Highway’s Song

  • Putting the “O” Back in Outlaw: Waiting for the Next Stage with Shooter Jennings

    So what really is outlaw country? In an era of perpetual genre-bending, sometimes it’s hard to tell which category includes the metal band that does only Abba covers on accordions or the singer-songwriter who improves slam-poetry to the ukulele strummings of Tiny Tim. It’s also difficult to pick out the stars who were really born […]

  • Gillian Welch & David Rawlings Dig into the Heart and Soul of American Roots Music

    There is an easy slide into darkness that is captured on Gillian Welch’s now-classic album—perhaps her best—created with her musical partner, David Rawlings: 2011’s The Harrow and the Harvest. It can be heard in the retro-traditional Appalachian themes that run through the album from the opening “Scarlett Town” to the final ironic love song, “The […]

  • With Intrigue as its Theme, Tiki Oasis 2017 Could Turn “Diabolik”

    Espionage will play a major role in this year’s Tiki Oasis festival, the annual San Diego tribal gathering where Martin Denny melodies and rum consumption happily co-exist in a mythical Polynesian paradise. With this year’s theme being “International Intrigue—Den of Spies, “attendees may expect cloak and dagger imagery, convincing (and unconvincing) foreign accents, and the […]

  • Steve Earle and his Outlaw Ways

    Steve Earle may be the most productive throw-back in today’s country music scene. He’s not manufactured, postured, or out to make hits about gate parties and driving pickup trucks. He is a throw-back in the sense that, while he has no models in his approach to life and music, the mentors in his organic artistic […]

  • The High Life Cajun Band and the Secret History of Cajun Music in Southern California

    In my opinion, Cajun music constitutes some of the most remarkable music under the umbrella of American Roots Music. The fact that it is sung as part of a living tradition of French language that has existed in our country since its founding is pretty remarkable. That it’s accompanied by 19th-century German accordions and played […]

  • Justin Townes Earle in His Own Right

    What is it that makes Justin Townes Earle so unique? Even as he carries two names that could easily weigh him down—and maybe it has in the past, but not today. He was named after his father, Steve Earle’s mentor and friend Townes Van Zandt. His father has his own legendary career strewn with tragedy, […]

  • Dan Walsh Leads the British Invasion: Banjo Edition

    A banjo bounty How many banjo players can you name? If it’s more than two and Dan Walsh is not on the list, you should add him. Dan Walsh is poised to do for old-time banjo what Béla Fleck has done for bluegrass banjo: infuse it with influences drawn from classical and jazz to world […]

  • John Craigie: Millennial Storyteller

    There’s a grandma in South Dakota and she treats me like a star She tells me she listens to nothing but John Craigie CDs and NPR She says, “When you gonna get famous, boy, when you gonna shine?” I say, “The more famous that you get, honey, the worse songs that you write” —from the […]

  • John York and the Legacy of the Byrds

    When John York steps out on the stage he embodies the era that helped to shape and form him as a musician, an artist, and a human being. There is a grace in talking with York in this recent interview as he recalls, with candid honesty, his time in the Byrds. His year (1968) with […]