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: 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 #3: Rachel Baiman
Fiddler and banjo picker Rachel Baiman calls her mom on this week's episode of The Show On The Road with Z. Lupetin. A Chicago native, Rachel became an Illinois state fiddling champion as a teenager and later went on to form Ten String Symphony with fellow fiddler Christian Sedelmyer. Z talks with her about the gift and sacrifice of making music your life, and how her organization Folk Fights Back has given her and her fellow Nashville songwriters a way to directly challenge the policies of the current Presidential administration.
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 Accidentals
Z. chats with Michigan electric folk trio, The Accidentals. The two leading ladies of The Accidentals met as violin and cello playing high schoolers in Traverse City Michigan where it was love at first jam, and soon after they had the courage to say no to a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music, and have been making records and touring non stop ever since - all before they could even buy themselves a beer. The Accidentals's empowered cocktail of classically infused funky Americana got even more potent when they officially became a trio in 2014 when drummer Michael Dause joined in, and they quickly became precocious Michigan musical celebrities, opening for Brandi Carlisle, Andrew bird, and Rodriguez among others. This momentum got them national attention from a Billboard magazine adored appearance at South by Southwest, and eventually got them signed to a major label before they could be allowed to rent a car. Z. met up with the three of them in a hotel room at the Sisters Folk Fest in Oregon.
Rank #6: 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 #7: KOLARS
This week on the show, Z. talks to Rob Kolar and Lauren Brown of the theatrical space-rock duo KOLARS. Sure, many husband and wife bands try to stand out in their own way, but Rob and Lauren take it one step further. They’re both multi-talented multi-instrumentalists who create a sci-fi-inspired, jangly, joyful strain of roots rock that sounds much bigger than two people. Sometimes you just have to hear something to believe it.
Rank #8: 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 #9: Robbie Fulks
This week Zach talks to Chicago-based troubadour Robbie Fulks. They talk about how he's made his own brand of sharp-tongued country music for over three decades, and how he considers Hank Williams the Shakespeare of American Music. They also discuss how he’s become more fearless and less embarrassed to confront heartbreak and the darkness always lurking in America as he’s grown older.
Rank #10: Shook Twins
The Shook Twins are a psychedelic folk rock band out of Portland, Oregon, fronted by the effervescent twin sisters Laurie and Caitlin Shook. Zach talks to Laurie and Caitlin about their origins as renegade loop artists in Idaho, their process as songwriters, and how loneliness cannot exist when you have a twin sister.
Rank #11: 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 #12: 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 #13: Celeigh Cardinal
This week Z. speaks with the high priestess of Canadiana soul, Celeigh Cardinal. Growing up without having much connection to her indigenous heritage, Celeigh recently reconnected to the vibrant native community in Edmonton and has become a role model for young singers who may never have had the courage to make a name for themselves in Canada’s rich festival and concert circuit. In 2018 she was named the Indigenous Artist of the Year in Western Canada, and she just became the first indigenous DJ to get her own show on CKUA radio which reaches far across the Canadian prairies.
Rank #14: 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 #15: T Sisters
This week on the show, Z. speaks with Oakland’s soulful singing T Sisters. For this trio of sisters, singing harmony-rich songs isn't just their full time job, it's a way of life. It’s what they do - and damn do they do it well. Sisters Erika, Chloe and Rachel are harmonic masters. Whether it’s demonstrated in their sassy soulful originals accompanied by upright bass, guitar, banjo and mandolin, or with their delicious vocal-layer-cake covers of Kylie Monogue and Paul Simon hits, family runs deep through our music. T Sisters will be releasing their next EP, "We Are Bound", produced by Oliver Wood (The Wood Brothers) in March of 2019.
Rank #16: 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"
Rank #17: Jordie Lane and Clare Reynolds
This week Australian singer/songwriter Jordie Lane and his Aussie producing/harmonizing partner Clare Reynolds. Jordie has been making dark-hearted, voluptuously verbose folk music with a grinning rock ‘n roll spirit for nearly a decade. While he's just making a name for himself in the US, he's been playing huge venues all over Australia for years, as one of Melbourne's most beloved and respected roots music artists. Have a listen, and then tell your American amigos to give this Aussie kid a shot - you won't regret it.
Rank #18: Bhi Bhiman
Z. speaks with multi-talented songwriter, singer, guitar slinger and activist Bhi Bhiman. For nearly a decade Bhi Bhiman has been diligently crafting poetic protesty earworms with his masterful guitar work and fuzzed out harmony, and all along the way gaining some powerful friends and fans Like the late Chris Cornell who had Bhi sing with each night on tour a few years back. His newest project is called “Peace Of Mind”, and is being released week by week as an interactive political podcast album. He writes about our broken immigration policies, our abandoned mental health system, the continued fight for Women’s rights, voter suppression, and that’s just the first few songs off "Peace Of Mind". Somehow, he’s not preaching at you while he’s doing it. He’s simply putting a stunned smile on your face as you sing along with a renewed faith in the democratic process and freedom of speech.
Rank #19: Bobby Rush
At 85 years old, Bobby Rush has been playing his brand of lovably raunchy, acoustically crunchy and soulfully rowdy blues for over six decades. Starting from his days as part of the Southern migration from his hometown of Homer, Louisiana, to the south side of Chicago where he used to have Muddy Waters himself sub in for him when he couldn’t do a gig, Bobby Rush, who just won his first Grammy at the humble age of 83, has no plans of slowing down.
Rank #20: 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."