From the hills of Appalachia to the urban church pews of the East, North, South, and West…we’ve got camp meeting celebrations, old time religion, with biblical strains where voices raised above the fray brought solace to the masses. And speaking of voices, tune in for some of the very best gospel spanning bluegrass, tradition, soul, and black gospel from heaven’s radio. The Davis Sisters, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Aretha, The Blue Sky Boys, and Ralph Stanley are on the docket alongside The Carter Family, John Fogerty and Willie and Bobbie Nelson. Some brand new Americana surfaces to keep the kettle warm in the kitchen…Friday mornings with a dash of Billy Sunday’s crowd gatherings. It’s a Sunday meeting on a Friday morning here on Sonoma County Community Radio.
Songs that were personal. Vignettes about the real world. A study in memories but on a deeper level where one wrestles the blood out of the words; and his were usually the simplest of words. Economy of words means a broader vision. That’s what I think of when I think of Guy Clark’s songs. From his sprawling narratives to the trapdoors he leaves you when he’s finished, his music was a little slice of melodic nuance laced with words that mattered. Every one. This week’s show won’t beat around the bush; we’ll just put them out there to reflect on and give a little bit of thanks that we have them. We’ll hear from Emmylou Harris, Jerry Jeff Walker, Steve Earle, Vince Gill, and a few nuggets from Guy himself.
The home page of the Western Swing Society describes western swing as “a division of the American phenomenon known as jazz [fusing] elements of musical roots…including blues, Dixieland, ragtime, big band, country, pop, and breakdowns.” That kind of explains why we revisit this genre so often here on Deeper Roots. What it has most in common with jazz is the use of improvisation; what it does try to do is to take things one step further: make it dance-able. The foot-tapping rhythm and the encouragement of participation drew audiences far and wide from the north, south, east and west. This week show meanders through some fun sounds including tracks Hank Penny, Milton Brown, Ocie Stockard, and (of course) Bob Wills. We’ll have some tribute songs and old standards for you on Sonoma County community radio.
Well, it’s about time. For being one of the premier blues women of the 20th century, we’ve been remiss in our coverage here on Deeper Roots. You can, however, check out our blog post Memphis Minnie on the Ice Box to prepare you for the music we’ve got for you this coming Friday. Not only will we share some classic tunes from Minnie and Kansas City Joe McCoy but we’ll be pairing much of them with contemporary covers including some special ones: the Alabama Shakes, Maria Muldaur, Precious Bryant, and Eilen Jewell (just to name a few). The article mentioned above is a well worn first hand observation of a Memphis Minnie performance published in the Chicago Defender in 1942, written by Langston Hughes. We’ve got enough to fill the room…and the airwaves, this coming Friday morning so here’s hoping you can drop in.
We’ll be serenading you with some island melodies, country tunes, and rock, all featuring the steel guitar, an instrument whose origins take us back to the late 19th and early 20th century invention by native Joseph Kekuku. The music this Friday features some early Hawaiian popular influences including Sol Ho’opi, Hoot Gibson, and King Nawah’s Hawaiians. The focus moves to mid-to late century greats featuring Pete Drake, Buddy Emmons, Buster Martin and Speedy West. The popularity of the ‘island sound’ in the early century brought us the sound of steel across many genres, including gospel, folk, blues, and country. Spend a couple of hours on an August morning in Sonoma County taking a journey from Hawaii to Forth Worth.
Deeper Roots will be filling in for Steady Eddie’s show this week while Eddie takes a well-deserved vacation. And Dave Stroud is jumping into those two hours with a nostalgic mix of Stephen Foster, western campfire trail songs, and silver screen sendups of life on the trail. Join the fun with some classic Bob Wills, Marty Robbins, Jimmie Driftwood, and John Hartford as we listen to those crickets callin’ and those coyotes makin’ their wail. Listening to the music as the wind is strummin’ a sagebrush guitar. A hundred years of America’s music on Sonoma County Community Radio on Deeper Roots.
We revisit the blues with some pairings of old and new. Join Dave Stroud for a selection of classic delta, Chicago, and folk blues from the likes of Robert Wilkins, Elmore James, Magic Slim, and Bukka White. The original classics pair up with updated versions from contemporaries like Sonny Landreth, Jeff Beck, The Allman Brothers, and Rory Block. Blues is the big muddy and the the tributaries flow through vast expanses of cleansing and clarifying. But, unlike those wide rivers like the Mississippi, the tributaries explode into new, deeper channels in the heart of the American landscape.
Free form provides our weekly exploration a wider berth in which to stretch our wings. And that’s precisely why I take a free form journey every week or so on Deeper Roots. This week we’ll be featuring at least two tracks from the great Ella Mae Morse, some R&B and Doo Wop from The Cardinals and Ruth Brown, a rare track you may never hear elsewhere featuring the late, great Dr. John, and selected tracks from John Prine, Nat King Cole, The Orlons, and a golden classic country favorite from George Jones. We’re just scratching the surface as we sail through two hours of gospel, tradition, pop, rock, country, bluegrass (inhale), blues, and jazz. Don’t miss this week’s Friday stroll on Sonoma County Community Radio.
“The only thing that interests me is history – reviewing the past and making something out of it”. A man after our own heart here at Deeper Roots, shining bright like that old harvest moon. We lost Leon this past week and his family lovingly announced his passing with the following prose deserving of the mysterious Mr. Redbone: “It is with heavy hearts we announce that early this morning, May 30th 2019, Leon Redbone crossed the delta for that beautiful shore at the age of 127. He departed our world with his guitar, his trusty companion Rover, and a simple tip of his hat. He’s interested to see what Blind Blake, Emmett, and Jelly Roll have been up to in his absence.” We’ll take some time to honor the music that so inspired this delightful entertainer who elevated the blues, early century pop, and country into a form that extracted the joy of life and bottled like fine wine over the past 40 years. We’ll even reach into the Redbone bins for a handful of delightful covers. A simple tip of our hat to Leon as he crosses to the other shore…
Another gospel celebration, this time with a mix of country, bluegrass, classic black gospel, and a very special blending from the annals of rock n’ roll. We’re calling this roots celebration “Gospel Cross-Currents” and it makes its way through a mix of fifties country gospel of Fern Jones and Bonnie Owens and some recent country releases of Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives with folk, bluegrass and black gospel of the early century. Tune in for Mac Wiseman, Mahalia Jackson, Elvis, the Alphabetical Four, and Sister Lottie Peavy. Deeper Roots celebrates each Friday morning on KOWS and Friday evening on KWTF.