Oct 13, 2016
The easiest way to describe the Sept. 28 Music City Roots was Ladies Night – our four acts were all led by women. But outside of their creators’ XX chromosomes, those four sets of music had virtually nothing in common. It was an unusual night in more ways than that. With host Jim Lauderdale and “interview guy” Craig Havighurst at the IBMA’s annual gathering in Raleigh, Sam Bush and I were called in. Fortunately, golden-throated MCR announcer Keith Bilbrey was minding the store and maintaining standards.
Sam and his trademark mandolin, “Hoss,” appropriately opened the evening with a well-known musical female, Bob Dylan’s “Girl From the North Country.” Although it’s not on his fine new CD, Storyman, it captured that album’s singer-songwriter approach while showing off his mandolin mastery, setting the song to a bluesy, Allman-style riff. Pound for pound, there is no better, more dynamic mandolin picker on earth.
Angel Snow, fresh from her weekend performance at Franklin’s Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival played the first set, backed by lap steel guitarist Jason Goforth. Recently signed to Nettwerk (Sarah McLachlan’s longtime label), she’s working on a folk-pop record that expands her sound with electronics, but it’s hard to imagine how she could improve upon the simple beauty of her MCR set, stripped down to two guitars and one voice, creating an atmosphere at once rootsy and ethereal.