wachiraimege1This week on The Music Room, we talk to Naomi Wachira, an up-and-coming musician who had been voted Seattle’s Best Folk Singer by the publication Seattle Weekly. Naomi and had recently released her first full length self-titles album, following up on her 2012 EP African Girl.

Naomi names musicians like Miriam Makeba and Tracy Chapman as two of her musical influences. She also draws inspiration both from her homeland of Kenya and her life as a citizen of the Pacific Northwestern United States, bringing references to biblical figures, Kikuyu lyrics and socially aware, hopeful songwriting along with her style of playing the acoustic guitar to create a sound that is unique and delightful to listen to.

Over the course of the interview, we talk about Naomi’s past and her culture and how it influences her songwriting process, her distinctness as a musical citizen of the world, the joys and trials of attempting to start up a music career, and the lengths she has gone to achieve her dreams.

You can find out more by visiting Naomi’s website, which includes information about upcoming performances and her album.

The Interview

Naomi Wachira (Recorded 3/24/14; original broadcast date: 4/15/14; host: Mandorichard), 29:53, 28.7 MB.

The Musicwachiraimage2

  • Artist / Song / Album (or note) / Label (or source) / Date / Notes
  • Naomi Wachira / You Better / Naomi Wachira / Self / 2014 / Excerpt
  • Naomi Wachira / African Girl / African Girl / Self / 2012
  • Naomi Wachira / I’m Alive / Naomi Wachira / Self / 2014
  • Naomi Wachira / I Know  / Naomi Wachira / Self / 2014

Comments No Comments »

nicholsonimageOn this edition of The Music Room, we spoke with Grammy Award nominated musician Darren Nicholson, the mandolin player of the bluegrass group Balsam Range. After being involved in over 25 albums released since 2002, collaborating with bands including Hazel Creek, The Crowe Brothers, the Alecia Nugent Band , and Audie Blaylock and Redline, Darren gives us a veteran’s perspective of the Bluegrass scene.

Over the course of the interview, we discuss the passion and friendly nature of the bluegrass community, Darren and his band mates’ experience living in Canton, NC, and how that influenced their album Papertown, and he previews their upcoming CD, expected in June of 2014. Darren also commented on several of the songs from Papertown, including the Gospel number “Row by Row.”

For more information, you can visit Darren’s website, Balsam Range’s website, and the homepage for the Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival, where he and Balsam Range are scheduled to play this summer.

The Interview

Darren Nicholson (Recorded 3/05/14; original broadcast date: 3/25/14; host: Mandorichard), 21:45, 21.0 MB. (Note: The songs released on Mountain Home/Crossroads were played in full on the radio broadcast, but are excerpted in the podcast version.)

Cover to Darren Nicholson's solo project

The Music

The following music is heard in this episode of The Music Room:

  • Artist / Song / Album (or note) / Label (or source) / Date / Notes
  • Darren Nicholson / Sugar Creek Gap / Things Left Undone / Bearded Baby Productions / 2013
  • Balsam Range / East Virginia Blues / Trains I Missed / Mountain Home, Crossroads / 2010 / Excerpt included in podcast
  • Balsam Range / Papertown / Papertown / Mountain Home, Crossroads / 2012 / Excerpt included in podcast
  • Balsam Range / Row by Row / Papertown / Mountain Home, Crossroads / 2012 / Excerpt included in podcast
  • Balsam Range / Born Ramblin’ Man / Papertown / Mountain Home, Crossroads / 2012 / Excerpt included in podcast

Comments No Comments »

NoraJaneStruthers

“When you go to a Carnival, you go into a sideshow tent, and on every stage you find a different person with a different story,” says Nora Jane Struthers. “That’s why I’m trying to do with this album – craft vignettes, and in some cases more developed narratives, about imaginary people’s lives.”

This was the mission statement for Nora Jane Struthers’ newest album, Carnival, the follow up on her award-winning self-titled album from 2010, which further displays Nora’s skills as both a vocalist and a songwriter of Americana music. Carnival also marks the recorded debut of her touring group, The Party Line, consisting of Joe Overton (clawhammer banjo and harmony vocals), Drew Lawhorn (drums), Nick DiSebastian (upright bass and guitar), and Jack Devereux (fiddle).

While Nora is rooted in the country tradition, through a combination of her songwriting, her voice and her presence both on and stage in recordings, she has advanced traditional country in great new ways. We discussed the song “I Heard the Bluebirds Singing,” a song from an album she recorded with her father, and the process behind the creation of Carnival, as well as her song-writing and use of imagery–rooted in the tradition, but contemporary, too.

For more information about Nora Jane and her music, view her website, which includes links to her discography and her touring schedule.

The Interview

Nora Jane Struthers (Recorded 3/05/14; original broadcast date: 3/18/14; host: Mandorichard), 26:48, 25.7 MB.

The interview will re-air on WVUD on Tue 4/01/14.

The Music

The following music is heard in this episode of The Music Room:

  • Artist / Song / Album (or note) / Label (or source) / Date / Notes
  • Dirt Road Sweetheart / I Heard the Bluebirds Singing / I Heard the Bluebirds Singing / Blue Pig Music / 2009 / Nora Jane and her dad, Al Struthers
  • Nora Jane Struthers and the Party Line / Bike Ride / Carnival / Blue Pig Music / 2013
  • Nora Jane Struthers / Mocking Bird / Nora Jane Struthers / Blue Pig Music / 2010
  • Bearfoot / Tell Me a Story / American Story / Compass / 2011 / (Excerpt in podcast; full version when aired on WVUD)

Comments No Comments »