Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Son Volt "Hearts & Minds"

Sometime shortly after I have become Program Director at MVY, I was down at the Pub where I hung out.  One of my buddies was saying to a third guy:  "Did you hear that PJ got promoted at MVY?"

The third guy shrugged.  "MVY?  I stopped listening to them since they went country."

Went country?

The previous month, we'd done an On The Road trip to Merlefest, the premiere East Coast Americana music festival hosted by Doc Watson.

We gave it massive coverage on the air, playing cuts from bluegrass, country, roots and Americana artists not typically found in large supply on our station.

Was it wall-to-wall country?  No.  But here in the Northeast, a little country goes a long way.

It's always important to keep a good balance, and air only a moderate supply of songs that push away from the center-boundary of what is mvyradio.

If you look back at the old entry about how we choose songs for mvyradio, you'll see that I expressly mention that we're okay when we have a couple of Country-leaning songs.  Anything over that, and we risk sounding "too country."

So what do you do when there's a plethora of great, mvy-friendly country music out there?

We're suddenly deluged with great albums that can't really be ignored, by Son Volt, Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale, Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, and Steve Earle.  Not to mention the banjo and dobro inflected likes of The Avett Brothers, Mumford & Sons and Jerry Douglas.

I guess the answer is, you go with it. 

We can't not play the Steve Earle.  Or the Emmylou & Rodney.  It would be weird for MVY, long-time Earle and Harris supporters, to suddenly ignore a critically-praised major release of theirs.  And the curiosity factor of the Steve & Edie record alone is reason to play it---it's the kind of oddball release that listeners expect to have a place on our eclectic indie station.

I say this all the time to listeners who complain about hearing too much of one new song or another:  Songs come and songs go.  If you don't like this one, don't worry, it will run its course and fade. 

Three months from now, many of these songs will be gone from our "current" playlist, and the balance of the station will be restored, or will perhaps lean in another direction that we'll have to course-correct for.

In the meantime, we haven't "gone country."  We're just enjoying the twang.

Hear Son Volt on Youtube.

Hear Buddy & Jim on Youtube.

Hear Emmylou & Rodney on Youtube.

Hear Steve & Edie talk about their record on Youtube.

Hear Steve Earle on Youtube.

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