Western Centuries visit on Nine Volt Heart; We talk about new release, Songs From the Deluge, and local Parlor Room show 5/26

Ethan Lawton, Jim Miller and Cahalen Morrison visit prior to their local show on the “Songs From the Deluge” tour. This Seattle based honky-tonk outfit is a real throwback to the origins of country-western music with songs about drinking and hell raising. This latest release has expanded the songs to include discussions about VietNam veterans as well as drug addiction in their Pacific NorthWest home.

The band opened up last year’s Green River Festival and were a real treat. They feature songs from all three songwriters, Lawton, Morrison and Miller. Each have had previous success in their own endeavors; Jim Miller was one of the founders of NY based, Donna The Buffalo, Cahalen Morrison was in a critically acclaimed duo with Eli West. Ethan Lawton was the mandolin player in Zoe Muth’s excellent band, the Lost High Rollers.

These guys put the “western” back in country-western music. They avoid the currently trendy pop-country sounds instead preferring old school honky-tonk music with plenty of pedal steel and twang. This release was recorded in Eunice Louisiana with Joel Savoy producing as well as adding his cajun fiddle to the mix. Roddie Romero’s accordion thickens the swampy sound on many songs too.

Our conversation finds the three songwriters in a local watering hall while on tour. Admittedly, the sound is less than perfect but the laughter is genuine and the conversation diverse. Each member chooses a favorite tune from the new release. The songs included are Weight of the World, Earthly Justice, Far From Home, Borrow Time as well as Wild You Run.27971844_1636513776443002_5858604582155814142_n

Trevor Hall discusses his Spiritual Journey through song on Nine Volt Heart

Trevor Hall is a fascinating guy with a lot on his mind. Our conversation touches on his musical beginnings on Hilton Head Island S.C., his musical education in California, and his blossoming career. We talk about his decision to take a year long break from music for physical and spiritual rejuvenation. All during his journey, he has embraced the concepts of “music as spiritual practice”. These ideas manifest themselves through his roots folk reggae music. Give a listen to a few tunes from his most recent release, The Fruitful Darkness, as well as our diverse and intriguing conversation.32089777_10156525166093117_2006661364105347072_n

Peppermint Endurance Company pays tribute to the music of John Hartford; live in-studio performance

John Hartford died in 2001 but his unconventional approach to old time music and bluegrass lives on. Proof positive is this band of young players on hand in studio today. Lily Sexton on fiddle,John Benjamin on mandolin, Sean Davis on guitar and Gareth Buckley on bass make up the company. Max Wareham also adds the banjo to the mix but he couldn’t make this session. All of the Peppermint Endurance Company will be playing Brattleboro VT’s Stone Church on Saturday May 19th. The audio of this session includes live takes from Hartford’s career as well as recorded covers and originals. It was quite a treat to give this most original artist this extended spotlight. I hope you enjoy itIMG_2901

Caitlin Canty comes back to her New England Roots with a Parlor Room duo show.

IMG_2839IMG_2840Caitlin Canty is from the Central Vermont town of Proctor and spent her college years at Williams College. She spent her early musical years collaborating with the then Hadley-based band Darlingside. While a stint in NYC followed, the pull of Nashville and it’s music scene drew her southward. She still tours relentlessly as a solo act and now with Punch Brother Noam Pikelny (who produced her latest album, Motel Bouquet). I caught up with Caitlin prior to her Northeast Tour which showcases her latest release. We talked about her early musical experiences in Vermont, Western Massachusetts and NYC. Topics included her writing of the new songs on Motel Bouquet as well as her collaboration with Noam Pikelny as well as Stuart Duncan, Aiofe O’Donovan, Russ Pahl and others. The audio of our conversation follows:

Hawktail brings their new ensemble to Nine Volt Heart; An interview with Paul Kowert.

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Paul Kowert was about to get in the van to start another leg of the Dave Rawlings/Gillian Welch tour. He kindly gave me a few minutes of time to fill us in on the making of “Unless”, their latest release under the new moniker; Hawktail. The trio of Brittany Haas on fiddle, Jordan Tice on guitar and Paul Kowert on double bass has added mandolinist Dominick Leslie. Fellow Dave Rawlings mate, Willie Watson, coined the bands new name from the initial letters of their last names; Hawtail,they’ve become.

Paul Kowert is one of the most in-demand bass players in the acoustic music scene. He shares time with Hawktail, The Punch Brothers as well as part of the house band for Chris Thile’s post-Prairie Home Companion show. He studied bass at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia with Edgar Meyers among others. He joined the Punch Brothers as they established themselves as the premier string band in music today.

Our conversation covers the addition of Dominick Leslie’s mandolin to the band’s sound as well as the making (and remaking) of the songs on “Unless”. The audio includes tunes from the trio’s 2014 release “You Got This” as well as two tunes from the new release and even a tune from the Punch Brothers as well. I hope you enjoy it.

Mikey Sweet’s On Ramp to benefit Northampton Recovery Center.

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Local musician, Mikey Sweet, is hosting a benefit at the Parlor Room on April 13. All proceeds from the concert will go to Northampton’s Recovery Center. The show is called On Ramp and is billed as a night of stories and songs about addiction. Mikey welcomes long time Valley musician Peter Newland to share the stage for this event. The musicians are teaming up with Northampton Arts Council, WRSI, and Signature Sounds to help sponsor the benefit.

Northampton Recovery Center is a peer driven community organization fighting the Opiod crisis in the Pioneer Valley. The center is open to people who are directly affected by substance abuse including family and friends of those in recovery.

Mikey Sweet has brought his guitar with him to Nine Volt Heart studios at WXOJ.  The songs included in the show are “Truth Hurts” and “Crawling In” from his album, Road Dog Gospel. Mikey also sings two new two songs as well, “The Knife” and “Benny’s Song”. We begin the show with a song that he wrote while in recovery and has recorded for the On Ramp project called “On The In”. Here’s the audio of the segment:


Jonathan Edwards, 70’s hitmaker, visits Nine Volt Heart.

22687890_840685112772103_2625159710661050156_nJonathan Edwards has recorded 15 albums over his decades of music-making including 2015’s Tomorrow’s Child. His most well known songs may be from his 1971 debut but that has not defined his career which includes an Award Winning childrens album, music for films, acting in films and hosting his own PBS Series, America’s Waterways. Our conversation focuses on his arrival in Boston’s coffee house scene in 1967 and how his mega hit, “Sunshine” in 1971 changed his career trajectory. We also discuss his collaborations with Emmylou Harris and The Seldom Scene along the way. We talk about his upcoming DVD release of his live show at The Infinity Music Hall in Hartford as well as some of his songs from Tomorrow’s Child.

He brings his band to the Iron Horse on April 14, 2018. Expect a career spanning performance highlighted by his infectious upbeat personality honed over decades of performing his unique folk songs.