He landed in Nashville smack dab in the middle of the eighties with a crash, a fireball of rock and roll. Webb Wilder, tongue in cheek, with an oddball sense of humor that rode on a rockabilly beat and paid tribute to Elvis and Ricky Nelson, poked fun at the Music City’s sense of self-importance while at the same time respecting its roots. With his band The Beatnecks, Wilder was a Nashville local whose first love was rock, and for whom country music was, in the beginning, a guilty pleasure. As an artist he was the personification of the old line, "To Thine Own Self Be True."
For two hours on a February Saturday night, on the outskirts of Washington, DC, a little bayou magic managed to dispel the single digit wind chills. The location was the Museum of the Natural History of American Music, better known as the Birchmere. The evening was an exposition of sorts, a demonstration of what happens when a Cajun man gets the blues. The magician in charge of alchemy was none other than Tab Benoit.
The Birchmere hosts a diverse array of artists and shows, and for a listening room that started as a bluegrass club the calendar is broad and deep and wide, genre be damned, as the venue celebrates its 50th year in business. In a city that worships art and history, the Birchmere is the de facto Museum of American Music, Smithsonian take note.
Wednesday James McMurtry presented a masterclass in songwriting, performing solo to a packed house. The audience was dialed in from the outset, cheering enthusiastically for McMurtry’s son, Chris, who opened with a solid set of original material that showed real promise.
J.M. McSpadden III is a writer and a roots music enthusiast who believes that every life needs to find its own soundtrack, and every road trip is an opportunity to full tilt boogie. Let's face it, people, a car ain't nothin' but a stereo on wheels. A portable listening room.