Chris Wadsworth, head of Freshgrass Foundation, fills us in on all things Freshgrass 2022!

.Chris Wadsworth is a busy guy. As a founding member of the Freshgrass Foundation, he has many ideas the Foundation is implementing for this years Festival and beyond. Chris described to us all the initiatives that the Freshgrass Foundation is involved with, including the addition of No Depression, a musical roots music quarterly; Folk Alley, a music streaming service with excellent podcasts and interview segments; the Steve Martin Banjo prize competition and much more. We start our conversation describing the process of adding a second music festival in Bentonville, Arkansas. Additionally, our topics include the Foundation’s work in commissioning new works from artists, also Freshscores, which is live music accompanying a silent film score. This year, the Foundation has commissioned three artists to perform Bluegrass Concertos including Jerry Douglas, Sierra Hull and Corner House. We talk about the concept of the House of Songs; a residency which commits to a cowriting experience debuted at the festival. I’m excited to see what this year’s participants come up with. Additionally, we discuss the Black Legacy Project another new initiative at the Festival appearing on Saturday in the Hunter Center.

Apart from this year’s festival we talk about a new venue initiative called Studio 9 in North Adams adjacent to the Porches; the Wadsworth family hotel project. This futuristic studio experience could result in memorable artist residencies using the cutting edge technology that studio provides. Finally, Chris and I chat about the impact hosting a music festival has on the environment. Chris talk about the Fresh Forest project which plants trees to help offset the carbon footprint of the festival. Sustainability is the focus for all vendors and hospitality involved with Freshgrass 2022 which happens THIS weekend, September 23-25 at North Adams, Mass MOCA.

Billy Keane joins NineVoltHeart to talk Freshgrass and Shea Theater shows this week!

My guest, Billy Keane, is a founding member of the Whiskey Treaty Road show and also has a solo album, “Too Much To Let It Go”, just released. Billy will be appearing at this year’s Freshgrass Festival on Friday September 23 as well as with the Treaty at Turner’s Falls Shea Theater on Saturday September 24th!

Our conversation begins with a comment about his prolific songwriting binges lately and the unlikelihood of “writer’s block” for him. We talk about his songwriting process and his source material. Both with the Treaty and for his solo work, there will be a flurry of new releases in store in 2022!

We chat about Billy’s upcoming “House of Songs” set at Freshgrass Sunday September 25. The concept is for a group of songwriters to live communally for a week and co-write brand new material to debut at this year’s festival. Expect a lively batch of new material from this year’s participants.

Throughout our segment we hear songs from Billy’s latest album, his Treaty material and new songs performed in studio! Included are “Close To The Edge” with The Treaty, “It OK to Lose Your Way” from “Too Much To Let Go”. The Treaty’s version of “What’s So Funny About Peace Love and Understanding”. House of Songs participant Lisa Bastoni sings a new song “Bring It On” live in-studio as well as Billy’s brand new song, “Don’t Let Go” live on NineVoltHeart.

Max Wareham discusses his new book, “Rudie Lyle; The Unsung Hero of the Five String Banjo”

Max Wareham has just released his first book, “Rudie Lyle; The Unsung Hero of the Five String Banjo”. As a touring musician, Max plays multiple instruments well but he’s focused on the banjo here. Specifically, the work of Lyle who was a member of Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys from 1949 until 1954. In the book, Max painstakingly transcribes all Rudie Lyles breaks from his entire catalog. He also interviews prominent banjo players about Lyles’ influence on the technique and style of bluegrass banjo.

Throughout the interview, we feature tunes from the Bluegrass Boys’ during Lyle’s tenure including “Rawhide”, “Bluegrass Ramble”, “On my Way to the Old Home Place” and “Brakeman’s Blues”. We begin the segment with Max’s earlier project, The Morning Bugle, with “Blue and Lonesome” and conclude the interview with a discussion of Max’s role in the recently released Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band album, “From My Mountain (Calling You)” listening to the title cut.

Max’s dedication to this project is undeniable. We hear about his tracking down Lyle’s sparse biographical information resulting in a meeting with Bobby Lyle; Rudie’s brother. This interview along with banjo greats like Bill Emerson and Sonny Osborne round out the story of this nearly forgotten player. Wareham even tracks down the actual long lost banjo from these historic sessions! Check out the chat and music with the link above.

The book, “Rudie Lyle; The Unsung Hero of the Five String Banjo”, can be ordered from MaxWareham.com

Nine Volt Heart pays Tribute to Kate Lorenz, local musician, teacher and VFR show host.

Kate Lorenz was first, for me, a friend. I imagine many folks felt the same way. Her easy smile and openness made her friends of many. We met at a gig for her band Rusty Belle in Amherst a dozen years or more ago. That meeting led to a friendship which renewed itself every time we connected over these may years. Kate became a programmer at our station, Valley Free Radio, spinning her favorite Classic Rock B-Sides on the Vinyl Countdown. I was honored to sit in on that program over the years when she needed to perform in her many bands or to see her beloved Bruce Springsteen in concert. It was during this time that Kate released her first solo album, “Sing When Lonely” and I convinced her to join me on my show for an in-studio chat and performance. This audio is pulled from that show. Kate sings three tunes live in-studio including the title cut, “Sing When Lonely”, “Slide Tackle into your Heart”, and “Yard Sale”. We also hear her singing with Chris Smither on his “Leave The Light On” from “Still on the Levee” along with her dedication of her song, “Dive Bar”.

It was a difficult segment for me to produce in light of her tragic early passing but listening to her laugh and her voice was proof that it captured her “sparkly” essence. I’ll always remember her last month when we saw each other at a music event. She was radiant at the outdoor show chasing after her three year old Pearl; both of them squealing with joy!! That’s how I’ll remember this jewel of a woman. I won’t be alone!

Caitlin Canty previews her new album and upcoming Green Mountain Bluegrass and Roots Festival 8/19-21

Caitlin Canty joined Nine Volt Heart to chat about her musical journey from Proctor Vermont to Nashville Tennessee. Along the way, she chronicles time at Williams College and New York City. Of course, we talk song writing and her album releases including a pending one with a stellar cast of Nashville A-Listers. The purpose of our chat is to preview her show scheduled for Saturday 8/20 as part of the Green Mountain Bluegrass and Roots Festival in Manchester Vermont. All of the Nashville “neighbors” that make up the core band will also be at Green Mountain including Brittany Haas (fiddler for Hawktail) Sarah Jarosz on mandolin, Andrew Marlin (Watchhouse), Noam Pikelny (banjo) and Chris Eldridge (guitar and producer) from Punch Brothers along with Paul Kowert (bass for Hawktail and Punch Brothers). I’m really looking forward to some of these special guests collaborating on Caitlin’s set!

We include songs from Caitlin’s career like “Get Up”, “Take Me For a Ride”, “Enough About Hard Times”, “Scattershot” and “Where Is the Heart of My Country”. Our chat covers lots of topics along the way including her collaborations with Darlingside, her work on the TV show “Live at the Lion’s Den” and the bands that populate her latest albums. Of course, we preview her upcoming set at Manchester Vermont’s Green Mountain Bluegrass and Roots Festival, August 19-21. Check out the entire schedule at greenmountainbluegrass.com

Kenny Roby, 6 String Drag founder, brings his solo show to Amherst’s The Drake 8/18.

Kenny Roby, founder of the alt-country band 6 String Drag, has just released an excellent self titled solo album. I was excited to chat with Kenny about his musical and personal path. We covered a lot of territory from his Clemson punk beginnings to the Raleigh NC musical scene which spawned Whiskeytown, The Backsliders, $2 Pistols and his 6 String Drag. Most of our conversation centers on his latest work including 2020 release, “The Reservoir” and his brand new album. Much of the conversation covers themes of addiction, mental health and personal growth; not the typical rock n roll subject matter. Kenny is honest about his own struggles and his song’s character’s flaws. We talk about the influence of the late Neal Casal who took his own life prior to finishing the production of Kenny’s “The Reservoir”. Our segment includes a tribute song to Neal called “Silver Moon” and a song recorded on “Highway Butterfly; A Tribute to Neal Casal called “Too Much To Ask”. We also listen to brand new songs “Leave It Behind”, “New Day” and “God-Sized Hole”

Kenny Roby is an intelligent and thoughtful guy. It shows in his songwriting and in his conversation. Or better yet, catch his live set on August 18th at Amherst’s newest musical venue, The Drake. Highly recommended.

Dan Tyminski joins NineVoltHeart to feature his Tony Rice tribute.

Dan Tyminski is a fourteen time Grammy winner, four time IBMA Male Vocalist of the Year, and despite all that; a humble and genuine guy. Starting with the Lonesome River Band, he was recruited by Alison Krauss to join Union Station in the early 90’s. Strings of hits and sold out venues followed as one of the most successful acts in all music regardless of genre. He’s been busy hitting the bluegrass festival circuit with a new album under the Dan Tyminski Band. He just released a tribute to Tony Rice called “One More Time Before You Go”.

We begin our discussion with some of his memories of his involvement in the Coen Brother’s film, “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?” Dan is the dubbed voice of actor George Clooney in this award-winning film and soundtrack. Our topics include his recently finished Dan Tyminski Band album, his time with Union Station, his “festival kid” beginnings and more.

Along the way we hear “Church Street Blues” with Molly Tuttle, Dan’s classic take on “Man of Constant Sorrow” from the film, Alison Krauss and Union Station’s “Choctaw Hayride”, Dan’s version of “Ten Degrees and Getting Colder” with Dailey and Vincent. We finish the segment with Union Station’s take on Peter Rowan’s “Dust Bowl Children” and his just released title cut from “One More Time Before You Go”.

It was a real pleasure talking with an artist who acknowledges his success while staying “real” and approachable. Give the audio a listen. It’s a nice glimpse into Dan’s approach to music and life.

The Slambovian Circus of Dreams bring their unique theatrical music to the Shea, 7/15.

Joziah Longo from the Slambovian Circus of Dreams joined me on NineVoltHeart to chat about their upcoming local show at TFMA’s Shea Theater on 7/15. We explored the band’s origins as The Ancestor’s in NYC in the late 90’s morphing into Gandalf Murphy and the Grand Slambovians in Sleepy Hollow NY. They have garnered a huge dedicated following from incessant touring including the Falconridge Folk Festival. The band’s music is hard to categorize (which is a good thing) but somewhere between “surreal americana” and “hillbilly pink floyd” might do. Not that genres matter to this theatrical eclectic ensemble. They have recently released “A Very Unusual Head” to prove that point. Expect a show that delights all the senses; most of the songs are accompanied by “projectors” for an immersive experience. A movie for the mind, indeed. They are acclaimed for their live shows. “More than a concert, an encounter”.

We open the segment with a pollinator anthem “Beez; I know Where the Bees Have Gone” and finish with the title cut, “A Very Unusual Head”. Catch this unique band before they head off to Europe for a twice delayed tour.

Graham Nash Just Wants to Make you Smile. A Nine Volt Heart interview

It was an honor to chat with Graham Nash this week on NineVoltHeart. He has a number of New England dates coming up including Hartford’s Infinity on 7/14, Great Barrington’s Mahaiwe Theater on 7/23 , Lowell’s Boarding House series on 8/4 in addition to sold out shows in Old Saybrook, Nantucket, and the Treehouse Brewery in South Deerfield. He’ll be doing a career retrospective from the Hollies catalog to songs written yesterday! Our conversation covers his upcoming tour, new album plans, his band for these shows and much more. We talk about his songwriting process, political and social commentary as fodder for songs, and his love of harmony singing. We also discuss his life-long love for photography culminating in “Life In Focus; the Photography of Graham Nash”.

Throughout we hear Graham’s amazing songs including “Simple Man”,”Fieldworker”,”Cathedral”,”Prison Song”,”Myself At Last”, “Military Madness”, “Find The Cost of Freedom” and more.

Here In the Valley curate their first RiverFolk Festival. July 11, White River Junction Vt

Tommy Crawford and Jakob Breitbach joined me on ValleyFreeRadio this morning to fill us in on all things River Folk! We heard about the venue, the planning, the food and beer, and the Music! We opened the show with Jakob’s Bee Charmer doing “Brown Bird” and finished with Tommy’s band The Lobbyist doing “Our Home”. We included Ida Mae Specker’s “Almost Lovers” and Western Terrestrials’ “Ethan Alien”.

Check out the audio for the details. Get your tickets at Here In The Valley.org