Ken Stearns Introduces Us To Five Artists
From The USA You Should Get To Know
Ken Stearns presents the acclaimed radio show HeartBeatTrue Radio Playing the Wide Open Country...whatever the heck that is !
Broadcasting locally on 100.1 WGOT in Gainesville, Florida and broadcasting worldwide on Blues & Roots Radio, Ken plays a wide range of genres from Roots, Rock, Alt-Country, Folk, Singer-Songwriter, Bluegrass, Blues and Americana, at HeartBeatTrue Radio it’s all Wide Open Country.
We asked Ken who we should be listening to.
Caleb Caudle wanted an earthy, funky sound for his new album. He assembled several Grammy-winning musicians to chase it down in the Cash Cabin, a small place with a big history.
A large sound emerged from the little cabin, which Johnny Cash built in 1979 as a private sanctuary near his home outside Nashville. It evolved into a recording studio more than a decade later. Since then the rustic structure has hosted sessions by everyone from Loretta Lynn and Emmylou Harris to Jamey Johnson and Todd Snider, as well as Cash’s own work on his acclaimed series of American Recordings. Caudle and Jackson used the space to create a dramatic, compelling record.
The debut album from Katie Pruitt, Expectations is a glowingly detailed collection of real-life stories, a courageous document of coming of age in a sometimes-unwelcoming world. With a narrative voice at turns poetic and unaffected, the Georgia-bred singer/songwriter/guitarist treads endlessly complex emotional ground: mental illness, toxic relationships, the frustration and shame of growing up gay in the Christian South. But by speaking her truth with sensitivity and grit, Pruitt ultimately arrives at a self-acceptance that’s both hard-won and happily defiant.
Co-produced by Pruitt and her close friend Michael Robinson at the home studio of Rounder Records’ Gary Paczosa, Expectations gracefully showcases her captivating voice—an instrument that alternately soars and howls and softens to a near-whisper. And while the album unfolds in a guitar-fueled sound steeped in folk and country and rock-and-roll, each track stays centered on the lucid songwriting that recently landed Pruitt on a “20 Artists To Watch In 2019” from NPR.
John Moreland: Over the last half a dozen years or so, John Moreland’s honesty has stunned us––and stung. As he put hurts we didn’t even realize we had or shared into his songs, we sang along. And we felt better. But there has always been far more to Moreland than sad songs. Today, his earthbound poetry remains potent, but in addition to his world-weary candor, Moreland’s music smolders with gentle wisdom, flashes of wit and joy, and compassion, and once again, as we listen, we feel better.
Out February 2020, his latest album LP5 proves John Moreland has gotten really good at being John Moreland––thank God. A masterful display of songwriting by one of today’s best young practitioners of the art form, LP5 is Moreland’s finest record to date. The album’s experimentations with instrumentation and sounds capture an artist whose confidence has grown, all without abandoning the hardy roots rock bed and the lyrics-first approach Moreland’s work demands.
Lilly Hiatt felt lost. She’d just returned home from the better part of a year on tour in support of her acclaimed third album, Trinity Lane, and, stripped of the daily rituals and direction of life on the road, she found herself alone with her thoughts for the first time in what felt like ages.
So Hiatt did what’s always come most natural to her in times of questioning and uncertainty: she picked up a guitar. Over the course of the ensuing winter, she wrote a mountain of new music that grappled with her sense of self and place in the world, reckoning with issues that had been bubbling beneath the surface of her subconscious in some cases for years. The result is Walking Proof, Hiatt’s fourth and most probing collection to date. Produced by former Cage the Elephant guitarist Lincoln Parish, the record walks the line between Hiatt’s rough, rock and roll exterior and her tender, country roots, exuding a bold vulnerability as she takes a deep and unflinching look in the mirror. What emerges is a newfound maturity in Hiatt’s writing, an abiding sense of calm in the face of chaos as she learns that sometimes, you have to let go in order to get what you want most.
John Baumann: It’s a familiar sentiment to most anyone who’s felt like they’re teetering on the precipice of making their next step, taking their next leap out into the world. John has had a busy last few years — he’s a member of The Panhandlers, with fellow Texans Josh Abbott, William Clark Green and Cleto Cordero, and signed on with The Next Waltz, the Texas-based brainchild of legendary songwriter Bruce Robison, for management. He’s also continued to prove himself as a promising songwriter within his home state and beyond its borders, with Kenny Chesney recording “Gulf Moon” for 2018’s Songs for the Saints.
We asked Ken to suggest five artists, but, he couldn't resist giving us a bonus one we should be listening to...
Courtney Marie Andrews: Singer-songwriter Courtney Marie Andrews released her new album Old Flowers on June 5th via Fat Possum Records. Old Flowers is about heartbreak, it is about loving and caring for the person you know you can’t be with.