Many people dismiss the notion that music can be a force for social change, but never was that notion more evident than during the early days of the civil rights movement, when marchers and workers rallied around traditional spirituals and anthems of protest. “We Shall Overcome,” the song that’s most closely associated with movement, still resonates with those involved in battling oppression today. As testimony to this glorious tradition of marrying music and social change, the Main Public Library at 615 Church St. is sponsoring a program called “Music of the Civil Rights Movement.” Guy Carawan, who was a teacher at the Highlander Folk School in East Tennessee during the early ’60s, will be one of the activists attending this event. Carawan taught freedom songs to civil rights workers throughout the South in the late ’50s and early ’60s, and met his wife Candie, then an exchange student at Fisk University, while participating in the sins of 1960. They’ll be discussing and performing freedom songs with members of the Nashville Quartet, a group of American Baptist College students initially formed during the movement as well. Founding members of the quartet James Bevel and Bernard Lafayette will also perform. The event, which begins at 3 p.m., is free and open to the public. First Baptist Church, Capitol Hill, a congregation that played a crucial role in the civil rights movement, is sponsoring a free reception 2 p.m. at the Main Library as well.
This week’s picks by Todd Anderson, Martin Brady, David Cantwell, Jonathan Flax, Paul Griffith, MiChelle Jones, Mark Mays, Noel Murray, Margaret Renkl, Jim Ridley, Jack Silverman, Marcel Smith, Jon Weisberger, Angela Wibking and Ron Wynn.
The Robert Bowlin Band/Aubrey Haynie A former fiddle player for Bill Monroe who now plays guitar with the Osborne Brothers, the underappreciated Bowlin brings ace studio fiddler Aubrey Haynie, bassist Dennis Crouch and percussionist Kenny Malone to The Station Inn for an evening of bluegrass-based but free-ranging acoustic music. Matt King, an excellent hard country singer, will join them for a few numbers, and so will Lisa Shaffer, a young Kentuckian newly arrived in town and already turning heads.
Suzy Bogguss Bogguss’ achievements include winning the Academy of Country Music Top Female Vocalist honors in 1989 and the CMA Horizon Award in 1992. She’s now operating her own record label, for which she recently issued a fine Christmas album. Her latest move involves the forthcoming release of a Western swing-styled disc. Bogguss will demonstrate her affinity for jazz-influenced swing material, pre-rock pop and torch tunes at Café 123.
Jim Ballard Using keyboard, Tibetan bells, drums and conch shell, Ballard performs a concert at Art & Soul, a creative center on 12th Avenue South offering an array of art classes and musical events. Ballard’s music lifts the spirits and opens the heart and mind; his two-hour performance, which also includes individual sound portraits and audience participation, starts promptly at 7 p.m. For information, call 460-1161.
Doug Hoekstra Combo Hoekstra has two major new productions: his upcoming 17-song CD Waiting, on which he performed every instrument; and a baby son, Jude Aaron Hoekstra, born Nov. 4. Where better to toast the blessed events than East Nashville’s homey Family Wash, where the Hoekstra Combo play at 9:30 p.m.
John Hiatt Over 25 years and 16 albums, Hiatt has chiseled out for himself a reputation as a creator of melodies and song-stories that have spanned various genresfrom rock, acoustic and folk to new wave and Delta blues. Artists such as Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop, The Neville Brothers, Bonnie Raitt, Ronnie Milsap and B.B. King have covered his tunes. Hiatt will be the featured guest for the Blair School of Music’s “Conversations Series,” 8 p.m. in Blair’s Ingram Hall, free and open to the public; call 322-7651 to confirm seating availability.
Amelia White & The Blue Souvenirs/Sarah Siskind After having done time in the New England folk and Seattle alternative scenes, White moved to Nashville six months ago to focus on her songwriting. Her latest album, Blue Souvenirs is atmospheric, well crafted and aware, a fetching mix of her regional influences. White’s show at The Family Wash is part of a monthlong residency at the East Nashville pub. Sharing the bill is Siskind, who also has ties to Boston’s folk-rock infrastructure: Jennifer Kimball (of The Story) and jazz guitarist Bill Frisell make guest appearances on Covered, her aching, intelligent full-length debut.
2nd Chair Allstars In a honeycomb of international intrigue, a band called The Bees UK are releasing an album in North America, so the Nashville group The Bees have had to change the name to The Bees U.S. The buzzing American strain join the cream of Nashville’s indie-pop sceneincluding Josh Rouse, Joe Pisapia and David Meadfor a sort of song-pulling supergroup. This one-night wonder promises two back-to-back shows at 12th & Porter: an all-ages show at 7:30 p.m., followed by one for the old folks at 10.
Amy Rigby Last May, Rigby released 18 Again, an anthology of favorites culled from her three-record catalog of punky, intelligent lifesongs. She then embarked on her busiest year of touring yet and, in between gigs, somehow found time to record tracks for an upcoming fifth album. It’s likely we’ll get a preview of this new material when the hardesorking mom in show business plays the Basement.
DJ Emmerald Elevator Music Collective mainstay Emmerald lays down electronic-dance grooves at Spun Records, the new record store across from Café Coco on Louise Avenue.
The 28’s Join this barn-burning tribute group for a spin through Chuck Berry’s America, where hood races and cross-country travels are the stuff of Homeric balladry, where “motorvate” is a verb, and where hamburgers sizzle on an open griddle night and day. Dan Baird, Jack Irwin, Dave Rowe, Brent Little and Bryan Owings are the players this time around; it’s worth going just to watch Irwin, in the Johnnie Johnson role, pounding the white off the keys. His piano rocks so hard on its base that it threatens to crash through the floor. So does the band. They play at 3rd & Lindsley. J.R.
Kevin Gordon Birthday Bash Roots-rocker Gordon has plenty to celebrate. He had a song featured on the soundtrack of the Billy Bob Thornton film The Badge, which premiered last fall on cable to strong notices, and he’ll appear on Kate Campbell’s upcoming CD of ’70s country covers, playing Conway to Campbell’s Loretta on “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man.” Help him blow out his candles 9 p.m. at The Basement.
Mikron Singles Compilation CD Dustin Michael and DJ Justin “Dirty House Cat” Matthews begin a three-month series at Jazz featuring DJs spinning everything from electronica and trip-hop to jazz-influenced beats and house music. Michael is the executive director of Mikron Records, while Matthews is a regular participant at area house parties and at the Electric Lounge. Things kick off 1 p.m.
Steve Leslie, Jerry Salley, Chris Stapleton & Irene Kelly Kelley, Leslie and Salley are no strangers to the Bluebird Cafe, and their smart, contemporary takes on country and bluegrass have already netted them plenty of acclaim and a bushel of cuts on some of Nashville’s best albums. The combination is a strong bill on its own, but add the chance to catch newcomer Stapleton, an Eastern Kentucky native whose demos ramble freely from bluegrass to hardcore country to rootsy country-rock, and it becomes a musee. The in-the-round show starts at 6:30 p.m.
Lucero/The Lone Official Memphis’ Lucero and their back-to-basics rock have been getting some great press lately. Nashville’s The Lone Official deserve some good press as well, their quiet, spacious music bringing to mind indie heavyweights like Lambchop, Pavement and Stereolab. The two groups meet at The End.
The Shazam/Lucky Guns The Shazam’s stripped-down formula goes straight for the roots of power-pop: suburban American rock with a serious Anglophilic jones, with The Who and Cheap Trick as clear influences. They’ll be joined by Lucky Guns for a night of old-school rock at Slow Bar. T.A.
Crimson Sweet With Urban-Outfitted balladeers like Avril Lavigne being marketed as “punk,” it’s good to know that Polly Watson is out there. In a genre where style has always been a disproportionate threat to substance, the ferocious blond guitarist and her Lower East Side trio artfully perform punk’s hooky yet fatalistic balancing act. Crimson Sweet appear at Indienet along with The Sky Between and Freyed. P.G.
Cursive/Neva Dinova/Mercator Cursive’s songs are tense and tightly wound packages of demanding vocal melodies and dense guitar play, while Neva Dinova’s dreamy pop brings to mind shoegazing English bands. Murfreesboro’s most dynamic instrumental rockers, Mercator will walk the line between the two when they all play at Red Rose Coffee House & Bistro.
Oh Freedom As part of the Dr. Martin Luther King Day celebration, the American Negro Playwright Theatre, in cooperation with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, presents this musical/narrative journey celebrating the African American freedom movement. ANPT co-founder Barry Scott has compiled the production’s narrations, which are drawn from the writings of Frederick Douglass, Langston Hughes, Dr. King himself, and from the slave accounts of Gustavus Vassa. Scott will be joined onstage by Patti Austin in delivering the text. Meanwhile, the accompanying music is under the direction of Grammy-winning producer Sanchez Harley, with the concert selections ranging from a rhythmic African/Zulu chant to freedom songs to a classic Duke Ellington medley. Oh Freedom is part of the symphony’s annual “Let Freedom Sing!” concert. The program begins at 7 p.m. in TPAC’s Jackson Hall. M.B.
The New Power Trio While comparisons to Medeski, Martin & Wood might be tempting, The New Power Trio stick more to the jazz tradition, forgoing frenetic forays and earthy funk grooves for a less edgy, subtler Afro-Cuban and Brazilian approach. Pianist Nate Shaw and bassist John Crooks are thoughtful, talented players, but percussionist Mark Suter is the most intriguing ingredient, skipping the traditional jazz drum kit in favor of a variety of timbales, congas, cymbals and hand-held percussion instruments. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to see some new jazz lions, and to check out the Nashville Jazz Workshop’s hip, new environs at the site of the old Neuhoff meat packing plant.
Chris Walters CD Release Party Pianist Walters is an example of a growing Nashville phenomenon: a slammin’ hard-jazz player who lugs home the prosciutto working in country music’s trenches. He’s been musical director and keyboardist with Barbara Mandrell and Alabama, but local jazz fans know him more for his daring ivory explorations with the likes of Jeff Coffin and Pat Bergeson. His new CD, Cool Blue Swing, is a wholly different beastimagine a late-night session with Tom Waits mixing drinks for Randy Newman and Rickie Lee Jones. Simple, elegant arrangements sprinkled with tuba, accordion and clarinet showcase Walters’ gentle wit, romantic sense and reverence for the great 20th century pop composers. And like Newman, he has an appealingly underwrought vocal style that is more about heart than histrionics. Walters and bandmates Roy Agee, Jim Ferguson, Tommy G., Jeff Taylor and Paul Binkley will perform tunes from Cool Blue Swing at a free CD release party at Café 123.
George Winston Pianist Winston has been praised and vilified for helping popularize what is still most commonly known as New Age music. He plays in a soothing, serene fashion, a method abhorrent to some music fans, but one that’s made him a perennial best seller. The more interesting facet of his work is his love of Hawaiian slack-key guitar. He’s not only recorded songs in the style, but produced albums by other slack-key artists, and usually includes a couple of numbers in that vein in his live shows. Winston plays at the Ryman Auditorium.
Tommy Castro A soulful vocalist and flashy guitarist, Castro has been a mainstay of the West Coast blues scene since the mid-’90s, when his first two Blind Pig albums established him as a premier soloist and hard-rocking artist. Unlike many of his California peers who prefer jump-style or vintage R&B arrangements, Castro makes music that is completely contemporary. He returns to Bourbon Street Blues & Boogie Bar. R.W.
Glossary Murfreesboro’s Glossary have been hitting the road to promote the upcoming release of How We Handle Our Midnights, a record that finds them honing their sound to something like Southern rock with a liberal arts degree. It’s good, warm American rock ’n’ roll that doesn’t require a lobotomy and feels as easy as talking to an old friend. They play at 12th & Porter with Lucky Guns and The Drunk Stuntmen. T.A.
Terri Clark Clark is a naturally enthusiastic singer and energetic performer. Sometimes those qualities are reduced to caricature when she’s having to belt it to the back of some arena, so this show at the cozy Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge (where she got her start) should allow Clark an opportunity for more intimate and emotionally present versions of her woman-nexoor anthemsincluding “I Just Wanna Be Mad,” the first single from her juseleased album Pain to Kill. It’s a free show, but first come, first served.
Tuck and Patti Though you’ll find their records tucked away in the jazz vocal section, this husband-and-wife duo are perhaps best known for their simple reworkings of pop hits like Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time.” After eight albums, they’ve released their latest, Chocolate Moment, on their newly formed T&P label. Tuck and Patti play a free show 7:30 p.m. at the Borders on West End.
Hobex Chapel Hill’s Hobex started out as a Stax/Volnamored rock and soul trio, only to evolve wildly over six years and three albums. Now up to seven members, the band have morphed a bit, with horns added, and with newly evident acid jazz, ’70s funk and neo-swing tendencies. The group’s center is still the visceral singing and guitar playing of leader Greg Humphreys. Drawing comparisons to Van Morrison and Al Green, as well as Alex Chilton, he transcends Hobex’s otherwise jam-like aesthetic with taut arrangements and convincing, old-soul delivery. Expect cuts from their latest, U Ready, Man?, when they play at 3rd & Lindsley.
Feable Weiner/Second Saturday Prior to heading out on their first cross-country tour (self-booked), local smaropsters Feable Weiner tune up with a gig at Red Rose Coffee House & Bistro. Opening the show will be the slightly sweeter but no less catchy Second Saturday, who play new wave-ish power pop in the vein of Fountains of Wayne (but again, slightly sweeter). The band’s debut album, Here’s the Deal, exudes some of Brian Wilson’s summer lovin’ atmosphere, with spikes of electric guitar and buzzing synthesizer dragging the songs into, if not the present, then at least 1978. The record is remarkably tuneful, albeit a little cund-dried.
My Epiphany/Oliver’s Army/Silent Friction Three of Nashville’s most popular young groups come together at The End to blow some eardrums. My Epiphany play hardcore that’s sensitive and melodic, yet also dynamic and energetic. Oliver’s Army are more spastic, favoring nonlinear songs that turn and stop on a dime. Specializing in rock riffs and clever pop hooks, Silent Friction are the most accessible of the three.
Nashville Chamber Orchestra w/Turtle Island String Quartet Since 1985, the Turtle Island String Quartet have been doing what classical cellist Yo-Yo Ma calls “some of the most creative music-making today,” fusing classical musical craft with a wide range of contemporary American pop styles. Featured with the Nashville Chamber Orchestra this weekend, TISQ perform “Spider Dreams,” composed by their violinist David Balakrishnan. Also on the card are Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 and Schoenberg’s “Transfigured Night.” Friday’s concert happens at The Factory at Franklin, Saturday’s at the Blair School of Music’s Ingram Hall.
The Sleepy Time Gal For almost the past two years, critics and fans have been working to save Christopher Munch’s moving drama from distribution limbodespite a cast that includes Jacqueline Bisset, Martha Plimpton, Amy Madigan and In the Bedroom’s Nick Stahl. The Nashville Premieres group is among those trying to mobilize movie lovers on its behalf. The group is sponsoring a run through this weekend at the Belcourt, with proceeds going straight to Munch. With its intricate structure and examination of the worth of living, it makes an interesting companion piece to The Hoursand it’s better. See the review in our Movie Guide on p. 58.
Roger Dodger A musee for Campbell Scott’s sizzling performance as Roger, a self-styled lady-killer teaching his naïve nephew (Jesse Eisenberg) how to bag babes during a night on the town in New York. Dylan Kidd’s first film was one of the few good comedies released last year; if you missed it, check it out this Friday at the Belcourt, where it plays for one week only. See Donna Bowman’s review on p. 35.
The Pianist This engrossing Holocaust drama, adapted from the memoirs of Wladyslaw Szpilmana Jewish pianist and composer who watched the depletion of the Warsaw ghetto while hiding from the Nazisis the best film in a decade from director Roman Polanski. It opens Friday at Green Hills; it’s reviewed in our Movie Guide on p. 58. Also opening at Green Hills Friday: The Hours, starring Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore and Meryl Streep in Stephen Daldry’s screen version of the Michael Cunningham novel. Michael Kreyling discusses the film on p. 35.
International Film Forum Alfonso Cuarón’s rollicking sex comedy Y Tu Mamá También, a staple of many year-end Top 10 lists (including the Scene’s), is among the highlights of this four-day film festival at the Belcourt devoted to the immigrant experience and cinema from other cultures. Programmed by local filmmaker Yuri Cunza (“Under the Skin”), the selections include shorts (“The Shangri-La Cafe”), documentaries (Americanos: The Latino Experience in the U.S.) and features (the border-patrol drama The Gatekeeper). Food will also be available in the lobby. The event runs Thursday through Sunday; for more information, call 582-3757 or see our Movie Guide on p. 58.
Roll On Columbia: Woody Guthrie & the Bonneville Power Administration All month long and into February, the citywide Woody Guthrie 90th Year Celebration examines the folksinger’s ongoing legacy, as does a weekly Wednesday-night film series at the Belcourt. The Jan. 22 selection details Guthrie’s productive stint writing songs about the Columbia River for a Pacific Northwest power company in 1941. For more information, call 846-3150.
Two Towns of Jasper Five years ago in Jasper, Texas, three Caucasian men killed an African American man by dragging him behind a pickup truck. This documentary, which screens Jan. 15 at the Belcourt, then airs on TV later in the week accompanied by several related programs, examines the murder’s aftermath. An all-black crew filmed the black residents, while an all-white crew filmed the white residents; the resulting movie combines the footage into a cohesive narrative. Sadly, there is no evidence that the community was able to reach such a meldingin spite of some effort. ABC’s Nightline airs interviews with filmmakers Whitney Dow and Marco Williams as part of its “America in Black & White” series, 10:35 p.m. Jan. 21, while WNPT-Channel 8 airs the film 8 p.m. Jan. 22; WNPT will also air a live town meeting from Jasper, 8 p.m. Jan. 23.
The Hound of the Baskervilles It’s hard for casual fans of Sherlock Holmes to pass up a new adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s super-sleuth, and it is equally hard for die-hard fans to swallow some interpretations. What to do, then, with Masterpiece Theatre’s new production? After the late Jeremy Brett played the consummate Holmes, it would be hard for anyone to take on the role, so try to cut Richard Roxburgh (Moulin Rouge) some slack. Absolutely inexcusableand inexplicableis the changing of the story to include a long Christmas party scene and a change in Beryl Stapleton’s fate. So why bother watching? Two reasons: Richard E. Grant (Gosford Park) as an excellent evil Sir Henry Stapleton, and Ian Hart (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) as a Watson with enough pluck to overshadow his legendary associate. WNPT-Channel 8 airs The Hound of the Baskervilles 8 p.m. Jan. 19.
Aida This update of Verdi’s timeless operaset in ancient Egypt and concerning a courageous slave girl enmeshed in political intrigue and a tragic love triangleis the first big Broadway road show of TPAC’s 2003 season. The creative duo of Elton John and Tim Rice are responsible for the music and lyricswhich garnered both Tony and Grammy awardswith the production also benefiting from acclaimed sets and costumes, not to mention choreography by Wayne Cilento and the firm directorial guidance of veteran Robert Falls. It rolls into town Jan. 22 and settles in to TPAC’s Jackson Hall for a longer-than-usual run through Feb. 2.
Plowhaus Artist Co-op In a photography exhibit that explores the diversity of women’s roles in modern society, works by Watkins College of Art & Design students are paired with photos by untitled artist group members Camille Akers, Davis Burge, Ann Carver, Beth Hartman-Peters, Cynthia Marra, Vicki Pierce and Ellen Shanks. The show opens with a reception 6-9 p.m. Jan. 18.
The Renaissance Center Internationally known artist and Alabama native Nall Hollis not only makes art, he promotes other Alabama artists who do the same. His “Alabama Art” touring exhibit features paintings, photography, sculpture and folk quilts by 13 Alabamians. Also on view at the Dickson arts center are Hollis’ collage portraits of each of the artists included in the exhibit. Hollis, who studied with Salvador Dali, maintains homes in Huntsville and France, where he hosts workshops for Alabama students each summer. The opening reception is 6-9 p.m. Jan. 17.
Reading & Writing
Pat Conroy “The art of losing isn’t hard to master,” wrote the poet Elizabeth Bishop in a brilliant example of understated irony; “so many things seem filled with the intent / to be lost that their loss is no disaster.” Pat Conroy, whose capacity for earnestness is matched only by his distaste for understatement, could have used a bit of irony in his new memoir, My Losing Season, which chronicles his senior year on The Citadel’s mediocre basketball team: If ever losing something was not a disaster, this particular sporting season must surely be it. Still, fans of Conroy’s brutal honesty in describing family dysfunction will find much to love in the book, if only because the wretched Don Conroya.k.a. the Great Santinimakes regular appearances. Pat Conroy reads from My Losing Season at Davis-Kidd Booksellers, 7 p.m. Jan. 16.
Dr. Marilyn Tucker The title of Tucker’s 2001 cover story for Woman’s World Magazine was “The Diet That’s Making Nashville Slim.” Now this local pharmacist and practitioner of natural medicine has expanded her thesis into a book, The Nashville Diet. Central to her theory is the concept of “nutrient packing”: By identifying and maximizing the intake of its essential nutrients, the body detoxifies, resulting in a natural decrease in appetite and increase in energy. Tucker counts many Nashville stars among her satisfied clientsmaybe that’s why you never see Garth and Trisha in the Pancake Pantry anymore. She signs and discusses her book 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 18, at Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Brentwood.
William Hoffman In Hoffman’s new sequel to Tidewater Blood (which won the 1999 Hammett Award), Charley LeBlanc returns to his native West Virginia to enmesh himself in yet another dangerous murder mystery, and this time he’s got a tough and sexy girlfriend named Blackie in tow. Sounds like a totally cheesy premise for a bad book, but in fact, Hoffman’s an elegant and affecting writerhis fiction has won a boatload of meaningful literary awardsand fans of the thriller are in for another treat here. Hoffman reads from Wild Thorn at Davis-Kidd Booksellers on Jan. 21, 6 p.m.
Brian Mansfield and Les Leverett Local publishing house Rutledge Hill Press is bringing out the companion book to MCA’s new CD tribute to Patsy Cline, which features the late singer’s hits performed by today’s country hiakers. The book includes remembrances by Cline’s contemporaries as well as encomia by singers on the disc, but this is the first published collection of photographs of Patsy Cline, and the book’s best offering may be the pictures of Patsy on parade. Mansfield and Leverett discuss Remembering Patsy at Davis-Kidd on Jan. 22 at 6 p.m.
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