The most recent issue of okra magazine, that high quality, beautifully photographed quarterly, has my recent feature article on the new TV show on PBS, The Good Road. The article is centered around an episode of the show that features the hard work of a ministry called The Light of the Village. LOV works in one of the most poverty-stricken and violent neighborhoods in Alabama. find it here:
Eric Bibb, the prolific bluesman, singer-songwriter, and all-around folk troubadour rings in from Sweden to discuss his career, growing up in the sixties in the Village folk scene, and how the civil rights movement impacted his songwriting. And that's just part 1 !
At a time when so many are suffering with sickness and death, music sometimes can act as a divine instument of hope and healing. The Mockingbird published my first article with that journal this past week. Based on an earlier article I wrote about processing grief, but expanded for our current times, the folks at Mockingbird greenlighted it! You can find it here:
The new podcast is here! The Village Night Owl is available on ITunes, Spotify, Stitcher, I Heart Radio, and more! The first two episodes are up and feature Slide Guitar master Sonny Landreth and Country star Kelsey Waldon! More to come, including Art-folk duo Lowland Hum and Award winning bluesman Eric Bibb!
Find it here:
My feature story for okra magazine issue 10 is about two long-time friends who have created a travel show that will debut on PBS this April. But it is no ordinary travel show. It is filmed in a style reminiscent of Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown. But while Bourdain used food as his entry point to immerse into other cultures, Craig Martin and Earl Bridges take another route. They are self-described philanthropolgists. That is, they study and document the work of people doing charitable, or philanthropic, work. The show shines a light on those who work to help their fellow man, often in dangerous places. WETA is giving this show a big push, so, come April be on the lookout for it. In the meantime, here is the trailer for the show...
the Good Road trailer...
also check out their podcast Philanthropology...
So you may have noticed I took a lot of time off in 2019. I was working on other projects and some personal goals, but I am happy to say I am back! Watch for some news on the official launch of the podcast in the next week. And keep an eye out for okra magazine issue 10. It should land on the shelves at Books-a-Million and Barnes & Noble sometime in the next week or so. Issue 10 contains three stories of mine, including a profile on rising country star Kelsey Waldon, and my feature story on an excellent and exciting new PBS show called The Good Road. More on that in a moment...
You can subscribe here....
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band put on a damn fine show Friday Night at The Paramount. Recap to follow. In the meantime there are a couple of new pics over on the Gallery tab.
Ralph McTell's new album will be released in the US on September 27th!
The new record features a wonderful new song West 4th Street and Jones,
about a certain album cover from the 1960s. Keeping my fingers crossed for a US Tour in 2020, but who knows. A great songwriter and superb guitarist, one who continues to write and perform new material that we eagerly anticipate!!
I love writing for and helping edit okra magazine! In the next issue, issue 8, I will have three articles, including a story on one of my favorite bands, the subdudes. Should hit the stands around the end of August, first week of September - at all good Barnes and Noble stores throughout the south. Same for Books a Million and your better grocery stores.
As of next week I am slated to spend three days touring the Mountain Music Trail in West Virginia. The MMT is a 200 mile stretch of highway 219 that runs through 5 counties. This "trail" is a series of towns and venues that feature Bluegrass, old time, and Celtic music. This will be for a feature story in issue 9 on Heritage Music. This issue will also include my interview with slide guitar master Sonny Landreth.
There is more cool stuff on the way for issues 10 & 11 ! Look for a feature on the Southern Rock explosion that was Capricorn Records. And then a feature on a really cool new PBS show, The Good Road, debuting in April 2020.
If you go to okra magazine's FB page you will see they are giving away one free subscription per day throughout the month of August ! Go for it !
By the Way, the subdudes have their first record of new material coming out soon, either fall of 2019, or very early 2020! It is all recorded and mixed down, so count your blessings people !!!
I was perusing the archives on this site when I ran across a piece I wrote in 2014. I had forgotten about it. But when I reread the piece, it spoke to me. Often we can get overwhelmed by the journey we are on. But it is important to remember that we have much to be thankful for, and we need to celebrate those moments of simple joy that give us strength for the road....
over in the Rippling Waters tab....
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.