What a week for surprises! The Grammy nominations held a few, of course. We learned that, despite the fact Loretta Lynn toured with Willie Nelson a ton, she only recently tried weed. And we got some new music news from Hurray for the Riff Raff. Never a dull moment around here, y'all. Here are some highlights.
Sturgill Simpson made headlines with an Album of the Year Grammy nomination for A Sailor's Guide to the Earth, and roots music folks were rather nicely represented across several other categories. Of course there’s always buzz about who got overlooked. See all the nominees and weigh in with your opinion here.
’Tis the season for best-of lists. We’re building ours right now, with your help. Click here to vote in our Year-End Readers Poll for best albums of 2016. We’ll announce the results on Dec. 16. Meanwhile, you can browse the lists from some other cool folks, like NPR Music, Paste, and Bitter Southerner.
Three years after the release of Hurray for the Riff Raff’s amazing Small Town Heroes, Alynda Lee Segarra is back with something new: The Navigator, out March 10 on ATO. The 12 songs tell a story “of a wandering soul at a crossroads of identity and ancestral weight,” according to the announcement. You can listen to “Rican Beach” now on Spotify, and check the HFTRR website for a mile-long list of tour dates for the new year.
Was a time you could pop into your local record store or bookstore and see No Depression and Paste magazines sitting side by side. You swore to yourself you’d only buy one or the other this time, but you always came home with both and regretted nothing. Now we're back in print and we’re happy to welcome Paste back to the print game again, too. Hooray for (high-quality) paper! [Paste]
The Rolling Stones’ new album is a collection of covers paying tribute to the blues musicians who inspired the band’s members early on. The Stones bring their own sound to the songs while shining a light on the bluesmen and women who made them — folks like Lightnin’ Slim, Jimmy Reed, and Howlin’ Wolf. WXPN compiled a Spotify playlist with each Rolling Stones track from Blue & Lonesome alongside the original so you can listen back-to-back. [WXPN via NPR]
John Legend just released his fifth album, Darkness and Light, and the title track happens to include vocals by the Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard. You know you gotta hear that. [Paste]
Loretta Lynn told People that she tried pot to ease her glaucoma this year, and she wasn’t a fan. “I took one smoke off of it and it hit me right here in the chest. I like to have died! Glaucoma is just going to have to take over.” [Spin]
The wildfires that ravaged Gatlinburg, Tennessee, really hit home for Dolly Parton, who was born and raised in Sevier County. Her Dollywood Foundation will donate $1000 a month for six months to families who lost their homes in the fire, she announced last week. You can learn more about the effort and donate to it here. [USA Today]