Crys Matthews brings her “Change Makers” to the Parlor Room, October 23.

Crys Matthews is an acclaimed social justice singer-songwriter who now makes their home in Nashville,Tn. Recently awarded best song by the International Folk Music Awards, yet the entire album is noteworthy for it’s message of hope and positivity in these divisive times. Our segment includes “Change Makers”, “Battle Hymn for an Army of Lovers”, For Women With Steel in Their Bones”, “How Many More”, “One and the Same” and the unreleased “Cancel Culture”.

Our discussion covers a lot of topics including Crys’ background in rural NC, her move to Nashville, her collaboration with other Social Justice singers, and more. She tells stories of her “coming out” in her religious home and small town. She relates her broadening education at App State in Boone NC as well as her poetry turning towards songwriting. We talk about her musical philosophy (life’s philosophy) of “Sing, Don’t Shout”; the concept of getting to people’s hearts directly through music. Crys tells us about ways to support her in her Patreon group, her Army of Lovers. We get an inside look at her AmericanaFest panel discussion on “Geneology and Story Telling” and much more.

Her local show comes to Northampton’s Parlor Room on Sunday October 23. Details at

Damn Tall Buildings bring their “raucous roots vibe to the Parlor Room 10/13

We caught up with the trio from Brooklyn during their hectic visit to the International Bluegrass Music Association conference in Raleigh, NC. We previewed a handful of tunes from the last two albums, “Don’t Look Down” and recent release, “Sleeping Dogs”. Give them a listen while we chat with the trio of Max, Sasha and Montana about a wide variety of topics including Freshgrass appearances, the IBMA showcases, songwriting for bandmates, co-writing issues, recent marriages and much more.! The Berklee trained trio started busking in Boston adding to their performance chops early on. The road beckoned after graduation and it was non-stop touring and album releases for nearly a decade. We talk about their pandemic circumstances and the genesis of the new release, “Sleeping Dogs”. The band has found it’s “authentic voice” with this release and their coming to town! Catch them at Northampton’s Parlor Room on October 13th.

Included in the segment is “Words To This Song” from “Don’t Look Down” as well as a handful of songs from “Sleeping Dogs” including “What A Nice Life”, “Cold Rain”, “Lemons” and “Podcast”.

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

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

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.

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.

Willi Carlisle decries “Life On the Fence: A NineVoltHeart interview

Willi Carlisle’s “Peculiar, Missouri” will be fully released in mid-July but we heard two of the three singles released on today’s show. We also talked about a myriad of things from punk to poetry, gay cowboy icons to masks and puppet theater. Along the way, we touched on pivotal events in Willi’s life including heading to the Ozarks to teach poetry, his discovery of square dancing, an intentional community called Meadowcreek, and we talked songwriting of course. Willi’s songs have stuck with me since I first heard him at 2021 Freshgrass Festival. His latest release confirms Willi’s claim that “folk music allows him to be as weird as wants to be” but listeners will hear the insanely clever turn of the phrase and imagery that remains long after the last note. We hear “Tulsa’s Last Magician” to open the segment and Willi dedicates the song to the many folks whose jobs and vocations are being phased out and replaced. “What the Rocks Don’t Know” from “To Tell You the Truth” is a spoken blues about many topics including Walmart, Conoco stations and “finding Jesus in a barbeque line”. The Ozarks that Willi has called home gets a reference in “Folk Art Masterpiece” and we finish with a dramatic personal song called “Life on the Fence”; a song about the difficulties of being a male bisexual in our culture. Willi Carlisle’s songs are personal yet universal; he just wants to love everybody. He’s a literate redneck with a heart. He always speaks his truth to anyone ready to listen. One of the most riveting and unique performers I’ve seen in many a year. Peculiar? Perhaps. But never Misery.

Emma Ayres puts in the “Hard Work” for their new CD. A Town Crier in-Studio premiere.

Perhaps you’ve encountered them with June and the Bee, Old Flame, Emma June or Ruby Mack; either way the creative crux is always Emma Ayres! One of our Valley’s most creative playwrights, actors, musicians and writers, Emma is a whirlwind of talent. Their latest release, “Hard Work”, made it’s premiere on WXOJ’s The Town Crier this week. The CD release party is at Easthampton’s Marigold Theater this Saturday night 6/18!

Our segment covers a lot of topics such as the recent Franklin County Pride event (that Emma performed at), their recent personal journey “coming out” as queer, the “hard work” of making a living as an artist in these times, and much more! Emma played two new tunes live in-studio; “Milktooth” and “Hungry Ghost”. We also featured songs from their previous band, Ruby Mack including “Jane”, “Odysseus” and “Breadwinner”. We also got a radio premiere of the title cut from the new CD, “Hard Work”.

The audio segment begins with Mary Gauthier’s “Mercy Now” and includes Cloudbelly’s “Whistling” as well. Cloudbelly will join Emme Ayres for the Marigold Theater show on Saturday 6/18.

Brandy Clark has a story to Tell on NineVoltHeart

Brandy Clark, a ten time Grammy nominated country singer, talks with me about the Art of the Story Song. We start (abruptly) with her answer to my question if writing that style of song is more satisfying and comes to her more naturally. Our topics include how autobiographical her songs tend to be or how fictional. Brandy Clark talks about her songwriting process and what techniques she uses to inspire her writing if she’s hit a block. She also shares a songwriting prompt which gets her in the right frame of mind; she imagines the “furniture in the room” which for her, is often a kitchen. Once she can set the scene and imagery that way, the characters walk in and out of that “room” in her song.

I asked Brandy Clark about the experience of “songwriting for others on the clock” for ten years before she began performing her own songs. This disciplined approach has helped her in establishing a routine and a structure to encourage her writing instead of “waiting for inspiration.” We finish the segment with Brandy’s commentary on Pride Month and the impact of being “out” for many years in the music business. She also talks about her mentoring in this area with others in the music scene.

We finish the segment with two songs one from her newest release, “Your Life is a Record”, which is a duet with Brandi Carlile called “Same Devil” and finish from her debut album “12 Stories” with a beautiful song called “Hold My Hand”.

Catch Brandy Clark, along with Valley duo High Tea, at Holyoke’s Race Street Live this coming Saturday 6/18!!