexican band. In college, he discovered New Orleans R&B and the honking saxophone style. Bassist Rene Coman is a native of New Orleans whose recording credits include Alex Chilton and Guitar Slim Jr. The group’s 1993 debut was released on Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville label. The group’s latest release, “Sin to Sin,” is the first since 2008's “If You Should Ever Fall on Hard Times.”

 


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Brian Blauser
Charlie Mars, live on Mountain Stage

Mississippi-based troubadour Charlie Mars’ career has run the gamut from major label releases and high-profile opening slots for the likes of REM and Steve Earle to under-the-radar, self-released efforts.

 

Following up 2009's attention-grabbing “Like A Bird, Like A Plane,” his current release “Blackberry Light” draws inspiration from famed producer Daniel Lanois while the songs take lyrical cues from such literary heroes as Haruki Murakami, Cormac McCarthy, Walker Percy, and Denis Johnson.


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Brian Blauser
Jeffery Foucault, live on Mountain Stage

Longtime disciple of the rich and strange music that sings behind the American veil, Jeffery Foucault has spent the last decade mining the darker seams of country and blues, producing a string of spare and elemental albums of rare power while garnering accolades across the United States and overseas for a tersely elegant brand of songwriting set apart by its haunting imagery and weather-beaten cool.

 

His latest project, “Horse Latitudes” was recorded alongside a folk supergroup that featured Eric Heywood, Billy Conway, Jennifer Condos and Van Dyke Parks.


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Brian Blauser
A City on a Lake, live on Mountain Stage

With Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Alex Wong at the helm, A City on a Lake also features singers Ari Hest and Ximena Sarinana. Over the past few years, Wong has produced and written with cutting edge artists including Vienna Teng, Elizabeth and the Catapult, Melissa Ferrick and Delta Rae.

 

His compositions have been featured in film and television projects such as “The Last Song,” “One Tree Hill,” and “The Lincoln Lawyer.” Wong has performed as one half of the duo The Paper Raincoat with singer/songwriter Amber Rubarth and scored the innovative theatrical work “Everyman For Himself” which won an LA Weekly Theater Award for “Best Original Music.”

 

Thanks so much for listening to Mountain Stage. Follow us @mountainstage on Twitter for the very latest.

 

Dr. Dog, Mountain Goats & More on Mountain Stage

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By Mountain Stage
 · August 23, 2013

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Brian Blauser
Dr. Dog, live on Mountain Stage

Mountain Stage returns to your radio this weekend with oddball rockers Dr. Dog, indie-folk sensation Mountain Goats, the multi-talented Nellie McKay, road warriors Red Wanting Blue, and stringband Spirit Family Reunion. Click here to see a list of stations and times where you can listen in your area. If there’s a song you’re hoping to hear, view the playlist by clicking here. And as always, you can preview the show via the Mountain Stage Song of the Week – This time, it’s Dr Dog, with their psychedelic jam “Turning the Century.”  

 

Founded by guitarist Toby Leaman and drummer Scott McMicken, the Philadelphia-based Dr. Dog is part of a long tradition of D.I.Y. pop oddballs who blend classic rock sounds with lo-fi recording techniques and an apparent disregard for current trends. Through the years, the band’s lineup has included more than 20 members and, at one time, included a one-string guitarist in a skintight skeleton costume and a member whose sole task was to dance in the crowd dressed in a tuxedo.

 

The group’s 2002 release, Toothbrush, found its way to Jim James of My Morning Jacket who asked the group to open for MMJ’s first tour. In 2007, We All Belong earned the group opening slots for Wilco and the Raconteurs, and landed them on a number of late-night television shows. Dr. Dog’s current release it titled Be the Void.

While living in California and working as a psychiatric nurse, John Darnielle began recording as the Mountain Goats in 1991. In more than two decades, the singer/songwriter has released a varied body of work that has taken him from an intentionally hiss-filled cassette releases to a more polished album for the 4AD label. The Sunset Tree, released in 2005, featured covers that were individually hand-painted by Darnielle, and, in 2011, All Eternals Deck was recorded in four different studios with four different producers. His current release - his 16th to date - is titled Transcendental Youth.


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Brian Blauser
Nellie McKay, live on Mountain Stage

Born in London and raised in bohemian Harlem by her actress mother, vivacious and multi-talented Nellie McKay quickly set a new standard for diversity and creativity. Just 27, her resume would be impressive for someone twice her age.

 

To date, McKay has done Brecht on Broadway, opened for Lou Reed at Carnegie Hall, sung Woody Allen movie songs at the Hollywood Bowl, dueted with Eartha Kitt and Triumph The Insult Comic Dog, and played Hilary Swank’s sister in the 2007 film “P.S. I Love You.” Her 2004 debut was a two-CD set on Columbia Records that drew comparisons to Randy Newman, jazz vocalist Blossom Dearie and Cole Porter. In 2010, she released, Home Sweet Mobile Home, featuring production from her mother Robin Pappas and creative input from David Byrne.


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Brian Blauser
Red Wanting Blue, live on Mountain Stage

Led by singer-songwriter Scott Terry, Red Wanting Blue is proudly based in Columbus, Ohio, but is sometimes referred to as “America’s local band.”

 

With the aid of positive word of mouth and an unwavering perseverance, Red Wanting Blue has established a devoted following in and around the Midwest where the band regularly fills clubs reserved for bigger names. Red Wanting Blue’s latest studio recording From the Vanishing Point has been called the band’s coming-of-age album and, and is its first to be recorded for a label after several self-released records. The record debuted in the Top 10 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart, another testament to the band’s loyal and growing fanbase.


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Based out of Brooklyn, Spirit Family Reunion plays music heavily influenced by traditional mountain string band music, with drums, an occasional accordion and lots of soul. The band has already performed at the Newport Folk Festival and opened for the late Levon Helm and the Alabama Shakes. Drawing comparisons to Felice Bros and Old Crow Medicine Show, the band cut its teeth performing on the street corners, farmer's markets and subway stations of New York City while its songwriting was nurtured during the band's year-long residency at the Lovin' Cup Café. The group’s debut album is titled “No Separation.” 

 

Thanks again for your continued support of Mountain Stage. Follow us on Twitter for the latest news about the show. Stay connected with the show on Facebook, and check out our Tumblr for additional photos and music.

Radio Preview: Jason Isbell on Mountain Stage

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By Mountain Stage
 · August 13, 2013

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Brian Blauser
Jason Isbell on Mountain Stage

 

 


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Brian Blauser
Stephen Kellogg on Mountain Stage

Mountain Stage is back this week with a premiere broadcast featuring roots rock superstar Jason Isbell, with songs from his critically acclaimed new album Southeastern. Stephen Kellogg also joins us for a daring solo performance that includes his epic 8 minute song "Thanksgiving." You can preview Isbell's performance right now via our Mountain Stage Song of the Week.


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Brian Blauser
Amanda Shires on Mountain Stage
 

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Lora-Faye on Mountain Stage

 

 


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Brian Blauser
Fields of Gettysburg on Mountain Stage

You'll also hear from fiddler and singer Amanda Shires, who is backed by her husband Jason Isbell throughout her set. Mountain Stage NewSong contest winner Lora-Faye will also be there, along with Fields of Gettysburg, the Civil War-inspired project lead by West Virginian John Walsh, featuring our old pal Todd Burge and new Friend Jessica Baldwin.

 

Click here to see a complete list of stations and times when you can tune in. Thanks for listening to Mountain Stage.

On the Radio: David Wax Museum, Chuck Prophet, and More

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By Mountain Stage
 · December 5, 2012

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Brian Blauser
David Wax Museum, Live on Mountain Stage

This week's episode features the acclaimed Americana-Mexican fusion band David Wax Museum. You’ll also hear from guitarist-singer-producer Chuck Prophet, sweet harmonies from duo Barnaby Bright, an acoustic set from Grammy-winner Jesse Harris, and folk mainstay Lucy Kaplansky makes her tenth appearance. Click here for a complete list of stations where you can listen to Mountain Stage, and click here to see our entire schedule of upcoming episodes.

 

And preview this week’s broadcast via our MountainStage Song of the Week.This time, it’s Lucy Kaplansky's heartbreaking goodbye to her Mother, “Sleep Well.”

 

Named “Americana Artist of the Year” at the the 2010 Boston Music Awards, David Wax Museum creates a vibrant hybrid of traditional Mexican folk and American music. While attending college in Missouri, David Wax spent summers working in rural Mexico, and finished his degree at Harvard before heading back to the Mexican countryside to study its rich folk music tradition on a year-long fellowship. Together with Suz Slezak, the pair uses Latin rhythms, call-and-response shouts, accordion and donkey jawbones to create a sound that is truly unique to the American continent.


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Brian Blauser
Chuck Prophet, Live on Mountain Stage

Based out of his California, singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer Chuck Prophet has worked with and had songs recorded by a who's who of music luminaries, including Ryan Adams, Lucinda Williams, Kim Richey, Heart, Mofro, and Kelly Willis.

 

Among his most notable collaboration is with roots music great and “genre unto himself” Alejandro Escovedo, who has co-written his last few albums with Prophet. Often compared to heavyweights like Tom Petty, Alex Chilton and Ray Davies, Prophet’s latest, Temple Beautiful, showcases his own signature blend of rock, folk and punk.


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Brian Blauser
Lucy Kaplansky, live on Mountain Stage

Raised in Chicago by a piano-playing mathematician and a homemaker, Lucy Kaplansky began singing in bars when she was a teenager. When she was just out of high school, she moved to New York City where, along with Suzanne Vega, The Roches, Steve Forbert, John Gorka, and Shawn Colvin, she became part of the renaissance of the Greenwich Village folk scene.

 

A Renascence woman, Kaplansky has also earned a doctorate in psychology and started a private practice. In addition to her six solo releases on Red House Records, Kaplansky was a member of folk supergroups Red Horse (with Gorka and Eliza Gilkyson) and Cry Cry Cry (with Dar Williams and Richard Shindell). Her latest release is titled Reunion.


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Brian Blauser
Jesse Harris, Live on Mountain Stage

Guitarist and songwriter Jesse Harris first came into prominence on Norah Jones' 2002 Grammy-winning Come Away With Me. The success of Jones' debut helped bring Harris' songwriting abilities to the music community's attention and led to his collaborations with other contemporary artists as well as a label deal for his band, the Ferdinandos.

 

The soundtrack to Ethan Hawke's "The Hottest State" featured versions of Harris' songs by performed by artists including Willie Nelson, Bright Eyes, The Black Keys, Feist and Emmylou Harris. His latest - and 11th - release, “Sub Rosa,” was recorded in Rio de Janeiro with a group of stellar Brazilian musicians who weave Brazilian-influenced arrangements into Harris’ understated folk-pop.


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Barnaby Bright, live on Mountain Stage

Barnaby Bright - Since the release of its 2009 debut, “Wake the Hero,” the duo known as Barnaby Bright - Nathan and Becky Bliss - has garnered high praise for its songwriting and sound. The group’s music - which features guitars, harmonium, banjo, ukulele, thumb pianos and stunning harmonies - has been featured on television shows including “ER” and “Days of our Lives.” The follow-up EP, “Gravity,” was named one of the “Top 100 Records of the Year” by Amazon.com. The pair average 40,000 miles and 200 shows a year, and were recently among the finalists at the 2012 Mountain Stage NewSong competition held at Lincoln Center in NYC.

 

Thanks again for listening to Mountain Stage. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr for the latest.

Live Show Preview: Thao & the Get Down Staydown, Bottle Rockets, Ben Sollee & More

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By Mountain Stage
 · July 25, 2013

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Thao and the Get Down Stay Down

Our last live show of the summer happens this Sunday at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston. Thao and the Get Down Stay Down will be there, with her spicy blend of indie rock and alt-folk.

 

Ira likes it.

Thao counts public media favorites John Hodgman and Ira Glass among her biggest fans, and they even make a cameo appearance in the video to her song "We The Common."

Ben Sollee, backstage at Mountain Stage, 2011

Our friend Ben Sollee will also be there, with his own unique mix of pop, folk, hip-hop and chamber music. He'll be joined by The Slide Brothers, and longtime bar room rock standard-bearers The Bottle Rockets.

 

Tickets are available Online, by phone (800.594.TIXX) and atTaylor Books - Downtown Charleston. Plan on going? RSVP to our Facebook event. Let your friends know! Thanks for supporting live music in Charleston. We'll see you at the show! 

 

Radio Preview: Sara Watkins, Rodney Crowell, Lucero & More

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By Mountain Stage
 · July 25, 2013

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Brian Blauser
Rodney Crowell is ready to play.

This week's broadcast of Mountain Stage features iconic country singer and songwriter Rodney Crowell, along with Americana star Sara Watkins, bar room rockers Lucero, The Lost Brothers, and Doug Paisely.

  

Click here to see a list of stations and times where you can listen in your area. Click here to take a look at the playlist. And preview our broadcast via our Mountain Stage song of the week: Sara Watkins original song “You and Me.” 

 

Rodney Crowell has contributed to some of modern country’s finest moments. After being discovered (and signed) by Jerry Reed in the mid-‘70s, Crowell went on to play (and write songs) for Emmylou Harris’ Hot Band. Next, he wrote for and produced (and married) Rosanne Cash. In 1980, Crowell’s songwriting career took off when he scored a string of No. 1 hits for bands like the Oak Ridge Boys, Crystal Gayle and Bob Seeger.

 

Finally, in 1988, Crowell’s own release, “Diamonds and Dirt,” connected with five consecutive No. 1 singles. The following year, "After all This Time" won a Grammy for “Best Country Song.” Crowell recently authored his autobiography titled “Chinaberry Sidewalks,” and issued a long awaited album duets with Emmylou Harris.


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Brian Blauser
Lucero perform live on Mountain Stage

Steadily playing hundreds of dates a year over the past decade, Memphis alt-country rockers Lucero have gone from an earnest indie band to a major label act. Formed by Ben Nichols in the late '90s, Lucero issued its first CD in 2001. Their 2003 release That Much Further West earned the group a spot on Rolling Stone's Hot List.

 

Released in spring of 2005, Nobody's Darlings was produced by legendary Memphis musician-producer Jim Dickinson. Meanwhile, that same year, director Aaron Goldman mixed archival footage with footage shot during the recording of the album, for his documentary on Lucero titled Dreaming in America.

 

In 2009, Nichols released a solo EP The Last Pale Light in the West and Lucero issued its major label debut, 1372 Overton Park which found the band incorporating more of a Memphis soul sound. In addition to working with Lucero, Nichols also released a solo record in early 2009 and co-stars in MTV’s $5 Cover, a series about the Memphis music scene. The band’s current release, Women & Work, released on Dave Matthews’ ATO Records, was described by longtime critic Thom Jurek as “all killer, no filler.”


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Brian Blauser
Sara Watkins performs live on Mountain Stage

After spending nearly two decades as one-third of the Grammy Award–winning Nickel Creek, singer, songwriter, and fiddler Sara Watkins often draws comparisons to Alison Krauss - who produced Nickel Creek’s debut in 2000. Watkins first solo disc, released in 2009, was produced by former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones, and featured cameos by Gillian Welch, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ keyboardist Benmont Tench, Elvis Costello drummer Pete Thomas; and bluegrassers like Tim O’Brien, Chris Eldridge, Ronnie McCoury and her Nickel Creek bandmates.

 

In the past three years, Watkins has toured the world as guest fiddle player and vocalist with the Decemberists as well as joining Garrison Keillor on his nationwide Summer Love performance tours. Watkins and her brother Sean regularly host the Watkins Family Hour at the L.A. club Largo, which often includes surprise cameos from friends and colleagues. She is currently touring with Jackson Browne, supporting her new release Sun Midnight Sun.


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Brian Blauser
The Lost Brothers perform live on Mountain Stage

While Oisin Leech and Mark McCausland are not technically brothers, as The Lost Brothers, the pair draws influence from family bands such as The Kinks and The Everly Brothers. Originally from Ireland and now based in London, the group recorded its debut, “Trails of the Lonely,” in Portland, OR, and has become popular on both sides of the Atlantic. The band received lavishly praised from the U.K. press (NME, and The Irish Times) and has performed in Glastonbury, Texas, New York, Portland, Toronto, Paris, and Ireland. The duo’s second album, “So Long John Fante,” is something of a tribute to author John Fante’s Depression-era work and was recorded in Nashville.


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Brian Blauser
Dog Paisley performs live on Mountain Stage

Born in Toronto, alt-country singer-songwriter Doug Paisley’s music is steeped in history. He spent 10 years paying in a Stanley Brothers tribute band, and released two albums of classic country covers before stepping out with his own songs to support Bonnie Price Billy. His latest album, “Constant Companion” received a four star review from Rolling Stone, and features contributions from Feist and The Band’s Garth Hudson.

 

Thanks again for listening to Mountain Stage. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr for the latest news, backstage photos, and stories.

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