Anne Williams on WNRN
Ease into your day with the best music around, every weekday from 6am until 10am. Hosted by Anne Williams. Anne has been with the station for over 16 years. The Acoustic CD of the Month Club has become a staple of WNRN’s fund drives and grows in members each year.
Anne Williams News & Updates
No matter if you call him Modern Bakersfield Country or New Traditionalist, Dwight Yoakam has been releasing good music from LA since 1986. (He has also been on the big screen in Sling Blade and Panic Room.) The newest is a new bluegrass record, Swimmin’ Pools, Movie Stars…. There is a country ballad version of “Purple Rain.” Who knew Prince could write a country song? Dwight turns it into one. We play his bluegrass version of the classic “These Arms” that was originally released on A Long Way Home in 1989.
A year after the birth of her first child, Amanda Shires is out with a new release, My Piece of Land. Known as a fiddler and singer, she does a majority of the songwriting on this new release. Some on her own as well as with her husband, Jason Isbell. She gets help from Isbell’s producer, Dave Cobb, who seems to bring out the best in her voice and songs. Mornings will features “The Way It Dimmed.”
Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin is the producer of the new (pronounced green sky) Greensky Bluegrass CD, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted. Trying to straddle the line between the highly disciplined bluegrass genre and the long form jam world has been hard to translate onto a record. Steve Berlin made that happen. WNRN plays “Merely Avoiding.” You can catch them at the National in Richmond on September 28.
Stand out live folk band of the 1960s, the Jim Kweskin Jug Band blended country, ragtime, jazz, and rock ‘n’ roll. Geoff Muldaur got his start there as a singer and guitarist. Kweskin and Muldaur reunited the jug band for a tour in 2015. They follow up with their own CD and tour this year. Listening to the new CD, Penny’s Farm, is trip through folk classics with their signature playing style. I hope you dig into this one and hear their version of traditional ‘Down On Penny’s Farm’ and Vera Hall’s ‘The Boll Weevil.’ (Vera Hall is the voice that is sampled on Moby’s Play CD singing ‘Natural Blues.’) “Sweet to Mama” is a bluesy number that captures the exquisite playing and singing of Muldaur.
A Nashville songwriter and distant cousin of producer extraordinaire, Dave Cobb, makes his debut with Shine on Rainy Day. Initially, Brent Cobb resisted coming to Nashville. It took Luke Bryan calling him and asking him to come in 2008. Brent Cobb debuts on WNRN with “Solvin’ Problems” from his October 7th release. In this song, Cobb takes an ordinary moment and allows transcendence and truth to shine from a balcony on Music Row.
The Walcotts are an Americana Roots band of nine members from LA. They take their two singers, a horn section, a fiddle player, a pedal steel guitarist, a pianist, and a rhythm section and not only pay tribute to their influences like Little Feat and The Band but create songs for their dynamic live shows. They received praise for opening for Chris Stapleton in 2015. The debut CD, Let the Devil Win, gives us “Should’ve Been Me.”
The new Devil Makes Three is half “darker” gospel songs and half songs of vice called Redemption and Ruin. WNRN grabbed a gospel number, “There’ll Be A Jubilee.” We look forward to their show at the Jefferson Theater in January 2017.
John Prine put out his first coed country duets CD, In Spite of Ourselves, in 1999. For Better, Or Worse (out Sept. 30) could be called In Spite of Ourselves Volume 2. Prine jokes that he was “kinda tricked” into recording it. Alison Krauss, Amanda Shires, Lee Ann Womack, Iris DeMent and other female country singers lovingly add their voices to this project. On “Color of the Blues” Prine is joined by Susan Tedeschi.
North Carolina’s Americana/bluegrass band, Chatham County Line, has release their seventh studio album, Autumn. Dave Wilson produced and wrote the 11 songs. “Show Me The Door” highlights the songwriting, arrangements, and trademark harmonies.
Claire Lynch pays homage to her favorite Canadian songwriters on North by South. After her recent marriage to a Canadian, Lynch dug into the catalog of songs written by Canadian songwriters. Lynch’s cover of Gordon Lightfoot’s “It’s Worth Believin'” featuring Jerry Douglas on dobro and Brian McDowell on vocals.
The Head and the Heart’s third album, Signs of Light, is the Acoustic CD of the Month for September 2016.
The story of The Head and The Heart maybe familiar to you. Richmond, Virginia’s Jonathan Russell and Tyler Williams met some fine Seattle musicians there and form this band. They have put out two albums on Sub Pop (one’s cover art features a WNRN tee shirt). They have stepped up musically and joined Warner Brothers for this new one, Signs of Light.
All the key ingredients are there in the new album: excellent songwriting, their own unique sound that shows the influence of the Beatles, Americana and country rock, harmonies and the showcasing of each member’s talents. In a note to fans, THATH shares, “during the writing in Stinson Beach, … we were able to explore new sounds and indulge each other’s ideas. It’s the latest step in our band’s evolution.”
What is clear to this fan’s ears is the gigantic step forward they took in the production of the songs and ideas. From the first notes of “All We Ever Knew” you can hear the difference. The first half of the album is a stream of “hit after hit,” guaranteeing its place in this years “best of” list for me. This string of potential radio songs tells of its longevity in fans and newcomers playlists from this point forward. The latter half of the album lets us hear the band’s more experimental side providing songs that need more attentive listening. We will get more from them each time we listen.
Right now, the closest The Head and The Heart will play is DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, DC on October 22.
The Acoustic CD of the Month for August 2016 is Caveman’s third album, Otero War.
This five piece indie rock band from Brooklyn came together in 2010 after the dissolution of the members’ former bands. Caveman has been compared to Wilco, the Shins, and Tears for Fears because of its use of synths and rhythmic guitars to create cinematic, heady, melodic indie folk-rock. The reviews of the first two albums praise the quintet with creating complex musical ideas with grabbing melodies and atmospheric warmth.
The cover art of Otero War looking like soundtrack to a sci-fi movie just adds to the idea of the cinematic quality of Caveman’s bright melodies and dystopian lyrics. Any of the songs would easily fit behind movie or tv scenes. “Never Going Back” has a great hook and shows that talent for writing songs that stay with you. Matthew Iwanusa vocals are one of the highlights throughout the album, including “Life Or Just Living”, “Human,” “80 West,” and “All My Life.”
You can check out the recent interview that WNRN’s Melissa Goode did with Caveman at: http://www.wnrn.org/?s=caveman
One of the great masters of Americana and the Nashville session player scene, Mark O’Connor, has put together a band consisting of his wife, his son, and his son’s fiance: O’Connor Band with Mark O’Connor. At times on Coming Home, there are three fiddles playing including Mark, Mark’s wife, Maggie, and Katie Lee! Mark’s son, Forrest, does the mandolin work and most of the songwriting. The vocals, reminiscent of Alison Krauss, come from Katie Lee. Rounding out the sound is Joe Smart on guitar and Geoff Saunders on bass. “Always Do” was written by Forrest’s songwriting partner and old band mate, Virginian, Jim Shirey. (photo – JD Pittman)
From Austin Texas comes the third album from The Deer, Tempest and Rapture. With the new album, Grace Park (vocals), Jesse Dalton (upright bass), Michael McLeod (guitar), and Alan Eckert (drums, vocals) added Noah Jeffries to their live lineup as well as to the album. They also get help from several other session players including Lloyd Maines contributing some pedal steel on one track. Self described as “psych-folk surf-dream”, The Deer members wrote all 17 tracks. WNRN introduces you to The Deer with the melodic “Static.”