Tune in this week to Music City Roots for yet another rollicking start to your weekend, this time with sets from Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, Wild Ponies, Teea Goans, Cabinet and Don Duprie. Jim Lauderdale hosts.
About the musicians:
As the Wall Street Journal says “The New Queen of Bluegrass” has done it again… Rhonda Vincent named “Entertainer of the Year” at the 40th Annual SPBGMA (Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America) Convention & Awards Show in Nashville, Tennessee. The sold out, jammed pack venue watched as Rhonda took home the top honor the same night she was inducted into the SPBGMA Hall of Greats.
“This was one of the greatest evenings of my career, from the induction to the Hall of Greats, Entertainer of the Year, and I’m so proud of all the men of The Rage for being honored for their incredible talents,” says Rhonda Vincent. “We travel 250 days out of the year, living our dream, playing the music we love, and this night was a great reward for all our hard work. We are very thankful for all the honors!”
In addition, band members Josh Williams was named “Guitar Player of the Year” and Mickey Harris was named “Bass Player of the Year”. Collectively as a group, Rhonda Vincent & the Rage were named “Instrumental Group of the Year”.
Rhonda Vincent & the Rage have received over 70 industry awards, making the group the most awarded band in bluegrass!
The Society for Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America (SPBGMA) is a not-for profit corporation, which sets out to protect this genre of music. They set out to preserve the traditional sprit and art of bluegrass music, while offering management services for any community desiring to hold a Bluegrass festival. SPBGMA organizes and conducts Bluegrass Band competitions. In these events, the instruments must be traditional acoustic instruments. The society encourages professionalism in appearance and showmanship by the performers of SPBGMA events, while also encouraging the support of various Bluegrass publications and associations.
Rhonda Vincent – the fiery vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter dubbed “the new queen of bluegrass” by the Wall Street Journal – released her new two-disc album Only Me on January 28, 2014. In addition to receiving an unprecedented seven consecutive “Female Vocalist of the Year” awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA), being named IBMA’s 2001 “Entertainer of the Year,” and being the co-author of the 2004 IBMA “Song of the Year,” Vincent was nominated for a 2006 Grammy® award for “Best Bluegrass Album” for Ragin’ Live, as well as a double nomination in 2007 for “Best Bluegrass Album” for All American Bluegrass Girl, along with “Best Country Collaboration with Vocals” for Midnight Angel featuring Bobby Osborne.
Since her debut, Rhonda has met with increasing acclaim for her dynamic, infectious take on bluegrass. Her gift for balancing classic bluegrass sounds with subtle contemporary touches is featured throughout music. Gleaming with hope, resilience, and gratitude, Rhonda presents a set of songs that range from timelessly straight-ahead bluegrass to classic country. Joining her on the album is Willie Nelson on the title track, Daryle Singletary featured on “We Must Have Been Out of Our Minds”, and members of Diamond Rio.
“When Rhonda Vincent opens her mouth, it’s great… whether she’s singing country or bluegrass. This collection of songs on Only Me is incredible. God gave Rhonda an unbelievable voice and I am so thankful that we get to enjoy it. I love her like a sister and enjoy her music as her biggest fan,” says Dolly Parton.
Doug and Telisha are based out of East Nashville, the new Bohemian Mecca of the South. They’re a restless sort, though, and more than anything, they call the road their home. The past few years have been filled with hundreds of shows and thousands of miles for Doug and Telisha. They’ve traveled from Florida to Alaska and Michigan to Texas, hitting 47 US states and six Canadian provinces. They’ve played with some of their most beloved heroes - Lucinda Williams, Darrell Scott, Charlie Louvin, and Joe Ely – and been on stage at Anderson Fair, The Birchmere, The Carolina Theater, Godfrey Daniels, Madison Square Park and Floydfest.
Doug and Telisha write songs about a place where old time religion, superstition, run down bars, gravel parking lots and boarded up factories all mingle together. How could they not? They’re both originally from a small town in the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains that’s suffered with 20.2% unemployment. When you hear them sing songs about a couple of hard luck kids who made some bad decisions and wound up in jail, you’ve got to remember that Doug & Telisha are still good friends with those kids’ family. The songs for their latest record, Ghost of the Knoxville Girl, weren’t written by people who like to imagine what it’s like “out there,” instead they came from stories told across kitchen tables or between friends after a couple of pitchers at a roadside bar.
On stage they have a stunning charisma that can transform a raucous bar into a quiet listening room, with even the most jaded hipsters waiting for the next line before ordering another PBR, then launch right into a blistering rocker that will have everyone clapping and singing along. There is something mystical about the connection of their hauntingly dark songs and their quick wit and fearless delivery that make every show original and personal.
With That’s Just Me, vocalist Teea Goans fuels the enthusiasm she first ignited with her 2010 debut album, The Way I Remember It. That treasury of traditional country tunes earned Goans four appearances on the Grand Ole Opry and a guest spot on the TV show that celebrated Bill Anderson’s 50th anniversary as an Opry member. In its glowing review of The Way I Remember It, Country Weekly magazine observed that the album “reminds us that country can be simple yet sophisticated and, sometimes, sublime.”
In addition, Goans’ music video for “Letter From God,” perhaps the most popular song on the album, was a finalist for a 2011 Regional Emmy Award in the arts category. Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers were so impressed by Goans’ music that they picked her to open their shows during their month-long run last fall at the Oak Ridge Boys Theater in Branson, Missouri.
(Teea Goans, by the way, is pronounced TEE-uh GO-uhnz.)
That’s Just Me fulfills every expectation that Goans’ first album inspired. Exquisitely balanced between new songs and old standards, That’s Just Me was produced by Terry Choate, the man who elevated The Time Jumpers from a wildly talented but playing-for-fun bar band to a multiple Grammy nominee.
Choate has presided as well over Goans’ musical blossoming. “In the last four or five years,” she says, “I’ve really broadened my spectrum of music without moving an inch away from country. One of the records that really changed how I look at things was Ray Charles’ [1962 album] Modern Sounds In Country & Western Music. When I heard that album, it made me realize that no matter how you interpret those songs, they’re still great songs. You can do them in any style you want, but the songs are there. They’re the foundation.”
Acting on that premise, Goans transforms on That’s Just Me four songs almost everyone knows: “Misty Blue,” a hit for Wilma Burgess, Eddy Arnold, Billie Jo Spears and pop singers Joe Simon and Dorothy Moore; “Nobody Wins,” the Kris Kristofferson tune immortalized by Brenda Lee and recorded by Kristofferson, Ray Price and Frank Sinatra, among many others; “I’ve Done Enough Dying Today,” a Top 10 weeper for Larry Gatlin in 1979; and “Over The Rainbow,” the theme of the 1939 film classic, The Wizard Of Oz, which Goans knew she had to record after witnessing the euphoric reaction of an audience of World War II veterans to her live performance of the song.
Equally exciting and wide-ranging are the new selections, chief among them “That’s Just Me Lovin’ You,” Goans’ high-spirited duet with Jamie Dailey of the prize-winning Dailey & Vincent bluegrass team. She imparts a cool, jazzy aura to “Love’s In The Here And Now” but plays “The World’s Biggest Fool” for all the laughs inherent in such a loser’s lament. The peppy “Pour A Little Love On It” and soulful “Overboard” find Goans in an advice-giving mode about the best ways to maintain a relationship.
Because of its ominous, brooding overtones, Goans calls “The Big Hurt” her “departure” song, one that’s saturated with apprehensions she doesn’t usually feel. But you’d never guess that, listening to her moan. “Loving Proof” bounces and soars like a gospel tune, with Goans “testifying” to the solidity of her love. “Loving You Makes Leaving Easy” was obviously gestated in a roadhouse jukebox and wrapped in a tear-stained handkerchief after delivery. It’s easily the “countriest” sounding tune in the whole package. “Wake Up Dancing” is guaranteed to make you weep—unless you’re missing a heart. In singing it, Goans draws deeply on childhood memories of visiting her great-grandfather in a nursing home and meeting an old dandy there named “Cowboy Jack.”
Goans grew up in rural Missouri near the Kansas border. “We listened to an AM radio station that played classic country music,” she recalls. “When I started to school in the 1980s, I didn’t even know who Michael Jackson and Madonna were.” Although she was singing in church by the time she was three, it wasn’t until she turned eight that she got her big break. That’s when the producers of the nearby Truman Lake Opry spotted her wowing a crowd in a talent contest. With her mother’s cautious approval, Goans became a full-fledged member of the Opry a year later. She continued to perform there every week until she was 17, frequently opening for such Grand Ole Opry stars as Bill Anderson, Little Jimmy Dickens and Grandpa Jones. In 2002, she crossed her fingers and moved to Nashville.
“It was so much fun picking songs for this new album,” Goans muses. “Some I would hear and immediately say, ‘This has got me written all over it.’ And then there were those I’d take home and listen to over and over because I knew there was something there for me. Songs will change and start to grow on you as you listen to them. And once you home in on a song, it’s yours.”
That’s Just Me is abundant proof of that proposition.
When it comes to the music of Cabinet, the essential bywords are soul, simplicity, and serious musicianship. In concert, the combination of these qualities invariably yields an experience that is so celebratory and moving that the very word Cabinet takes on a new, vivid meaning for anyone in the audience. An inclusive and engaging energy is the uniting through-line as Cabinet weaves bluegrass, country and folk influences to powerful effect. Tight dynamics punctuate gorgeous, soaring harmonies as down-to-earth rhythm and lyrics give way to dreamy jams that are the musical equivalent of the back road scenic route. But this impressive result is no accident. Pappy Biondo [banjo, vocals], J.P. Biondo [mandolin, vocals], Mickey Coviello [acoustic guitar, vocals], Dylan Skursky [electric bass, double bass], Todd Kopec [fiddle, vocals], and Jami Novak [drums, percussion], all love and live music. They each have a nuanced approach and posses broad talents in their own rights. But the passionate, affirming, and joyous musical world that they create together is Cabinet.
Cabinet is a band that has outgrown any “regional favorite” tag and has progressed to a broader fanbase, all while retaining their signature sound. Not only did the band put together their very own celebration of music and art this past spring with The Old Farmers Ball Music Festival in Scranton, PA but they have also played many great venues and festivals (including CMJ 11, SXSW 11 & 12, Musikfest 10 & 11, Floyd Fest ’12, Peach Music Festival ’12, Philadelphia Folk Festival ’12, Dark Star Jubilee ’13) across the land. You can expect to see them at All Good, Peach Fest, Sterling Stage String Fling, Bear’s Picnic and more this year. Cabinet has shared the stage with Yonder Mountain String Band, Allman Brothers, Pokey LaFarge, Yarn, Delta Rae, Zac Brown, Infamous String Dusters, Railroad Earth, Rusted Root, Hoots & Hellmouth, Blackberry Smoke, Hot Buttered Rum, Cornmeal, Dark Star Orchestra, Keller Williams, Hackensaw Boys, 7 Walkers, New Riders of the Purple Sage and many, many more.
The deep working class roots of singer/songwriter Don “Doop” Duprie echo throughout his music. Front man for the Detroit area alt-country/roots rock band Doop and the Inside Outlaws, Doop is a laid off firefighter born and raised in industrial River Rouge, Michigan. He teamed up with legendary Detroit producer Jim Diamond (White Stripes) to record his albums “Blood River,” “Everett Belcher” and now “What am I supposed to do?”
Doop’s songwriting has received national attention, having been hailed “hands down the best songwriter we (Detroit) now have to offer the American World” by Don Zelaznv (AmericanRoots.com).
The albums made the Top Ten List in Metro Times and AmericanRoots.com. “Everett Belcher” won the Detroit Music Award for “Outstanding County Recording” and was named “Album of the Day” by Country Music Pride’s podcast American Daily. Doop’s music has been featured on the American Public Media radio show “The Story,” the award-winning podcast Digivegas.com and the #1 Americana podcast, “Americana Root Roundtable” on NoDepression.com.
Doop has been named a 2012 Kresge Artist Fellow. The program recognizes Detroit area performing artists for their “creative vision and commitment to excellence.”