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Roots Notes: Jason Wilber's new radio show; Dierks Bentley's surprise winner



Indiana's Jason Wilber has put together an impressive radio show called In Search of a Song that features interviews with Americana legends and singer/songwriters. His interviews with John Prine (Wilber is Prine's guitar player) and Mary Gauthier are online now and he has upcoming shows in July with Todd Snider and Emmylou Harris. Well executed pieces, and worth checking out.


Sad and slow demise for Dr. Demento. The king of the parody records, who was inducted into the Comedy Music Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Radio Hall of Fame in 2009, Dr. pulled the plug on his legendary radio show last month, ending the radio run after 40 years. At its peak, Demento was syndicated to over 100 radio stations in the U.S. When Westwood One stopped distributing the show in 1992, Demento took over syndication himself. The number of stations carrying continued to fall, until, in the end, only six terrestrial stations remained. He will continue to do shows and you can listen online - for $2 a show. The next story is whether his fans pay to hear "Mr. Jaws" or "I Like Bananas Because They Have No Bones"?


Dr. Demento appeared on NPR's Morning Edition recently, to talk about the changes. Hear the interview and read the story here

I'm not one to love every mainstream country artist, but Dierks Bentley has a new album worth talking about. In the past, his albums, usually dependable ear candy, would coast on great hooks and the sturdy country/pop/rock Nashville sound. But I've seen the live show and he's more rock than pretty boy. His new record, Up on the Ridge - a bluegrass album - is a winner by balancing artistic desire (let's go bluegrass!) with a well-honed ear for what that pop hook is. He blends the two ideas, and it works. I say one of the best country albums of the year - and this from a writer who can't help but lean towards loud guitars and banging drums...

The music and recordings sound fantastic, and nobody went into post-production and tried to add the garish Rascal Flatts vibe-killing Nashville shine. Throw in apearances by Kris Kristofferson and Miranda Lambert, and a surprisingly effective cover of U2's "Pride (In the Name of Love)" and you get a unique - with nods to old and new - sound.


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