Rank #1: Rayland Baxter
This week on the show, Z. meets up with songwriter and rock n' roller Rayland Baxter on the road in Las Vegas. Beyond Rayland Baxter's mellow, easy going demeanor, lies a deeply perceptive and sharp as a knife craftsman who takes his songwriting deadly serious. His newest record “Wide Awake” deepens his focus and finds him questioning the very existence of the American dream being bought and sold all around us.
Rank #2: Sunny War
This week, Zach speaks with folk blues guitarist and singer songwriter Sunny War. Turns out that while Sunny War was playing her poetic brand of punky blues on the rowdy boardwalk in Venice beach, host Zach Lupetin was living just up the block and walking past her everyday without noticing. She's come quite a long way since those days, having released three albums since 2014, culminating with 2018's breakout, "With The Sun."
Rank #3: Lindsay Lou
Zach talks with the honey-voiced singer songwriter Lindsay Lou. For over a decade she has been making slow-burning soulful roots music, first with her Michigan band the Flatbellies and now with her Nashville crew that tours under Lindsay Lou. They talk about how she joined the great Americana Band migration from Michigan to Nashville, the nuances of pleasing her punk rock mom with her evolving music, and they try out some new lullabies, because all of their friends are having babies.
Rank #4: Tim O'Brien
Starting in the late 1970s with the pioneering string band Hot Rize, Tim O’Brien has trailblazed a quietly powerful and influential solo career that includes 16 albums and multiple Grammy awards, writing what many consider to be the new standards of bluegrass music. Now that he’s a bluegrass elder statesmen, O’Brien has made the time to produce albums for a new crop of festival headliners like Yonder Mountain String Band and the Infamous Stringdusters. He’s recorded and toured with Mark Knopfler and Steve Martin, had his songs covered by the Dixie Chicks and Garth Brooks — not bad for the small, bespectacled kid from Wheeling, West Virginia who dropped out of college and headed west with the idea that maybe, just maybe — if he learned enough songs — he could make it.
Rank #5: The Mammals
Mike Merenda and Ruth Ungar of The Mammals talk to Zach about their devoted activism, big-hearted protest songs, and how songs can still make a difference.
Rank #6: Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn
For over three decades now Béla has quietly revolutionized how the banjo is played, recorded and perceived - taking it from of the front porches of Appalachia and into jazz clubs, symphony halls and rock stadiums from his hometown of New York City to Uganda and Tibet and back again. Meanwhile, Abigail has forged her own unique path. A fiercely intelligent songwriter and activist fluent in Mandarin, it’s been told she gave up on being a well regarded lawyer in China after a meditation retreat brought her to the realization that the banjo and not the briefcase was her destiny. After meeting at a Nashville square dance (yes that really happened), Béla and Abigail’s banjo explorations became one. Slowly they begun touring and recording together, and that’s where Zach caught up with them, on a rainy Wednesday on the UCLA campus in LA.
Rank #7: Birds of Chicago
Built around the electric energy of husband and wife duo Allison Russell and JT Nero, Birds of Chicago cook up a special brew of soulful rock n roll and goosebump-raising secular gospel music that is a much needed shot of pure and positive energy. The Show On The Road host Z. Lupetin had them over to his place in Los Angeles a few months back to talk about Allison's wild childhood in Monreal, their slow motion story of falling in love back in the windy city of Chicago, and how they now balance marriage and touring schedules with their adorable four year old daughter in tow. Presented by Nomad Goods.
Rank #8: Darlingside
Darlingside's Auyon Mukharj is this week's guest. He and Zach discuss his unexpected climb from being an unsure classical violinist as a kid to the height of the current folk music circuit.
Rank #9: Mandolin Orange
For nearly ten years, Mandolin Orange, the North Carolina folk duo comprising of Andrew Marlin and Emily Franz, have made their quietly powerful, deeply-entwined harmonies sing out from stages from Red Rocks to Newport Folk Fest. Zach talks with Emily and Andrew about how discussing Andrew’s southern family history and politics can be like fighting wildfires around the dinner table - and how Emily’s morning running routine has made her more in tune with each new city she arrives in on tour. Please stick around to end of the show where Andrew and Emily play an exclusive performance of “Wrecking Ball”.
Rank #10: Front Country
The boundary breaking bluegrass outfit Front Country is this week's guest. They are among the most fiercely intelligent, straight up wacky, and genuinely warm-hearted people playing music on the road today. The Show On Road host Z. Lupetin was initially only going to talk to a few band members for this episode, but this time the entire band got cozy and gathered around the mic for a casual and cool conversation. Song - "If Something Breaks"