A Few Honest Words: The Kentucky Roots of Popular Music by Jason Howard

By Jason Howard

In circles, musicians from Kentucky are identified to own an enviable pedigree -- a lineage as prized because the bloodline of any bluegrass-raised Thoroughbred. With local little children like Naomi and Wynonna Judd, Loretta Lynn, the Everly Brothers, Joan Osborne, and Merle Travis, it truly is no ask yourself that the nation is frequently linked to people, kingdom, and bluegrass music.

But Kentucky's contribution to American tune is way broader: it is the wealthy and resonant cello of Ben Sollee, the velvet crooning of jazz nice Helen Humes, and the famed vibraphone of Lionel Hampton. it truly is exemplified through hip-hop artists just like the Nappy Roots and indie folks rockers just like the Watson Twins. It is going past the hallowed mandolin of invoice Monroe and banjo of the Osborne Brothers to surround the genres of blues, jazz, rock, gospel, and hip-hop.

A Few sincere Words explores how Kentucky's panorama, tradition, and traditions have encouraged striking modern musicians. that includes intimate interviews with loved ones names (Naomi Judd, Joan Osborne, and Dwight Yoakam), rising artists, and native musicians, writer Jason Howard's wealthy and specific profiles display the significance of the nation and the Appalachian area to the production and function of tune in America.

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Extra info for A Few Honest Words: The Kentucky Roots of Popular Music

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After recording a quiet album called Turn on the Moon, Ben turned his attention to the songs that became Learning to Bend. With politically colored songs like “A Few Honest Words” and Ben’s reworking of “A Change Is Gonna Come,” the record became part of the national zeitgeist when it was released in 2008 amid the forces of change unleashed by Barack Obama’s bid for the presidency. “It rode this wave as if I was talking about the Obama campaign,” Ben recalls, “as if ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ was some type of fuck you to the Bush administration and some type of big push behind Obama.

We ended up meeting,” Daniel continues. “We had coffee and just talked about music. ” Ben convinced Daniel to partner on an EP, and together they recruited My Morning Jacket front man and fellow Kentuckian Jim James to come aboard as producer. But the two new friends swiftly realized that the project required a full-length album, an opus that fused the influences of Kentucky’s natural world with its storied musical heritage. “We ex- 51 A Few Honest Words Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore, backed by Daniel Joseph Dorff, at a concert in Louisville.

They quickly fill up the seventy seats in the small studio, and soon another sound is added to the improvised orchestra—the rustling of brown paper bags being opened as sandwiches and potato chips are consumed. This is the meal portion of WFPK Radio Louisville’s Live Lunch, a Friday afternoon institution that has featured roots artists such as John Hiatt, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, and the Drive-By Truckers, along with a variety of local and regional musicians, over the years. Today on the makeshift stage, Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore are intent on tuning their instruments.

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