She’s arguably the nation’s premier jazz vocalist, even if she doesn’t get as much publicity as Diana Krall or Cassandra Wilson. But Reeves’ triumphant album from 2001, The Calling: Celebrating Sarah Vaughan, was both a huge critical and commercial success, vaulting the charismatic singer into the upper echelon of vocalists who work in an improvisational framework. Reeves is equally accomplished doing Afro-Latin material, and has even written hit songs as a composer. She appears at Langford Auditorium as part of Vanderbilt’s Great Performances series.
This week’s picks by Todd Anderson, Martin Brady, Doug R. Brumley, David Cantwell, Chris Davis, Steve Erickson, Bill Friskics-Warren, Heather Johnson, Margaret Renkl, Jim Ridley, Jack Silverman, Angela Wibking and Ron Wynn.
Freedom Sings Freedom, and the liberty to take a stand and express opinions without censorship, weighs at the forefront of many people’s minds these days, including songwriters. In honor of this fundamental American value, the First Amendment Center presents another installment of “Freedom Sings,” a concert program designed to raise awareness of the connection between the power of music and free creative expression. Local favorites Bill Lloyd, Jonell Mosser, Greg Trooper, Beth Nielson Chapman, Webb Wilder, Will Kimbrough, Craig Krampf, Don Henry, Bob Delevante, Jason White, BR549’s Chuck Mead and others will perform protest anthems and songs that were once banned by the government, censored by radio, or deemed offensive by a large portion of the American public. Past highlights in the series, which takes place at the Bluebird Cafe, include Trooper’s rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s “American Skin (41 Shots)” and Chapman’s cover of “Strange Fruit,” a song about lynching once performed by Billie Holiday. H.J.
My Epiphany Neo-new wave is all the rage these days, as the likes of Interpol and The Liars have brought back the influence of early ’80s bands like Joy Division, Echo & The Bunnymen and Gang of Four. At their most interesting, My Epiphany fit into this movement. The band have a welcome tendency to throw absolutely anything into their mix: vibrato-laden guitar, analog synth burps and bleeps, very loud and cheesy synth-drum pounding. However, they tend to sabotage these leanings by relying on more conventional quiet verse/loud chorus structures. They play a 9 p.m. show at Tower Records on West End with Gnomes Over Moscow and Cab Over Pete. S.E.
Pat Coil & J-Word Sextet Pianist Coil is an outstanding soloist, inventive composer and experienced jazz artist whose credentials range from working on soundtracks to headlining at festivals and recording for various labels. Coil will in fact be doing a live recording session, along with the J-Word Sextet, at Cafe 123. R.W.
Todd Snider Snider continues to mature as a vocalist and writer; his current, alternately humorous and thought-provoking album might be his best yet. Whether you consider him a roots rocker, an alt-country type, a latent folkie or just a talented performer, Snider’s show at the Belcourt Theatre should attract those seeking some respite from the numbing properties of commercial radio. Singer-songwriter Amy Rigby (see below) opens. R.W.
Amy Rigby Rigby will have no trouble matching headliner Todd Snider’s wry wit when she opens for him at the Belcourt. Her no-bullshit approach to writing about deadbeat boyfriends, dating as a single parent and struggling with middle-age domesticity has made her the subject of women’s study courses and positive critical commentary. Rigby’s label, however, deleted her previous three albums from its catalog, but left us 18 Again, an excellent anthology of steel guitar-laced roadhouse rock. Unforgettable cuts include the gutsy “Balls,” where Rigby tells Mr. Commitment-phobe: “You’ve got a lot of balls / You don’t even care / Wish I could grow a pair.” Sounds like she’s already got ’em. H.J.
The Lone Official/Grown Up Wrongs/Dave Cloud Recently adding members of the bands Trophy and Character, The Lone Offical swelled from a spare trio to a jazz-infected indie-rock sextet, building on the Louisville indie sound as if they were jazz musicians. The Grown Up Wrongs, the Bluff City rock band led by former Nashvillian Karen Foster, offer faithful renderings of the Stonesy rock that gave them their name. They share a bill at The End with Nashville club warrior Dave Cloud. C.D.
Sightings/Hair Police/Dave Cloud Sightings are a Brooklyn-based trio that blur the lines between hardcore punk and the avant-garde in the same way that High Rise mesh free jazz and rock to create cacophonous, euphoric energy music that is both engaging and physical. The Hair Police from Lexington forge a new hardcore around absurd theatrics, group chanting and apoplectic riffs tightened up by constant touring. The hardest working man in Nashville rock, Dave Cloud (who plays the same night at The End), will close out this strong Springwater show. C.D.
Simon Brawl These Murfreesboro garage-rockers play punk rock ’n’ roll with punch and enthusiasm, their riffs and shouted refrains bringing to mind those of Mooney Suzuki and The (International) Noise Conspiracy, among others. Simon Brawl hit Red Rose with like-minded garagists, The Reverbians, as well as Casio Casanova. T.A.
Friday, 20th-Saturday, 21st
Lost Generation Lost Generation vocalist RC was a very successful hard rock performer in his native Yugoslavia, performing in large venues with a host of bands. After moving to Nashville in 1991, he eventually reformed his band Lost Generation with guitarists E Darnell Crabtree & David Snyder. Catch them this weekend when they stuff their arena-sized moves into the intimate day spa atmosphere of Elysian Inn. C.D.
Feable Weiner The men of the Weiner have been busyreally busy, and they’re about to get busier. They not only drop their pop punk-rock (a la New Found Glory, Nerf Herder, Weezer) on the Boro Bar and Grill Friday night, they also hit Tower Records at Opry Mills this Saturday at 4 p.m. If you’re under 21 and haven’t been able to check out the Weiner before, the latter affords you a great opportunity to do so. T.A.
Friday, 20th-Sunday, 22nd
Duke Ellington Tribute Edward Kennedy Ellington was a towering figure in 20th century American music, a magnificent pianist and a gifted composer and arranger who maintained a large orchestra from the ’20s until his death in 1974. This ambitious three-day event at the Scarritt-Bennett Center celebrates his legacy with a wide range of performances, lectures and seminars. Author Janna Tull Steed, who’s written extensively about Ellington’s sacred music, will be among the participants. Friday evening offers sessions entitled “Black & Tan Fantasie” and “Come Sunday: Duke Ellington’s Journey from Cotton Club to Sacred Concerts.” The Saturday jam sessions will include groups exploring all facets of Ellington’s music and Tull will lead a Sunday morning jazz workshop/worship service to conclude the event. Registration is available for the entire weekend, or tickets may be purchased for individual sessions. For more details, call 340-7543. R.W.
Alex Chilton There’s little need, at this point, to trace the arc of this legendary contrarian’s career. Chilton of course was the prime mover (with childhood friend Chris Bell) of Big Star, the most influentialand greatestpower pop band of all time. His solo career has been erratic and often dyspeptic, but from the cracked psychedelia of Like Flies on Sherbert to the jagged shards of “Bangkok” to “No Sex,” his horny plea for abstinence in the age of AIDS, it’s flashed more than its share of brilliance. Chilton has spent much of the last decade indulging his love of N’awlins messaround and crooning supper club leftoversthat is, when he isn’t taking part in Box Tops or Big Star reunion shows. He plays what is reportedly his only scheduled live date of 2002 at Slow Bar. Local guitar-pop heroes The Bees open. B.F-W.
S.D. Anderson A one-time protégé of the sorely overlooked jazz guitarist Lenny Breau, acoustic stylist Anderson, who formerly recorded for CBS/Holland and worked in New York, has moved back to town. He’ll be spotlighting the release of his new disc Essence as this week’s featured artist at Jazz on White Bridge Road. All of this month’s shows at Jazz are benefits for the YPAINT series, a program designed to stimulate interest in painting and the arts among children in city schools. Sketches of each week’s headliner by noted neo-futurist artist R. Lafayette Mitchell will be available to patrons who make donations to the program. Things get underway at 1 p.m. R.W.
Stefan Karlsson An especially flamboyant soloist, pianist Karlsson (who is also a member of the music faculty at North Texas State University) will be doing double duty during his stint in Nashville. He appears at an improvisational clinic sponsored by the Nashville Jazz Workshop from 2-4 p.m., and then performs at Club 123 later in the evening. For more details on the clinic, call 242-5299. R.W.
Doves/Atticus Fault There’s no telling how captivating Mancunian shoegazers Doves made it onto 102.9 FM-The Buzz’s daylong bill of post-grunge and/or radio-ready flavors of the moment, but we won’t complain. The trio’s current album, The Last Broadcast, combines lush atmospherics and bright guitar hooks into a sophisticated sound that is reason enough to pay $12 for a BuzzFest lawn seat. Local up-and-comers Atticus Fault, with their similarly expansive sound (though more in the vein of Coldplay or U2), also buck the prevailing cookie-cutter tendencies of the other BuzzFest actsalbeit to a lesser degree. The good news is that these two bands will undoubtedly be relegated to afternoon or early evening sets, allowing you to escape AmSouth Amphitheatre well before the likes of Nickelback, SR-71 and Stroke 9 take the stage. D.R.B.
Swearing At Motorists/Scout Niblett On This Flag Signals Goodbye, Swearing At Motorists songwriter Dave Doughman writes emotional memoranda from the perspective of someone who’s spent more than a little time on the road. Doughman has toured tirelessly, both as a soundman for many indie bands and with his own mercurial pop duo, sharing his roadworn insights with the direct wit and optimism of Jonathan Richman. Swearing At Motorists play Springwater with England’s answer to Cat Power, Scout Niblett, whose dynamic songs range from sparse high lonesome whispers to loud and emotional rock that recalls early PJ Harvey. C.D.
Matt Sharp Yes, that Matt Sharp. Weezer’s original bassist has been quiet since his band The Rentals released 1999’s Seven More Minutes. Most people thought he’d hung it up, but he’d actually moved to Leipers Fork to make a quiet, more intimate record with friends Josh Hagger and Greg Brown (ex-Cake). When Sharp emerged from 6 months of self-imposed exile, he decided to reconnect with his fans through unconventional acoustic shows. He and Brown have been touring cafes, theaters and other out-of-the-way venues. They play at Blue Sky Court. T.A.
Amelia White & the Blue Souvenirs This recent Beantown escapee, lured by the netherworld of the East Nashville music mafia, launches her first full-scale band assault in Nashville. White’s 2001 disc Blue Souvenirs is a winning mix of dreamy folk-rock and country roots (which are thankfully devoid of the self-conscious twang that is the downfall of too many Yankee transplants). Acoustic and electric guitars, Dobro, cello, drum loops, even a lunchbox, create an ethereal backdrop for reflective lyrics that are emotionally revealing though never maudlin. Catch White at East Nashville’s hip new hang, the Family Wash. J.S.
Ron Gaddis & The Fell Off The Wagon Band The voice behind The Voice, Ron Gaddis has been George Jones’ bandleader and harmony singer for 20 years now. When you match the impossible leaps and bounds of a master for that long, you learn a thing or two about singing. And Gaddis is an exceptional student, learning not only the lonesome lessons imparted by his boss but those of Merle, Moe Bandy and Mel Street as well. In an earlier era, he’d have graduated to stardom a long time ago. Instead, one of the best honky-tonk singers alive will be thrilling the crowd at American Legion-Post 82, 3204 Gallatin Rd. in Inglewood. For more information, call 228-3598. D.C.
M. Ward/The Bruces Ward plays solo acoustic guitar in a confessional songwriter style inspired by the transcendental fingerpicking and tape experimentalism of John Fahey and the jazz-tinged folk of Davy Graham. In-demand multi-instrumentalist Alex McManus, known for his work with Simon Joyner, Vic Chesnutt, Olivia Tremor Control and Lambchop, will debut his solo project The Bruces. McManus reveals himself as a powerful singer and a writer of deceptively simple songs that reward repeat listenings. Ward and The Bruces open for Bright Eyes (see below) at the Belcourt Theatre. C.D.
Bright Eyes After making a name for himself with simplistic yet emotionally charged four-track recordings of bedroom folk-pop, 22-year-old Conor Oberst has spent the past year or so spreading his wings. Not only has he fronted the loud, politically conscious rock group Desaparecidos, he brought in a small army of players to flesh out his latest Bright Eyes release, Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground. The fact that the Omaha, Neb., youngster is bringing a 15-piece orchestra along for his performance at the Belcourt Theatre hints at the pretension that prevented Lifted from being an indie-rock masterstroke. Still, we wouldn’t miss what is sure to be a unique audience with Oberst and his entourage. D.R.B.
The Big Heat Hard-boiled is too soft a term to fit Fritz Lang’s tough, scaldingly bleak 1953 crime drama, one of the week’s must-see movies. The German director’s American films frequently pitted a flawed hero against a shadowy network of pure corruption; the crusader here is honest cop Glenn Ford, whose battle with gangster Alexander Scourby turns him into an embittered, vindictive loner. Notorious for its still-shocking brutalityincluding punk Lee Marvin scarring his moll Gloria Grahame with a faceful of scalding coffeethis is essential film noir and one of Lang’s best American features. It screens on projected DVD 7 p.m. Friday at the Watkins Film School’s new Fountain Square auditorium, free and open to the public. See our Movie Listings on p. 73 for more information. J.R.
Gangster No. 1 A hit at this year’s Nashville Independent Film Festival, Paul McGuigan’s scary, stylish thriller sports a riveting performance by rising star Paul Bettany (A Beautiful Mind) as a hungry thug in Swinging ’60s London who beats and slashes his way up the mob chain of commandtoward the tenuous position of his own boss (David Thewlis). With Malcolm McDowell playing the Bettany character present-day, parallels to A Clockwork Orange are both inescapable and intended. Not for the faint of heart, the movie opens for a week’s run at the Belcourt Theatre, which holds over the Merchant Ivory comedy-drama The Mystic Masseur. J.R.
Pandora’s Box Nashville native Rob Hardy, who scored a modest indie success with his 2000 feature Trois, helmed this steamy erotic thriller about a psychiatrist (Monica Calhoun) drawn into a nightclub’s sinister sexual underworld. The cast includes Spawn’s Michael Jai White, Kristoff St. John and model Tyson Beckford; the independently released movie opens Friday at local theaters on its platform release throughout the South. J.R.
The Banger Sisters Staid suburbanite Susan Sarandon is confronted by her wild groupie past when her rock-chick sibling Goldie Hawn shows up on her doorstep. Screenwriter Bob Dolman (Willow) makes his directorial debut with this comedy, which features Geoffrey Rush, Erika Christensen and a song by Murfreesboro rockers Slack. If you don’t have a ticket when this opens Friday, try blowing an usher. J.R.
Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever The movie that inspired a video game that inspired a movie! Antonio Banderas and Lucy Liu play warring secret agents who are forced to train their firepower on a common foe. The young Thai director known as Kaos makes his English-language debut with this stops-out actioner; it opens Friday along with Shekhar Kapur’s epic retelling of The Four Feathers, starring Heath Ledger and Kate Hudson, and the Charlize Theron-Kevin Bacon thriller Trapped. For more information, see the Movie Listings on p. 73. J.R.
The Gatekeeper The newly formed Latin American Film Series drew several hundred people last month (including some high-profile political candidates) to its inaugural event at the Belcourt. At 7 p.m. Thursday, the series sponsors the local premiere of John Carlos Frey’s award-winning feature The Gatekeeper, a drama about a ruthless U.S. border patrolman (Frey) who experiences the terrors of migrant life during an undercover operation gone awry. A panel discussion and town meeting will follow the film at the Belcourt; for more information, call 846-3150. J.R.
Corrobo’Roo Australian Short Film Festival From an imperiled hitchhiker to the true workings of democracy, the subjects of these shorts form a cross-section of Australian culture. Blending animation, comedy and drama, this program of award-winning films from Down Under screens 7 p.m. Saturday at the Belcourt in a gala event that features musical performances by Anne McCue, Kylie Harris and didgeridoo virtuoso Wayne Roland-Brown. Did we mention the selection of Australian wines and Foster’s Lager? Tickets are $30, and a repeat screening will be held Sunday afternoon; the event is held in conjunction with the 6th Annual Australian Festival this weekend at Elmington Park. Write firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. J.R.
Sex and Lucia A woman looks back on the aftermath of a fiery affair in this elliptical erotic drama by palindromic Spanish auteur Julio Medem (Lovers of the Arctic Circle). It opens Friday at Green Hills, along with Sandra Goldbacher’s coming-of-age drama Me Without You. J.R.
Deux Jeunet Two films by French fantasist Jean-Pierre Jeunet: last year’s romantic blockbuster Amélie (Thursday and Friday), and the macabre post-apocalyptic comedy Delicatessen (Saturday and Sunday). The program kicks off a superb fall schedule at Vanderbilt’s Sarratt Cinema, along with a free showing of Shrek 3 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call the theater’s Cinema Hotline at 343-6666. J.R.
The Phantom of the Opera Between the music, the drama, the sets, the costumes and the acclaimed special effects, Phantom may rightfully stake its claim as the most successful entertainment venture of all time. Audiences love it, and they’ve clamored for its return. So TPAC is gratefully obliging by installing this blockbuster Andrew Lloyd Webber musical into Andrew Jackson Hall for a four-week run. The 36-member company, under the direction of Harold Prince, is headed up by Ted Keegan, a theater and concert hall veteran who has previously played the title role on Broadway. As the beautiful young opera singer Christinethe object of the tragic Phantom’s desperate affectionslyric coloratura Rebecca Pitcher offers a solid vocal background in classical performance. Likewise, she has appeared in Phantom’s Broadway cast. The show runs Sept. 25 through Oct. 19; for tickets and info, call 255-ARTS or visit www.tpac.org. M.B.
Stand by Your Man: The Tammy Wynette Story It was a big hit last year, so the Ryman Auditorium has seen fit to reprise this musical bio of the First Lady of Country Music. The production looks simply like a repeat staging of the 2001 success, with the lovely and talented Nicolette Hart in the title role, and Nashville songwriter/singer Jim Lauderdale again inhabiting the persona of Wynette’s most tempestuous old flame, George Jones. Nashville music biz veteran Billy Block joins the cast this time around. If you missed it last year, then by all means go. In its country cornpone way, it’s a very entertaining evening, and there’s loads of good music. Playing Sept. 19-Oct. 26; for tickets, call 889-3060 or 255-9600, or visit www.ryman.com. M.B.
Finer Things Make one stop and get two art openings Saturday at this Nolensville Road gallery. Outside on the grounds, there’s the Fourth Annual Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition with new works by Rusty Wolfe, Alan LeQuire, Doug Schatz, Steve Bennyworth, Elder Jones and eight others. Inside you’ll find Chris Cosnowski’s witty oil paintings and Kathleen Stephenson’s playful ceramic figures that suggest people gathered at a partyor an art opening. A reception for both shows is 4-8 p.m. Sept. 21. A.W.
Arts Company For most of his life, Nashville native Doug Williams (1933-2001) wasn’t an artistthough he lived a creative life. Educated in literature and classical music, Williams taught in Hawaii, Texas and Florida and then became a concert marimbist with symphony orchestras from Mexico City to Europe. Returning to Nashville in the 1970s, he worked as an interior designer, an impresario and a gallery owner. It wasn’t until the early 1990s, when he was diagnosed with a terminal illness, that Williams taught himself to paint and decided to create his own visual legacy. A new exhibit at The Arts Company showcases that legacy in 150 paintings. The show is accompanied by a full-color hardbound catalog, for sale at the gallery, that contains more than 500 images. The opening reception is 4-6 p.m. Sept. 21. A.W.
TAG Gallery A new show at this Hillsboro Village gallery spotlights works by three young artists working in the outsider mode. Wood sculptures by Indiana artist Kevin Titzer are paired with mixed-media paintings by Clint and Scott Griffin, two brothers from Canada. The opening reception is 6-9 p.m. Sept. 21. A.W.
Reading & Writing
Ann Patchett The Nashville-based author discusses her fourth and latest novel, Bel Canto, as part of the Lipscomb University Landiss Lecture Series. The PEN/ Faulkner 2002 winner and a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, the book has been receiving considerable notice of late. Patchett will appear 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19 in Room 108 of the Swang Center on the David Lipscomb campus. For information, call 279-5960.
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AGGGHHHH that last picture!