Roots Radio News



Acoustic music legends David Grisman and Tommy Emmanuel released Pickin’ last Friday, marking their first-ever duo album. And it would be hard to find anybody more excited about that than guitarist and singer Trey Hensley. Because he and his duo partner Rob Ickes were invited to join the ongoing album-inspired tour.



Last Friday, about a month after the untimely death of beloved rock and roller Tom Petty, Canadian folk trio The Wailin’ Jennys released Fifteen, their first album in six years. Track two is one of Petty’s most intimate songs, “Wildflowers.”

“I remember jamming it in a hotel room a few years ago and it came together really naturally. And then we started performing it and people just loved it.”

Folk Anthems, Free At Last?

Oct 27, 2017



Folk anthems “We Shall Overcome” and “This Land Is Your Land” are on their own road to a particular kind of freedom. Separate lawsuits claim the songs should not be under copyright but in the public domain, and one has been decided.


'Galax' Is A Homecoming For The Wild Ponies

Oct 19, 2017

Galax is a town of about 7,000 people on the southern border of Virginia on the edge of the Appalachian mountains. For music lovers, its name conjures up one thing - the Old Fiddler’s Convention a premiere contest and roots music gathering that’s taken place in Galax since 1935. For married musicians Doug and Telisha Williams, who perform under the name The Wild Ponies, the Galax area is also their old home place. It’s where they grew up, dated as high school sweethearts and launched their music career.


The office of the Music Health Alliance in a Green Hills office building is bustling with activity on a typical weekday afternoon. The non-profit helps self-employed music professionals - about three fourths of the industry they say - negotiate the complexities of the health care system and take advantage of laws and programs that often go unnoticed or unexploited in times of health crises.

Rhiannon Giddens Eyes New Medium With MacArthur Fellowship

Oct 18, 2017



When Rhiannon Giddens won the Steve Martin Banjo Prize in 2016, it was a validation of the North Carolina musician’s contributions to old-time, string band and bluegrass music. But her MacArthur Fellowship, announced last week, propels Giddens into a creative and intellectual future that promises to shape society itself.


Ruston Kelly 'Black Magic'

Oct 17, 2017

Ruston Kelly performed his song, Black Magic, for WMOT's Wired In session May 25, 2017. Kelly is a Nashville based singer-song writer.

A half a dozen guys are wrestling with the poles of a big canvas tent in a field in Kingston Springs, TN. We're at Hayshed Farms, and the goal is to be ready by Friday for the second annual Hoedown on the Harpeth. Organizer Robert Dunn takes a break to describe what to expect over two days and nights this weekend.  “We’re trying to reflect on that 1925 to 1975 era of classic country music," Dunn said. "And back in those days was when you had a festival like this at the local farm or down the street. Everything was homemade. Just to give that down home feel of the working man’s festival.

Well after midnight on Thursday at World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, North Carolina, Molly Tuttle and her quartet took the stage of the Lincoln Theater for a surprise show. The room quivered with anticipation because, a few hours before, Tuttle had been named the IBMA Guitar Player of the Year -- the first woman to ever be nominated for the prize.


Last weekend in Raleigh, Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn brought their intimate banjo-centric duo to several thousand people at World of Bluegrass, because they’re among the biggest stars in the genre. This week though, Béla and Abby, as they are affectionately known to the bluegrass community, will scale down and give back in a series of benefits shows in Nashville, starting on Tuesday evening.

“October 3rd at the Basement we are going to be working with the Tennessee Environmental Council, which is a group that Bela in particular has worked a lot with.”

Youth Brigade Brings Change to the IBMA Awards

Sep 29, 2017

RALEIGH, NC (Havighurst)  -- The premium prizes at this year’s International Bluegrass Music Awards were bound to go to industry veterans based on the nominee pool, but an insurgent slate of young and first-time winners in the instrumentalist categories sent a signal Thursday night in Raleigh, NC that bluegrass in the coming years will be defined at least as much by a new generation as by the seasoned artists that have tended to win prizes year in, year out. Serial winners have been a source of frustration within the bluegrass community for some time.

Elizabeth Cook on Wired In

Sep 27, 2017

Elizabeth Cook wrote El Camino in Shelby Bottoms Park in East Nashville. Cook performed El Camino during WMOT's May Wired In session from Thiel Studio.

Mama's Funeral is Cook's personal account of her mothers death and funeral.

Diving Deep at the Musicians Hall of Fame

Sep 26, 2017
Olivia Ladd


A Santana drum kit and a pivotal mobile recording studio are among the new items at Nashville's most geeked out music museum.




The Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum might be the most out of the way, centrally located attraction in Nashville. Six blocks from the tourist throngs on Lower Broadway, next door neighbor to the Tennessee State Capitol and the Davidson County Courthouse, it’s easy to miss.

Charles Bradley, the "Screaming Eagle of Soul," whose late-blossoming career was built on fiery performances that evoked his idol, James Brown, died in Brooklyn on Saturday, Sept. 23, according to a statement by his pu

blicist. In 2016, Bradley was diagnosed with stomach cancer, which spread to his liver. He was 68 yeas old.

Josh Ritter Live Video on WXPN Free at Noon

Sep 22, 2017

Josh Ritter performs live on our NPR partner station WXPN out of Philadelphia, Friday, Sept. 22 at 11 a.m. CST.

A Feast of a Fest: Americana 2017 in Review

Sep 19, 2017
Jacqueline Justice

The best way to approach an oncoming juggernaut like AmericanaFest is a delicate balance of reckless ambition and meticulous planning. That, in any event, is one of my takeaways from observing how WMOT and Music City Roots made the scene and flew their flags amid this year’s city-wide roots music extravaganza.

WMOT's 1st Birthday Bash Live

Sep 16, 2017

WMOT hosts its first birthday bash at 6th & Peabody in the Yee-Haw Tent with a amazing lineup of Americana artists. If you can't make it in person watch it live here on

11:00   Paul Thorn

12:00   Reckless Kelly

1:00     Whitney Rose

2:00     The Secret Sisters

3:00     The Deep Dark Woods

4:00     The O’Connor Band

5:00     Lilly Hiatt

6:00     The Texas Gentlemen

7:00     Aaron Lee Tasjan

8:00     Katie Pruitt

9:00     Vandoliers

10:00   Mike Farris 

WMOT presents a special AMERICANAFEST 2017 edition of Wired In with Brent Cobb, Tony Joe White and Lori McKenna live from Thiel Studios.

And The Americana Awards Go To...

Sep 13, 2017

Veterans of roots music fared well at the 2017 Americana Music Honors & Awards, with John Prine and Marty Stuart accepting hand-made trophies for Artist and Group of the Year respectively. The 16th annual ceremony again offered resonant performances and speeches at the Ryman Auditorium on a night that showcased the diversity and mutual admiration of the musical format and its community.  



Sep 12, 2017


Thursday, Sept. 14 at Thiel Studios 150 3rd Avenue South, Suite 108 from 4 to 7 PM

4:00 PM Tony Joe White

5:00 PM Brent Cobb

6:00 PM Lori McKenna

WMOT members and AMERICANAFEST Badge Holders are welcome.

Music City Roots

Thursday, Sept. 14 at the Yee-Haw Tent on 6th & Peabody from 7 to 11 PM

Pony Bradshaw, Angaleena Presley, Ray Wylie Hubbard, The Cactus Blossoms, John Paul White and a special after show performance by Lee Ann Womack.

A "People's History" in Song at Americana

Sep 4, 2017


More than a dozen leading lights of Americana music will perform songs they did not write but in which they deeply believe at a special event on the opening night of Americanafest 2017.

CD Baby: Grown Up and Beyond CDs

Aug 30, 2017

  An Interview With CEO Tracy Maddux


After two years in Chicago, CD Baby’s DIY Musician Conference moved to Nashville, where it sold out its nearly 1,500 slots this past weekend. At panels and talks over three days, indie artists focused on monetizing YouTube video, strategic use of Spotify playlists and other hard core aspects of making a living and prospering in today’s cultural, digital maelstrom.

Americana is celebrated as a big musical tent, and WMOT Roots Radio will embrace that by putting up a big musical tent at AmericanaFest 2017.


The Yee-Haw Tent, with seating for 500 people and rigged for our signature quality sound and staging, will be centrally located at 6th Ave. S. and Peabody Street, just a block south of the Music City Center and an easy walk from the Americana Business Conference home at the Westin Hotel.


Will Hoge Goes Electric, Releases Anchors

Aug 28, 2017


Will Hoge is as Nashville as hot chicken and Studio B. The songwriter and roots rocker grew up in Franklin and took his muscular, tuneful sound to the top of the local and regional music scene before truly breaking out with the album Carousel in 2001. Since then he's toured internationally, played the key late night TV shows and built a deeply loyal fan base. And if you were a Nashville based live music lover in the last two decades, Will Hoge has been a staple in your life - music city's answer to Springsteen and Tom Petty.

Black River Enters Americana Current

Aug 28, 2017

  Black River Entertainment, a fixture on Music Row with country and Christian hit songs and records since 2010, has plunged into roots music with its new imprint Black River Americana and the signing of husband and wife duo Carolina Story.

And a classic Nashville story it was. An industry friend tipped off Black River Executive VP Rick Froio, who invited Ben and Emily Roberts in for an audition.