About Bruce Sylvester

Bruce Sylvester produces "Troubadour," a weekly roots-music program on WMBR-FM (Cambridge, MA) and www.wmbr.org. His travels have included Turkey, Morocco, most recently Prague and, numerous times, Spain. Shakespeare, Margaret Atwood, Zora Neale Hurston, Lars Saabye Christensen and Steve Earle are among his favorite authors.

TENNESSEE ERNIE FORD: Portrait of an American Singer

Tennessee Ernie Ford Portrait of An American Singer

          TENNESSEE ERNIE FORD Portrait of an American Singer Bear Family 17332 www.bear-family.com   Have you ever felt like – to paraphrase “Sixteen Tons” – you owed your soul to the company store? October 17th marks the 60th anniversary of the release of Tennessee Ernie Ford’s … → read more

BOB DYLAN: Shadows In The Night

          Bob Dylan Shadows In The Night Columbia 88875057962 www.columbiarecords.com   I once asked the late Mimi Baez Farińa what Bob Dylan is like as a person. She replied that she didn’t know because she hadn’t seen him in awhile and he changes all the time. … → read more

GARY B REID: The Music of the Stanley Brothers

          Gary B. Reid The Music of the Stanley Brothers University of Illinois Press 978-0-252-08033-3 www.press.uillinois.edu   From the Blue Sky Boys and Monroe Brothers down through the Everlys, brother duets have created some of country music’s most thrilling work. Take southwestern Virginia’s Stanley Brothers. Years … → read more

HOWELLDEVINE: Modern Sounds of Ancient Juju

          HowellDevine Modern Sounds of Ancient Juju Arhoolie 550 www.arhoolie.com   In 2013, HowellDevine’s delightful Jumps, Boogies & Wobbles became the first new blues album that the roots-music devotees at Chris Strachwitz’s Arhoolie Records had released in 25 years. That speaks well for the relaxed but … → read more

LUCINDA WILLIAMS: Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone

            LUCINDA WILLIAMS Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone Highway 20 www.lucindawilliams.com   After Lucinda’s decades of songs of dead-end men, some fans feared that a good marriage would smooth her bone-lean writing’s jagged edges. Fortunately, that didn’t happen … though this two-CD, 20-song … → read more

VARIOUS ARTISTS: We Are The Music Makers!

        VARIOUS ARTISTS We Are The Music Makers!: Preserving      the Soul of America’s Music Music Maker Relief Foundation www.musicmaker.org   Founded in 1984, the North Carolina-based Music Maker Relief Foundation – led by Tim and Denise Duffy – is utterly pragmatic in its goals: preserving traditional southern … → read more

WHISKEY SHIVERS: Whiskey Shivers

          Whiskey Shivers Whiskey Shivers CBM 001 www.whiskeyshivers.com   Long ago, bluegrass was dubbed folk music in overdrive. Decades later, punk’s faster-and-louder ethos experienced a faster/who-needs-louder breakaway as a new generation pogoed to fiddle breakdowns and discovered a standup bass’s punk potential. The barefoot boys of … → read more

BOB DYLAN and THE BAND: The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 11

          Bob Dylan and The Band The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 11 Columbia Legacy 888750 161222 www.legacyrecordings.com   A legend in their time, Bob Dylan’s basement tapes were informal sessions recorded on three sites (one a basement) between March 1967 and February 1968 … → read more

VARIOUS: Look Again To The Wind: Johnny Cash’s Bitter Tears Revisited

  Various Artists Look Again To The Wind Sony Masterworks 06067 www.sonymasterworks.com       Forthcoming film: We’re Still Here: Johnny Cash’s Bitter Tears Revisited directed by Antonino D’Ambrosio Johnny Cash was “a holy terror … a dark and dangerous force of nature that also stood for mercy and justice … → read more