A year ago, smart money would have said that the All Star Bluegrass Celebration taped at the Ryman Auditorium for PBS broadcast was a one-shot deal. Smart isn’t always right, though, and the bluegrass boom has showed unexpected staying power, so this year’s event presents a bigger lineup at a bigger venue. Most of last year’s artists, including Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, the Del McCoury Band, Nickel Creek and Ralph Stanley, make return appearances. They’ll be joined by some new additions too: International Bluegrass Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year Rhonda Vincent, The Whites, fiddler Vassar Clements and the sizzling-hot Mountain Heart, who can convert even the most sullen audience to bluegrass fanaticism. Topping off the upgrade, Vince Gillwho last year managed to play almost every bluegrass instrumentgets promoted to the role of host. Think of the 7:30 p.m. show at the Grand Ole Opry House as the ultimate indoor bluegrass festival, or simply as the leading contender for Nashville bluegrass event of the year. Tickets range from $24 to $60; for more information, call 255-9600 or go to www.allstarbluegrass.com.
This week’s picks by Todd Anderson, Martin Brady, Chris Davis, Paul Griffith, Heather Johnson, Bill Levine, Steve Morley, Jim Ridley, Joshua H. Rothkopf, Jack Silverman, Jon Weisberger, Angela Wibking and Ron Wynn.
Sherry Cothran If Aimee Mann had continued with ’Til Tuesday, her music would probably sound a lot like Who Let the World In, the first solo album from former Evinrudes singer Cothran. The punchy rock and withering sarcasm of the Evinrudes’ material is mostly absent from Cothran’s own songs, which are marked by panoramic pop arrangements, ascending choruses and an overall mood of falling-angel melancholy and spiritual yearning. If that makes Cothran out as some sort of Lilith Fair lace doily, let it be noted she knows how to balance abstract concerns and concrete imageryand that she rocks without straining for effect. Cothran’s said to be writing a song cycle about women of the Bible; she may be the only artist around here who could make that sound promising. She performs at 12th & Porter.
The Epoxies The Epoxies are a near-perfect tribute to the ’80s heyday of new wave, right down to their keytars, striped shirts and duct-taped accessories. As a mainstream response to punk rock, new wave all but dispensed with the likes of class anger and politics, instead favoring topics like cloning and shopping malls. The Epoxies build on that tradition by investing it with images of spaceships and atomic bombs from the idyllic ’50sanother time in which Republican-fueled paranoia was masked in madras. The Dutchies open the show at The End.
Lisa Aschmann CD Release Party A prolific songwriter with a pleasingly dark alto voice, Aschmann bills her new CD The Pear as “lullabies for adults,” which means mostly elegant, well-constructed love songs that dance across the line between folk and country. She’ll be performing them 9 p.m. at the Bluebird Café with help from co-writers including hitmaker John Tirro and Alison Krauss favorite Mark Simos.
The Craig Murphy Experience/Flesh Machine/The Reverbians Though Murfreesboro is only 30 miles down the road, the music scene there could hardly be more different from the desperately ambitious rat race of Music City. Typical is this show at The Boro, which features the giddy, unpretentious Murphy leading his band in a “Tribute to the Music of Poison,” brash heavy metal quartet Flesh Machine and surf punks The Reverbians.
Richard Ferreira Combining classic California soul and blues with Nashville roots-rock, guitarist-songwriter Ferreira turned in a winner last year with his much praised debut, Somewhereville. Even better live, he plays at Family Wash.
Bob Delevante As one-half of the sibling duo The Delevantes, Bob Delevante made sweetly twangy, propulsive roots-rock that owed as much to Buddy Holly as to his fellow Jersey native Bruce Springsteen in buoyant top-down mode. A graduate of New York’s Parsons School of Design, Delevante is also an accomplished photographer, as evinced by his new exhibit, which runs through April at Fido. From the Hoboken ferry to the Southwest, commonplace objects and deserted storefronts cast long shadows in Delevante’s stark black-and-white photos and triptychs: Although his images of the World Trade Center were shot the summer before the terrorist attacks, the Twin Towers already loom like broken ghosts. Fido launches the exhibit with a reception 6 p.m. next Wednesday. As a preview, Delevante plays songs from his upcoming album, Columbus and the Colossal Mistake, Friday at The Basement.
Dr. Bobby Jones & Nashville Super Choir Jones has been a national force in gospel music since 1980, when a show he developed and began in Nashville was picked up for national syndication by BET. Since then, he has become a prominent personality, a top choir leader, advocate and author. He performs with the Nashville Super Choir in a free concert 8:30 p.m. at the Living Word Community Church in Brentwood.
Llama The majority of the music on The World From Here, Llama’s 2002 sampler for MCA, reveals a song-oriented, somewhat radio-friendly approach, but their Web site paints a different picturethat of a hard-touring ensemble toiling toward success on the jam-band circuit. Perhaps this dichotomy explains their upcoming disbandment after this Exit/In swan song. Judging from their fan forumwith several correspondents pledging to drive six-plus hours to bid them farewellLlama offer an engaging live show, and mp3s of recent performances suggest a more ambient, modern approach to extended improvisation than that of their granola peers.
Bethany Dick A former contest fiddler from Montana, Dick moved to Nashville not long ago and has since landed gigs with Sara Evans and, on occasion, the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Guitar Player of the Year, Jim Hurst. With two dandy albums already under her belt, Dick has great instrumental chops, a winsome voice and blossoming talent as a songwriter. She brings her band to The Sutler.
Five Foot Annie/Luxury Stars Propelled by the power-chord riffing of California punk, Murfreesboro’s Five Foot Annie fuse simple hooks with energetic delivery; often, as in their song “Around,” it’s pretty irresistible. Giving FFA a run for their money, The Luxury Stars play power pop drenched in keyboards, fuzzy guitars and co-ed vocals. The two bands trade hooks at Faces in Murfreesboro when they play a benefit for MTSU’s Phi Alpha Social Work Honor Society Scholarship. Also on the bill are So Called Simple.
The Lost Generation Nothing says “romance” like a splitting earful of Sabbath-style thud metal pounded home by a Yugoslavian frontman. So use this occasion to congratulate Springwater booker Kara Nicks and her new husband Phillip Lambert on their recent exchange of Celtic wedding bands. Throw bouquets to openers Ruse and Apathy Orange at 9:30 p.m.
Spiritual Family Reunion Patty LeMay’s Spiritual Family Reunion approach performance with the unhurried grace of an afternoon walk. Held together by LeMay’s lush vocals and quiet reins, their relaxed ballads are better than those of most of the overhyped folkies who record for the Drag City label. Murfreesboro’s Lylas (Love You Like A Sister) open the Bean Central gig with wry, well-written tunes.
The Last Dance Soldiering on after the death last year of longtime drummer “Lucky” Ivan Dominguez, Orange County’s princes of darkness play a Dead Scene Productions show with Atlanta darkwave faves Salome’s Wish and Nashville’s Psomni. The show is at The Church.
Pimienta Negra One of Costa Rica’s hottest salsa bands play Club Caliente. Arrive at 8 p.m. for salsa dancing lessons before the 10 p.m. show.
Friday, 28th-Saturday, 29th
WRVU 50th Anniversary Birthday Bash Vanderbilt’s “91 on the One” celebrates its first half-century with the station’s trademarks: electronic dance music, turntable wizardry and left-of-the-dial indie rock. The big event is Friday’s free concert, which starts at 4 p.m. on the Alumni Lawn, an afternoon and evening of hooky, eclectic college rock featuring Austin, Texas’ smart, catchy and generally excellent Spoon, Athens, Ga.’s The Glands, Chapel Hill, N.C.’s Crooked Fingers, inventive local pop outfit The Features and several other acts. It’s open to the public, so prepare for parking hassles along West End. Following the show is an “after party” at The End with Audity Central DJs Chek, Jung, Emmerald, Mindub and Jolby, as well as Plural Z with singer Ruby Amanfu. The weekend wraps Saturday night with the “Shapes of Rhythm” reunion of “911 Emergency” duo Egon and Count Bass D at the Exit/In.
J.D. Crowe & The New South Crowe is on everyone’s short list of greatest banjo players ever, and the current edition of his longtime band, The New South, is one of the best everand with guys like Keith Whitley, Ricky Skaggs and Tony Rice among its alumni, that’s saying a lot. As of now, this Station Inn appearance looks to be their only Nashville visit this year, which makes it even more of a must-see event.
Detroit Cobras/Lucky Guns The neo-garage scene doesn’t get any more old-school than the Detroit Cobras. All they do is cover blues and R&B from way back, with Rachel Nagy’s voice exuding the sort of smoky soul that the Motor City once exported with more gusto than its automobiles. Joining the Cobras at the Slow Bar is Murfreesboro’s Lucky Guns, whose brand of garage rock has more in common with Ted Nugent than Martha & The Vandellas.
Lee Morgan’s Independent Movie Night You missed the promos on MTV (since there weren’t any); you missed the premiere on VH1 (since there wasn’t one). But you can still see Paul Booker & The Dynomite Operators: Behind the Music, Dickson director Morgan’s quasi-documentary tribute to the Nashville acid-slouch legend. We can just hear the narration now: “Paul Booker was riding high, but he was headed for a fall.” Shorts by local filmmakers, including Michael Carter, Eric Williams, Ryan Teetzen and Andrew Claiborne, round out the evening 8 p.m. at Springwater.
Magdalene House Benefit Formerly Stereoblis, Hether perform a benefit at Blue Sky Court for Magdalene House, an organization that helps prostitutes get off drugs and off the streets.
Coheed & Cambria The recently remodeled Muse nightclub is now big enough to accommodate the large numbers likely to be excited by the melodic emo rock of NYC-based Coheed & Cambria. Silent Friction and My Epiphany, both behind-the-scenes architects of The Muse’s modest success, share the bill.
Maserati Math-rockers from Athens, Ga., Maserati make a pit stop at Red Rose Coffee House in Murfreesboro.
Johnny Rawls Rawls’ growling, soulful vocals reflect the influence of the great O.V. Wright, in whose band he played guitar from the mid-’70s until Wright’s death in 1980. Rawls balances his masterful, gospel-influenced singing with fervid, often striking guitar solos and accompaniment. Unfortunately, he’s never enjoyed as much recognition here as he has overseas (particularly in England). He appears at Bourbon Street Blues & Boogie Bar.
White Stripes/ Wilco Coming-Out Party Tuesday marks the release of both the new White Stripes album Elephant (with an extra added attraction: bass!) and the goodie-loaded Plexifilm DVD of the Wilco documentary I Am Trying To Break Your Heart. Be the first on your block to hear, see and own them at this combination listening/screening party 9:30 p.m. at the Belcourt. The event is free, door prizes will be handed out and Grimey’s will have a stand set up to sell copies at the witching hour.
Tab Benoit After about 10 years of recording and touring nationally, blues guitarist Benoit can no longer be touted as the next Stevie Ray Vaughan. The comparison was never just in the first place, since his melange of styles has much more of a paced-out New Orleans and Bayou Country feel. As with so many of his blues forebears, Benoit’s raspy, understated vocals tend to either ride over or spill out the story between guitar lines. He and his band play at Bourbon Street Blues & Boogie Bar.
Rod Piazza & The Mighty Flyers A furious harmonica soloist on either chromatic or conventional blues harp, Piazza is also an increasingly versatile and convincing singer. He backed the great George “Harmonica” Smith for 15 years before forming his own unit and establishing the Mighty Flyers as arguably the hottest blues ensemble on the West Coast. They return to Nashville for an appearance at 3rd & Lindsley.
Art Garfunkel with Buddy Mondlock and Maia Sharp Garfunkel’s first co-written songs in his four-decade career were birthed in part by Mondlock and Sharp, resulting in Everything Waits To Be Noticed, a notable line of demarcation in the post-Simon phase of Artie’s work. Long dwarfed by the accomplishments of his former (and sometime) partner, Garfunkel isn’t the only overshadowed artist getting his due here: Gifted singer-songwriter Mondlock signed his late ’80s deal with publisher Bob Doyle around the same time Doyle signed a new guy named Garth Brooks. The same depth and sensitivity that eventually netted Mondlock a shot at writing with folkie legend Janis Ian gained Garfunkel’s artistic trust, opening the door to further collaboration. Sharp’s contemporary style and rich vocals provide the wild card. The trio play the Bluebird Café as part of Tin Pan South. For a full listing of Tin Pan South showsincluding the trio’s WNPT taping on Tuesdaysee the festival insert in this issue of the Scene.
Morvern Callar Samantha Morton’s mesmerizing performance in Lynne Ramsay’s second feature is reason enough to cheer the local arrival of this film, which follows a young woman’s reckless pursuit of liberty through expert denial, triggered by her boyfriend’s unexplained suicide. After discovering his corpse lying under the pulsating Christmas tree, she puts on makeup, goes to a party, gets messed up. But the morning brings a more radical plan: She drains his checking account, books a trip to Spain and mails off his unpublished manuscript to the bookhousesafter making one crucial edit to the byline. See this now before the rest of the world catches up with Ramsay on her next feature: an adaptation of Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones. The film opens Friday at the Belcourt; see the review on p. 37.
Open Hearts In Susanne Bier’s Dogme 95 weepie, the wife (Sonja Richter) of a paralyzed man strikes up an affair with his doctor (Mads Mikkelsen)who is married to the woman who caused the husband’s accident. The film opens Friday at Green Hills, along with Philip Seymour Hoffman as a grief-stricken widower in Todd Louiso’s Love, Liza.
The Core In this sci-fi disaster moviebasically a $100 million remake of Guy Maddin’s short “The Heart of the World”a failed U.S. military experiment spells doomsday unless a team can “jumpstart” the earth’s core of molten magma. The trailer has it all: exploding landmarks, Hilary Swank piloting a huge drill, and lots of awesome pseudoscientific jargon straight out of a 1950s giant-ant movie. It plunges into theaters Friday, followed by John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson in the unpromisingly titled Basic.
Head of State Chris Rock for president with Bernie Mac as his running matewhere were these guys three years ago? More to the point, what are they doing next year? Rock makes his directorial debut with this mild political comedy, which shot a wrestling scene here last year at the fairgrounds. It starts Friday.
Blue Collar Comedy Tour Dubbed by wags “The Caucasian Kings of Comedy,” this Jeff Foxworthy-Bill Engvall-Ron White-Larry the Cable Guy concert film may get the last laugh. The Gaylord Films production did so well in a test engagement that it’s getting a limited release, and it’s receiving a big push locally. Stars from the movie have been here all week to promote it. Either that, or there’s a Snap-On Tools convention somewhere in town we didn’t hear about. The movie starts Friday.
The Dancing Outlaw Reality TV should have it so good: a buckdancing yahoo who channels Elvis, violently berates his wife for shoddy egg-scrambling and lives a lifestyle you’d have sworn went out with yelling “Free Bird” at rock concerts. This public television documentary on would-be dance king Jesco White became a cult hit in the ’90s when touring musicians began cross-distributing dubbed copies. When you’re not laughing, you’ll be sitting in slack-jawed disbelief at the disturbingly real exploits of White, a self-proclaimed folk hero. (Ironically, his claim materialized, though presumably not for the reasons he wanted it to.) The film screens 9:30 p.m. Sunday at Slow Bar.
Poetic Justice Yes, it’s about a poet named Justicedo you really want to hear more? Writer-director John Singleton followed up his debut Boyz N the Hood with this 1993 misfire, which was hyped at the time as the vehicle that would carry Janet Jackson to movie stardom. Seen today, it’s more noteworthy for the breakthrough performance by her co-star Tupac Shakur, who’s slyly charismatic as a postman who delivers good news to Jackson’s hardened heart. There’s also a warm, generous interlude at a family reunion, featuring a cameo by Maya Angelou, that somewhat redeems all the tedious arguments and bogus shouting matches. The movie’s showing for free, 7 p.m. Friday at Watkins Film School.
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo For nearly 30 years, this all-male comic ballet troupe has regaled audiences worldwide, from major dance festivals in Vienna and Paris to concert halls in Japan and Australia. Though the general idea here is to elicit laughter through spoof performances of classics such as Swan Lake, the “Trocks,” 16 members strong, also offer dazzling technique that enhances the humor without compromising the artistic integrity of the dance. Two performances, April 2-3, take place at the Ingram Center for the Performing Arts.
Celtic Rhythms On Fire Mary Moran and the award-winning Nashville Irish Step Dancers offer three energetic performances March 29-30 at TPAC’s Polk Theater. The event is sponsored by O’Charley’s, with proceeds going to benefit NISD and to help underwrite individuals hoping to represent Nashville at the National Irish Dance Competition and the annual World Irish Dancing Competition. Local musicians and Celtic singers will collaborate with the 60 dancers in a diverse program featuring jigs, slip jigs, reels and hornpipes, but also exploring original and progressive styles of Irish music and choreography. For more information on NISD, phone 460-9550.
Betrayal For the first time in its history, Tennessee Repertory Theatre will mount a play by British dramatist and master absurdist Harold Pinter. Betrayal, the final entry in the Rep’s Off-Broadway Series for 2002-03, explores some essential facets of human relationships as viewed through the prism of a torturous love triangle. David Alford, Victoria Stilwell and David Sitler star under the direction of Brant Pope. The play will be performed March 27-April 5 in TPAC’s Johnson Theater.
Cultural Millennium III Michael L. Walker’s ongoing series of provocative spoken-word pieces reflects the challenges and triumphs of the African American experience, from the slave trade to the Harlem Renaissance to life in modern-day black communities. This third installment, which focuses on politics and family relationships, is expanded from last year’s presentation to include new vignettes as well as dance sequences. The cast includes Robert Hall, K. Danielle Rucker, Michael Johnson, LaKissha Robinson and the talented Kenneth Dozier. Performances are at the Darkhorse Theater, March 28-30. For tickets, phone 474-0161 or 300-1576.
Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse Nashville Children’s Theatre offers the final production of its 71st season March 31 through May 16. The play is adapted by Kevin Kling from three charming booksLilly’s Purple Plastic Purse; Julius, Baby of the World; and Chester’s Waywritten and illustrated by gifted children’s author Kevin Henkes, whose work finds delightful wit and warmth in the world of mice-children. NCT producing director Scot Copeland will direct, with incidental music by Paul Carrol Binkley and puppet design by Pete Carden. To order tickets, call 254-9103 weekdays between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Artists for Oasis It’s the 12th time around for this annual art show and fundraiser for Oasis Center, which provides an array of services for at-risk teens and their families in Middle Tennessee. This year, organizers are shaking things up a little with a fresh crop of artists and a different venue. Of the 14 exhibiting artists, 11 are new to the event and many of those are new to Nashville. The venue this year is the recently renovated Wilson Hall at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds, selected because it can accommodate the crowds that Artists for Oasis always attracts, and for the ample parking. The event kicks off with a French Moroccan theme gala, 6-9 p.m. March 28, with tickets $100 per person. The art viewing is free all day March 29.
SPOT Art Gallery Nolensville Road is Nashville’s most culturally diverse area, with Hispanic and Kurdish communities giving new life to the old street. That’s one of the things John and Wendy Watts love about the area. The couple say it reminds them of their old Brooklyn neighborhood, where they lived until Sept. 11 persuaded them to return to their family roots in Tennessee. John is a sculptor and a teacher at Watkins; Wendy is a graphic artist. They opened this art space late last year, and if you haven’t already dropped by, this weekend is an ideal time. A reception 7-9 p.m. Saturday kicks off a new show of Massood Taj’s brilliantly colored and patterned mandalascircular designs, symbolic of the universe, often used in Eastern meditation. To add to the multicultural mix, Pablo Garzon and his band Serenatta will be performing romantic Latin songs at the opening.
vanderbilt university fine arts gallery The second in a series of shows on significant contemporary female artists at the Vandy Fine Arts Gallery, “A Word Made Flesh” features works by New Yorker Leslie Dill. The artist’s large-scale photo-based tapestries merge images of the female body with Emily Dickinson’s poetry, in which the words of the 19th century American poet are literally drawn on human models. In addition to language and the human figure, Dill uses materials like cloth, thread and paperoften stained with teato explore the female condition. The show opens with a free reception 3-5 p.m. March 29.
Reading & Writing
Sterling Huck Huck (the nom de plume of writer/musician Bill DeMain) discusses and signs The Sterling Huck Letters, his collection of off-the-wall requests to various organizations and their dutiful, mostly unsuspecting replies. Whether he’s trying to con Charlton Heston into being the keynote speaker at a convention of simian intelligence called “Monkeyshines” or ordering specially made underpants with a flap in the back to accommodate his “vestigial tail,” Huck’s send-up of corporate culture never gets olda testament to DeMain’s creative and overactive mind. This is a book no coffee table should be without. He appears at Borders Books & Music Cafe, 545 Cool Springs Blvd., 1 p.m. March 29.
Chiller Cinema Taping Cable-access horror host Dr. Gangrene rips up the crypt in a live taping 9:30 p.m. Saturday at the Channel 19 studio on the Nashville Tech campus. The musical guest is Igor & the Humps, featuring members of The Reverbians and Trauma Team, and Hammer-horror authority Jonathan Malcolm Lampley will be on hand along with door prizes from Outer Limits Comics. It’s open to the public, so dig up a date.
Nashville’s Premier Spring Antiques Show Browse through the booths of 100 antique dealers from across the nation at the fairgrounds this weekend. Vendors range from Carter’s Cabin Antiques in Clarksville to Absolutely Fabulous Antiques in Pennsylvania. Choose from furniture, clocks, porcelain, glass, china, oil paintings, American Fiestaware, estate jewelry and just about anything else that’s a high-end collectible. The show is March 28-30.
Adopt-A-Soldier Chaffin’s Barn Dinner Theatre, in partnership with Christian radio station THE ONE-93.7/94.1 FM, will host a rally for U.S. soldiers on March 31 from 6-8 p.m. The Adopt-A-Soldier program was created by the Salem Music Network as a way to show support for U.S. military personnel here and abroad, specifically by providing an “Adopt-A-Soldier Care Pak.” Attendees may pick up a list of needs, purchase the appropriate items and return them to Chaffin’s, where a representative from THE ONE will see that our soldiers receive them. For information, visit www.theonenashville.com or www.dinnertheatre.com, or phone Martha Wilkinson at 646-9977, ext. 14.
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