The Front Blog

Conversations from the Four Rivers Region

Posts Tagged ‘music from the front porch

Datebook: December 9 – International Anti-Corruption Day

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It’s Thursday, December 9.

The Paducah Symphony Orchestra, Chorus and Children’s Chorus present the Annual Christmas and Holiday Pops Concert, Spectacular, Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Carson Center in Paducah.  A pre-concert chat starts at 7.  Seven special guest soloists and a visitor from the North Pole join the ensembles.  Call 270-444-0065 for tickets.

The Kentucky Arts Council presents workshops for performing, visual, and teaching artists and arts Educators next Tuesday and Wednesday at Murray State.  Topics include marketing, , arts lesson plans using national standards, and more.  All 17 sessions are free and open to the public on the second floor of the Old Fine Arts Building.  Pre-registration is appreciated at 888-833-2787.

Tickets are available now at for our Music from the Front Porch Concert with Lovett Live on Saturday, January 15 at 7 p.m..  These will be good stocking stuffers for your bluegrass fans with the Grascals headlining, Youngtown opening .  The concert’s at Lovett Auditorium at Murray State and tickets are $20.

See more about these and other community events at  Thanks for listening!

Notes From the Porch

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What a beautiful Saturday for some traditional and roots music both new and old!

I was able to get advanced copies of two great new albums this week. The Steeldrivers forthcoming Reckless release and Justin Townes Earle‘s forthcoming work Harlem River Blues. We’re sprinkling in folk, bluegrass, americana and more to frame up these two album features including a feature set of Norman Blake & Tony Rice that’s rolling as I type.

The Steeldrivers - RecklessThe Steel Drivers – Reckless – Rounder Records

This is the second album from the Steeldrivers, which acts as a swan song of sorts for the big, gritty voice and songwriting prowess of Chris Stapleton. Shortly after this album was released Stapleton parted ways with The Steeldrivers to seek a bit less hectic lifestyle. The new album features 12 Stapleton co-written tunes; 11 with Mike Henderson and one with Ronnie Bowman. The big Steeldriver sound is still alive in this release with a bit more variation of tempo.

The album hits the streets September 14.

You can also catch the Steeldrivers on the soundtrack to the movie Get Low which is a second collaboration of Rounder Records and Sony Picture Classics… yep, the same pairing behind O’ Brother Where Art Though. Read more at the Bluegrass Blog.

Want a preview of how The Steeldrivers sound with their new front man? Here is a video of the band doing “Reckless Side of Things”.

Justin Townes Earle – Harlem River Blues – Bloodshot Records

Justin Townes Earle

Justin Townes Earle

When you pick up The Steeldrivers new album be sure and grab the new one from Justin Townes Earle as well. Harlem River Blues hits the streets on the very same day, September 14. This will be the third release from JTE on Bloodshot Records.

“Compared to the much-lauded Midnight at the Movies, Harlem River Blues is more mature and increasingly nuanced, while still embracing the raw voice and clean sound of previous standout tracks like “Mama’s Eyes.” Featuring guest appearances from Jason Isbell, Bryn Davies and Calexico’s Paul Niehaus, it’s rockin’ and reelin’ at times, sweet and slow at others – and it’s great. Like good fried chicken, a well-cut suit and a hand made guitar, there’s heaven to be found in the beautifully crafted simpler things.

~ From

The album is at times familiar with that quirky-in-time-thumping rhythmic approach that we have all come to know from Earle but still exploratory as JTE seeks to find new ways and new melodies to weave his stories.

Here is Earle doing Halfway to Jackson.

Have a good weekend and I will see ya in two weeks!

~ John McMillen

07-31-2010 Notes From the Porch

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Another hot and steamy summer Saturday here in Murray. Nothing like a cup of joe on the porch with the Front Porch rolling in the background. This is the way many of you share Saturdays with mark and I. OR… like Barry Combs, you’re on your tractor with your headphones on. Hey, whatever you do while listening, it’s nice to share the morning.

We featured some Front Porch debuts in the first hour including Darrell Webb‘s new release Bloodline. Out on Rural Rhythm Records, this release from Webb features plenty of great traditional bluegrass spread across 12 tracks from the 5-piece band. Darrell Webb has been performing on the bluegrass circuit for over 20 years with the likes of the Lonesome River Band, J.D. Crowe, Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, lead vocalist and front man for Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper. Webb has surrounded himself with a great band for his debut solo release including Jeremy Arrowood on bass, Asa Gravley on guitar, Jim Van Cleve plays fiddle, Chris Wade on banjo and Darrell Webb lends guitar and mandolin to the release. The band is out on the road with a bit of a different lineup sans Jim Van Cleve but adding Tyler Kirkpatrick on resophonic guitar. I offered up the second track from the release, “Poor Ramblin Boy”. Read the rest of this entry »

Notes From The Front Porch

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Tim O'Briens' Chicken & EggSpinning the new Tim O’Brien album Chicken & Egg right now on the porch. This is O’Brien’s 17th studio album released under his own name. He has plenty of help on this album from his musical compadres Ray Bonneville (harmonica), Mike Bub (Bass), Dennis Crouch (bass), Charlie Cushman (banjo), Stuart Duncan (virtually anything with strings), John Gardner (drums), Sarah Jarosz (vocals), Lucas Reynolds (guitar), Darrell Scott (vocals), Chris Stapleton (formerly of the Steeldrivers adds vocals), Bryan Sutton (guitars and vocals), Abigail Washburn (vocals). Wow, that’s a long list. There’s plenty of new O’Brien penned tunes here including the spin on the Adam & Eve story with “You Ate the Apple” and the sure-to-be-covered “Workin'”. O’Brien also twists familiar tunes such as “Suzanna” and Woody Guthries’ “The Sun Jumped Up.” This is definitely one to add to your library!

A new artist to the Front Porch this morning to close out the first hour. Megson plays “The Handloom Weaver & The Factory Maid” from their album Longshot. Megson features Stu Hanna and Debbie Hanna-Palmer, two British folk musicians who first met at a choir rehearsal in northern England.

I watched the movie Crazy Heart last night for the first time. What a movie! Gonna spin some Guy Clark in the form of “The Houston Kid” from the album The Platinum Collection as a tribute to the film. I know most people associate Bad Blake as a mix of Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard but you know, if you mixed the two together you’d likely get someone close to Guy Clark anyhow.

Received a new album from J Shogren titled Bird Bones & Muscle. It was a pleasant and refreshing surprise. The album is very blues-based with small flavors of all kinds of other roots and traditional genres. The album in general reminds me of the hot and humid rural south… images of a sweaty afternoon in the back yard with friends jamming out tunes. Sometimes rough around the edges. Odd thing is that the album was recorded in Laramie, WY by a guy who splits his time between Laramie and Sweden. Spinning “Salvation” this morning as I think it gives you a good taste of what you will find in this album.

Opening the third hour with the brand new Chatham County Line album Wildwood. These guys have been together for 10-years and celebrate that anniversary with their fifth album which is released on the Yep Roc label. CCL has a core of bluegrass in their soul but they aren’t afraid to mix in other elements and influences to keep things extremely interesting. This time around the rousing is bolstered by drums, piano and pedal steel but they also know how to ease up and bring great feeling to a piece of music. When they released IV in 2008 I was afraid we were beginning to see the pinnacle of their careers as I was sure they couldn’t top that great release. Then along comes Wildwood and the amazing experience continues. The Raleigh, NC band has yet to release a bad album and will definitely stay in high rotation on my stereo. Spinning four cuts this morning including “Heart Attack”, “Crop Comes In”, “Out of the Running” and “Saturdays and Sundays”.

How about a video of a cut from the new album? Here is “Crop Comes In” from Wildwood.

Hey, that’s it for this week. I’ll be back in two weeks to share all the tunes I discover between now and then. Thanks for listening and reading. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and get out and see some live music!

~ John McMillen

Notes From the Porch

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A few notes from the porch this morning….

The Infamous Stringdusters‘ new album “Things that Fly” keeps the band rolling at their current pace. The usual “Strinduster” sound here. Two cuts from the album this morning including The Deputy and You Can’t Stop the Changes.

The Kentucky Colonels were sooooooo good! Clarence White was absolutely one of the greatest guitar players ever to pick the strings. I’m spinning a cut from the album “Long Journey Home” called Brakeman’s Blues.

Tyler Grants‘ new album “Up the Neck” would be a great addition to your library. Great instrumental work here! I’m spreading some cuts out across the show this morning including Funky Boulder and Bill Frissell. It’s Tyler’s second solo effort.

Logan Oakley thinks that Born to Be with You by JD Crowe is the best bluegrass song he’s ever heard. You can hear it for yourself on the album”Blackjack”.

Lemme just say now that I love Lightnin’ Hopkins!

Three cuts this morning from the John Prine tribute album “Broken Hearts and Dirty Windows” including Far From Me by Justin Townes Earle, Mexican Home by Josh Ritter and The Late John Garfield Blues by Sara Watkins… and why not a cut from Prine himself, huh? Hey, the artists on this album do a good job placing their own definitions on the classic Prine penned songs.

John Mellencamp continues to distance himself from the past pop sound he’s known for. His upcoming album “No Better Than This” has me sold on the new sound. I’m spinning Thinking About You and enjoying the new stripped down, earthy and gritty sound. The album hits the shelves August 3rd… seriously, go give a listen!

And a little Darrell Scott and Memory Like Mine live from Folk Alley.

~ John McMillen

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