Archive for the Mike Farris Category

Random Weekend Post: WDVX Blue Plate Special

Posted in Blue Plate Special, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Jay Clark, Mike Farris on November 7, 2009 by AmericanaPulse

Here are a few videos of performances at the WDVX Blue Plate Special. This is a live concert series that takes place every day at noon in down town Knoxville. Every day, people gather downtown to socialize, have lunch, and watch some live music. Did I mention that the shows are free to attend?

We’re in the middle of our Fall Fund Drive at WDVX. We are a listener supported radio station, and we rely heavily on listener donations to stay on the air. By making your tax deductible donation to WDVX you support programs like the Blue Plate Special and 24-7-365 programming of bluegrass, classic country, blues, folk, alt-country, and Americana music. You also help make sure that I have a job.

Sorry for the sales pitch… please enjoy some music from Mike Farris, The Carolina Chocolate Drops, and local favorite Jay Clark.

Jay’s performance took place on Halloween last year if you’re wondering. He doesn’t always dress like Elvis. He’s also joined onstage by a couple of other Knoxville favorites… Cruz Contreras of the Black Lillies on the Mandolin and Wade Hill on the banjo.

Random Weekend Post: Last Year’s Best New & Emerging Artist… Mike Farris

Posted in Mike Farris, The Steeldrivers on August 22, 2009 by AmericanaPulse

Yesterday, I introduced you to this year’s nominees for “Best New & Emerging Artist” at this year’s Americana Music Awards & Honors. Today, I’ll share with you the artist who won the award last year… Mike Farris.

Americana Music Awards: Best New/Emerging Artist

Posted in Americana Music Awards, Justin Townes Earle, Mike Farris, Ryan Bingham, The Steeldrivers on August 15, 2008 by AmericanaPulse

Above, you’ll find a picture of The Avett Brothers. The Avett’s were the winners of the Best New/Emerging Artist Award at the 2007 Americana Honors and Awards Show. They joined past winners Mindy Smith (2004), Mary Gauthier (2005), and The Greencards (2006) as winners of the award. 2004 was the first year for the award, as it was created after Kathleen Edwards’ stellar 2003 debut Failer was swept in all categories it was nominated for by Johnny Cash and “Hurt.”

This is one of my favorite awards because it highlights the future of the Americana genre. These are artists who are brand new to the scene or, in some cases, artists who have been struggling for years and are finally garnering some support on a large scale. This year features another solid group of performers.

And the nominees are…

Justin Townes Earle
Mike Farris
Ryan Bingham
The Steeldrivers

Justin Townes Earle is the son of Steve Earle, and is named for Townes Van Zandt. That’s not too much to live up to is it? Justin understandably developed a love for music and was playing in a couple of bands in Nashville by the time he was a teenager. He also spent some time playing in his father’s touring band, The Dukes, but was kicked out of the group due to his growing dependence on alcohol and drugs. Justin’s fifth overdose landed him in the hospital for several days and came at the tender age of 21. He decided it was time to clean up his act. Clean and sober, Justin self-released the EP Yuma in 2007. His debut album The Good Life followed in 2008.

Justin Townes Earle: Hard Livin’ (Buy Album)

The story of Mike Farris is similar to that of Justin Townes Earle. Like JT Earle, Farris had a promising career sidetracked by his addictions and has now put his life back together and found salvation in his music. Farris fronted the blues-based jam band Screamin’ Cheetah Wheelies in the 1990’s and also spent time as the singer for Double Trouble, Stevie Ray Vaughn’s old rhythm section. Farris’ demons kept holding him back, however, until he attended a friend’s funeral in 2004. There Farris decided it was time to turn a new page before he ended up in a coffin himself. His 2007 album, Salvation in Lights, is proof of his salvation, and a fine offering of rocking gospel blues.

Mike Farris: Can’t No Grave Hold My Body Down (Buy Album)

Ryan Bingham follows in the footsteps of all the other great Texas songwriters who have come before him. Bingham was born and raised in rural Texas where he worked for years as a ranch hand and rode on the competitive rodeo circuit. At age 17, he learned to play guitar from a neighbor who worked as a mariachi musician. He eventually started writing his own songs and began entertaining friends after rodeo shows. The songs on Binghams’s debut are often described as “road-weary,” and the 25-year-old songwriter comes by that label honestly. He’s certainly lived his share of “Hard Times.”

Ryan Bingham: Southside of Heaven (Buy Album)

Of course, The Steeldrivers, are my favorite in this category. I’ve mentioned them previously here and here, but I’m always happy to mention them again. Even if I hadn’t graduated from high school with lead vocalist/guitarist/songwriter, Chris Stapleton, I’m sure The Steeldrivers’ rough-edged bluegrass songs about hardened characters behind jailhouse walls would have still caught my ears. On the whole, The Steeldrivers are a tight band featuring songwriter Mike Henderson on mandolin, Tammy Rogers on fiddle and vocals, Richard Baily on banjo, and Mike Fleming on bass. All members of the group are Nashville session and songwriting veterans who are getting the chance to shine on their own here.

The Steeldrivers: Blue Side of the Mountain (Buy Album)

I’ve already said who I’m pulling for in this category, but listen to the tunes and decide for yourself. Leave comments below or vote in the poll to the right.

Update: It looks like Tift Merritt’s “Broken” was the winner in your voting for song of the year. Voting was pretty close with Hayes Carll’s “She Left Me for Jesus” leading most of the way. At the eleventh hour, however, Tift Merritt’s fan website found the poll and put her over the top.