National Public Radio’s (NPR) Mountain Stage Is A Gem You Have Check Out

Rut In the Dirt- NPR is something you have to Listen to.

The Culture Center Theater, Charleston, WV, USA June 25, 2017

By Daniel Locke

A lot of people feel that National Public Radio (NPR) is the best radio programming in the nation. However, many feel it is boring, I myself  started to really listen to NPR. What I discovered is a great program, a gem of a show, called The Mountain Stage. The Mountain Stage is based out of West Virginia. The NPR program has been around for over 30 years, “The Mountain Stage with Larry Groce.” It has been the home of live music on public radio. Produced in West Virginia and distributed by NPR, each two hour episode of The Mountain Stage can be heard every week on more than 150 stations across America, and around the world via NPR Music and The Mountain Stage is recorded in front of a live audience, it features performances from seasoned musical legends and emerging stars in genres ranging from folk, blues, and country; to indie rock, synth pop, world music, alternative, and beyond.

Some of the people who have performed on the program have been Lake Street Dive, Lucy Wainwright Roche & Suzzy Roche, My Bubba, Seratones , Royal Wood , Jerry Douglas and the Earls of Leicester, Cheryl Wheeler, Lera Lynn, Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley, Nora Jane Struthers , Leftover Salmon, Elizabeth Cook,Dori Freeman, Blue Highway, Rhiannon Giddens, Flatt Lonesome , Indigo Girls, Wynonna & the Big Noise, Patty Larkin and Lydia Loveless Billy Bragg & Joe Henry, Chris Smither, Robert Ellis, LAU, Kaia Kater , Bruce Cockburn, Leif Vollebekk, Mark Eitzel, Birds of Chicago and Allison Pierce on Mountain Stage.

With 899 show ( the show I was at was the 899 one) they have a long history. You can check episodes of Mountain Stage are typically broadcast about a month after they are recorded, give or take. You can always view our complete and up-to-date broadcast schedule on the Mountain Stage website.

The show I went too had the following artist special guest host Joni Deutsch feat. Marcus King Band, Kishi Bashi with strings, Tristen, Tyler Childers and Caroline Spence.

Marcus King Band – Songwriter. Guitarist. Singer. Bandleader was raise in Greenville, South Carolina, King was brought up on the blues, playing shows as a pre-teen sideman with his father—bluesman Marvin King, who himself was the son of a regionally-known guitarist—before striking out on his own. Going beyond the sonic textures of his acclaimed 2015 debut album, Soul Insight; The Marcus King Band broadens his sound, touching upon everything from funky R&B to Southern soul and Americana in the process.

Kishi Bashi – Kishi Bashi is the pseudonym of singer, multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter Kaoru Ishibashi (born November 4, 1975). Born in Seattle, Washington, Ishibashi grew up in Norfolk, Virginia where both of his parents were professors at Old Dominion University. As a 1994 graduate of Matthew Fontaine Maury High School, he went on to study film scoring at Berklee College of Music before becoming a renowned violinist. Ishibashi has recorded and toured internationally as a violinist with diverse artists such as Regina Spektor, Sondre Lerche, and most recently, the Athens, Georgia-based indie rock band, of Montreal. He remains based in Athens. Kishi Bashi is also the singer and founding member of the New York electronic rock outfit, Jupiter One. In 2011, he started to record and perform as a solo artist, opening for Sondre Lerche, Alexi Murdoch, and of Montreal. He supported of Montreal on their spring 2012 tour. Shortly after Ishibashi debuted his full-length solo album “151a” on Indianapolis label Joyful Noise Recordings,

Tristen – “Nashville’s best-kept secret” (The Boston Globe) singer-songwriter Tristen, gained notice as an artist with “pop hooks and pure inspiration” (NPR) through her 2011 folk-oriented record Charlatans at the Garden Gate and was later recast as “a synth-pop siren” (SPIN) with her 2013 record CAVES. Tristen grew up on the south side of Chicago, the grandchild of immigrants. Singing since she could speak, by the time she was a teenager she began writing her own songs and recording. She went on to study communication theory at DePaul University until the combination a failed marriage engagement and a deep love for David Bowie inspired her to move to Nashville to try to make it as a songwriter. Quickly gaining attention in Nashville for being “a new breed of female songwriter”, local shows turned into national touring, and before long Tristen gained a reputation for having a “preternatural sense of melody, energetic live shows and emotive vocals “ (American Songwriter) and bringing along Nashville’s hottest musicians as her backing band. Both of her albums were named the best local album by the Nashville Scene and placed in American Songwriter’s top 50 albums of their respective years. Tristen has emerged as a truly individual songwriter, bridging genres and emotions to create a distinctive sound all her own. Her finely honed modern pop is rich with exquisite arrangements and a remarkably intuitive lyrical approach. Tristen spent 2015 as a backing singer and keyboard player in Jenny Lewis’s band and released her first book of poetry, Saturnine, in 2016 which features a foreword by rock and roll poet Ezra Furman. Tristen’s new record Sneaker Waves is due out in 2017.

Tyler Childers – Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Kentucky is a little town called, Paintsville, where the economy is dependent on the dying coal industry and a tradition of music thrives with the US 23 Country Music Highway Museum and Butcher Hollow. Carrying on the music tradition is native son and current Lexington, Kentucky resident, Tyler Childers. Paintsville is located in the Big Sandy River Valley of Johnson County in Eastern Kentucky made famous for its lawlessness, religion, and booze, and a song about a horse thief, a rambling man, and an attempt to gain some good ol’ Appalachian self-justice is what “William Hill” is all about. Following his “Papaw” around to the Kentucky social institutions – church events and barber shops to name a few– as well as a lot of coon hunting with his dad, Tyler has heard a tale or two about the misadventures of a few good ol’ boys and he gives his own spin of these accounts behind a whisky-soaked voice well beyond his age.

Caroline Spence – Caroline Spence is enamored with words and songs. Though countless singer-songwriters boast the same simple claim, few have been lifted up by their passion the way Caroline has. Her passion led the Virginia native on a pilgrimage to Nashville, where the 25-year-old honed her writing and her coy, dusky soprano across folk, Americana and alt-country genres.

It was a joy to watch each of the artist perform for about 25 minutes. And at the end of the night all the artist came on stage to perform a well-known song together.

In closing they were video taping the show. As soon as it goes live I will be updating the site with a link so you can watch what I saw that night.

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