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Mountain Blog

News and Notes

Radio Preview: Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and More

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By Mountain Stage
 · January 28, 2012

Brian Blauser
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band performed on Mountain Stage in March.

This week’s Mountain Stage Broadcast features the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, recorded live at the Paramount Center for the Arts in Bristol TN/VA. This was the seventh visit to Bristol for Mountain Stage, in conjunction with the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance. The BCMA held several events over the weekend to celebrate the Bear Family records box set, "The Bristol Sessions - The Big Bang of Country Music," which collects for the first time all of the historic 1927 and 1928 recordings that happened in their historic border city. Mountain Stage was proud to cap off the weekend's events with a sold-out show.

Forty-five years after its formation, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band remains one of the most active and influential bands in roots music. Their cover of Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Mr. Bojangles” became a crossover hit in 1971, and was included in their Mountain Stage set. You can listen to it now as our Song of the Week.

Brian Blauser
The Carolina Chocolate Drops in rehearsal at Mountain Stage

Making their second appearance on Mountain Stage are recent Grammy winners, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, an African-American string band steeped in the traditional sounds of North Carolina’s Piedmont. Their record Genuine Negro Jig won Best Traditional Folk album at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards, and they brought two new members with them - Hubby Jenkins and Adam Matta - and a brand new energy.

Check out our interview with Jenkins and Dom Flemmons of the Chocolate Drops "Backstage at Mountain Stage."

Brian Blauser
Dale Jett & Hello Stranger with special guests John Carter Cash and Laura Cash.

We’re also joined by Dale Jett & Hello Stranger with special guests John Carter Cash and Laura Cash. The son of Janette Carter and the grandson of A.P. and Sara Carter, Jett is a third generation member of the legendary Carter Family, preserving the music they first recorded in the historic “Bristol Sessions” of 1927. He recently released "Past & Present" along with John Carter & Laura Cash, calling themselves Carter Family III.

Brian Blauser
Kim Fox, Dale Ann Bradley, and Steve Gulley

Also appearing on the show are three of the greatest voices in modern bluegrass, Dale Ann Bradley, Steve Gulley and Kim Fox. Gulley, one of bluegrass music’s most gifted tenors, is a veteran of acclaimed bands Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Mountain Heart, and currently in Grasstowne. He has also released an album with Tim Stafford, "Dogwood Winter."

Bradley was named the IBMA female vocalist of the year three consecutive years, and Fox's "Nothing To Lose" appears on country star REBA's "Keep On Loving You." Their set includes a Carter Family favorite, "50 Miles of Elbow Room" and Gulley's chilling rendition of George Jones' "The Grand Tour."

Brian Blauser
Jill Andrews performs live on Mountain Stage

You’ll also hear Knoxville-based singer Jill Andrews, formerly of the alt-folk duo the everybodyfields. Her Self-titled EP was released in 2009, and her first solo album is due for release this June.

Click here to find a list of radio stations where you can listen in your area, and be sure to check in with us on Facebook for the latest news and information. Thanks for listening!

Yet another reason to love Radeny Foster

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By Mountain Stage
 · January 26, 2012

Brian Blauser
Radney Foster, live on Mountain Stage

Just when we thought singer, songwriter, Mountain Stage guest, and all around crush object Radney Foster couldn’t get any cooler – we found out through this Washington Post article that he works with the LifeQuest Music Camp program, helping returning veterans write songs about their experiences on the Battlefield:

"Ninety minutes later, they’ve finished 'It Is What It Is,' a song about a soldier finally embarking on the homeward journey that he’s long anticipated — but in a medevac helicopter.  

“These dog tags on my belt loop,” Foster sings, “remind me I’m still alive.” 

The puddles that have been building in Sargent’s eyes spill over. “This is the first time I’ve heard myself speak,” he says. “It’s like I’m hearing myself talk.” 

You can download the free podcast of the episode featuring Radney Foster’s 2011 Mountain Stage appearance (alongside partner in crime Bill Lloyd) here.

And you can stream Foster & Lloyd’s Mountain Stage set over at NPR Music.

Live Show News: Marty Stuart, Joan Osborne, Punch Bros. & More

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By Mountain Stage
 · January 23, 2012

Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives, appearing live on Mountain Stage March 11

We announced our March 11 return to Bristol a couple weeks ago, although at the time the only act slated to appear was the ever-popular TBA. Today we’re happy to say that on March 11th, we’ll be welcoming country icon Marty Stuart, along with his band The Fabulous Superlatives.

Since starting out singing gospel as a child, picking bluegrass with Lester Flatt in the '70s, six years with Johnny Cash in the '80s, and coming up with his smash "hillbilly rock" hits of the '90s, the four time GRAMMY-winner, platinum recording artist, Grand Ole Opry star, photographer, songwriter, all around renaissance man, Marty Stuart has shown a showman's zest for every conceivable flavor of country music. Not to mention, a missionary's zeal for bringing the importance of the music and its themes home to long-time fans and newcomers alike.

The latest chapter in Stuart’s musical journey is Ghost Train (The Studio B Sessions).

We’ll also be joined by bluegrass luminaries Blue Highway. Together for nearly 2 decades, Blue Highway are revered as one of the best and influential groups in contemporary bluegrass. The band's nine albums and compelling live performances give proof to the stellar reviews, Grammy nominations, and numerous awards earned by the band since it first took the stage on December 31, 1994, with the same lineup that comprise Blue Highway today.

Tickets for this show are on sale now. Our last Bristol show sold out in just a few days, so get your seats while you can. They’re available online and by phone at 423.274.8920. Thanks again to our friends at the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance. 

Joan Osborne, appearing live on Mountain Stage April 15

And on April 15, we’ll be making another trip to our home away from home at the Creative Arts Center in Morgantown for yet another exciting show. We’ll be joined by singer Joan Osborne, progressive bluegrass band The Punch Brothers, and the wildly popular jam-grass group Leftover Salmon.

Joan Osborne’s new album, the blues inspired Bring It On Home will be released March 27, and her Mountain Stage appearance caps off the first leg of her North American tour.

The Punch Brothers upcoming album Who’s Feeling Young Now? was produced by in-demand studio wiz Jacquire King, and features (among many things) a Radiohead cover and two co-writes with their friend Josh Ritter. Read all about it here.

Leftover Salmon is one of the most popular, revered, and enjoyable acts on the jam band circuit – even among people who aren’t necessarily into jam bands. Founding member Vince Herman appeared on the show just last year with his own band Great American Taxi. Herman spent some time in Morgantown, WV as a student back in the 80’s, and had the audience in his hand during his performance. Salmon is prepping their first studio album with the original band in over 8 years.

Tickets for this show are on sale now, at the CAC box office in Morgantown, online, and by phone (304.293.SHOW). Check back with us at the Mountain Stage Blog, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to find out about the latest additions to these shows and others.

Radio Preview: Todd Snider and More

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By Mountain Stage
 · January 18, 2012
Todd Snider, backstage at Mountain Stage

This Week's broadcast features acclaimed singer-songwriter Todd Snider making his tenth appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown. While Todd so often works accompanied solely by his trusty black Epiphone guitar, this time he enlists members of Great American Taxi, who also appear on Todd's latest double live album, aptly named The Storyteller.

Find a radio station in your area to find out when to tune in, and be sure to listen to our Song of the Week, Snider's high school hallway David vs. Goliath tale, "Is This Thing Workin'?"

Brian Blauser
Great American Taxi, live on Mountain Stage

Great American Taxi also appear on the show for their own energetic set of music they dub "Americana without boarders," drawing influences from bluegrass, funk and southern rock. Taxi leader Vince Herman (formally of Leftover Salmon) was enrolled as a student at West Virginia University back in the 80's, and the excitement he felt from being back in his old stomping ground can be heard in voice. Here's an exclusive video of the band performing "Appalachian Soul" from their album "Streets of Gold."

Great American Taxi's new album is called Reckless Habits.

Railroad Earth, Backstage at Mountain Stage
Also appearing on this week's broadcast are Railroad Earth, a roots-based jam band from Stillwater, New Jersey. The band takes its name from the Jack Kerouac story "October in the Railroad Earth," a nod to the beat influence that colors their sound of their new self-titled album. Railroad Earth’s Tim Carbone produced Great American Taxi's Reckless Habits.
Corey Smith & Larry Groce, "Backstage at Mountain Stage."
You'll also hear from Corey Smith, the Athens, GA based entertainer who has built a rabid following through relentless touring and an innovative business plan. He was just named "One To Watch" by Country Weekly and his latest, "Keeping Up with the Joneses," is available on his website.  His latest is "The Broken Record."

Brian Blauser
Sean Rowe on Mountain Stage

The show opens with singer-songwriter Sean Rowe. An avid naturalist, Rowe routinely takes 30-day wilderness treks with nothing but a knife and the clothes on his back, and appropriately enough, applies a similar approach to his performance. Relying only on his soulful baritone voice and virtuoso guitar playing, Rowe brings the Mountain Stage audience to its feet with his final tune, a cover of Richard Thompson's 1952 Vincent Black Lightning. His new album is called Magic.

Click hear to view the playlist, and to find a station in your area where you can listen.Be sure to connect with us on Facebook and stay tuned to our YouTube Channel for more.

Thank you for tuning in!

Live Show Preview: Winter Comes to Morgantown

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By Mountain Stage
 · January 12, 2012

Johnny Winter, appearing live on Mountain Stage January 15

Mountain Stage is back this Sunday at the Creative Arts Center in Morgantown with our first live show of 2012. Get your tickets online, by phone (304.293.SHOW), or at the CAC box office.

We’re thrilled to the marrow to welcome legendary blues guitarist Johnny Winter. Arguably the first artist to drag electric blues kicking and screaming into the land of hard rock, Johnny Winter remains one of the most respected guitarists alive. The clear link between the British blues-rock explosion and American Southern rock, Winter has also served as an unofficial torch-bearer for the blues, breathing new life into the careers of his idols Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker. Today Winter is enjoying an unparalleled resurgence, and his new release ROOTS features such notable guests as Vince Gill, Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, and Susan Tedeschi.

Magic Slim & the Teardrops will also be there. Born Morris Holt in Torrence, Mississippi in 1937, Slim has been called “a national treasure” by Living Blues magazine. Slim and The Teardrops performances are known for their undeniable intensity, earning a diehard following the world over. His latest release on Blind Pig records is Raising the Bar.

We’ll also be joined by Ruthie Foster. Foster has won seemingly contradictory Blues Music Awards for both Best Traditional and Best Contemporary Female Blues Artist in back-to-back years, and her album The Truth According to Ruthie Foster was nominated for a Grammy. She’s a regular favorite at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the Monterey Blues Festival, Merlefest and the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Her forthcoming release Let It Burn was recorded in New Orleans with support handpicked from the Crescent City’s overflowing pool of talent.

Patrick Sweany has released five albums, including 2007’s Every Hour is a Dollar Gone, produced by fellow Ohio-native Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. The follow up, 2011’s The Old Southern Drag was recorded in his new home of Nashville, where he can be found regularly performing at The Basement and Family Wash, also moonlighting in a vintage soul outfit The Tiger Beats. He’s shared the stage with The Black Keys, The Gourds, Paul Thorn and Sonny Landreth, among others.

Finally, Bhi Bhiman makes his first appearance on Mountain Stage. A first generation Sri Lankan-American, Bhiman's soulful, instantly striking voice has been compared to Bill Withers, Richie Havens and Jim James, while the Willamette Week described him as "a traveling Dust Bowl folkie crossed with Nina Simone"

Click here to check out our entire live show roundup for the coming weeks and months, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest news and info. See you at the show!

Radio Preview: Lucinda Williams and More

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By Mountain Stage
 · January 11, 2012

Brian Blauser
Lucinda Williams, live on Mountain Stage

This week’s Mountain Stage broadcast features pioneering alt-country songwriter Lucinda Williams, with tunes from her most recent studio album, Blessed. You’ll also hear from folk supergroup Red Horse, and husband and wife duo Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion. And two young indie folk bands stop by: Ivan & Alyosha, and The Low Anthem.

“Such-and-such artist needs no introduction to Mountain Stage audiences” is a sentence we find our self repeating often, but when it comes to someone like Lucinda Williams, it’s true. Her first nationally broadcast performance was on Mountain Stage in 1989, and by the time her landmark album Car Wheels on a Gravel Road was released in 1998, Williams was arguable the quintessential alt-country singer songwriter. She makes her fifth appearance on the show, this time solo.

Preview her performance via our Mountain Stage song of the Week, “Born to be Loved.”

Red Horse, Backstage at Mountain Stage

Singer-songwriter John Gorka jokes about the moniker “folk supergroup” being a contradiction in terms, but if there was ever a such thing, Red Horse is it. Comprised of Gorka, along with Lucy Kaplansky and Eliza Gilkyson, the trio recorded an album of each other’s songs, which they perform at the top of the show’s second hour.

Brian Blauser
Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion, live on Mountain Stage

 Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion return to Mountain Stage to perform four songs from Bright Examples, the couple's first album as a duo in five years. Blending alternative folk and country with a hints of classic rock and pop, the pair enlisted Vetiver's Andy Cabic, as well as longtime friends Gary Louris and Mark Olson (of  The Jayhawks) to help craft the album's lush, tuneful sound.

Brian Blauser
The Low Anthem, live on Mountain Stage

Rhode Island indie folk quartet The Low Anthem make their second appearance on Mountain Stage. They switch back and forth between 11 instruments during their five-song Mountain Stage set, including World War II-era pump organ, dulcimer, clarinet, trumpet, fiddle and musical saw to recreate the sounds from their latest release Smart Flesh.

Brian Blauser
Ivan & Alyosha live on Mountain Stage

Finally, you’ll hear from folk-pop group Ivan & Alyosha. Beatles-esque harmonies and infectious guitar hooks abound in the group's four-song Mountain Stage set, which includes three tunes from Fathers Be Kind, as well as their buzzed about song "Easy to Love."

Find a time and radio station in your area where you can tune in. And don't forget to follow us on Facebook to learn the latest about our upcoming live shows and radio broadcasts.

Thanks for supporting Mountain Stage!

Live Show News: Mountain Stage Returns to Bristol

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By Mountain Stage
 · January 10, 2012

A quick live show update, music fans – on Sunday, March 11, Mountain Stage is set to return to Bristol TN / VA for another exciting show in partnership with our friends at the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance. The lineup for this show will be announced in the very near future, but tickets go on sale Wednesday morning at 10 a.m.

Our last Bristol show sold out in just a few days of its announcement, making it one of the fastest selling Mountain Stage events in decades. Get your tickets while you can. They’re available online and by phone at 423.274.8920. We hope to see you there.

Stay tuned to the Mountain Stage Blog, and subscribe to the MountainStage feed on Facebook to keep up with the latest information about this show as it unfolds.

Live Show News: Martin Sexton

(Live Shows) Permanent link
By Mountain Stage
 · January 9, 2012
Martin Sexton - Fall Like Rain

It’s a new year, and Mountain Stage is making its first round of additions to our 2012 schedule.

We announced a few weeks ago that Mountain Stage will be returning to visit our friends at West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon on February 26. And now, we’re thrilled to announce that incomparable singer-songwriter Martin Sexton will be joining us there. When we last heard from Sexton, he was touring in support of his live record Solo, and was just about to release a new studio album called Sugarcoating. Since then, Sugarcoating has been released to wide acclaim, and on January 24 Sexton will release a new EP called Fall Like Rain.

You can listen to his previous Mountain Stage appearance here.

Tickets for this for this show are on sale now, online and by phone (800.594.TIXX).


Radio Preview: Mark Olson, The Civil Wars & more

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By Mountain Stage
 · January 4, 2012

Brian Blauser
Joy Williams and John Paul White are The Civil Wars

This week’s encore broadcast of Mountain Stage features alt-country pioneer Mark Olson, country music darlings The Civil Wars, acclaimed Canadian singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith, singer-songwriter Sonya Kitchell and the Brooklyn Strings, and energetic Virginia-based string band The Steel Wheels.

Brian Blauser
The Civil Wars, performing live on Mountain Stage

When country duo The Civil Wars appeared on Mountain Stage last February, their album Barton Hollow had recently debuted at number 12 on the Billboard charts, and was the top download on iTunes. Now the pair (comprised of singer-songwriters John Paul White and Joy Williams) are nominated for two Grammy awards, and have recently recorded a song with Taylor Swift (under the tutelage of roots music steward T-Bone Burnette) for the Hunger Games soundtrack. You can hear their Grammy-nominated track, the title cut from their album Barton Hollow, as our Mountain Stage Song of the Week.

Brian Blauser
Mark Olson, live on Mountain Stage

Singer-songwriter Mark Olson was most recently heard on Mountain Stage with his band, alt-country trailblazers The Jayhawks. But Olson has also staked out a successful solo career of his own. Olson closes the show with songs from his lush, imaginative album Many Colored Kite.

Brian Blauser
Ron Sexsmith, live on Mountain Stage

You’ll also hear a set from one of Canada’s most respected singer-songwriters, Ron Sexsmith. He’s earned praises from many of the artists who initially inspired him, including Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan and John Hiatt. For his third Mountain Stage appearance, Sexsmith is backed by the Mountain Stage band, with songs from his most recent album, the Bob Rock-produced Long Player Late Bloomer.

Brian Blauser
Sonya Kitchell, live on Mountain Stage

When singer-songwriter Sonya Kitchell first appeared on Mountain Stage she was barely old enough to drive. Her style has evolved considerably since then, with a gentle, refined sound that showcases her dark and breathy falsetto. Playing both guitar and piano, she is backed by her friends The Brooklyn Strings.

Brian Blauser
The Steel Wheels, live on Mountain Stage

Finally, you hear from the Virginia-based string band The Steel Wheels. The quartet has built a following through the region's biggest festivals, including Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, Floydfest, Folk Alliance, Appalachian Uprising, and at roots music venue The Purple Fiddle. For their closing tune "Surround Me," the group puts its instruments altogether to deliver a powerful a cappella performance.

Find a time and radio station in your area where you can tune in. And don't forget to follow us on Facebook to learn the latest about our upcoming live shows and radio broadcasts.

Thanks for supporting Mountain Stage!

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