That radio countdown never sounded so sweet. Not since our first night on WSM in October 2009 did the top of the show – with its shot of Rob Ickes dobro and our emcee’s stentorian voice proclaiming us on the air from the Edge of Music City – have so much electricity for me. Yes, I know we send a video feed of MCR out over the internet across much greater distances than the footprint of an FM signal. But in my opinion, radio will always be the most refined and exciting and substantial medium – the one that matches technology and content in the most timeless and spiritual way.
I mean, think about it. The voices and instrumental sounds of Nashville’s finest musician and distinguished visiting talent went into microphones on stage, imprinting their nuances and truth onto a current of electricity. That signal went to a mixing board and then over an internet line to a studio in Murfreesboro where it was processed for broadcast and then sent a few more miles to a tower west of Percy Priest Lake where it was sent rippling across the land, reaching all of Middle Tennessee with rich analog fidelity. During the second set, I went out to listen in my car for a bit just to make sure it was real. After a number of months without that official radio home, we were back, and not on just any station, but a new Nashville-centric Americana station programmed by my friends and teammates, now known as WMOT/Roots Radio 89.5. It was a moving thing to hear.
Such elaborate hardware deserves top quality software and our guest artists brought it on this night dedicated to previewing the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Festival and celebrating the 1927 Bristol Session, as updated on the double album Orthophonic Joy.