Cornbread Cafe #13: The Black Bear Americana Music Festival

September 26, 2018

We celebrate the first inaugural Black Bear Americana Musics Festival with potent tracks from The Mammals, Adam Ezra Group, Belle of the Fall, The Nields, Whiskey Treaty Roadshow, The Rad Trads, Violetta Zironi, NuBluzRevue, and the Honey Whiskey Trio.

The Black Bear Americana Music Festival
First ever installment of this huge event to be held at the Goshen Fairgrounds just north of Litchfield, Conn., October 4–8.

Welcome! brothers and sisters to Episode #13—of the Cornbread Cafe, that new joint on the web offering tasty American Roots treats. We’re located at the five-corners of Americana, Blues, Country, Folk, and Gospel. And sometimes you can catch an express to Rock ’n’ Roll at the bus stop across the way.

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I am, of course, your host, the mongrel, a.k.a. Jay Vee, and it’s my distinct pleasure to serve up a show I know we’re all going to look back on some day with kind of a “Yup. I was there” satisfaction.

Featured in this Episode:

The Mammals • “Culture War” • Sunshiner
Adam Ezra Group • “Steal Your Daughter” • Hurricane Wind

Belle of the Fall • “They All Come Crashing Down” • Rise Up
The Nields • “You Don’t Have That Kind Of Time” • XVII

Whiskey Treaty Roadshow • “Jimmy The Whiskey Boy” • Whiskey Treaty Roadshow EP

The Rad Trads • “The Little Pie Blues” • On Tap
Violetta Zironi • “Little Wound” • single

NuBluzRevue • “Think Again” • NuBluzRevue
Honey Whiskey Trio • “Grim Reaper” • Rye Woman

Last episode we got to hear from Jim Olsen of Signature Sounds about the inaugural Arcadia Folk Festival going on September 30, in Northampton Mass. This time around, we hear from two of the organizers of the brand new Black Bear Americana Music Festival taking place October 4 through the 8 in Northwestern Connecticut. Beth Murphy and Ian Campbell dialed in to our studio late in the evening earlier this week to talk about the whys and hows of building this exciting new gathering from the ground up.

The Mammals

The Mammals

And how cool is that? Back to back shows about back to back nascent American Roots music festivals. This type of opportunity comes around less than once in a blue moon, and I am pleased to be able to bring you the news, interviews, and sampler platters of music you can expect to hear at these top flight festivals. It’ll be another lean back and loosen yer belt kind of episode.

We also continue our occasional series of music in the American Roots genre that thrives on foreign soil — “Americana Expat.” As promised, this episode we have the JUST released single, “Little Wound,” from Italian born Violetta Zironi—an artist I predict will be making her way into the festival circuit in the next year or two.

Plus, we’ll hear from a couple artists new to the show, as well as making sure we end this musical feast with a sweet finish courtesy our old friends, the Honey Whiskey Trio.’

Adam Ezra Group

The Adam Ezra Group

I already know we’re going to run over our 60-minute limit with this show, so let’s get right into it with our first Black Bear set, featuring the Adam Ezra Group and particularly smokin’ track, “Steal Your Daughter” off 2017’s Hurricane Wind. We’ll hear Belle of the Fall and the blistering “They All Came Crashing Down,” off their brandy new release Rise Up, and we’ll kick it all off with The Mammals, who also have a brand new album, Sunshiner, from which we’ll enjoy “Culture War,” right here on the Cornbread Cafe.

Again that was “They All Came Crashing Down,” from Belle of the Fall. The album, Rise Up, is Exhibit A for why I do this show and why we all gravitate towards American Roots. You can listen for no other reason than the satisfying overall sound, and then listen more closely and hear some real genius in the poetry, wit, and wisdom of the lyrics.

Belle of the Fall

Belle of the Fall

You find songwriters who fall at different points along the lyrical spectrum, sometimes simultaneously, in the Americana-verse. I think this emotional complexity is one of the things that draws people from all walks of life, all over the world, to the genre. Certainly that’s one reason that Katryna and Nerissa Nields continue to attract new audiences every season to their warm harmonic blend of Folk, with dashes of Gospel, Rock, Blues, and more here and there.

From their 2015 release XVII, let’s have a taste of what I’m talking about with “You Don’t Have that Kind of Time.”

You Don’t Have that Kind of Time, by the Nields, here on the Cornbread Cafe! And as I’ve already mentioned, we don’t have that kind of time either, if we’re gonna fit all the music we want to hear into this episode. That means we’d better get to our conversation with Black Bear Americana Music Festival founders Beth Murphy and Ian Campbell right…about…now!

The Nields

The Nields

Not unlike the bands themselves, really, when you think about it…

So, if you’ve been wondering “how does one bring a music festival to life,” well, now you have one explanation. Every festival will have its own creation story, but the common thread that runs through them all is that someone was crazy enough to come up with the idea and hard working enough to make it happen.

That tune was “The Little Pie Blues,” from none other than the Rad Trads off their brand new, amazing new album, On Tap. And other than to say that this new release is pure Americana heaven, I’m not going to say much else, since I’m working on setting up an interview with the Rad Trads this very week. If all goes mostly according to plan, we’ll actually get to hear about On Tap, and their just launched tour, from the artists themselves real soon.

The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow

The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow

And if we had to name a house band here at the Cornbread Cafe, it would be a pretty close race between just a couple/few acts, but without a doubt, the Whiskey Treaty Roadshow would be in the finals. (we interviewed the boys back in IE#23) They’ll be at Black Bear going on the first weekend in October, and I’m guessing you’ll get a chance to hear some of the tunes off their most recent, eponymous release as well as from their upcoming first full length studio album. And just maybe, if you go, you’ll get a chance to hear one of my favorites, “Jimmy the Whiskey Boy.”

Before that was the the Whiskey Treaty Roadshow with “Jimmy the Whiskey Boy.” Now you may or may not have heard yet, but these boys are in the studio early this fall to work on their first album since their debut live album “The Heart of the Run.” And let’s all pause to admire the juevos of any band that decides to debut with a live album, right? Anyway, no less a talent than Johhny Irion has signed on as producer of the album, so I for one am extremely excited to find out what comes out of this collaboration. And, of course, any sneak peaks or advance audio I get, I’ll share with you first. Check out Whiskey Treaty Roadshow’s Pledgmusic crowdfunding page at Only 25 days left as of today, September 25, 2018 to get in on this community effort so don’t delay. That link is also in the shownotes.

The Rad Trads

The Rad Trads

Speaking of sharing with you first…As promised, our new Americana Expat segment returns with an artist I hope will be joining the festival circuit in the next year or two. Certainly, her voice will stop you in your tracks, and her songwriting will cast a spell on you. The Italian born, Germany-based Violetta Zironi sent us an advance release of her new single earlier this month, and I’ve been dying to share it with you ever since. It’s been officially out in the wild less than a week now, so it gives me great pleasure to introduce you to the Alpha Romeo of Americana music, Violetta Zironi, with “Little Wound.”

If you loved that single, “Little Wound,” from Violetta Zironi, be sure to share this episode on the socials, and tag her so she knows her music is making it’s way across the Atlantic to all of us over here Stateside.

Violetta Zironi

Violetta Zironi

We have yet MORE brand new music for you still to come on this episode. The New York-based NuBluz Review has just released a self-titled album that gave me a little bit of a pause. Part of me wanted to save this next track for an upcoming episode celebrating the Blues and the Blues alone. But, truth be told, I’ve been giving the genre a whole lotta love these last few episodes, so I can’t exactly justify doing a whole Blues show for a bit yet.

So I won’t make you wait to hear one of the awesome tracks, “Think Again,” off this 2018 release. First though, I want to introduce you to one of a growing number of solo artists who are not only performing most, or all, of the instruments in their tunes, but also trying their hands at editing, mixing, and mastering their tracks, often with very impressive results. Such is the case, I’m sure you’ll agree, with Austin, Texas–born, and South Carolina based musician Aaron McMahon, and his brand new single, “Quicksand,” right here on the Cornbread Cafe.



And that last tune in this set was Grim Reaper, from the Honey Whiskey Trio, whose recent release, “Rye Woman,” is a musical and vocal tour de force that should definitely be in your CD or digital library. If and when the Cornbread Cafe launches our own American Roots music festival, I’m flying the Honeys out here to be a mainstage headliner.

For now though, we’ll just have to content ourselves with an upcoming episode since we have come to the end of this one. If you enjoy this show, I really hope you’ll help it to grow and thrive. Become a member by following the link in the sidebar at

The Honey Whiskey Trio

The Honey Whiskey Trio

I’ve been your host, the mongrel, and I do thank you for tuning in. By sure to drop by again for exclusive interviews with the Rad Trads, the Mammals, Violetta Zironi, Grant Malloy Smith, and more brilliant artists. Remember, links to all the artists we feature are always in the shownotes. Support the music you love—buy some.

Jason Velázquez

Jason Velázquez has worked in print and digital journalism and publishing for two decades.
Phone: (413) 776-5125

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