Roots Radio News

J. Scott Schrader/Courtesy of the artist

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (JEWLY HIGHT)  --  One day in late February, the five members of Front Country were warming up for their record release show at the renowned bluegrass club the Station Inn, in their new home base of Nashville, Tenn. They'd never played most of these songs live before.

Rhiannon Gilbert

  NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  If "You get what you pay for," is the rule, then the exception is a classical music performance by the Nashville Citizen's Orchestra.  


Pianist Gabrielle Lewis founded the orchestra in 2016 as a way to gain conducting experience and give local musicians an outlet to perform, but the young group is becoming even more unique than she originally planned.


Music, Money and Metadata: The Promise of The Blockchain

Mar 27, 2017

The music business has become a big data business. With millions of songs streaming every day from countless internet and mobile platforms. The creators who made and the companies that financed those recordings are supposed to get paid . Set aside how much. Do they get paid accurately and completely? No say most experts in the field. And they don’t because of bad and missing ownership data.

Photo by Val Hoeppner

Songwriters and recording artists have waited with mounting frustration for more than a decade for a fair, accountable way to get paid for their work in the digital environment. That day may finally be close at hand. A Nashville company called DART has emerged as a national player in what may be the most important development in digital music commerce since file sharing blew up the industry in the early 2000s. It’s about big data and artificial intelligence meeting blockchain technology borrowed from Bitcoin.

Olivia Ladd

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OLIVIA LADD)  -- Small, unlicensed performance spaces known as DIY venues have long been a vital part of Nashville’s music culture. But in the wake of a devastating fire that killed 36 people last December in Oakland CA, Nashville DIY venues have been put on notice, and they are figuring out a new future. WMOT’s Olivia Ladd reports.


It’s Saturday night. Young Nashvillians, from high schoolers to professionals, gather in the basement of an East Nashville residence turned venue, named for the sarcastic TV series - “That ‘70s House.”


Sunday Night: Folk Fights Back

Mar 15, 2017


On January 28, more than a dozen Nashville musicians pulled together for a multi-act show at the Family Wash. The grand finale of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" put an exclamation point on the night's theme of environmental action and musical activism. It was the first of a series of shows called Folk Fights Back that are raising money for a range of causes seen by many in the music community to be under threat in the new presidency of Donald Trump.


Held Over: The Nashville Cats

Mar 15, 2017



An exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame has proven so popular that it's been held over until the end of 2017. Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats is an immersive experience depicting the time around 1970 that the wider world got hip to the mastery of Music Row and the quality and vibe of its studios.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (RHIANNON GILBERT) -- The Nashville Symphony Orchestra will host its first sensory-friendly concert this month. ‘Reach for the Stars’ will be a concert that welcomes everyone, including people on the autism spectrum and those with disabilities that cause sensory sensitivities.

This type of concert is something that the Symphony Center has wanted to do for a long time,

according to the Symphony Center’s Education and Community Engagement Program Manager Kelley Bell.

Peace Or Protest? Folk Music Faces A Divided America

Mar 8, 2017

KANSAS CITY, KS, (HAVIGHURST)  --  Folk Alliance International chose the theme for its 29th conference - Forbidden Folk: Activism In Art - a year and a half ago, when Donald Trump was given zero chance of winning the Republican nomination, let alone the presidency. His victory was a seismic event for the country, and artists across all genres are asking themselves how to respond.

Folk Alliance 2017 - A Broadband Download

Mar 1, 2017

by Craig Havighurst, WMOT Music News

This coverage was made possible by and cross-posted with The Bluegrass Situation

Wired In to Béla Fleck - Photo gallery

Mar 1, 2017
Val Hoeppner/WMOT

Béla Fleck was the first artist to perform on WMOT's Wired In, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. Fleck will release his latest album, "Juno Concerto" this Friday. 

90 Second Spin: Highway Queen by Nikki Lane

Feb 24, 2017

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (HAVIGHURST)  --  Highway Queen, the third album from Nashville country artist Nikki Lane, hit the streets February 17, just days after she played a smart set on Music City Roots.

Lane released her debut album back in 2011, but it was All or Nothin' - her 2014 collaboration with Dan Auerbach that really got her noticed. And what was easy to notice was that Lane loved to sport vintage western wear and have her picture made. Turns out her first career was actually in the fashion business in Los Angeles and New York.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Memphis home where soul music legend Aretha Franklin was born may get some love from the DIY Network, officials in charge of fixing up the crumbling structure said Thursday.

Jeffrey Higgs, president of the LeMoyne-Owen College Community Development Corporation, told a judge he has been in discussions with a producer at the remodeling and home improvement cable network on a plan to repair and move the house for one of its programs.


KANSAS CITY, KS  (HAVIGHURST)  --  Freedom Sings, the traveling cavalcade of song that tells the story of the First Amendment and Civil Rights through music, had not staged a show at the Folk Alliance International convention since the early 2000s when the event briefly headquartered in Nashville.

But the convention’s theme this weekend in Kansas City, Forbidden Folk: Activism In Art, was too compelling to pass up.

Eric Church cancels 25K tickets bought by scalpers

Feb 20, 2017

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Country star Eric Church has been battling ticket scalpers for years as his popularity grew and he began selling out arenas.

But he's taken his biggest step yet by cancelling more than 25,000 tickets to his spring tour that were purchased by scalpers and putting them back on sale for fans to purchase.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Keith Urban's boundary-pushing album "Ripcord" has spawned several top country singles and led him to pick up seven nominations including entertainer of the year and album of the year at this year's Academy of Country Music Awards.

Lady Antebellum announced the nominations Thursday on "CBS This Morning" for the awards show, which will be held April in Las Vegas and aired live on CBS. Urban is also nominated for male vocalist of the year, single record of the year and song of the year.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Minute by minute coverage of Sunday night's 59th annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles (all times local):

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A near fatal stroke couldn't take away the signature baritone of country star Randy Travis, and dozens of his friends, from Garth Brooks to Kenny Rogers, used their voices and his songs to honor the legend.

Travis watched from the side of the stage Wednesday in Nashville, Tennessee, as country stars from multiple eras sang his classics, from "Forever and Ever, Amen" to "Three Wooden Crosses."

By the end, he had joined in the celebration by singing "Amazing Grace" and leading others in singing "May the Circle Be Unbroken."

Natalie Hemby

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (RHIANNON GILBERT) -- For nearly ten years, Natalie Hemby’s lyrics have been in high-demand on Music Row, with songs by big names like Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town and Lady Antebellum. With the debut of her first solo album, “Puxico,” Hemby circles back to her original goal for her career -- to be a featured artist.

90 Second Spin: The Infamous Stringdusters

Feb 1, 2017
Infamous Stringdusters

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CRAIG HAVIGHURST)  --  In the ten years since their recording debut, the Infamous Stringdusters have burnished two distinct but complimentary reputations.

While no longer Nashville based, they are recognized as musicians who play with the highest Music City virtuosity. And two, they've transcended the limits of the bluegrass business, reaching rock festival and jam band audiences across the country.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (RHIANNON GILBERT) -- Dancers from the Nashville Ballet are gearing up for their second performance series paying tribute to the life and songs of country legend Johnny Cash.

The performance, entitled “Under The Lights” is returning after its debut in 2014. Set to run Feb. 9-12, it is part of the lineup for the ballet’s annual winter series, “Attitude,” which seeks to highlight Nashville’s creative arts scene by teaming up with local musicians. Returning this year to perform Cash’s songs is Nashville-based neo-rockabilly band Sugar + The Hi-Lows.

 NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Drummer Butch Trucks, one of the founding members of the Southern rock legend The Allman Brothers Band, has died. He was 69.

Page Stallings, Trucks' booking agent, said Trucks died Tuesday at his home in West Palm Beach, Florida. Stallings didn't know the cause of death.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Country music legend Crystal Gayle has been inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, nearly a half-century after she first walked onto its stage to perform as a teenager.

 Her sister, country luminary Loretta Lynn, welcomed Gayle to the Opry family during a Saturday night ceremony at the Ryman Auditorium.

The honor comes almost 50 years after Gayle made her Grand Ole Opry debut, singing "Ribbon of Darkness" at the Ryman when she was just 16. The Ryman hosted the radio show from 1943 to 1974.


  NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will feature exhibits on Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean, Loretta Lynn and Shania Twain in 2017.

The museum announced Friday their slate of exhibitions for the new year, which also includes a new exhibition called American Currents, focusing on music from 2016.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CRAIG HAVIGHURST)  --  Reports in December that United Record Pressing is moving entirely out of its 1960s era building to a larger facility, sparked concerns about possibly losing another landmark of Nashville’s music history. But United is promising to preserve and reinvent the space.

Vintage record presses have been humming and hissing away at United’s new 140,000 square foot plant on Allied Drive near the Nashville Zoo for some months now during a transition that is nearly complete.