This week on Music City Roots, we return to new shows with our Jan. 8 edition featuring one of the top bluegrass bands in the nation. The Steep Canyon Rangers close. The Westbound Rangers open. In between it’s songwriter Ben Sollee, Boston band Joy Kills Sorrow and Nashville’s Ashley Monroe, fresh off her sweep of the country top ten lists for 2013.
About the artists:

The Steep Canyon Rangers are an American bluegrass band from BrevardNorth Carolina.

In 2013 their album Nobody Knows You won a Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album. The previous year, their 2012 collaboration with Steve Martin, Rare Bird Alert, was nominated for the same award.

The International Bluegrass Music Association awarded Martin and SCR Entertainer of the Year in 2011.

In 2008, the band received a nomination from International Bluegrass Music Association for “Album and Gospel Performance of the Year”.

The band were featured performers on the June 27, 2009 broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion, with the addition of Steve Martinon the banjo.

It was announced on June 13, 2011 that the Steep Canyon Rangers signed with Rounder Records, with SCR’s lead singer Woody Platt saying the Rangers “are honored to join Rounder Records and be a part of such a rich musical history.”

The quintet features:

  • Woody Platt — guitar, lead vocals
  • Graham Sharp — banjo, harmony vocals
  • Mike Guggino — mandolin, harmony vocals
  • Charles R. Humphrey III — bass, harmony vocals
  • Nicky Sanders — fiddle, harmony vocals

************

The Westbound Rangers are no longer the college kids who honed their skills opening for local indie-rock bands; now they’retouring veterans and favorites on the festival circuit, where they’ve built an enthusiastic, rapidly growing fan base. Though their
album may be titled Gone for Way Too Long, it’s clear that this band has serious staying power.

************

Ben Sollee (b. November 28, 1983) is an American cellist, singer-songwriter, and composer known for his innovative playing style, genre-bending songwriting, electrifying performances, political activism, and wide appeal. His music incorporates banjo, guitar, and mandolin along with percussion and unusual cello techniques to create a unique sound. His songs exhibit a mix of folk, bluegrass, jazz, and R&B elements. Sollee has also composed longer instrumental pieces for dance ensembles.

************

Joy Kills Sorrow has always had a knack for writing and performing intimate songs. Now the Boston-based string band is emphasizing their epic side, too, on Wide Awake, a new EP out June 4 on Signature Sounds. The seven-song collection serves as a milepost in the blossoming career of a group the Los Angeles Daily News praised as “virtuoso art folkies who understand the value of being just folks.”

“It’s a statement about where the band is now and where we’re heading,” guitarist Matthew Arcara says. “With this record, we’re concentrating on getting a fuller, bigger, more powerful sound from the band. We want the epic sound of an indie-rock band plugged in, but on acoustic instruments.”

Wide Awake features six riveting new original songs that showcase singer Emma Beaton’s soulful, enveloping voice on lush acoustic arrangements fleshed out by Arcara on guitar, Wes Corbett on banjo, Jacob Jolliff on mandolin and Zoe Guigueno on bass. The EP also includes a cover of the Postal Service’s 2003 electro-pop single “Such Great Heights,” which Joy Kills Sorrow has been performing in concert for a while after learning the song during a residency at the Lizard Lounge in Boston.

“It’s a tune that people recognize and it gives them a lens to see Joy Kills Sorrow through,” Arcara says. “We’ve always been interested in this idea of how to play non-traditional music in a traditional string-band setting. ‘Such Great Heights’ gave us an opportunity to say, OK, how can we take this mostly electronic recording and spread the bits and pieces around to the different instruments?”

The EP, which follows the full-length albums Darkness Sure Becomes This City in 2010 andThis Unknown Science in 2011, is also a chance to introduce listeners to Guigueno, who joined the band last fall.

“She’s a really strong, dynamic bass player and a really strong singer,” Arcara says. “She helps unify the band’s drive and pulse, and we’ve really been able to tighten up and fatten up the groove.”

Joy Kills Sorrow will show off that fattened groove in concert when the band goes on tour starting in May and continuing through mid-August, before the group gets to work on their third full-length LP. Which is not to say that Wide Awake doesn’t stand fully on its own.

“There’s no filler, no down spots,” Arcara says. “These are just tunes we feel really good about and wanted to put out to the world.”

Joy Kills Sorrow formed in 2005, bringing together virtuoso musicians who share a love of American roots music. Beaton, who studied cello at Berklee College of Music, won“Young Performer of the Year” at the Canadian Folk Music Awards in 2008. Arcara took first place in the National Flat Pick Guitar contest at the Walnut Valley Festival in 2006. Jolliff, who was Berklee’s first full-scholarship mandolin student, won first place in the National Mandolin Championship in 2012 at the Walnut Valley Festival. Corbett teaches banjo at Berklee College of Music. Guigueno, a British Columbia native, graduated with the President’s Award for the Creative and Performing Arts from Canada’s prestigious Humber College in Toronto, where she studied jazz bass. She recorded and toured for years throughout Canada and Europe with acclaimed Canadian bands Fish & BirdCrooked Brothers and Bull Kelp before joining Joy Kills Sorrow.

Together, the band members are beginning a new chapter for Joy Kills Sorrow as part of a story that continues to unfold. “It’s a little bit of a new direction for us,” Arcara says. “We’re excited about where it’s going.”

************

Ashley Monroe (born September 10, 1986, Knoxville, Tennessee, United States) is an American country music singer-songwriter. She has released two solo singles on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. The singles “Satisfied” and “I Don’t Want To” (which featured Brooks & Dunn singer Ronnie Dunn) reached No. 43 and No. 37, respectively. Both singles were intended to be released on Monroe’s debut album, Satisfied, in 2007, but the album went unreleased. Soon after, Monroe left Columbia Records‘ roster in late 2007, and Satisfied was finally released on May 19, 2009. In June 2011, Monroe, Miranda Lambert and Angeleena Presley formed a band called Pistol Annies. Monroe’s second studio album, Like a Rose, was released on March 5, 2013 and received widespread critical acclaim.

ON Music City Roots – Live From the Loveless Cafe | January 25, 2014 | 7:00 am

The Steep Canyon Rangers, The Westbound Rangers, and more!

http://www.kkfi.org/wp-content/uploads/SteepCanyon-wpcf_250x100.jpg
This week on Music City Roots, we return to new shows with our Jan. 8 edition featuring one of the top bluegrass bands in the nation. The Steep Canyon Rangers close. The Westbound Rangers open. In between it’s songwriter Ben Sollee, Boston band Joy Kills Sorrow and Nashville’s Ashley Monroe, fresh off her sweep of the country top ten lists for 2013.
About the artists:

The Steep Canyon Rangers are an American bluegrass band from BrevardNorth Carolina.

In 2013 their album Nobody Knows You won a Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album. The previous year, their 2012 collaboration with Steve Martin, Rare Bird Alert, was nominated for the same award.

The International Bluegrass Music Association awarded Martin and SCR Entertainer of the Year in 2011.

In 2008, the band received a nomination from International Bluegrass Music Association for “Album and Gospel Performance of the Year”.

The band were featured performers on the June 27, 2009 broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion, with the addition of Steve Martinon the banjo.

It was announced on June 13, 2011 that the Steep Canyon Rangers signed with Rounder Records, with SCR’s lead singer Woody Platt saying the Rangers “are honored to join Rounder Records and be a part of such a rich musical history.”

The quintet features:

  • Woody Platt — guitar, lead vocals
  • Graham Sharp — banjo, harmony vocals
  • Mike Guggino — mandolin, harmony vocals
  • Charles R. Humphrey III — bass, harmony vocals
  • Nicky Sanders — fiddle, harmony vocals

************

The Westbound Rangers are no longer the college kids who honed their skills opening for local indie-rock bands; now they’retouring veterans and favorites on the festival circuit, where they’ve built an enthusiastic, rapidly growing fan base. Though their
album may be titled Gone for Way Too Long, it’s clear that this band has serious staying power.

************

Ben Sollee (b. November 28, 1983) is an American cellist, singer-songwriter, and composer known for his innovative playing style, genre-bending songwriting, electrifying performances, political activism, and wide appeal. His music incorporates banjo, guitar, and mandolin along with percussion and unusual cello techniques to create a unique sound. His songs exhibit a mix of folk, bluegrass, jazz, and R&B elements. Sollee has also composed longer instrumental pieces for dance ensembles.

************

Joy Kills Sorrow has always had a knack for writing and performing intimate songs. Now the Boston-based string band is emphasizing their epic side, too, on Wide Awake, a new EP out June 4 on Signature Sounds. The seven-song collection serves as a milepost in the blossoming career of a group the Los Angeles Daily News praised as “virtuoso art folkies who understand the value of being just folks.”

“It’s a statement about where the band is now and where we’re heading,” guitarist Matthew Arcara says. “With this record, we’re concentrating on getting a fuller, bigger, more powerful sound from the band. We want the epic sound of an indie-rock band plugged in, but on acoustic instruments.”

Wide Awake features six riveting new original songs that showcase singer Emma Beaton’s soulful, enveloping voice on lush acoustic arrangements fleshed out by Arcara on guitar, Wes Corbett on banjo, Jacob Jolliff on mandolin and Zoe Guigueno on bass. The EP also includes a cover of the Postal Service’s 2003 electro-pop single “Such Great Heights,” which Joy Kills Sorrow has been performing in concert for a while after learning the song during a residency at the Lizard Lounge in Boston.

“It’s a tune that people recognize and it gives them a lens to see Joy Kills Sorrow through,” Arcara says. “We’ve always been interested in this idea of how to play non-traditional music in a traditional string-band setting. ‘Such Great Heights’ gave us an opportunity to say, OK, how can we take this mostly electronic recording and spread the bits and pieces around to the different instruments?”

The EP, which follows the full-length albums Darkness Sure Becomes This City in 2010 andThis Unknown Science in 2011, is also a chance to introduce listeners to Guigueno, who joined the band last fall.

“She’s a really strong, dynamic bass player and a really strong singer,” Arcara says. “She helps unify the band’s drive and pulse, and we’ve really been able to tighten up and fatten up the groove.”

Joy Kills Sorrow will show off that fattened groove in concert when the band goes on tour starting in May and continuing through mid-August, before the group gets to work on their third full-length LP. Which is not to say that Wide Awake doesn’t stand fully on its own.

“There’s no filler, no down spots,” Arcara says. “These are just tunes we feel really good about and wanted to put out to the world.”

Joy Kills Sorrow formed in 2005, bringing together virtuoso musicians who share a love of American roots music. Beaton, who studied cello at Berklee College of Music, won“Young Performer of the Year” at the Canadian Folk Music Awards in 2008. Arcara took first place in the National Flat Pick Guitar contest at the Walnut Valley Festival in 2006. Jolliff, who was Berklee’s first full-scholarship mandolin student, won first place in the National Mandolin Championship in 2012 at the Walnut Valley Festival. Corbett teaches banjo at Berklee College of Music. Guigueno, a British Columbia native, graduated with the President’s Award for the Creative and Performing Arts from Canada’s prestigious Humber College in Toronto, where she studied jazz bass. She recorded and toured for years throughout Canada and Europe with acclaimed Canadian bands Fish & BirdCrooked Brothers and Bull Kelp before joining Joy Kills Sorrow.

Together, the band members are beginning a new chapter for Joy Kills Sorrow as part of a story that continues to unfold. “It’s a little bit of a new direction for us,” Arcara says. “We’re excited about where it’s going.”

************

Ashley Monroe (born September 10, 1986, Knoxville, Tennessee, United States) is an American country music singer-songwriter. She has released two solo singles on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. The singles “Satisfied” and “I Don’t Want To” (which featured Brooks & Dunn singer Ronnie Dunn) reached No. 43 and No. 37, respectively. Both singles were intended to be released on Monroe’s debut album, Satisfied, in 2007, but the album went unreleased. Soon after, Monroe left Columbia Records‘ roster in late 2007, and Satisfied was finally released on May 19, 2009. In June 2011, Monroe, Miranda Lambert and Angeleena Presley formed a band called Pistol Annies. Monroe’s second studio album, Like a Rose, was released on March 5, 2013 and received widespread critical acclaim.

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