Friday, October 7, 2011

T-Bone's Prime Cuts & Redbud Radio

Lots of exciting things happening with both radio shows, T-Bone's Prime Cuts and Redbud Radio!

Make sure to visit the sites:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

R.I.P. Cornell Dupree 1942~2011

by Terry Mathley

Cornell Dupree joined King Curtis' band, The Kingpins, when he was just a teenager.  He played on the "Live at the Fillmore Westalbums by King Curtis and Aretha Franklin.  After becoming the guitarist in Atlantic Records "New York house band"- he played on records by Donny Hathaway, Roberta Flack,  Bill Withers, Miles Davis, B.B. King, Ray Charles, Herbie Mann, James Brown and Jimmy Smith.  Cornell also released several stellar solo albums.

One of the funkiest guitarists I've ever heard.  I admit to not knowing who he was as early as I should have.  Of course, I heard the songs, just didn't know it was him playing on them.  In the 90's, when I got on a real Soul/R&B kick and wanted to incorporate some of it into my guitar playing- I went to the local music store.  I  was flipping through the instructional books and videos... and there I found him.  Cornell Dupree - "Mastering R&B Guitar" on Hot Licks video.  I watched that tape till I wore it out!  I had to go back and learn who he was and what all he did.  To find out that he reportedly played on 2,500 sessions -thus earning the nickname, "Mr. 2500" - just blew my mind!   From that point on, I felt it was my personal duty to bring his name up whenever music or guitar was being discussed. 

So, the years go by and I'm watching the incredible Bill Withers' documentary, "Still Bill."  And imagine my surprise when there's a scene from a Withers tribute show and on stage is Cornell Dupree playing an instrumental version of "Grandma's Hands."  Bill was so moved by it that he jumped up on stage, surprising everyone in the crowd, and sang along with Cornell.  People in the crowd were crying and hugging each other.  As happy as that made me, it also made me sad seeing that Cornell needed an oxygen tank.  Turns out that he suffered from emphysema and was going to need a lung transplant.  They had a big fundraiser concert for him in New York back in March, unfortunately- Cornell didn't make it.  He passed away this past Sunday, May 8th.  He was 69 years old.

To say I'm sad about this is an understatement.  Even though I never met him, I felt like I knew him.  I had read so much about him and watched so many videos- both of him playing and being interviewed.  From everything I can gather, he was as great a person as he was a musician... and that's saying a lot!  The next time you hear "Respect" by Aretha or "Rainy Night in Georgia" by Brook Benton or the great live album by Donny Hathaway... remember that it's Cornell Dupree on the guitar.

His widow Erma Dupree said her husband would want to be remembered as “a great musician, a friend and someone who could get along with anybody.”  What a great tribute to the man.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Appalachian Fusion Music - A Conversation With Donna Beasley

by Terry Mathley

Donna Beasley has been one of Nashville’s best kept secrets for years.  After the release of her 2010 album, “Under The Rushes... the secret is out of the bag.  “Under The Rushes” - Beasley’s second album, has received scores of great reviews from critics across the country as well as those from the foreign press.  With a supporting cast that includes Chuck Mead, Elizabeth Cook, Kenny Vaughan, Tim Carroll, Bob Britt, as well as her producer/ guitarist/ husband, Tom Spaulding - Beasley has taken her already impressive songwriting to another level.  
I recently sat down with Donna to talk about her upbringing, songwriting, the process of recording her album and the story behind “Donnaroo.”
TBPC:  I know you were raised in a strict family that looked down upon rock & roll music, when did you realize you wanted to be a performer and how difficult was that?
DB:  There was always music in my house. My mom sang and played guitar in church. It seemed natural that I would make music at some point. And that was the thing...I knew I had to be one of the people who MADE music. Being a fan wasn't enough. I was raised on country music and some bluegrass. Later on, my older brothers turned me on to rock and I became a rock chick! A defining moment for me was the first time I saw Pat Benatar on t.v. She was the first female front woman who clicked with me. I never thought such a thing was possible until I saw her. It's like all the musicians who talk about seeing Elvis or the Beatles on t.v. when they were a kid and saying "THAT'S what I want to do!" 

But it was also around that time that everyone in my family, with the exception of my dad, starting going to the fundamental Baptist church. And my brothers wanted me to go to the Christian school inside the church. So I was out of public school 8th grade on. My brother drove a church bus. I sang at our church as well as others. We were immersed in it. I was there for school, church services, visitation, what have you, basically 7 days a week. And this was a "women don't wear pants, it's a sin to go to movies or listen to rock and roll music" sect of Baptist. So, once I did start singing and people believed that I had a gift or talent or whatever, the ambition I had of singing secular music was looked upon as a sin. My mother told me that God would never let me be successful unless I sang His music. I remember singing a rock song around the house and one of my brothers getting so MAD at me!

I was torn between being a messenger of God through this talent He had given me and between wanting to sing the kind of music that I liked listening to. And it devastated me that people thought the desire I carried to do that - to make music - was sinful. It took me years to get over it. I still don't talk about the fact that I sing in bars with my family. Putting on a pair of jeans and taking the stage of a club is a monumental rebellion for me. 
TBPC:  You started singing fairly young, but didn't write your first song till you were 30.  You now get praised for your songwriting, how did that come about?
DB:  I tried writing when I was younger and it was really bad! I recognized that it was bad and that I didn't know how to do it. So, I gave up on it. But I always knew  - even as I was in college taking creative writing classes - that someday I would write songs. So, I tucked away little ideas, thinking "someday I'll write a song about this." The title track from my latest record was one of those ideas.

Even though I had plenty of angst to write about when I was younger (I grew up in the typical southern home with a full mix of religion, alcoholism, violence - something for everyone), it still took some growing up, getting my heart broken a few times, having dreams dashed, all those adult things, before I was able to write songs. I was divorced, killing myself in graduate school plus working, living on my own 500 miles away, going through a particularly hard romantic break-up, and listening to a lot of Cranberries. I guess it all melded and meshed in the right way because that's when started writing songs. Most of them were still bad. But I had a sense of "hey, I can do this and get better at it."

By the time I had moved back to East TN, I had decided to learn how to play guitar and to start singing in public (but not church - my family had loosened up a lot by then and they were ok with it). I thought my voice was kinda weird and I didn't sound good singing just anything. So, I figured I'd better write my own songs so I'd have something to sing. Considering what an undertaking both songwriting and guitar playing ARE, I am amused by my naïveté. But thank goodness for periods of blind optimism. We get fewer of those the older we get.
TBPC:  What can you tell me about Appalachian Fusion Music?
DB:  I was exposed to so many different kinds of music as a product of a musical household and a child of the MTV age. And that comes out in the various styles of songs I write. But people tell me that I still sound "East Tennessee." So, even if I aspired to, I don't think I could be Lady Gaga or whoever. There's too much of a regional sound in the tone of my voice to not call it "Appalachian" something!
TBPC:  You've had a lot of great reviews for "Under The Rushes"- including one that compared your songwriting to some of Nashville's best.  How does that make you feel?
DB:  I’m always pretty hard on myself. So, I feel like I’m not near the level I WANT to be as a songwriter. But I’m hoping I’ll get there. So, while I’m flattered by the comparisons, I’m still striving. Sometimes I don’t think I know the first thing about writing a song.

TBPC:  What was the process like for your last album?
DB:  Well, generally artists write a bunch of songs and eventually have enough decent ones to say, “I think I’m ready to make a record.” That’s how it starts out. In our process, we did more pre-production for this record than the last. That was partly because some of the songs had kinks to be worked out. So, we made laborious demos where we worked out drum sounds, guitar parts, vocal arrangements, etc. We passed these off to the musicians, inviting them to override our ideas any time they had better ones. The importance of bringing in talented, engaged musicians and encouraging their input cannot be overstated.
We went into a studio on Music Row and recorded the basic rhythm tracks of drums/bass/guitar in a day. We had recorded a few songs earlier in our house with a full drum kit set up in the living room, a bass player in the hallway, me singing scratch vocals in the bedroom…it was chaos!! Our house is not that big! But the basic track of “You Wouldn’t Know Love” survived the chaos and made it onto the record. We learned from that experience that there is no substitute for making a record in a real studio that was built just for that purpose. It sounds better and is way easier logistically.
Once we had the basic tracks, we went back into the studio one other time and cut piano, fiddle, dobro, and a couple vocals. From there, we recorded most of the overdubs at our house – guitar parts, pedal steel, more vocals. Some vocals were recorded at Anthony Aquilato’s house. Phil Madeira did his accordion and B3 parts at his house. Steve Cox did B3 at his house. Michael Webb’s keyboard parts were recorded by Tom on the road when Michael was playing and Tom was tech’ing for Leann Rimes’ band.
Some of the mixing was done by Tom at our house, some by Tom and Steve Ledet at Steve’s in-home studio. So, yeah, this is how modern records are made. Artists financing their own projects, people working for reduced rates because it is a labor of love or because they need experience or album credits. Everyone is making their money some other way and doing THIS because they love it and it keeps them sane. 
TBPC:  Tell us about your upcoming Tin Pan Alley South 2011 gig and how you came up with "Donnaroo." 
DB:  Donnaroo! In putting together a team for this year's Tin Pan South, I thought of it like a festival I was hosting. And if I held my own festival, who would I want to play it? I am so excited to be sharing a stage with Tim Carroll, Elizabeth Cook, and Jim Lauderdale. We'll be playing at The Listening Room, Tuesday March 29 at 9:00pm. 
TBPC:  How do you see the role of the internet when it comes to the future of music? 
DB:  The good thing is that everyone can get their music out there. The bad thing is that everyone can get their music out there. So, the challenge becomes drawing attention to yourself. For that reason, artists still need "help" - management, marketing/distribution, a booking agent, publicist, radio promoter. But when you're financing your own career, spending $10,000 on a publicist may not be an option. So artists have to get creative. Bands have been broken on YouTube and MySpace. Most artists have some level of involvement in the social media sites. But there's still no substitution for building a following the old fashioned way - by playing live in front of as many people as possible. By finding the small radio stations out there who play independent artists. Even the YouTube and MySpace phenomenons have started with just a few people checking them out, thinking their cool, and then telling their friends. So, essentially that's where it stands NOW and I have not even attempted to answer the actual question of where I think it's all GOING. I don't know. It's a big world out there. But for me, there's no substitute for holding a great cd or album with beautiful packaging in my hands or for watching a live show by my favorite artist.   
TBPC:  Donna Beasley has to take a 3 hour trip across the state, which CDs does she take along for the ride?
DB:  In no certain order:
Shelby Lynne, "I Am Shelby Lynne"
Emmylou Harris, "Wrecking Ball"
Neko Case, "Fox Confessor Brings the Flood"
Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Blood Sugar Sex Magic"
Dwight Yoakam, "This Time"
Jim Lauderdale, "Patchwork River"
Elizabeth Cook, "Welder"
Tim Carroll, "All Kinds of Pain"
TBPC:  What can we expect from Donna Beasley in the next year or two?
DB:  More shows, more songs, another record. Continuing to look for opportunities to get my music to a larger audience. Find more people who dig what I do. Onward, and hopefully, upward!


Photo Credits: Both photos are by Pierrette Abegg.

Poster Design: by Nancy Hagen, GraphicNashville.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Happy Birthday Don Everly!

Happy Birthday to Don Everly of the Everly Brothers!
One of my favorite singers of all time!

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Songwriter's Life: A Conversation With Adam Hill

by Terry Mathley

After hearing "Smoke Trees" by Adam Hill, I knew I had to interview this guy.  One of the best albums you've probably never heard.  If there is any justice in the music world, that won't be the case in 2011.  As Benny Smith, a Knoxville, TN radio personality put it, "Adam Hill has the passion of Westerberg, the emotions of Townes, and can take you as high as the hills of East Tennessee where he was raised."

I had the opportunity to interview Adam over the last couple of days.  We talked about his influences, the ups and downs of being a songwriter/musician and why he keeps coming back for more. 

T-Bone's Prime Cuts: At what age did you realize that music was "it" for you?

Adam Hill: I don’t know that I’ve ever said that or realized it. I love music. It fell on me as a kid. Lyrics just pummeled me. Sound was like a mountain. It consumes me but there’s always a ton of guilt with it. I have a Protestant Work Ethic and this sort of overwhelming sense of responsibility. So I never looked down the road and saw a time where I could play or make music. When I was in college I wanted to play, I wrote songs in class in my notebook, I ran from class to come home and make demos, I loved my band. But once we were successful enough to be offered something I got really scared because of the unknown. Traveling or making money or being able to take care of my rent and all that. I spiraled into a terror of fear and quit. I clung to the responsibility of having to finish school because that’s what I was supposed to do. So I decided to write the great American Novel. I figured I could write and keep a day job. Have a safe life. When all my friends moved away I started writing songs again. I felt bad to because I had quit music and felt like they all would hate me if I wrote anything new so I did it in hiding. Then I started playing again. I had no idea why. I had no plan. I had nothing. Just play gigs. Drink beer. Try and meet girls.

I was buying tons of records and playing in a little apartment I had making demos. I just played dive bars and stuff in Knoxville. I remember playing The Longbranch a few times. I just wanted to meet a nice girl, settle down and quit. I figured once I found love I’d quit the music thing. I met a girl. We moved to New York. I went up there thinking I could start fresh on that scene or get a real job, whichever happened first. One good thing about moving was it taught me that I could travel. I could leave home and the earth wouldn’t spin off its axis. But New York City, music and I didn’t jell. I couldn’t meet anyone. I had no music friends. I worked with a bunch of guys at a furniture store who were from the Bronx. They dug rap. So I got into rap. I never went out. I was too scared. I recorded demos. I played in my bathroom on my acoustic and made tapes. I pushed the tapes through the mail slot at the Rodeo Bar with a piece of paper taped to it with my phone number. That's how I tried to get a gig. I never talked to no one. I played an open mic once. So I decided to move to Nashville and try to be a songwriter. That way maybe I could write a hit and make a ton of money and be okay financially so I could feel okay to spend my time working on my songs. I was still terrible at meeting people. I stayed in the apartment. I’d go out sometimes and drink in a corner. I went to the Americana Fest one year and sat in a corner at 4 bars in 1 night. Never said Boo to no one. I met with like two Publishers in four years. Both said I was like Bob Dylan, probably not because I am - but because that was the closest thing they could think of. Both said I was way too artsy for anyone to cover. I had a few tunes I could hear as hits but no one else heard 'em that way. I finally made a record but I made it on my 4 track. I think Nashville thought it was a joke. At least anyone who heard it. I just couldn’t see spending money unless I knew I’d make it back. Didn’t feel like I deserved it. Well then I was done with it all again. I ended up living in Chelle Rose’s basement. She was always real good to me. Elizabeth (Cook) and Tim (Carroll) were nice to me. So in the basement, I had 30 or so songs written and I did the demos for them and decided to call it quits. So I quit again. But then my friend Greg needed a guitarist. He met a drummer named Shannon. I figured I’d play for fun. We got paid in pitchers. Then in 2008 I had songs again. This time I made a record for real in a studio. I melted my credit card and took some cash I had saved. So here I am now, but I have a wife and a family and feel really like I don’t need to be playing, like I’m too old and need to just focus on something worthwhile. But I can’t seem to help it. I love writing. I love playing and I figure for the first time in my life I’m going to try hard enough to see what happens. So I can’t say I ever knew a time that I thought music was it for me and I let myself think I could ever have it. Make sense? Music and I fight all the time. It hates me. I hate it. I still don’t even call myself a musician. I always joke that I play the spoons if someone asks me what I play. That was supposed to be an easy question wasn’t it? 

TBPC: Growing up in East Tennessee, who were some of the musicians that influenced you early on?

AH: Local ones or big time ones? Well in East Tennessee music is around. I remember all sorts of stuff. Growing up with WIVK. It was country. Back then when it was real cool stuff. Guess I sort of hated it when I was like 8 years old but later I loved that stuff. John Anderson, Oak Ridge Boys, all that kind of stuff. Don Williams. My Dad loved Dolly Parton. My mom had all these Ray Charles records and Brenda Lee and tons of crooners. Nat King Cole, Rosemary Clooney and stuff like that. Then I got into Robert Johnson because of the movie "Crossroads."  So, I got into blues. Then around 1985 when I was 12 or so I heard The Georgia Satellites and asked for a guitar for Christmas. I dug hard into The Beatles and The Stones. Then The Who really hit me. The angst of Pete Townshend really spoke to me. Country finally made sense to me I think when I saw the movie The Last Picture Show. I’d been writing lyrics and songs but never had my voice, I wanted to be like Bob Dylan and play guitar like Jimmy Page but then I saw the small town desolation of that movie and it clicked with me and the small town in East Tennessee I lived in. That and I fell in love with The Replacements. Paul (Westerberg) just made everything suddenly seem like it was on fire. I got the way that I wanted to express all the anxiety and fear and anger you get as a kid that’s kind of different and shy. But once country and The Mats happened to me I was pretty clear on what I wanted to do as a writer for the rest of my life. One of the first times I remember seeing a local band and being impressed was when I saw The Viceroys. Scott Miller and John Paul Keith. I saw them open for someone at The Bijou. Maybe it was The Bodeans. I was like - damn that rocked!  They were just smoking. Opening up with that Roger Miller song too. 

TBPC: One of the first things I noticed about you - was your unique songwriting style, You have a way of drawing people in and making them feel like they know who or what you're singing about. Did you start off writing as well as playing? Or did the writing come along later?

AHOh cool. Well thanks. Glad that comes across. I started writing as soon as I can remember. I was making my own comic books. I didn’t get a guitar until 1985 or 86 or so. After I heard The Georgia Satellites but I didn’t pick it up right away either. It ended up sitting in a corner. I had a bad Kay with an action that would be tough for a gorilla, much less a kid. But I was writing stories and drawing them since I could talk I guess. I was into Lennon and Dylan at first. Wanting to write like that. Which is just admiring something you can tell is really great but I had no idea how to turn something that was me. I had no idea what my vehicle looked like. So I wrote reams of lyrics for years. Then I got into guitar and would bash away on an A chord and sing song my songs to a tape deck. That continued on and on till this day. Just hopefully I’m improving as I go along.

TBPC: I've heard Chelle Rose cover your song, "Leona Barnett." As a songwriter, what's it like to hear someone else sing your songs?

AH: I always think wow I'm an awful singer. (Laughs)  Really, when I hear someone with a real voice it's always vindicating in a way. I feel like wow, see that was a real song. Julie that sings on my record she's like a pixie machine. I swear all she needs are wings and she'd fly around singing like a siren. When she added stuff to my songs it was like dang maybe i should just have her sing them. I love it when people do my tunes. I had hoped at one time I could make a living off it. Like a Cole Porter or something. I wanted to be this eccentric sort of southern shut in who had a thousand songs and people covered them and I bought cool suits with the cash. I've got other tunes I wrote with folks in mind but CR was the first one that fit. 

TBPC: You're a musician who's fought for what he has, struggled as to whether to leave it behind... yet kept coming back to it. What advice would you give to someone who might be going through something similar? 

AHGoodness, that's a good one. It's tough to see that you're not making good decisions when you're battling it all. I guess look up the definition of crazy and really believe it. I honestly feel like if I'd made better choices the last 13 years I'd be much farther along. Maybe hubris but I think that. I guess deciding you're in it would be good. Make sure you're not trying to sneak in the back door because that ain't gonna happen. Really if your worth doing it you'll never stop. You won't quit. Billy Joe Shaver said "I'd quit but there's no one to quit to." So if you're a writer, a real writer, it's a compulsion for life. 

TBPC: What can we expect from Adam Hill in 2011?

AH: Hopefully I can keep playing out of town once a month and play Nashville. I have a day job and a wife and 2 kids so this will be a juggling act. I hope to get some new recording equipment and start the task of doing songs I wrote from 1996 to 2006. There are a lot of them but about 40-50 are worth a second look, of that we'll distill down to 30 or so. Hoping to release, digitally, 3 records. It'll be hard but that's the goal. I want to get caught up with my past. I feel like they need to see the light.

TBPCAny parting words you'd like to leave us with?

AH:  Bear with me. Thanks I suppose. I used to always try and be cryptic on the parting glance but I'm too tired now.

Adam on the net: 

Photo Credits: Emily Rushton

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Fields Of Bluegrass Radio Hour's Cary Allen Fields

by Terry Mathley

Cary Allen Fields is a man who wears many hats.  Host of two different radio shows, husband, father, musician, founding board member of a new foundation, ambassador for Bluegrass, Americana and Roots music, and the list goes on and on.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Cary at the WICR studios in Indianapolis this week.  We discussed music, his two radio shows, the new foundation and the Central Indiana music scene.

T-Bone's Prime Cuts:  What drew you to Bluegrass music?

Cary Allen Fields:  The first place I ever heard bluegrass music was on an old Philco floor model radio w/ a beautiful walnut cabinet, it belonged to my granny. The kind you turn on and wait for the signal to fade in as the tubes warm up.  The channel presets are labeled "WSM," "WLW" (Cincinnati, OH), "WCKY" (Villa Hills, KY) that played both kinds of music. As in, traditional country and traditional bluegrass. Mom sang that stuff to us when we were kids, my love for the music is encoded into my DNA and rooted in family.

TBPC:  How old were you when you realized you wanted to be on the radio?

CAF:  You know, I didn't allow myself to ever think it possible. Despite the fact that radio, in Chicago where I grew up and Kentucky were I spent summers on my uncle's farm, did so much to shape my musical taste. When I look back now and see how in demand the mix tapes I made for my friends were, and how the content of those things was a reaction to how homogenized and formulaic radio became in the 80s and 90s, it was obvious I was moving in that direction without realizing it. I felt compelled to share great music that my friends might not have had an opportunity to hear otherwise, driven even.

TBPC:  Were there any DJ's that influenced your style?

CAF:  Wayne Rice, my good friend and host of "The Bluegrass Special" on KSON in San Diego, was the cat that demystified radio for me and made me say, "Hey, I want to do that!" Tim D of The Free Zone on WICR is the individual that gave me the shot and made it clear that I'd need to go genuine or go the hell home. When Tim showed me by example that honest music + honest producer/host = something that will shine out like gold when all around is dark, everything else fell into place.

TBPC:  How do you see the role of the internet when it comes to the future of radio?

CAF:  The internet can make a niche that might only have fans numbering in the thousands in a given community viable. If you're from a tiny town anywhere on the planet and you put you a kickass radio show together, you've got you a real shot at being heard despite the "locationally challenged" deal. Man, when you realize you got a family in Northern China and an individual in Norway listening each and every week, not only does it bring home the fact that bluegrass and roots music has serious international cred, it validates your parking on the planet! We're in our ninth year of streaming live on the web and we've received emails from places like Australia, Japan, the UK, and from all over North America.

This community of ours is perceived as "The Land of Bean Blossom" by the rest of the world. And along with inventing the form in the first place, that is a big part of Bill Monroe's legacy (Monroe was the park's founder). If you live in Indiana, love bluegrass, and haven't been to Bean Blossom to attend a festival, someone in Idaho, Brazil, or Okinowa is wondering what the hell you're waiting for. Europeans in particular have a real sense of how great Indiana is. They know the history, who came from here. Someone from Amsterdam is more likely to know who the great bluesman and long-time Indianapolis resident Yank Rachell is. We're working t
o remedy that. 

TBPC:  You were off the air for a short while here and during that time you received an outpouring of affection in the form of letters, calls and emails. How did that make you feel?

CAF:  Like this thing is a hell of a lot bigger than whether or not producing a radio show week in and week out is a comfortable fit with a "day job," and being a husband and father. When the show went away for a couple of months I was absolutely overwhelmed at the outpouring of support and affection. You wouldn't believe some of the letters, it was absolutely overwhelming how nice folks were. And for them to care enough to take the time to let us know they hated to see us hang it up. That means a whole lot. It's renewed my resolve. You know that musician that has a gorgeous song that deserves to be heard, sleeps in his car after playing a bar, drives for hours to play a 43 minute set to 11 people and makes $23 dollars? Me and that guy have more in common than I care to admit. And the sooner we stop seeing the business end of things as evil and embrace capitalism, the sooner we can quit our day jobs.

TBPC:  What advice do you have for someone interested in a career in radio? 

CAF:  Volunteer. The next Ira Glass, David Dye and Elizabeth Cook is interning at a public radio station somewhere, I guarantee. And I hear The University of Indianapolis has a pretty killer Communications Program, if you want to go that route.

TBPC:  Besides Bluegrass, what other kinds of music do you enjoy? 

CAF:  I like any kind of music that comes from here (points to his heart). If I'm being told a story that I can identify with by a voice as real as the day is long, I'm particularly receptive to that. And more often than not, that kind of music isn't over-produced. And there are no synthesizers, drum machines, or cheez-whiz in general. Americana music is all over the road like Otis on his way home from the liquor store. Bluegrass, soul, ragtime, Cajun, REAL country, singer/songwriter, jazz, old-timey,'s a BIG umbrella. The opportunity to host Redbud Radio is a direct reflection of what I'm spinnin' at home on the box. And I know a lot of folks out there are hearing the same thing when they hit 'random' on their player.

TBPC:  Speaking of Americana, how would you describe the Redbud Radio show?

CAF:  I have to admit, I think I've looked at the Americana charts like, twice in the couple of years we've been doing the thing. If we are on a Stax/Volt kick that week, or if it's Clarence White's birthday, or if we just got a new Charlie Pride boxed-set, what you hear is what you get. Don't get the impression you ain't going to hear the new James McMurtry, Otis Gibbs or Ray Wylie Hubbard release, though. The old "free form" FM radio shows I used to hear late at night when I was a kid, it's not unlike that thing. Doing a theme show featuring train songs, or illustrating the connection between bluegrass and the blues, those are fun programs to put together. You throw in an in-studio performance from some great area talent or a band that drops by the studio while they're in Indy, and you really got you something. 

TBPC:  What are some other jobs you've had?

CAF:  Whether I was x-raying welds on titanium rods used in nuclear power plant installations, digging post holes in the hot New Mexico desert, operating a forklift on a dock in South Chicago, or running my own commercial cleaning business, it was all just a means of getting me to the music. You got to pony up, whether you want to see Junior Wells at The Checkerboard Lounge, Loretta Lynn at The Little Nashville Opry, or follow The Grateful Dead around for a month. Nowadays, you can add "supporting the family" as motivation. 

TBPC:  What can you tell us about The Redbud Foundation?

CAF:  The Redbud Foundation is a non-profit in the start-up phase. A clear need for an organization that gives all the great artists that pass through Indianapolis a reason to stop in for a visit on their way to elsewhere was the impetus. And providing the community-at-large with opportunities to proliferate information, attend shows, and take pride in this scene of ours is the basic focus. Indy doesn't know how great it is, so part of this is simply education, too. Planting the seeds that will give us the music scene of a Austin, TX or Asheville, NC in a decade or two is something that takes community involvement, that's a fact

TBPC:  What can we expect from Cary Allen Fields in the next year?

CAF:  Man, we got some good things planned for 2011. I could sit here and tell you about new websites and business plans and ideas for incorporating new features into "The Fields of Bluegrass Radio Hour" and "Redbud Radio" all dang day. The important thing is, we have some excellent live music planned for the year ahead. Sure looking forward to sharing that with our fellow Hoosiers. And if the world outside of Indiana tunes in to hear what we have going on, we'll certainly welcome them with our famous Hoosier hospitality.

Fields Of Bluegrass:
The Redbud Foundation:

Photo Credits:
Top Photo- Haley Rae
Bottom Photo-  Dean Metcalf