THROUGH THE LENS: Brandi Carlile, Ani DiFranco, and Other Roots Music Photos of the Week
Jaime Wyatt - Photo by Kirk Stauffer
While there have no live in-person shows during the past seven weeks or so, the No Depression photographers were making their usual rounds in the clubs and concert halls before the coronavirus hit. Nine photographers and 17 performing artists grace the column this week, and as is my custom they display the invigorating diversity that’s so prevalent in roots music today, heavy on the Americana side.
New Projects by Jaime Wyatt, The Secret Sisters, and Ani DiFranco
Kirk Stauffer caught Jaime Wyatt, whose new album, Neon Cross, comes out next month. On it she plays the bad girl cruising the backstreets of LA as if they were the open prairies of the Old West, like a gunslinger aching for trouble. Rolling Stone premiered the video of the title track here.
Peter Dervin caught The Secret Sisters, with their luminous harmonies, who recently released a new album, Saturn Return. ND’s Jon Young called it “thoroughly compelling, addressing universal concerns with thoughtful eloquence. … Their well-tuned sense of empathy is deeply comforting.” That review also featured a couple of videos showcasing songs from the album.
Before The Highwomen, there was, and is, the original Highwoman: Ani DiFranco, caught by C. Elliott in a trio setting. Not resting on her Righteous Babe laurels, last year she published a memoir, No Walls and the Recurring Dream. In it she recounts in frank, honest, passionate, and often funny words her life up to the age of 30. Just two weeks ago, she launched Righteous Babe Radio, featuring her live music, book excerpts, talks, and interviews, as well as music of other artists on the label. Coincidentally, a 2010 performance from DiFranco is featured on this week’s Mountain Stage radio show.
Brandi Carlile, Amanda Shires, and Allison Moorer
Speaking of The Highwomen, this week includes photos of one-half of that four-member supergroup. Kirk offers photos of Brandi Carlile, and Peter shot Amanda Shires.
There are many others in our gallery who are also part of what has been labeled as The Highwomen Movement, notably Allison Moorer, photographed by Mark J. Smith. Blood, the title of both her album and memoir of last year, was a one-two punch like we have rarely seen before. The book was a fierce, unflinching, and extremely personal account of Moorer and her sister’s (Shelby Lynne) childhood growing up in a troubled home in Southern Alabama. The album served as a song cycle that directly connected to the people, emotions, trauma, and state of mind so eloquently detailed in the memoir.
Rachel Baiman, Red Tail Ring, and The Hackles
John Rominger caught three younger, yet no less deserving artists of note. First is ND columnist Rachel Baiman, whose latest addition to her column, The Long Haul, is timely with the title “A World Without Live Music.” She’s also an inspiring solo musician and participant in several ensembles.
Red Tail Ring is a fiddle/banjo and guitar duo from Michigan comprised of Michael Beauchamp and Laurel Premo. Several years ago in this column, I said they’re “so deep into the tradition that they are re-defining it,” which continues to be true.
The Hackles are another duo, Kati Claborn and Luke Ydstie, from another part of the country, Oregon. Atwood Magazine said their 2019 album, A Dobritch Did As A Dobritch Should, tells “stories from many walks of life, offering layers of meaningful lyricism through which their listeners may traipse with glee.”
Many thanks to the above-named photographers, as well as others whose work is featured in the gallery below. Specifically, Mary Andrews, Chris Griffy, Larry John Fowler, and Kevin Smith. The additional artists included below are Lyle Lovett, Hayes Carll, Eilen Jewell, Jerry Miller, Seth Walker, Sunny Sweeney, Allison Miller, and The Traveling McCourys.