Arts and Culture | Nashville Public Radio

Arts and Culture

Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

Banjo player Abigail Washburn has devoted much of her craft to bridging the divide between the United States and China. The Nashville-based artist performs in both countries and writes songs in both languages. Some people, it turns out, are more excited about that work than others.

Washburn talked to WPLN's Emily Siner in our live series and podcast Movers & Thinkers about the challenge of interpreting music from one culture to another.

courtesy Leon Russell Records

Leon Russell never was exactly a household name. But Elton John called the piano player and songwriter his idol. "He's the master, I'm the pupil," he said.

Leon Russell was a musician who worked his way to stardom and then nearly faded into obscurity. He died in his sleep over the weekend in Nashville.

Courtesy of Marjorie Eastman

Editor's note: Among the thousands of Americans who decided to join the military after 9/11 was Marjorie Eastman. Now living in Nashville, she recently wrote a book called The Frontline Generation that explores how her time as an Army captain shaped her and how the military has, in some ways, become more progressive than society at large.

As part of our series on identity and culture, Eastman reads an excerpt about a surprising encounter when she was boarding a plane in Texas after returning home from Afghanistan.

Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

Interpreters live at the intersection of disparate languages and cultures, and sometimes they are the only people who can make communication happen. How does that affect their identity? And what happens when they encounter boundaries they simply cannot cross? Featuring banjo player Abigail Washburn, Spanish-English interpreter David Morales and sign language interpreter Scott Baker. 

The properties in Nashville that are at risk of disappearing are bigger than ever. Local non-profit Historic Nashville Incorporated released its annual list of endangered buildings called “Nashville Nine,” on Sunday.  

This year’s list included the entire Cleveland Park neighborhood and Music Row, which preservationists say are at risk of being developed into oblivion.

Nashville Public Library

In its ongoing effort to chronicle the local music scene, the Nashville Public Library announced this week it has launched a streaming website, becoming the fourth library system in the nation to set up such a service.

Dillon Dodson / WPLN

Faith Hill and Tim McGraw were honored with stars number 73 and 74 on the Music City Walk of Fame on Wednesday, with guests including Mayor Megan Barry and Reba McEntire.

Celebrate Nashville
Celebrate Nashville

For decades, just 1 percent of Nashville’s population was comprised of foreign-born immigrants. Yet there came the idea for the “Celebrate Nashville” festival, which brings together immigrants and natives to build understanding. The city has become many times more diverse in the 20 years since, and the festival is also evolving.

Jean Shepard, one of the first women to find success in country music as a solo act, died Sunday at age 82. Shepard was a feisty, straight-shooting singer who created a career in an industry where she had few female role models.

Courtesy of T Bone Burnett

Editors Note: T Bone Burnett is a Grammy-winning producer whose O Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack helped ignite an American roots music insurgence over the past 15 years. He's worked with countless Nashville artists — from Roy Orbison to Gillian Welch — is a songwriter in his own right, and once played guitar in Bob Dylan's band.