The Jammin at Hippie Jack's Americana Music Series is now in its 6th season of distribution to PBS stations nationwide. This independently produced television series annual programming consists of 30-minute episodes featuring original singer songwriters of Americana, bluegrass, blues and folk music. Our new season of Jammin at Hippie Jack's began distribution on October 1st through NETA and is broadcast in HD. Hard to believe. We are amazed at what’s happened since we built the Sundown Stage on our farm and bought a couple digital cameras. Mostly, we are thankful for all the artists and their fans who have embraced what we’re doing and encouraged us to continue. The upcoming season features Whitey Johnson, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Seth Walker, Scrapomatic featuring Mike Mattison, The SteelDrivers, Abigail Washburn, Abigail Washburn with Bela Fleck, Mary Gauthier, Paul Thorn, David Bromberg, The Carolina Chocolate Drops and Kevin Welch. To view the current episodes click here. Check your local PBS station for program schedule.
PBS Stations click here for distribution information.
#601 Whitey Johnson
Singer songwriter Gary Nicholson performs as his alternate persona “Whitey Johnson,” recorded during the Jammin at Hippie Jack’s Americana Music Festival in Overton County, TN. Whitey Johnson is a legendary blues artist from Texas, now living in Tennessee and touring worldwide. There are many versions of Whitey’s story, but one known fact is that his alternate persona known is Gary Nicholson. Nicholson has written songs that have been recorded by many of the greatest artists in blues and roots music including BB King, Etta James, Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy, Delbert McClinton, Keb Mo, Greg Allman, Irma Thomas, the Neville Brothers, Gatemouth Brown, Arthur Alexander, John Mayall, James Cotton, Junior Wells, Jimmy Witherspoon, The Blues Brothers, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Marcia Ball, and so many others.
#602 Ray Wylie Hubbard
Singer songwriter Ray Wylie Hubbard performs music from his most recent album A. Enlightenment, B. Endarkenment (Hint: There is no C) at the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville, TN.
It wasn’t that long ago that Ray Wylie Hubbard mentioned to an acquaintance that he wouldn’t mind being a hybrid of Guy Clark and John Lee Hooker. Now, I’m no seer or mystic, but my instincts suggest that wish came true, and then some. A. Enlightenment, B. Endarkenment (Hint: There is no C) confirms it. Ray Wylie Hubbard writes the kind of songs that make you want to ride along no matter where he’s going, because you know it’s gonna get strange somewhere along the way. The references to Muddy Waters being as deep as William Blake (“I really do believe it,’’ Ray says) and lipstick pickups, resonator slides, the dreams of drunken poets, deceased call girls, opium, wasp’s nests, clouds growing a tail, his ability to segue seamlessly from primal exclamations of carnal lust into songs about salvation without pausing for irony; and a craftsmanship that manages to rhyme mescaline and gasoline and Volkswagen with dragon while painting vivid portraits of characters both real and unreal, all evoke a sense of place that is larger than life but in no way made up. Anyone who’s followed Ray Wylie Hubbard over the long and winding path he has traveled already knows he possesses the kind of exceptional gift for observation that any songwriter yearns for. His sense of wonder is tempered by an accumulated wisdom and knowledge that comes with experience that has elevated him into the Wylie Lama of Texas.
#603 Seth Walker
Seth Walker performs from his current album Leap of Faith during the Jammin at Hippie Jack’s Americana Music Festival in Overton County, TN. Creative Loafing Magazine recently wrote and states it best
Seth Walker is a splendid mix of roots styles: blues, soul and Americana, featuring deep-fried guitar licks, churchy organ and crisp horns, mostly delivered over spot-on shuffles. Seth Walker serves Southern roots gut-pickin’ and blues song craft with ease and grace. Echoing a variety of artists, from Jimmy Reed to Ray Charles, he slips expertly from loose-jointed shuffles to organ-inflected feel-good fare and a whole lot more. An old soul with new fingers, Walker cooks from start to finish.”
#604 Scrapomatic featuring Mike Mattison
The earthy duo Scrapomatic featuring Mike Mattison on vocals with Paul Olsen on guitar perform during the Jammin at Hippie Jack’s Americana Music Festival in Overton County, TN.
Long before he joined the Derek Trucks Band as lead singer in 2002, Mike Mattison launched his career as the lead singer for Scrapomatic, a two-man, roots music-inspired group rounded out by award-wining guitarist, songwriter and singer Paul Olsen. Scrapomatic plays some of the grittiest, most low-down blues imaginable. This is the blues as a living music, conjured equally from the mean streets of New York, the deltas and bayous of Louisiana, and the infinitely fertile imagination of Mike Mattison.
On their most recent album, Sidewalk Caesars, Scrapomatic’s much-anticipated follow-up to 2006’s Alligator Love Cry, this talented duo perfects a lean, mean sound born of the blues, nurtured by American roots music and given shape by Mattison’s soulful growl and Olsen’s propulsive guitar. Both raw and polished, the band’s third album has a giddy, bipolar feel, swinging wildly between high-energy stompers to laconic meditations.
Whether their delivery is rough or smooth, Scrapomatic’s unbridled passion for music is positively contagious and guaranteed to have you tapping your toe and singing along in no time.
#605: The SteelDrivers
The SteelDrivers perform from their newest album Reckless during the Jammin at Hippie Jack’s Americana Music Festival in Overton County, TN.
Only Nashville, TN could give birth to a band like The SteelDrivers: a group of seasoned veterans – each distinguished in his or her own right, each valued in the town’s commercial community – who are seizing an opportunity to follow their hearts to their souls’ reward. In doing so, they are braiding their bluegrass roots with new threads of their own design, bringing together country, soul, and other contemporary influences to create an unapologetic hybrid that is old as the hills but fresh as the morning dew. This is new music with the old feeling. SteelDrivers fan Vince Gill describes the band’s fusion as simply “an incredible combination.”
#606: Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time
Larry Cordle performs with Lonesome Standard Time at the Jammin at Hippie Jack’s Americana Music Festival in Overton County, TN.
With his band, Lonesome Standard Time, Larry Cordle has the perfect platform to share his music with fans everywhere. The band has been awarded song of the year by the International Bluegrass Music Association on two separate occasions, garnered two Grammy nominations for best bluegrass album, received nominations for vocal group and instrumental group, landed #1 slots on the Bluegrass and Americana charts and gained the respect of their peers and had many accolades during their existence. In addition to his songwriting and role as a bandleader, Cordle is sometimes featured as a lead and/or background vocalist on some of Nashville’s most awarded and popular music. He’s provided harmony vocals for artists such as Garth Brooks, Blake Shelton, Bradley Walker, Billy Yates, Rebecca Lynn Howard and co-writing pal, Jerry Salley. His lead & harmony singing is featured on Livin, Lovin, Losin: A Tribute to the Louvin Brothers, which won a GRAMMY for Best Country Album in 2003 and was named recorded event of the year by IBMA in 2004. He’s also featured on two tracks of Moody Bluegrass, alongside artists such as Tim O’Brien, Alison Krauss, John Cowan, Harley Allen et al and is recently featured as lead vocalist again on Moody Bluegrass II.
#607 Abigail Washburn
Abigail Washburn performs music from her recent album City of Refuge at the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville, TN.
If American old-time music is about taking earlier, simpler ways of life and music making as one’s model, Abigail Washburn has proven herself to be a bracing revelation to that tradition. She—a singing, songwriting, Illinois-born, Nashville-based claw hammer banjo player—is every bit as interested in the present and the future as she is in the past, and every bit as attuned to the global as she is to the local. She pairs venerable folk elements with far-flung sounds, and the results feel both strangely familiar and unlike anything anybody’s ever heard before. To put it another way, she changes what seems possible.
#608 Abigail Washburn with Béla Fleck
Abigail Washburn and Grammy award-winning artist Béla Fleck perform at the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville, TN.
Fleck is the recipient of multiple Grammy Awards going back to 1998. Béla Flecks' total Grammy count is 11 Grammys won, and 27 nominations. He has been nominated in more different categories than anyone in Grammy history. Widely acknowledged as one of the world's most innovative and technically proficient banjo players, Béla Fleck is best known for his work with the bands New Grass Revival and Béla Fleck and the Flecktones.
In 2005, Fleck undertook several new projects including coproducing Song of the Traveling Daughter, the debut album by Abigail Washburn (a young banjo player who mixes bluegrass and Chinese music); forming the acoustic fusion supergroup Trio! With fellows Jean-Luc Ponty and Stanley Clarke, and recording an album as a member of the Sparrow Quartet (along with Abigail Washburn, Ben Sollee, and Casey Driessen).
#609 Mary Gauthier
Mary Gauthier performs from her newest album, Between Daylight and Dark, at the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville, TN.
In the case of Mary Gauthier, four words are worth a thousand pictures. Between Daylight and Dark, her new Lost Highway album, finds her aiming her compass at the sky and searching for home. It is from this longing for home that this group of songs has emerged, and they fill Gauthier’s new album with both hope and anguish, with faith as well as fear. Gauthier has always been a unique lyricist, with an ability to illuminate even moments of devastation and despair in beautiful hues. That gift is evident throughout Between Daylight and Dark, though her perspective has shifted somewhat. “As a writer, I’m figuring out what my job is today, in this instant,” she explains, “What I did yesterday does not matter. I am more in the moment. I know instinctively when I’m onto something, and then I have to chase that feeling down until I find what it is I need to say in the song. My songwriting changes as I change, and though it’s odd to admit it, I discover a lot about who I am in my songwriting. I can see how I’ve changed by looking back at how my songs have changed. The songs on this record are a little more fragile, a little more tender, and a lot more hopeful.”
#610 Paul Thorn
Paul Thorn performs from his newest album Pimps and Preachers at the Folk Alliance International in Memphis, TN.
Among those who value originality, inspiration, eccentricity, and character - as well as talent that hovers somewhere on the outskirts of genius, the story of Paul Thorn is already familiar. Now, Thorn reveals another layer of his fascinating history on the album Pimps & Preachers, addressing that subject on the title cut and in the intriguing "family portrait" he painted for the cover, which highlights his daddy the preacher and his uncle the pimp. Pimps & Preachers takes us to a central theme of Thorn's youth: the pull of polar opposites - one representing the severe ecstasies of fundamental faith and the other, the pleasures stigmatized and yet glamorized by the church. In his seminal albums, particularly his landmark Mission Temple Fireworks Stand, his upbringing as the son of a Church of God Pentecostal minister became a matter of record. What hasn't been clear, though, is the parallel impact of his father's brother, who showed up suddenly from California when Thorn was 12 years old. “He was a pimp back in the day,” Thorn says. “I had never met him before, so when he came back to Mississippi he had all this street wisdom and I started hanging around him as well as my father. My father was my mentor, but I learned a lot from my uncle too. Everything I've accomplished has been influenced by the time I spent around these two men.” Thorn remains close to his father and his uncle today. The qualities that so strongly affected Thorn endure in the lyric to the title track, which honors them both; one for teaching him to love, and the other for teaching him to fight. For all the moral questions raised by the choices each man made, Thorn came to accept what they represented as essential and complementary. His embrace of opposites leads to a unity of spirit.
#611 David Bromberg
One of America’s finest roots musicians, David Bromberg, performs at Folk Alliance International in Memphis, TN.
Bromberg’s sensitive, blues-based approach to guitar-playing earned him jobs, playing on hundreds of records by artists including Bob Dylan (New Morning, Self Portrait, Dylan), Link Wray, The Eagles, Ringo Starr, Willie Nelson and Carly Simon. In the early ’90s, David produced an as-yet-unreleased Dylan album, although two tracks have been issued as part of Dylan’s “Bootleg Series.”
An unexpected and wildly successful solo spot at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival in Great Britain led to a solo deal with Columbia Records, for whom David recorded four albums. Despite jubilant, loose-limbed concerts and a string of acclaimed albums, Bromberg found himself exhausted by the logistics of the music business. After a 17-year hiatus from the music business, fellow musicians and participation in weekly jam sessions helped rekindle Bromberg’s desire to perform music “live” again and get back into the recording studio (new album Use Me). David frequently serves as accompanist for Angel Band, fronted by his wife Nancy and two other female vocalists.
David continues his musical revitalization with projects like Use Me, playing solo shows or backed by his own bluegrass quartet and reunions of the David Bromberg Big Band.
#612: Carolina Chocolate Drops
The string band, Carolina Chocolate Drops, perform at the Folk Alliance International in Memphis, TN. Rolling Stone Magazine describes the Grammy award winning Carolina Chocolate Drops’ style as “dirt-floor-dance electricity”. The Carolina Chocolate Drops newest release, Genuine Negro Jig, features string band interpretations of Blu Cantrell’s beat-box driven R&B single “Hit ‘Em Up Style” and Tom Waits’ “Trampled Rose,” as well as a pair of original compositions, alongside such traditional tracks as “Cornbread and Butterbeans” and “Trouble in Your Mind.” It is the band’s second record; their 2007 release, Dona Got a Ramblin’ Mind, was praised by Paste for “bravely and expertly reclaiming the string band tradition for modern African-American culture,” while NPR’s Weekend Edition calls the band “the hottest thing to hit the old-time music community in decades.”
#613 Kevin Welch
Kevin Welch performs from his newest release Patch of Blue Sky during the Folk Alliance International in Memphis, TN.
No one sings a Kevin Welch song better than Kevin. Although his songs have been covered by an impressive list of folks there is nothing like the real thing. This Texas Okie will captivate and inspire you with his lyrics and music. His newest Music Road Records release, Patch of Blue Sky, is just another work of art in his musical career that once again shows him at the top of his game. Kevin’s new home in the Texas Hill Country has given him a renewed sense of creativity and direction. He’s having a ball.