It’s hard to put into words the grief we have experienced over so many great performers lost this past year, including those who lost their battle to COVID-19. When assembling our annual list of tributes it became clear that no two hours would suffice so we’ll be doing some abbreviated observations to make sure they’re not forgotten. And we’ll also be thanking those behind the scenes, the songwriters, the session folks, and we’ll even have a short collection of British influencers who touched our lives with their talent. Tune in for a comprehensive and reflective show, our first Deeper Roots show of 2021, this new year that is filled with so much promise. And it’s likely that we can all agree that the bar couldn’t have fallen much lower than it did last year.
Our show this week is brought to you by a song, a narrative like no other Bob Dylan has ever produced. Murder Most Foul was released earlier this year as the first single from his latest album Rough and Rowdy Ways. It is a 16 minute narration of cultural reflection that speaks to the passing of time in the context of what has been lost and what still might be lost yet still celebrating our gains. The Kennedy assassination is one of those times that we reflect on, remembering the day that it happened with as much clarity as time permits. What Dylan does is use pastel images of ‘what was then’ with who we are now as he speaks to cultural touchstones in his (and our) life. And he warns us, once again, that the times are indeed changin’ and that we should likely hear this song as a storm warning. Tune into for a listen. Two hours of Deeper Roots this week. You can also find out more about the Dylan song at https://thereader.mitpress.mit.edu/murder-most-foul-and-the-haunting-of-america.
Rhythm & Blues is the order of the day. Join Dave Stroud for an entertaining blast of fresh sounds from the well of the past century. What’s old is always new if you haven’t heard it, right? The playlist this morning features songs about the night time from Ray Charles, honeydripper rocking from Big Joe Turner, doo wop serenades from the The Jive Bombers, bluesy torch sounds from Erma Franklin, and so much more. We’ll stretch the boundaries of R&B with Elvis, Lonnie Johnson, and a few more as we take on some saucy serenades and unruly pleas from performers from the thirties to the early sixties. All without malice of forethought, I assure you. Tune into Sonoma County Community Radio every Friday morning at 9 Pacific.
On this most relevant of days, we’ll be digging through some of the important songs from the past century focusing on its meaning and significance. While the embodiment of the music could have touched on every genre because the influences are vast, we’ll settle on the inspirational sounds from every corner. Juneteenth is a jubilant, high energy celebration of a somber reality. First recognized in 1865 it is the oldest known celebration honoring the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger led thousands of federal troops to Galveston, Texas to announce that the Civil War had ended, and slaves had been freed. Our observation on Deeper Roots includes tracks from Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers, and gospel sounds galore leading off with Mahalia Jackson.
There have been some great Americana sounds released this year and there is no sense in ignoring them, certainly. In fact, you can tune into Sonoma County Community Radio each week for Blue Moon Americana, broadcasting Thursday mornings at 5am on KOWS and 9am on KWTF. We’ll be spending some time covering the covers of tradition and some from the contemporary well this week on Deeper Roots. Tune in for some great sounds…truly. Fun covers of blues, gospel, folk, country, and jazz from the likes of Whitehorse, Jesse Dayton, Steve Earle, Willie Nelson and Kristi Jean & Her Ne’er-Do-Wells. We’ll hear everything from Amazing Grace to Redneck Friend this week on Deeper Roots. Check it out this Saturday evening, a rebroadcast of a live show from the KOWS Cherry Street Historic District in Santa Rosa.
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.
Back to the bayou once more, but this time with less the rocking rhythms of the mid-to-late century and more with tradition. We pick on the sound of cajun music, celebrating a simple dance style born of early century French/Canadian, African Creole from the Caribbean, and American Country: the two-step. It’s music is full of accordion, fiddle, washboard, bass fiddle, triangle, and percussion of all kinds…giving it a consistently energetic and lively signature. And the dance which is our focus is a simple but expressive one similar to the western two-step…just without the fancy turns and spins. Our performances include some classics from the early century including Amede Ardoin and Jimmy Newman as well as contemporaries and mid-century legends like Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys, Al Berard, Michael Doucet, and Louisiana energy from the swamps to Lake Pontchartrain. Tune in!
It’s fun to cover the songwriters whether they be pop, country, blues, or in the wheelhouse of Broadway or Tin Pan Alley. This week, we drop by the sophisticated, cosmopolitan, and catchy sounds from the Great White Way. From Broadway to Hollywood, the music of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II left a cultural watermark on the psyche of middle America in the heart of the 20th Century. From The Sound of Music to Oklahoma!; from Carousel to The King and I and South Pacific, the songs that were featured in these musicals were totems to their time and place. And catchy, too. Tune in for a romp through some of the most popular performances written by two giants of screen and stage musicals.
It’s a holly, jolly, country Christmas on a Friday morning in West County. We’ll put our political blinders on this morning in search of the merriment that ’tis the season on Deeper Roots. This year’s Christmas special is a collection of country sounds, both new and old, that takes us down a path that mixes contemporary Americana, bluegrass, rockabilly, and classic country into a finely tuned blend of holiday cheer. We’ll be cooking from the Texas panhandle with Dale Watson, taking the high lonesome yule train with Jimmy Martin, spinning yarns with Johnny and Tommy Cash, and dropping by the Waffle House with Bill Anderson. Tune in knowing full well that the dinner’s in the oven and the stockings are all hung by the chimney with care. Merry Christmas to you and yours!
Yip Harburg was a songmaker. He was part of a select few in the early to mid-century who found their calling as lyricists, writing words that transformed music to story and story to film and Broadway spectacles. We could gloss over his contributions by simply saying “he’s the guy who wrote Over The Rainbow or April in Paris or Brother, Can You Spare a Dime”. But his career was more than that. It’s no secret that Yip’s politics were carefully crafted in song. The phrases “honky-tonk parade” and “Barnum and Bailey world” were veiled criticisms of the “phony as it can be” corporate and political leadership in America, written by a freethinking, socially conscious lyricist. Our show today will honor some of his best songs and include interview excerpts featuring both Yip and his son, Ernie.