Roots Radio News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)  --  Garth Brooks, who lost entertainer of the year at last year's Country Music Association Awards when he returned to music after a 13-year break, won the top prize at the show Wednesday, where Beyonce and the Dixie Chicks' surprise duet performance was met with love and hate.

Brooks beat out Carrie Underwood, Chris Stapleton, Keith Urban and last year's winner, Luke Bryan.

"We are so damn lucky to part of this thing called country music," Brooks yelled loudly at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CRAIG HAVIGHURST)  --  Fans of classic country music have complained for years that the CMA Awards and CMA itself give short shrift to the roots of the music and traditional sounds.

This year, those disaffected viewers will have more to watch and listen for when the show airs live Wednesday night from Nashville' Bridgestone Arena on ABC at 7 p.m central time.

Producers are calling this landmark 50th edition a throwback celebration, with performances by George Strait, Reba McEntire, Alan Jackson, Vince Gill and 1960s star Charley Pride.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (RHIANNON GILBERT) -- Veteran recording artist and songwriter Todd Snider used the celebration of his 50th birthday as a platform from which to launch his new album Eastside Bulldog on Oct. 7.

Ryman Hospitality

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Grand Ole Opry is going north. The famous venue for country music is branching out of Tennessee for the first time its 91-year history with a new restaurant and venue in Times Square.

Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc., which owns the Opry House and the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, on Thursday announced plans to open the Opry City Stage around April 2017, which will feature retail space, a listening room and private event space, a bar and a restaurant.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CRAIG HAVIGHURST)  --  He used to play guitar for glam punk icons the New York Dolls. But recently he wound up in a suit of mirrors on the stage at AmericanaFest 2016 playing psychedelic country music.  

Not out of the ordinary for Aaron Lee Tasjan, one of the most uncategorizable artists to arrive in the recent Great Nashville Migration.

On October 28 Tasjan releases Silver Tears on New West Records.

Famed music biographer at MTSU on Wednesday

Oct 24, 2016

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  One of the most acclaimed music biographers of our time will be in the mid-state this week to talk about his latest book.

Peter Guralnick will make an appearance at Middle Tennessee State University on Wednesday afternoon to promote Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Guralinck will be interviewed beginning at 4:30 p.m. by Dr. Greg Reish, Director of the MTSU Center for Popular Music.

Guralnick is known internationally for his previous books about Sam Cooke, Elvis Presley and Robert Johnson.  

Blues Dance Nashville: "This dance almost died"

Oct 20, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (GILBERT)  --  It’s midnight in Nashville. The traffic lights on Charlotte Avenue flash a lazy yellow. In the quiet, the back door of the Global Education Center opens and the unmistakable thump of blues music comes rolling out like smoke.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (HAVIGHURST)  --  Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe is intimately associated with songwriters playing their original material in a respectful and even reverent atmosphere. For 17 years, however, the storied venue has hosted a special night with great songwriters performing songs by others - songs that have been anything but reverent. Because

Freedom Sings, a musical celebration of the First Amendment, is about spotlighting songs that have, to paraphrase Bob Dylan, shaken the windows and rattled the walls.

WMOT featured in Public Radio's Current

Oct 17, 2016

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (HAVIGHURST)  --  The birth of Roots Radio on WMOT 89.5 FM has become a big story in the world of public media. Last week Current, a journal covering public media, featured the new all-Americana WMOT in a lengthy story. The in-depth piece by Sara Wise offers a detailed look at the innovative partnership between Middle Tennessee State University and Music City Roots.

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Singer-songwriter Bob Dylan has won the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature.

It was a stunning announcement that for the first time bestowed the prestigious award on a musician for "having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition."

Reporters and others gathered at the Swedish Academy's headquarters in Stockholm's Old Town reacted with a loud cheer as his name was read out.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — For the second year in a row, Christian singer Lauren Daigle won three awards at the Gospel Music Association's Dove Awards on Tuesday night, including artist of the year.

Two worship groups, Hillsong UNITED out of Australia and Bethel Music based in California, also took home two awards apiece during the award show held at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (GILBERT) -- For lovers of roots music, it’s pickin’ time on the Harpeth River. The inaugural Hoedown On The Harpeth music festival is set to take place Oct. 14-15 on the Hayshed Farm in Kingston Springs.

Hoedown On The Harpeth seeks to preserve and showcase the authentic sounds of classic country. Bluegrass, old time, western swing, & honky-tonking music will be celebrated for two days in an outdoor setting, something festival founder Robert Dunn believes has been a long time coming.

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  (AP/WMOT) —  Lady Gaga showed that she could rock a club just as hard as arenas, playing a short set at the 5 Spot bar in Nashville Wednesday night.

A small crowd of fans and guests got to hear her perform three new songs from her forthcoming album, "Joanne." Gaga says she'll appear at two more small bars this week, a nod to the album's "raw Americana" vibe and where she got her start

In a statement, Gaga said finding a way to bring people together is important to her.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Country star Dolly Parton will receive the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award at the upcoming 50th annual Country Music Association Awards.

Parton will receive the award in Nashville on Nov. 2, the CMA said Tuesday. The show will air on ABC. Parton, who wrote "I Will Always Love You" and "9 to 5," is a nine-time CMA winner, including entertainer of the year.

Nashville Opera opens its season with Don Giovanni

Oct 4, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  The Nashville Opera will this week perform what may be the perfect opera for Bible Belt audiences.

The Nashville Company will perform Mozart’s Don Giovanni Thursday and Saturday. The famous opera is, of course, a morality play that ends with the title character being dragged off to hell for his womanizing and other sins.

In spite of the dark subject matter, Nashville Opera CEO and Artistic Director John Hoomes says Mozart created an entertaining work.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  Garth Brooks will perform a free concert at Ascend Amphitheatre in late October.

Brooks says the concert is his way of thanking fans for his seventh Diamond Certification from the Recording Industry Association of America.

A press statement from the State of Tennessee says Brooks is the first artist to receive seven certifications, surpassing six earned by the Beatles.

Seven of Brook’s albums have now sold more than 10 million copies each. All seven albums were recorded here in Tennessee.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The 47th annual Gospel Music Association Dove Awards are coming up soon. This year's theme is "Love Amplified." The top nominee is Jason Ingram with 7. Artist Lauren Daigle, David Garcia, Paul Mabury, and Wayne Haun have six nominations each.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (RHIANNON GILBERT)  --  It’s a Monday night at the 5 Spot in East Nashville. The little barroom is packed with people mingling and dancing to the upbeat sound of artists like The Jackson Five, Chubby Checker and The Supremes.

This is a dance party called “Motown Mondays,” hosted by Reno Bo and Jacob Jones, the DJ duo known as Electric Western. Their aim with Motown Mondays is to give folks a place where they can bust a move to doo wop, garage rock, girl groups and rock ‘n’ roll hits from the 50s and 60s.

Get it on your calendar: Free Music Day October 22

Sep 29, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  The Nashville Symphony’s 11th annual Free Music Day is set for October 22.

Twenty artists will make music on four stages in and around the Schermerhorn. Spokesperson Kelley Bell says the Orchestra will perform at noon, playing Beethoven, Dvořák, Copland, Prokofiev, Gershwin and Williams.

“Usually we have people hanging from the rafters," Bell noted. " It’s open seating, so I would suggest getting there a little early.”

You can also enjoy classical Chinese music, a dulcimer choir, fiddle ensemble, African drumming and more.


MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  Mid-state fans of the B-52s will get a musical treat Thursday as band front man Fred Schneider puts in an appearance at Middle Tennessee State.

Schneider will speak to students about the band’s big hits like Love Shack, and Rock Lobster. Schneider, a poet-musician, is best known for his spoken singing style.

Schneider will talk about his four decade career in new-wave rock at 4:30 on the MTSU campus. The lecture is free  and open to the public.

WMOT staff, Rhiannon Gilbert

2nd annual Muletown Musicfest this weekend in Columbia

Sep 27, 2016

COLUMBIA, Tenn. (HAVIGHURST)  --  With high profile music events such as AmericanaFest and the Pilgrimage Festival dominating the Fall calendar, a plucky startup festival down the road from Music City is eager to get on the radar of roots music lovers.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A spokeswoman for the Grand Ole Opry says Country Music Hall of Fame artist Jean Shepard has died. She was 82.

Spokeswoman Jessie Schmidt says in a news release that Shepard had entered hospice care last week and died Sunday in Nashville.

Shepard joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry in 1955 and helped set the standard for women in country music. She presented a strong female point of view in songs like "Twice the Lovin' in Half the Time" and "The Root of All Evil (Is a Man)."

Jim Lauderdale wins WagonMaser award at 2016 Americana awards show

Sep 22, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Singer songwriter Jason Isbell won album of the year and song of the year at the 2016 Americana Honors and Awards show, extending his legacy as the star of Americana music.

Since launching his solo career after years with the Drive-By Truckers, Isbell has been racking up both critical acclaim as well as Americana and Grammy awards with his Southern rock albums. He won Wednesday night for his album "Something More Than Free," and his song, "24 Frames."

Americana Music Honors and Awards Show Replay

Sep 21, 2016

In case you missed it last night, check out the Americana Honors and Awards Show from the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.