Song of the Mountains
Like the mountains it canvases, Song of the Mountains maintain a majestic presence.
Take Saturday night’s lineup. Bluegrass’ Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver headline Song of the Mountains. Slated to stage at the Lincoln Theatre in Marion, Virginia, on Oct. 7, Lawson leads in hall of fame fashion. Southwest Virginia’s Robert Lester, and the pop of J4 — formerly of Bluff City, fill an eclectic bill.
Lawson leads. On the strength of new album “Life is a Story,” the Bristol, Tennessee, resident displays a youthful vigor that’s as bright as his florid boots. Though his career stretches back more than 50 years to interlock with the likes of Jimmy Martin and J.D. Crowe, Lawson projects a hunger that growls through his melodies. He could take it easy, but he won’t. He could coast, but he’d rather rumble. He could go cold, but Lawson’s music is simply too hot for that.
If You Go
» What: Song of the Mountains
» Who: Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Robert Lester, and J4
» When: Saturday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m.
» Where: Lincoln Theatre, 117 E. Main St., Marion, Va.
» Admission: $25
» Info: 276-783-6092
» Web, audio and video: http://doylelawson.com/
Shake to the swaggering sound of Bristol’s Virginia Ground.
Amid a monumental year for the band, Virginia Ground celebrate the release of their new album on Saturday, Oct. 7. Check them out at Wolf Hills Brewing Co. in Abingdon. Fellow local luminaries, Fritz & Co., will open the show with a set of Tennessee-fried rock.
Virginia Ground hangs its multi-hued style on Jamen Denton’s kaleidoscope of songs. A freewheeling band whose tunes venture all over the musical map, they embrace a jam band feel as filtered through a Southern lens. Horns and harmonica’s, as on a lively “Uptown, Downtown,” often spar among the band’s lineup of knockout punches. Fresh from a winning weekend at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion the recently reformed band grounds itself to the left, to the right, and right down the middle of a spirited musical highway. Just listen to them roll.
If You Go
» Who: Virginia Ground and Fritz & Co.
» When: Oct. 7, 6 p.m.
» Where: Wolf Hills Brewing Co., 350 Park St., Abingdon
» Info: 276-451-5470
» Web, audio and video: www.facebook.com/virginiagroundband/
This Mountain with Amythst Kiah
Catch. Her. Now.
East Tennessee pride Amythyst Kiah steps into the rock realm with This Mountain on Thursday, Oct. 12 at Johnson City’s Willow Tree Coffeehouse and Music Room. See her in an intimate and local setting while you can.
Kiah’s a comet and her time to fly is now.
Imagine a Southern-belting Dinah Washington, graced with a twang and a tear in her voice. Applied to rock, folk, blues, old-time — and whatever the heck else she wants to tackle, that’s Kiah’s voice. America is listening. She recently toured with Grammy-winner Rhiannon Giddens. She performed with the Indigo Girls. Meanwhile, that brilliant gift of a lifetime voice remains here. She’s no myth. Kiah’s about to conquer more than just her own backyard.
If You Go
» Who: Amythyst Kiah with This Mountain
» When: Oct. 12, 8 p.m.
» Where: Willow Tree Coffeehouse and Music Room, 216 E. Main St., Johnson City
» Info: 423-631-0600
» Web, audio and video: http://amythystkiah.com/
As they do each year in the aftermath of the year’s festival, several days ago Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion posed a question on Facebook.
“Who do you want to see next year?” the post said.
Being that they asked, here goes. In no particular order, none of these artists have ever appeared at Rhythm & Roots. How about installing Bill Anderson atop the list? The Country Music Hall of Fame member has expressed a desire to appear in Bristol and at the festival. He’s written (1958’s “City Lights” for Ray Price, 2004’s “Whiskey Lullaby” for Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss, etc.) and recorded (1963’s “Still,” 1966’s “I Get the Fever,” etc.) dozens of hits since.
Consider rock’s Band of Heathens. Take a listen to throwback rockers The Record Company. Check out Devon Allman, a son of the late Gregg Allman. Oklahoma’s Turnpike Troubadours warrant consideration as do the North Mississippi Allstars.
How about Chris Hillman? The longtime country-rock fence-straddling Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member of The Byrds recently released a stellar new album, the Tom Petty-produced “Bidin’ My Time.”
Want country? Then look into Gary Allan. Since the 1990s, few in the genre have maintained as high a level of quality and music integrity as Allan. Spin his poignant 2003 duet with Willie Nelson, “A Showman’s Life,” for ample evidence. Likewise David Ball. He’s a nod to country’s honky-tonk of yore, a three chords and the truth kind of guy. Summon 1996’s “Hangin’ In and Hangin’ On” and thank me later.
Turn to Texas. Country stalwart Jake Hooker doesn’t sell in the millions but sure sings like a mint. Play 2009’s “Bury the Bottle With Me.” Go ahead, and just try to stop listening. While in the Lone Star State, lend a long ear to Justin Trevino. He sings in the country shuffling style of early Ray Price and Johnny Bush. Country? No one alive is as hardcore country as Justin Trevino.
If in search of the blues, then Mississippi’s Christone “Kingfish” Ingram earns distinct consideration. He’s a teenager. Despite youth his sound infuses the rawness of the Delta, a mature nod to Muddy Waters, a dose of Elmore James’ flair and Buddy Guy’s explosiveness. Look up the term ‘hit of the festival,’ and Kingfish awaits to be exactly that.
There’s more — country Charley Pride (voice well intact, sharp as always), barrelhouse heartland rocker Mary Cutrufello (imagine a female Bruce Springsteen), bluegrass’ Larry Stephenson, country firebrand’s Kasey Musgraves or perhaps Brandy Clark.
Free MP3 Downloads
Online retailer Amazon helms this week’s free MP3 downloads. Visit https://www.amazon.com/Free-Songs-Music/b?node=334897011 to find 50 songs currently available for free. They include rock’s Foo Fighters and their EP “Saint Cecilia,” bluegrass’ Balsam Range, folk-rocker Carole King, and rock’s Blondie.