On this week’s edition of Music City Roots, host Jim Lauderdale features artists Charlie Parr, Johnnyswim, The McCrary Sisters, Alanna Royale, and The Danberrys in a performance from The Loveless Cafe in Nashville, Tennessee.
About the featured artists:
Charlie Parr is an American country blues musician, born in Austin, Minnesota, United States. He started his music career in Duluth, Minnesota. His influences include Charlie Patton, Bukka White, Reverend Gary Davis, Dave Van Ronk, and Mississippi John Hurt. He plays a National resonator guitar, a fretless open-back banjo, and a 12-string guitar in the Piedmont blues style. He is married (to Emily Parr, who occasionally adds back vocals to Charlie’s music) with two children.
As of May 2008, the song “1922” has been featured in an Australian and New Zealand Vodafone television advertisement. As a consequence Parr’s album, 1922, was re-released in Australia on the Level 2 record label in Melbourne. In 2009, Parr toured Australia with Paul Kelly.
Several of Parr’s songs were featured in the Australian drama film “Red Hill” released in 2010, including a full rendition of “Just Like Today” in the closing credits of the film.
Parr played at the 2011 Pickathon Music Festival in Oregon, and the 2012 Willamina’s Wildwood MusicFest & Campout.
Ramirez and Sudano first met after Sunday service at a church in Nashville, Tennessee. Four years later Sudano attended a songwriting workshop held by Ramirez and became interested in writing songs with him.
The pair formed a songwriting partnership and called themselves Johnnyswim. The inspiration for the name of the duo came from the scene in the classic movie Jaws when a character named Johnny is attempting to flee from the shark as his friend shouts from the pier, “Swim, Johnny, swim!”
Sudano and Ramirez were married in 2009.
Johnnyswim released their first self-titled EP on June 30, 2008.
In 2009, the duo collaborated with Bruce Sudano on the track Morning Song which appeared on his record Life and the Romantic.
2011 saw the release of the single Bonsoir. In September that year, the duo travelled to India with VisitingOrphans.org.Inspired by their experiences there, they wrote the track Hallelujah which was released in December 2011 with 100% of the profits going to the efforts of the charity.
April 24, 2012 saw the release of Home, Vol. 1 a new collection of songs as well as the release of the single Annie.
Johnnyswim were guests on the November 17, 2012 broadcast of the live radio variety show, A Prairie Home Companion.
For the McCrary Sisters, music is a birthright, a lifelong love affair, a sometimes career, an indescribable joy, and occasionally, a cross to bear.Ann, Deborah, Regina, ad Alfreda, the four daughters of the Rev. Samuel McCrary, one of the original members of the legendary gospel quartet, The Fairfield Four, were raised in harmony, singing at home, at their father’s church, and for the eldest Ann on the road by the time she was 3 years old. The McCrary home was filled with music, whether it was the Fairfield Four or frequent guests that included a pantheon of gospel greats, including Shirley Caesar or James Cleveland.
By 7, Regina was also touring, a star of the BC&M Mass Choir. There her featured solo was ” I Made A Vow”, a performance that lives on youTube.If she’d been born in the age of America’s got talent and American Idol, She’d have been a star before she was a teen-ager. For a time, the sisters sang with their brother Ricky, and some cousins in the CBS(Cousins,Brother,Sisters) band. But not all four girls pursued music as a job. For Deborah, and Alfreda it was more of a part-time thing. Deborah became a Nurse, and Alfreda until recently could be heard rarely with her sisters. The rest of the time she was doing music ministry with her husband Narcisco Lee, at the Old Happy Day Church.
Regina is the best-known McCrary Sister outside the gospel world, famous for being part of BobDylan’s group throughtout his Christain music era, recording three albums with the legendary folk-rocker–Slow Train Coming, Saved, and Shot of Love, and touring with him for 6 years. Along with Dylan and Elvis, she, also performed, and recorded with Stevie Wonder, and sang background along with Ann on Ray Steven classic, “Everything Is Beautiful”.
Ann, meanwhile, performed with the who’s who of contemporary gospel music, including The Winans, Donnie McClurkin, Yolanda Adams,and many more. Regina, Ann, and Alfreda have all performed in musical theater as well , and recorded with country music greats like Johnny Cash, Wynona Judd, The sisters list of recording sessions, and long association with Bobby Jones TV show spans genres and generations. Most recently, they have become Americana stars, recording and touring regularly with gospel-rock powerhouse Mike Farris, winning the Emerging Artist Award at the 2008 Americana Music Awards, also winning the 2010 Dove Award for Best Traditional Gospel Album for ” Shout”! Live recorded at Nashville’s Station Inn.
Ann and Regina McCrary was alson featured on Universal United House of Prayer, by Buddy Miller who was called The Americana Artist of the Decade by No Depression Magazine,the Americana journal of record. More recently,they were featured vocalits on Patty Griffin’s acclaimed gospel project Downtown Church, recorded at Nashville’s downtown Presbyterian Church. They are also featured on the new Cumberland Saints CD released by Mike Farris.
While bloodlines and resumes are all well and good, nothing can prepare you for the experience of hearing the McCrary Sisters live, though “Our Journey” may be the next best thing. No words can decribe the power, and passion and pure soulfulness of The McCrary Sisters–Ann, Regina, Deborah, and Alfreda. Hear them once, and you will never be the same.
Alanna Royale is 7 members, 6 beards, 3 horns, and 1 lady. Their homemade blend of “dirty pop/raunchy soul” is a unique formula that blends throwback soul, good ol’ rock n’ roll, and pop sensibilities into a captivating live performance. In just six short months, Alanna Royale has commanded Nashville’s attention and there seems to be no signs of stopping. Coming off of a sold out release show in January for their debut Bless Her Heart, Royale is looking forward to performances at The Road to Bonnaroo, Music City Roots, and their second East Nashville Underground appearance. Royale has even gathered accolades from some of Nashville’s biggest movers and shakers with Mike Grimes naming them the Nashville band to take over 2013. Their first single “Animal” is enjoying heavy rotation in February as they are Lightning 100’s Artist of the Week and they are already working on their next release in April. Grab your friends, put on your dancing shows, and get ready to sweat it out at the next Alanna Royale show!
Whether one calls it kismet or destiny, some things are just meant to be, like The Danberrys. Dorothy Daniel and Ben DeBerry both began to learn music around the age of ten and later joined talents when they met in high school in 1997. They dated through their first two years of college and then after four years, Dorothy and Ben went their separate ways. Five years later they realized they never should have never parted. They were married in October 2006.
Ben had several years experience of leading bands with his sizzling guitar and laid-back lyricism when Dorothy joined his projects as a guest vocalist in 2007. It soon became evident that the duo deserved a life of its own and The Danberrys were born. Drawing deep from the blues, folk, bluegrass and soul/funk traditions, the Danberrys deliver inspired original tunes featuring strong harmonies and dynamic musicianship. Company Store, their first EP, was released in April 2010 and was followed by the single Shady Grove in June 2011. The group is currently recording several new songs for upcoming projects.
The Danberrys have worked and performed with some of Nashville’s most talented young musicians including Ethan Ballinger, Ryan Cavanaugh, Ryan Furst, Geoff Henderson, Christian Sedelmeyer, Jake Winebrenner and Mike Witcher. Their engaging live shows are always energetic and soul-filled affairs with a healthy dose of improvisation and an emphasis on having a Danberry good time!