All posts tagged: Guy Clark

Bush and Skaggs: Coming home, coming full circle

Two recent releases by Sam Bush and Ricky Skaggs — two superstars of Americana, roots, and bluegrass music — show both artists coming home in ways that bring them full circle with their own artistic travels. Bush’s Circles Around Me is a return to the bluegrass and early progressive newgrass of his youth in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  The album opens with the title track, a tune that celebrates “being thankful that you’re here” according to Bush.  His terrific road band — Byron House on bass, Chris Brown on drums, the amazing Scott Vestal on banjo and Stephen Mougin on guitar — plays on the majority of the 14 tracks, stretching out their musical chops on tunes such as the instrumental Blue Mountain and the old New Grass Revival song Souvenir Bottles. This latter tune, along with Whisper My Name written by original NGR bassist Ebo Walker and featured on their very first album, brings Bush back to the band where he made his name and helped shape a whole new genre of music — Newgrass. …

Five albums for a desert island: The Circle Album

I still remember coming home sometime in 1972 — I was a junior or senior in high school — and putting Will the Circle be Unbroken on my stereo. I had started focusing on acoustic music (such as James Taylor) a year or two before, but I was soon exploring more of the roots of folk, which led me to the record bin on that fateful day when I found this record with the funny looking cover by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band — a country-rock ensemble I had recently seen in concert. There was a little patter to start the record, which was unusual in and of itself in that era of over-produced rock albums, with Jimmy Martin commenting on John McEuen’s banjo kick-off by saying, “Earl never did do that….”  But then Martin, the Dirt Band, and their musical guests were off with a rollicking version of The Grand Ole Opry Song. Decades before O Brother Where Art Thou?, there was Will the Circle Be Unbroken when some long-haired hippies and rockers took country, bluegrass, and mountain …