Grammy Nods and Year End Lists Size Up The Sounds of Not-So-Sweet ’16

Grammy Nods and Year End Lists Size Up The Sounds of Not-So-Sweet ’16

No sooner were the Thanksgiving leftovers stashed in the refrigerator than the Christmas lights went up all over town and the Best Of 2016 music lists began to appear, notably those from American Songwriter and National Public Radio. Then, yesterday’s Grammy nominations, where art annually meets commerce for an awkward but potentially hot prom date, further focused the spotlight on the albums and artists we’ll potentially still be listening to and talking about years from now.

Following is an objectively subjective, Americana-focused, Nashville-centric, Roots Radio-slanted ramble through what we’re learning about how the mavens, tastemakers and cognoscenti view the best music released in this rapidly waning year.

Freedom Sings - Live from The Bluebird on 10.20

Freedom Sings - Live from The Bluebird on 10.20

Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe is intimately associated with songwriters playing their original material in a respectful and even reverent atmosphere. For 17 years, however, the storied venue has hosted a special night with great songwriters performing songs by others - songs that have been anything but reverent. Because Freedom Sings, a musical celebration of the First Amendment, is about spotlighting songs that have, to paraphrase Bob Dylan, shaken the windows and rattled the walls.

SEAT OF THE PANTS!

There’s a scene in Star Wars: The Force Awakens when Rey, Finn and BB-8 escape from the planet Jakku by jumping in the Millennium Falcon and piloting it for the first time. It’s a bumpy ride, but they make it of course. The episode has come to mind a few times as I watch the on-air staff of the new WMOT slip into the pilot’s seat of a radio station that’s been on the air since 1969 and learn the controls in real time. Because there’s no simulator and no rehearsal time for this.

Signaling A New Era in Nashville Radio

Signaling A New Era in Nashville Radio

With an “opera” to “Opry” genre hand-off that recalled the birth of Nashville’s most famous radio show in 1927, WMOT/Roots Radio went on the air Friday morning at a warm and celebratory gathering at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Music City Roots co-founder John Walker had the idea to segue from WMOT's classical era with Aaron Copland’s famous orchestral “Hoedown” into a live take on the old fiddle tune that inspired it, “Bonaparte’s Retreat.”

The NEW WMOT/Roots Radio

The NEW WMOT/Roots Radio

WMOT, 89.5 FM, MTSU’s flagship public radio station founded in 1969, is making the biggest, boldest leap in its history in September 2016 when it dedicates itself to an all Americana music format. Branded as “Roots Radio,” the initiative is a partnership with the music experts and on-air talents of Music City Roots, the Franklin-based weekly variety show that reaches the nation on radio and public television.