Pickin’ potties: Franklin council debates best bathroom options for events

Tempers flared at the Franklin Town Council meeting Monday night as board members tried to find a solution to a public bathroom dilemma for its summer Pickin’ on the Square series. 

Everybody’s scared, everybody’s inspired: Shovels & Rope to headline Cold Mountain Music Festival

There’s a reason Shovels & Rope has evolved into one of the “must see” live acts in the music scene over the last decade. Sure, the Charleston, South Carolina, band is comprised of two incredibly talented songwriters and performers (Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent). And yes, the energy they radiate onstage is insanely contagious to anyone within earshot. 

Maybe believe: A conversation with Jon Stickley

When you dig into the music of The Jon Stickley Trio, you find yourself meandering farther down the rabbit hole, with seemingly no end in sight. It’s a whirlwind of tone, bolting across the musical spectrum in a never-ending game of melodic duck-duck-goose.

All-American bluegrass girl: A conversation with Rhonda Vincent

Hot off the heels of winning the Grammy for “Best Bluegrass Album” this past winter, Rhonda Vincent & The Rage stand atop the genre as a marquee act, one whose determination is deeply rooted in keeping the traditions of the “high, lonesome sound” alive and flourishing. 

At the center of this whirlwind of string instruments is Vincent, an eight-time International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) “Female Vocalist of the Year.” The singer/mandolinist remains a vital, vibrant bridge between the originators and pioneers of the music created by Bill Monroe and where we stand today in the modern era — a crossroads of the neo-traditional and progressive bluegrass camps, come hell or high water. 

Least I got the blues: Justin Townes Earle on songwriting, Van Zandt

When two-thirds of your full name encompasses two-thirds of arguably America’s greatest songwriters, it’s pretty apparent you’ll follow suit — in life, and in art. 

Cry sweet tears of joy, touch the sky

Right around the point of the song “Beginnings” when Chicago singer/keyboardist Robert Lamm belted out the lyrics, “Time passes much too quickly/When we're together laughing/I wish I could sing it to you,” I could see and feel the goosebumps rising on my arms. 

Collecting the fire within: Rising string act to headline Sylva festival

It’s one thing to play bluegrass, mountain and old-time music. It’s another thing to dig deep into the rich, intricate heritage and history behind the sounds of Southern Appalachia — tones that have echoed from these high peaks since pioneers and settlers first arrived here centuries ago.

Got to keep on travelin’, movin’ on down the line: A conversation with Ronnie McCoury

The charm and allure of bluegrass music resides in its seamless ability to have one foot in the sacred, traditional “high, lonesome sound” and the other in whatever progressive endeavors its musicians find themselves in — by chance or on purpose.

A hard life makes a good song: Jeremy Garrett of The Infamous Stringdusters

Hopping up on my truck tailgate one recent afternoon, fiddler/singer Jeremy Garrett gazed around the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in the rural countryside of Live Oak, Florida. His band — The Infamous Stringdusters — was headlining the Suwannee Spring Reunion that weekend, another feather in the cap of a celebrated acoustic act who this past January was awarded a Grammy Award for “Best Bluegrass Album.” 

Roads that we abandon, and others that we take

A slight breeze awoke me from my slumber this past Saturday morning. Swaying in the hammock, I looked upward while the first sunshine of the day sprinkled through the branches all tangled high above. 

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