Southern Strings and Stories With Craig Havighurst

It is easy to think of someone who has incredible talents and intellect as unapproachable, like they exist on some other plane of reality. If it were a question of bona fides, I would have some doubts about being on the same stage with someone on the level of Craig Havighurst. Taken from his bio, Craig is a writer, multi-media producer and speaker in Nashville who has won awards for his work in print, radio and television. He also wrote the book Air Castle of the South: WSM and the Making of Music City, and hosts The String, a weekly show on WMOT where he interviews music artists ranging from icons to those newer to the scene. The String is also podcast on platforms worldwide, and here, we collaborate on a special episode, calling it Southern Strings and Stories.

Having brought Craig onto this series as a commentator in 2018 (in our episode on Jim Lauderdale), we had in the time since talked about collaborating on an episode, and the inaugural Earl Scruggs Music Festival finally gave us our opportunity. There, we met and set up shop on a balcony overlooking the grounds of the Tryon International Equestrian Center, at the heart of the festival honoring the music and legacy of the iconic banjo player. The concept was simple: record our conversation and use it in both The String and Southern Songs and Stories, with our own individual intros and song selections. So here you have it: a warm conversation touching on everything from the festival’s namesake to other artists (many from western NC where Earl Scruggs was born and raised) like Aaron Burdett, River Whyless and Fireside Collective, as well as Nashville newcomer Cristina Vane, and others. We also delve into the music scenes in Asheville, NC, and Nashville, and get to know Craig a bit more with his spoken word bio, which lets everyone know from the jump that, while estimable, he is anything but unapproachable.

Craig Havighurst

Songs heard in this episode:

“Denver Plane” by Aaron Burdett, excerpt

“Promise Rings“ by River Whyless from Monoflora, except

“How You Doin’” by Crisitina Vane, from Make Myself Me Again, excerpt

“And the Rain Came Down” by Fireside Collective, from Across the Divide, excerpt

“Chattanooga” by Chatham Rabbits, from WNCW’s Crowd Around the Mic Vol. 23, excerpt

“Foggy Mountain Breakdown” by Flatt & Scruggs

Thanks for listening, and we would be even more grateful were you to share this episode with someone. It is super easy to follow us on your podcast platform of choice, and then it will only take a minute to give it a good rating, and on platforms with the option, a review. Great ratings and reviews will make Southern Songs and Stories and the artists it profiles more likely to be found by more people just like you.

Southern Songs and Stories is a part of the podcast lineup of Osiris Media, with all of the Osiris shows available here. You can also hear new episodes of this podcast on Bluegrass Planet Radio here. Thanks to Corrie Askew for producing the radio adaptations of this series on public radio WNCW, and to Joshua Meng, who wrote and performed our theme songs. This is Southern Songs and Stories: the music of the South and the artists who make it.   – Joe Kendrick