IBMA winner Justin Moses releases “Fall Like Rain” with Hall of Fame crew.

Bluegrass Today calls Justin Moses “something of a bluegrass superman, playing all the instruments and singing all the parts and having performed with a who’s who of contemporary bluegrass bands”. Justin is a repeat winner of the IBMA Resonator Guitar/Dobro Player of the Year. His stints in bluegrass bands is jaw dropping, starting with Blue Moon Rising, Dan Tyminski Band, Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, Blue Highway, and the Gibson Brothers! These bands allowed Justin, who plays a half dozen instruments, to play on the Grand Old Opry. He also played on Grammy award winning albums and got to play with some of his musical heroes along the way.

Justin’s new release “Fall Like Rain” showcases those musical heroes including Del McCoury, Dan Tyminski, Stuart Duncan, Bryan Sutton, Michael Cleveland, Jerry Douglas and Justin’s wife Sierra Hull! Our segment started with Shawn Lane from Blue Highway singing “Looking for a Place” and finishes with “Walking to Lebanon”; both from the new release. The disc is a diverse collection of instrumental burners like “Taxland” and “Locust Hill”. It also showcases songs written by Justin with some co-writing with Nashville’s best.

Our conversation touches on the new release, of course, but also topics as diverse as working with his wife Sierra Hull to baseball to Ken Burns’ “Country Music” series that Justin played in the house band. We talk about his future plans to tour as a duo with Sierra Hull and his resurrecting his dormant podcast “Cos Moses”.

Tekla Waterfield and Jeff Fielder share thoughts on these “Trouble In Times”.

Seattle based duo Tekla Waterfield and Jeff Fielder have released the perfect pandemic antidote with “Trouble in Time”. The songs were all written during our national “pause” and released this January. Overall, the songs describe the uncertainty and unsettling fear that we all felt. This universality allows everyone to relate to and understand the emotions of songs like “Better Days”, “Alright”, and the title cut “Trouble in Time”.

Our segment starts with the songs “Thief” and “Let There Be” from the new release. The tone of the entire album is mellow as a response to our surrounding chaos rather than echoing the political strife which so filled this past year. The songs do not avoid these issues however with examples of “No Justice, No Peace”, “Wrong Time State of Mind” and especially the title cut. “Trouble in Time” , in my mind, is an American Prayer and includes the lyrics, “remember unity, remember grace, leads us to a better place” followed by an indictment of our previous administration’s failings in these qualities. It’s a 2020 version of “Bridge over Troubled Water”.

Our conversation touches on the residency which allowed the duo to record on an idylic island in Puget Sound. The first song even includes some birdsong from the cabin window. We talk about the difficulty of writing topical songs which can transcend the specific time it was written. The fact that the entire world experienced these emotions and feelings help their universality. The tasteful touches of Jeff Fielder’s instrumental brushes are very effective throughout. Tekla’s vocals and lyrics are complemented perfectly in a quiet way yet bold flourishes abound. It’s a great marriage literally and figuratively.

“Trouble in Time” is a great example of fine music and art that has been inspired by our national dumpster fire that was 2020. Many artists have found creating in this past year difficult, I’m glad that circumstance is not universal. Tekla and Jeff have gloriously documented this past year resulting in a positive hopeful set of songs that will inspire other musicians to do the same.

Love Crumbs share their debut, Cavalcades, on Nine Volt Heart.

Massachusetts trio Love Crumbs have released their debut, Cavalcades, in January 2021. It has been added to playlists all over the world giving the band a nice blast of good reviews. Michael, Ali and Scott spent some time on Nine Volt Heart to discuss their musical path. The conversation centered on how the music “business” has changed over the years especially in today’s touring “pause”. We talked about their signing with the UK label, Animal Farm Records, and their approach to release singles over the next months.

The band’s sound is a nostalgic throwback to classic rock and a really bluesy belter that features the strong vocals of Ali McTavish. Her comparison’s to both Stevie Nicks and Janis Joplin gives you an insight to her versatility (even within this song). We listened to an acoustic duo tune called “All I Want” to open the show and we finish with “Cavalcades”. Watch for more music from this talented trio at love crumbs music on Facebook.

Wes Corbett, Nashville banjo phenom, talks about “Cascade” and Dinosaurs.

Wes Corbett is one of acoustic music’s most accomplished and melodic banjo pickers. Originally from Bainbridge Island Washington, he found his way east to Boston’s Berklee School of Music to teach in it’s recently minted Roots Music Program. He joined the string band Joy Kills Sorrow along the way while collaborating with this generation of all star players. He’s been part of many projects in acoustic music for a decade in New England. While he joined the roots exodus to Nashville two years ago, his presence is still strong due to his stints with Molly Tuttle and most recently, the Sam Bush Band!

Our segment begins with the first cut from his recently released album “Cascade” called “Boss Fight”. The conversation that follows is a mostly chronological inquiry about his influences, his peers and the amazing collaborations they’ve created. Topics include early piano lessons, meeting his future collaborators at an early age, and video game references. We talk Berklee School of Music heroes to Nashville tornadoes; producing some amazing young artists while learning all the Sam Bush songbook in a week. The final song we include is called “Dinosaur Party” where Wes confesses his continued fascination with Paleontology.

Give it a listen, or better yet, purchase a copy by this virtuosic band which includes Chris Eldridge, Sierra Hull, Paul Kowert, Alex Hargeaves, Casey Campbell and Simon Chrisman. “Cascade” is a great melodic listen and a long awaited entry into acoustic music history. Recommended.

The Green Sisters discuss “Blink of an Eye” on Nine Volt Heart.

The four siblings from Hubbardston Mass, The Green Sisters, have created original music ranging from bluegrass to folk to jazzy pop. They use traditional bluegrass instrumentation and the classic family sibling harmonies to create their own “genre-proof” sound. They’ve released their second album this past year called “Blink of an Eye”.

Our segment with two of the Sisters, Mel and Brie, begins with the title cut of this release. Our conversation covers their grandparents and their parent’s musicality as well as their early experiences singing together. Their Dad advertised a delivery of cordwood by his four singing daughters, possibly their first paying gig! An appearance at a wedding further confirmed their musical possibilities. In any case, all four sisters; Melody, Brianna, Betsy and Rebecca, play multiple instruments and all sing effortlessly together.

Their first album, “Endless Blue”, as well as the latest release, focus on original material. Each sibling writes individually which gives some diversity to both offerings. Most of the subject matter could be considered “rural country life” themed but in a modern way. Love songs and ballads are mixed with fiddle tunes and traditional songs. The easy laughter and jovial banter of our conversation mirrors the live show when each give good natured sisterly jabs at each other.

The segment ends with another original from “Blink of an Eye” called “Honeybabe” as well as “Here and Gone” from the debut release.

Wallace Field gazes into her “Crystal Mirror”.

The pandemic has derailed many a creative musical project, for Wallace Field, it redefined and focused hers. While she was unable to record her full length debut, her creativity required an outlet. This five song EP, “Crystal Mirror” was recorded this summer with the help of musician/producer Nate Mondshein. The songs were recorded at home and produced by Nate’s Echo Base Productions giving these songs an eerie and spacey vibe.

Our segment began with the premiere of the song, “The End”, from “Crystal Mirror” which will be released on January 15th. Wallacefieldmusic.com has details on purchasing the music. We talk about her musical influences like Weyes Blood, Aldous Harding, and Kate Bush. This eclectic batch of artists inform these songs throughout the EP. We talk in depth about the writing and inspiration around the songs, “Only Moon” and “Clare”. The former uses personal experience as a influence while the latter uses a fictional character from “The Time Travelers Wife” as a narrator. The segment finishes with the premiere of another song, “Love is Paradise (It All Depends)”

High Tea has had a “Hell of a Ride”

The duo, High Tea, consists of guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Isabella DeHerdt and percussionist and vocalist Isaac Eliot. They just released their debut collaboration called “Hell of a Ride”. Our segment features four songs from the new release. We began with “Homegrown” and “Heather” before the artists joined me on zoom. Our discussion covered a lot of biographical information including important touchstones in their musical journeys. Topics included discussion of the importance of Western Massachusetts’ Institute for Musical Arts’ Rock n Roll Camp for Young Women. Isabella formed her trio with Alouette Batteau and Amelia Chalfant called Kalliope Jones at IMA. Other touchstones included an earlier live show as a duo at Bishops Lounge in Northampton which encouraged these two young artists to work together. Our “great pause” in live performances this summer gave Isaac and Isabella time to work on the development of this batch of songs.

We got an update on both of these musicians educational experiences this past year and got caught up on their latest efforts which include another EP as High Tea as well as new Kalliope Jones material to be released this upcoming year. The band will do another livestream on Saturday 12/19 at 7:30 which will be Holiday-song themed. Check out their facebook page to see other events including a Hawks and Reed sponsored series called “Resonate Sessions” in which they appear.

Two additional songs from “Hell of a Ride” conclude our segment. We hear “Simpler Time” and “Silver Lining”. Give the segment a listen in the link above. These are two entertaining mature young musicians making the best out of the past difficult year with a release that will shift your focus to themes of nostalgia and a place called “home”; a welcome change of perspective and a necessary one.

Becky Buller; Master Collaborator in Bluegrass, visits Nine Volt Heart.

Becky Buller has too many awards to keep track of. It seems that every year she finds a hugely successful collaboration to work on. She has a knack for bringing like minds together often resulting in a new addition to her expanding award cabinet/room! The International Bluegrass Music Association has recognized her at least 10 times for her songwriting, singing and fiddling with her own band or for the collaborations with others.

The Becky Buller Band has just released her sixth album called “Distance and Time” that contains this year’s IBMA Collaborative Award winning “The Barber’s Fiddle”. The song showcases a bevy of singers including Laurie Lewis, Shawn Camp, Jason Carter, Kati Penn and Sam Bush. If that isn’t enough, the tune features 18 fiddlers!!! In the same year, Becky Buller cowrote, with two of the “First Ladies of Bluegrass”; Alison Brown and Missy Raines, a new song for Special Consensus’ “Chicago Barn Dance”. The magic touch again; Song of the Year!

Our segment begins with “Southern Flavor” which features (a theme here!) a collaboration from the first generation of bluegrass players from Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys.! We follow that with the Song of the Year, “Chicago Barn Dance”. Of course, Becky gives us all the details of these projects as well as her work with “The First Ladies of Bluegrass” including award-winning instrumentalists Missy Raines, Alison Brown, Sierra Hull, and Molly Tuttle!

Our chat covers Becky’s early music years in Minnesota with her parent’s band “Prairie Grass” to writing songs for other bluegrass artists to record. We discuss the benefits and pitfalls of co-writing dozens of songs with others; especially virtually. Lots of other topics from “lockdown” family binge TV watching to “Anne of Green Gables”. Give the segment a listen in the link above. We finish with Becky’s hopeful introduction to another song from “Distance and Time” called “More Heart, Less Attack”.

Whiskey Treaty Roadshow “Bands Together” despite the odds.

Whiskey Treaty Road Show was a spontaneous collaboration of five singer songwriters who came together independently to perform and ended up a “Band Together”. Billy Keane, Tory Hanna, Chris Merenda, Greg Daniel Smith and my guest, David Tanklefsky, make up The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow. All five have released as solo acts over the years (including another original member Abe Loomis) but none expected a onetime festival would morph into a full time commitment. A couple of EP’s and a live album led to this latest release which found the band facing some serious obstacles. Their crowdfunding source, Pledge Music, folded in mid stream leaving the band short of thousands of dollars of fan contributions. A major label that showed interest pulled out as well. Undeterred, these five musicians were persistent in their collaborative vision. They recorded in Dalton Ma’s Stationery Factory with Johnny Irion at the helm as producer.

Our conversation fills in the gaps in the band’s trajectory leading up to a successful release in early 2020 including rave reviews in Rolling Stone and No Depression music magazines. A set recorded at NYC’s Paste studio garnered thousands of streams. A “Rock Boat” expedition added to the band’s Western Mass legions of fans. Things appeared positive with a national tour planned. Then, we hit “pause” in our live music scene.

This development has been difficult for all independent musicians and David shrugs it off as “just another Whiskey Treaty standard operating procedure”. The band has done some limited touring locally and some livestreams but they all look forward (as do I) to getting these songs out to a listening public. The disc contains ten songs ranging from rock to folk; from anthems of social justice to love songs. Highly recommended listening.

Our segment starts with Billy Keane’s tribute to the Women’s March with “Hey Lady” and ends with David Tanklefsky’s penned “Reasons”.

Raye Zaragoza spotlight’s “Women In Color” on Nine Volt Heart.

Raye Zaragoza’s “Women in Color” has just been released and has rocketed to the top of the Folk charts. For good reason, her songs are passionate pleas for social justice; timely and artistic. After gaining fame from her song “In the River” concerning the Standing Rock protest against the Dakota Access pipeline, Raye has toured nationally in support of her independently released “Fight For You”. This past year, she added Grammy-winning producer Tucker Martine to her team to guide the latest release, “Women in Color”. The songs range from topical issues such as immigration, womens and indigenous rights.

We talk about Rayes’ unique background as part Japanese American; part Mexican and Native American. This intersection of immigrants gives her a perspective on what the “American Dream” means for her folks. Other topics include the experience of recording with a “dream team” in Portland, Oregon. The “patreon” experience has helped independent artists like Raye continue to create in these times without touring these songs live.

Our segment begins with “In The River” and finishes with “Run With the Wolves”.