Bronwyn Keith-Hynes finds “Open Water” exhilarating.

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Bronwyn Keith Hynes is an award-winning bluegrass fiddler who plays in the progressive Boston-based outfit, Mile Twelve. She has relocated to Nashville and her new release,”Fiddlers Pastime” feels like a love letter to her new home.

The tune we open the segment with is called “Open Water” and is a ferocious mandolin-fiddle collaboration with Sierra Hull. The origin of this tune (the first written for this album) was Raleigh NC’s IBMA bluegrass conference when Bronwyn found a quiet corner of the conference (a difficult task). As she describes it ,”I think it captures something I love in bluegrass music which is that combination of haunting melody and rocket-like propulsion.”

While Sierra Hull came to mind when Bronwyn wrote this track, many young luminaries from Bronwyn’s era litter these tunes; from Sarah Jarosz to Chris Eldridge, Wes Corbett to Laura Orshaw.

Our conversation covers a lot of ground. We talk about her early lessons in Vermont and her continuation in Charlottesville Virgina. She dove deep into Irish fiddle for a time before discovering bluegrass while jamming with others who were studying at Boston’s Berklee school of Music. Off on scholarship to Berklee herself, she immersed herself in the acoustic music scene in Boston eventually forming Mile Twelve.

We talk about the difficulty of writing original material as opposed to concentrating on her fiddling. Bronwyn wrote four original tunes for “Fiddlers Pastime”. The segment includes a dynamic version of twin fiddling with Laura Orshaw on the Bill Monroe/Vassar Clement’s title cut.

Give the segment a listen and check out her website for more details, BronwynKeithHynes.com

 

For all of us, it’s “Been a Long Day in the Milky Way”; a conversation with Kris Delmhorst

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Kris Delmhorst is celebrating the release of her “Long Day in the Milky Way” album on 8/14. She was gracious to spend some time with me on Nine Volt Heart recently to talk about the writing and recording of this latest record. We talk about the song writers retreat where many of these songs were conceived as well as her “songwriter sorority” that Kris relied on for input. The segment includes “Wind’s Gonna Find a Way” from the new release as well as Kris’ cover of Rikkie Lee Jones’ “The Horses”. We added in a song from Jeffrey Foucault called “Pretty Hands” from his latest effort, “Blood Brothers”.

We discuss her band for this release and the recording process in Parsonsfield, Maine which she describes as “summer camp”- like in it’s approach. The topics also include her long time friend, producer and drummer, Billy Conway who also has released a new disc called “Outside Inside” on Crazy View Records.

Kris Delmhorst will be debuting these new songs at Black Birch Vineyards in Hatfield, Massachusetts on August 18th. For a sneak early peek, give this segment a listen.

Details can be found at KrisDelmhorst.com

 

Massachusetts Walking Tour duo finds the “Road May Rise”.

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Mark Mandeville and Raianne Richards have a load of charisma, talent and energy. They’ve released four albums; one live and three studio releases full of original earnest heartfelt folk songs. The latest album, Road May Rise, was just released this spring.

This Massachusetts-based duo have a unique method of touring this music; they walk.

The Massachusetts Walking Tour is a non profit they’ve created which puts on a series of free concerts in small towns all across the state. By their estimate in the ten years of these tours, they’ve walked through over 150 Massachusetts towns. They are very connected to this concept of promoting local art, poetry and music as they literally walk from gig to gig with everything they need to pull these shows off.

As many independent artists have experienced, 2020 has been a difficult one. The Walking Tour of the Mass based Appalachian Trail towns has been postponed to 2021,

I talk with Mark and Raianne about the concept of “community” and how this model fosters true local community spirit. As opposed to the “album release followed by extensive touring” model, this duo get to play in front of neighbors and friends at their local library, town common or cultural center. The musicians add local players to the bill when possible. Sounds like a pretty rewarding experience for all.

We also delve into the making of their latest release “Road May Rise” which concludes the segment.

Grain Thief runs hot on “Gasoline”.

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Boston-based stringband Grain Thief has many road stories after touring for each of their last two releases. Their third release, Gasoline, documents their experience on the road with songs like “Diesel Baby”, “Pedal Down” and “Gasoline”. The problem for this ambitious bunch is there’s no way to get this latest batch of songs in front of live fans.

My conversation with Patrick Mulroy (guitarist and vocalist) touches on the “new normal” for touring musicians. For a band accustomed to playing GreyFox, Podunk and Ossippee Bluegrass festivals, this summer has been difficult especially with a batch of songs they are rightly proud of.

The band consists of Patrick Mulroy along with Alex Barstow (fiddle), Tom Farrell (resonator guitar) Zach Meyer (mandolin) and Mike Harman (bass). They regularly played at Somerville’s The Burren every Wednesday but can’t rely on those gigs for awhile.

We get a nice dose of the band’s new release with the songs “Diesel Baby”, the title cut, “Gasoline” and “Tequila Baby”.

Stephen “Mojo” Mougin ain’t no “Ordinary Soul”.

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Stephen Mougin has done many things in the music business. He runs  a recording studio, he’s an in-demand sound engineer and producer. He’s a songwriter and guitarist but the role Mojo takes the most pride in; is “teacher”. He gained those skills and confidence while attending U Mass Amherst where he degreed in Music Education. Stephen was awarded an”IBMA Mentor of the Year Award” for his work in 2016.

Born and raised in South Ashfield Ma, Stephen experienced an early omen. While attending the Peaceful Valley bluegrass festival in 1988, he sat in on a workshop with none other than Bill Monroe! Bill showed an interest in this youngster and his mandolin, so much so that the “Bluegrass pioneer” used young Stephen’s mandolin for the entire workshop!

We talked about his early bluegrass band, Thunder Mountain Bluegrass Band and his move to Nashville, Tn.  Eventually, contacts got him a gig with the Sam Bush Band ,a role he’s “picked” since 2006. Our discussion ranges from his Dark Shadow Recording studio to his hope for a July 31 release party for his first solo album, “Ordinary Soul”.

Of course there is plenty of music in the segment with a healthy dose of the new disc. We include “New Beginning”, “A Place for a Fool” with the Gibson Brothers, “I’m Gonna Ride” with the Sam Bush Band. We add a new tune from Sam’s band called “On the Road”. The segment finishes with Dark Shadow artist, Becky Buller, nominated for an IBMA for her song, “The Barber’s Fiddle”. Two new songs from “Ordinary Soul” finish the segment including Stephen’s favorite on the disc, ” A Song That I Call Home” and “Railroad Man”.

Jake Blount unravels his “Spider Tales”.

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Jake Blount visited on Nine Volt Heart to discuss his recent release, “Spider Tales”. It was a fascinating discussion on race, activism as well as music’s role in educating the listener on topics sometimes difficult to broach in other situations. The material on “Spider Tales” is superbly researched and curated from centuries of old time music with a focus on the black and indigenous roots of the music. The songs have themes which unfortunately remain stubbornly relevant including oppression and resistance to power.

Our conversation touches on the role of traditional African American dance as well as this old time stringband music. I ask Jake about his research process and the excavation of these tunes and their selection appropriate to the theme of Anansi the Spider, whose fables are handed down from one generation to the next. In much the same way, these songs and tunes have been preserved and researched through Jake’s field research.

We talk about his top notch band for “Spider Tales” which include Tatiana Hargreaves on fiddle, Rachel Eddy on guitar, Hase Ciacco on bass, Nic Gareiss on dance/percussion. The Horseflies’ Judy Hyman and her husband Jeff Claus add their instrumental and production help.

Jake and most of his band are part of special online stream put together by “BluegrassPride” which will offer ten hours of live music dedicated to the cancelled San Francisco Pride Day. It is called “Porch Pride” and airs on 6/27 and 6/28 on bluegrasspride.net The event also features NineVolt favorites  Joe Troop from Che Apalache,Rachel Baiman and George Jackson, Front Country, Molly Tuttle, Sam Gleaves, Della Mae, and Amythyst Kiah.

Of course, the segment includes four of the tunes off Jake’s new release. We start the segment off with “Roustabout”, “Move, Daniel” and “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” and we finish the segment with the compellingly chilling “Mad Mama’s Blues”.

Saro Lynch -Thomason and Sam Gleaves discuss their new release of Si Kahn’s songs, “I Have Known Women”.

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The music of Si Kahn is well known. He has also worked for over 45 years as a civil rights, labor and community organizer. This background informs his songwriting for than 20 albums including the latest release by my guests, Saro Lynch Thomason and Sam Gleaves. The album, “I Have Known Women”, contains  thirteen songs by Si Kahn, many never before released.

Saro is a ballad singer, folklorist, illustrator, author and social activist from Asheville, NC. Her talent was noticed by Si Kahn was said,”During the course of my more than 50 years as a civil rights, labor and community organizer and musician in Appalachia and the South, I have had the privilege of working with and getting to know some truly amazing artists, activists, and scholars. As extraordinary as so many of them are, few are as impressive in all three areas as Saro Lynch-Thomason.”

Sam Gleaves was born and raised in Wytheville Va. where he began playing as a teenager. Rooted in appalachian traditional music, Sam’s songwriting adds stories about contemporary rural life and social justice issues. Sam’s “Ain’t We Brothers” 2015 release has long been a Nine Volt Heart favorite.

Our conversation covers the work of Si Kahn, the decision of what songs would be included and the decision to focus on the perspective of womens rights. The centennial of the 19th Amendment upon us gives these songs a topicality.

Our segment includes a number of songs from the new release including “Ten Thousand Miles Away”, “Conductor” and “No More No More”.

Sam’s music will be featured on the live stream called “Porch Pride” on 6/27 and 6/28 as part of the BluegrassPride Queer-Antine Festival as part of Bluegrass Pride.

Sam and Saro will be doing a live stream of this featured album on the Facebook Page of Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer on Wednesday 6/10.

Abe Loomis shares his “most productive” songwriting project.

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Abe Loomis is back in Conway Massachusetts during our national pandemic. But he’s making the most of his time with a new songwriting goal; a new song every week. Abe has created a “Patreon” platform to share this musical outpouring with his fans. Every Wednesday he posted a newly minted song on this crowd supported platform. On today’s Nine Volt Heart radio program, we listen to two brand new songs (“Last Bar on Earth” and”Don’t You Let Go”) a as well as songs from Abe’s 2017 release, “The Hoosac Line”(“Franklin County” and “Crow Crow”). The segment opens with “Refugees Are Welcome Here”, which Abe released as a single after “Hoosac Line’s” debut. The segment finishes with an in-studio performance along with Jim Henry of Abe’s ode to Conway, “Johnny Bean Brook”.

We talk about his Patreon project, his return from NYC, his song writing process and, of course, the songs. Listen in.

Nate Lee flies on the “Wings of a Jetliner”

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Nate Lee soars on the mandolin. His fingers take flight in every tune he plays. His latest effort, “Wings of a Jetliner” features an all star cast from Tennessee including members of the award winning Becky Buller Band, Wyatt Rice (Tony Rice Unit), Todd Phillips (Far too many collaborators to mention) and Bronwyn Keith-Hynes (from Mile Twelve). Produced by Dan Boner from the esteemed E.T.S.U music program, Nate Lee sings, plays fiddle, banjo and mandolin.

Our conversation covers some of his biographical information, his early influences, his teaching and practice regimen, as well as the tunes from this upcoming release.

The segment includes “Chinqaupin Hunting” from Nate’s first solo EP, the latest from Becky Buller, “The Barber’s Fiddle”, and the first single from Jetliner called “Love Medicine”. Our interview finishes with Nate introducing his latest single, “Serenity”.

 

Harrow Fair document the “Sins We Made”.

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The Toronto based duo, Harrow Fair, were my guests on Nine Volt Heart to help celebrate the release of their newest “Sins We Made”. Miranda Mulholland and Andrew Penner spent some time discussing the songs on this CD and their plans during quarantining. The segment covers some their biographical information (They’ve been part of Sunparlour Players, Great Lake Swimmers, and Belle Starr), their unique name (Ontario’s longest running agricultural fair), as well as the Folk Festival Miranda has served as Artistic Director for (Muskoka Music Fest). We also cover their collaborative songwriting style and their signature cocktail!

The segment includes five songs from their recent catalog; “Shiloh”, “Till the Levee Breaks”, “Sins We Made”, “Seat at the Table” and “Rules of Engagement”.