The Nashville Jug Band reconvene at Douglas Corner to toast one of their own, Steve Runkle, a mainstay of the local performing and songwriting community who, after suffering a series of strokes, died in hospice Aug. 9 at the age of 49. Perhaps best known for writing “Love Song,” a #1 country hit for the Oak Ridge Boys in 1983, Runkle was a staff songwriter at Combine Music, the progressive Music Row publishing house that also numbered Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson, and Jerry Reed among its writers. Runkle, who moved to town from North Carolina in 1971, played with Dave Olney and the X-Rays, unsung Nashville siren Tomi Lunsford, and beach music legend Clifford Curry. He was also a member of the Contenders; the semi-legendary Carolina collective included Tommy Goldsmith, Champ Hood, Walter Hyatt, Jimbeau Walsh, and David Ball. “Runk,” who was recording his first solo album when he got sick, also worked for years at Gruhn Guitars, a place where, surrounded by music and musicians, friends say he was in his element. Pat McLaughlin, though, put it best when, recalling his old friend, he said, “You always loved to see him coming.” Proceeds from the Jug Band’s 6 p.m. show, which will feature McLaughlin, Olney, Goldsmith, and fellow regulars Jill Klein, Ed Dye, Fred LaBour, Dennis Crouch, Mike Henderson, Blaine Sprouse, and Sam Bush, among others, will help pay some of Runkle’s outstanding hospital bills.
Keb’ Mo’ Kevin Moore, a.k.a. Keb’ Mo’, helped rekindle interest in traditional Delta and country blues when he first surfaced in the mid-’90s. Mo’ has always been a wonderful narrator and singer, but not as consistent as an instrumentalist. He’s never been able to top his Handy-award winning self-titled debut, but in recent years has made some inroads into the children’s market while continuing to make good, if frequently derivative blues dates. Since Mo’ is paired with the eclectic Nashville ensemble Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, it isn’t hard to imagine a scenario where they might assist Mo’ on a tune or two. Things get started at Riverfront Park at 5:30 p.m.
Eliza Gilkyson Third-generation folkie Gilkyson is probably best known for her 1987 record Pilgrims and her subsequent early-’90s collaboration with harpist Andreas Vollenweider, but her new album, Hard Times in Babylon, proves she’s a lot more interesting grounded in rootsy instrumentation than in New Agey atmospherics. Over the years, her voice has taken on a Patti Smith-like huskiness that packs authority into her earthiest lyrics, and the new album’s “Engineer Bill” is a potent incantation of raw need powered by some nifty insect-guitar soloing. Gilkyson (whose victims’ anthem “Rosie Strike Back” was strongly covered by Roseanne Cash) makes a Music City stop at the Bluebird Cafe.
Thursday, 16th-Saturday, 18th
BoroStock 2001 Instead of peace, love, and flowers, you get noise, fun, and beer at this three-day shindig, which has evolved over the past 12 years into Murfreesboro’s local-music event of the summera gathering of jam bands, punks, folkies, bluegrassers, and biker-bar rockers at the Greenland Drive hangout The Boro. Thursday’s line-up leans toward the acoustic, with the music of The Don Clark Trio, Two Souls Left, the ever-popular Laughing Storm Dogs, the Biscuit Boys, Duncan May, and Mile 8. Friday starts out quietly but builds to a roar with Big Vessel, Rosewater Foundation, Ejecta, The Juan Prophet Organization, The Davenports, The Flesh Machine, and Neuvox. The festival comes to an all-day climax Saturday, starting with a bluesy matinee of Pale Horse, Rae’s Court, Under Shade, Blind Joe Love, and Mojo Filter. From there out, it’s zero-to-60 mayhem revving up with Kele June, Joe Gates, Borne, Grover Smiley, and Murfreesboro’s unofficial Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Gonzo. And believe us, you don’t want to miss the Craig Murphy Experience, in which the Boo Boo Bunny frontman croons a set ofyou guessed itTom Jones covers. Bring the family, and play lots of darts.
Jen Cohen With a rich, expressive voice, and a style that integrates jazz, blues, gospel, and rock, this arresting local singer-songwriter is one of the rare roots performers who gives traditional sounds a jolt of personality. That may be because Cohen’s repertoire is built on good tasteshe gives voice to songs she loves, by some of the best writers around. She’ll be investing good music with deeply felt emotion at Radio Cafe.
Fresh From the Gulf in the Round feat. Les Kerr New Orleans boasts numerous genres and styles, many of which can be sampled Friday night during a Gulf in the Round session at the Bluebird. Les Kerr’s flamboyant blend of blues and Cajun music is extremely popular on the blues and Bayou circuit, but he’s only one of the scheduled writers and performers. The roster also includes Kim Carson, Ray Farrell, Stephen Lee Veal, and Danny McCain.
Stone Daisy This modern rock quartetonce known as Winter Gardenmigrated from New Jersey to the Tampa area, and settled in Nashville back in 1998. Their musical roots are clearly in the anthemic, hooky sound of ’80s album-oriented radio, but lead guitarist Stephen Zaccone is also into high-volume livewire distortion-surfing, and lead singer Michele Lee’s cool rasp is more in the spirit of Shirley Manson than Pat Benatar. The arrangements on their four-song demo are too conventionally busy, but when they take the stage of the Exit/In, their classic twin-guitar four-piece configuration should assert itself, and accentuate their impressive force and melodicism. Al-N is the opening act.
The Top 25 Song of the Year Grammy Award Winners Your chance to hear the Grammy-winning tunes of yesteryear performed by a panoply of local artists, including Sherrie Austin, Deborah Allen, Quinn Loggins, Greg Barnhill, Dede Day, Collin Ellingson, Brent Howard, and Little Big Town. It’s at 6º.
Sean “Turk” McNamara Hoist a few drafts along with song storyteller and Celtic folkie McNamara, who ventures outside Mulligan’s Pub for a gig at Windows on the Cumberland. He’s only traveling across the streetbut since the street is Second Avenue, pray for his safety. His special guest is singer/songwriter Sean Kelly, who hails from County Down, Northern Ireland.
Josh Rouse The new album by this talented local pop structuralist won’t hit the racks until next year, but some of the songs should make their way into Rouse’s solo acoustic set at The Sutler. The young singer-songwriter is using the show as a tune-up before he tours the East Coast and Europe later this fall. Given that Rouse has written some of the most enjoyable music ever to emerge from a Nashville living room, the debut of new material is reason to get excited.
Jason Ringenberg/Tommy Womack “In 1986, there was still no one else in Nashville who reached up to Jason and the Scorchers’ ankles,” Tommy Womack wrote in his book Cheese Chronicles. “Live...they still uniquely deserved most every impossibly inflated compliment ever thrown their way.” Damn straightbut if anybody can give frontman Ringenberg a run for his money these days, it’s Womack, who keeps the torch of Music City rock lit with mordant humor. Ringenberg released a lovely country-folk album last year, A Pocketful of Soul, and he’s been recording a follow-up record of collaborations; Womack has been working on the successor to last year’s Stubborn CD. At 12th & Porter, they’ll each play a solo set, then together, then turn up the volume for a rock set at evening’s end with some special guests.
Rod McGaha Two years has been too long to wait for a follow-up to trumpeter/vocalist McGaha’s entertaining Compass session Preacherman. He can play withering blasts, sensual ballads, driving hard bop, and funky soul with equal authority. He’s an above-average singer as well, and always finds ways to keep audiences alert and involved in his shows. McGaha comes to the Bluewind in Franklin.
Waldo & the Mix Saxophonist Waldo Weathers replaced a legend in the James Brown band, taking over for the magnificent soloist Maceo Parker. Weathers made his own impact in the band for eight years, then left for a solo career. (He has, however, rejoined Brown at various points over the last few years.) He can play furious swing and mainstream numbers, or the hard funk that he specialized in with Brown. It’s not clear yet whether Weathers will bring in his entire eight-piece band for his free Saturday afternoon engagement at Jazz@Bellevue Center. Waldo & The Mix are also making a Saturday evening appearance at Atlantis. The afternoon gig begins at 1 p.m., the nighttime session at 9 p.m.and you can catch them 8 p.m. every Wednesday at Riffs.
James Taylor The tame-sounding folk-pop stylings of this adult contemporary staple have garnered the ire of rock purists since he first started crooning sweetly in the late ’60s. But James Taylor is much better at what he does than most critics are willing to acknowledge. Yes, his attempts to sound bluesy or funky are embarrassing, but tremulous heart-on-the-sleeve story-songs like “Fire And Rain” and “Copperline” are blessed with a grace and approachability that is genuinely and honestly touching. And as timid as he is, he even puts on a good show, as he surely will at AmSouth Amphitheatre.
Y-Jams In the Round Jeff Black, Phil Madeira, and Matthew Ryan perform a benefit at the Bluebird Cafe for the YMCA’s “Y-Jams” program, in which musicians contribute their talents to help at-risk children.
Fear L.A. punk juggernaut Fear and frontman Lee Ving could have had no idea of the cultural impact of their beer-and-sausage anthems at the time they were written. Ving has had a modest acting career, with unlikely roles in many movies including Flashdance and Streets of Fire and television work on Who’s the Boss? and Three’s a Crowd. You can also catch the full band, live in their prime, featured in Penelope Spheeris’ punk doc The Decline of Western Civilization. Submethod and Spider Virus complete the bill. Come have a beer with Fear at the Exit/In.
Every Time I Die The Buffalo hardcore group play tracks from their new Ferret LP Last Night in Town at Indienet Record Shop. Also on the bill are Holding On and Coalition.
Terra Murrell Benefit Concert Murrell made quite an impression on Nashville’s country music community in her short, disease-ridden life. Among other things, the Illinois-born signer-songwriter, who died of cancer at age 20 earlier this summer, sang with Vince Gill on the Grand Ole Opry. A circle of her friends, including Gill, Amy Grant, Brad Paisley, Porter Wagoner, Sonja Isaacs, and others will put on a benefit concert at the Wildhorse Saloon to help defray her medical expenses. Other artists have donated items for a silent auction that will also take place that night.
MTV TRL Tour The MTV publicity machine has been in overload mode lately as the video channel marks its 20th anniversary. Whether that is cause for celebration or mourning can be debated, but for the legions of MTV lovers out there, the TRL tour pulls into the AmSouth Amphitheatre. The main headliners are Destiny’s Child, still riding the wave created from their two years atop the charts, while skeptics continue taking bets about when Beyonce Knowles goes solo. However, the St. Louis rapper Nelly has lately been nearly as dominant, even forcing generic radio hosts like Rick Dees and Casey Kasem to acknowledge the presence of hip-hop. Eve, arguably rap’s reigning female wordsmith alongside Missy Elliot, will also be on board. Dream and 3LW complete the lineup. The busy show begins at 6:30 p.m.
Debbie Davies When Debbie Davies departed the Albert Collins organization for a solo career in the early ’90s, few people in the blues world doubted her talents. Still, she’s made remarkable progress over the last eight years, especially as a songwriter. Davies’ singing has matured as much, if not more, than her playing. The combination of genuinely original, striking lyrics, convincing vocals, and stinging guitar solos separate Davies from other undeniably talented singers and instrumentalists who’ve been unable to develop their own approach. Davies’ appears Tuesday night at Congo Square.
Asschapel Forged by Satan’s battle-ax, Nashville’s thrashcore beasts headline a night of sonic slaughter at Indienet Record Shop with The Dedication and Wrecker.
Tuesday, 21st-Wednesday, 22nd
DENNY DIAMONDA NEIL DIAMOND TRIBUTE FEATURING MEMBERS OF SWAG & SIXPENCE NONE THE RICHER For some, Neil Diamond’s music is like pornographyno one wants to admit they like it, but behind closed doors they’re humming “Cracklin’ Rosie.” To call Denny Diamond a Neil Diamond impersonator might not be accurate; he’s so convincing (and convinced), it’s as if he’s channeled Neil’s spirit at a séance. At Denny’s last Nashville appearance, even King Crimson’s Adrian Belew got swept up in the illusion. Until now, Denny’s Nashville performances have featured the singer crooning to prerecorded karaoke tracks, but for these shows he’ll be backed by a live band featuring members of SWAG and Sixpence None the Richer. Come sing along with this apparition at the Slow Bar in East Nashville.
Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Night featuring Cyril Pahinui & Led Kaapana Slack key is a style of Hawaiian finger-picked guitar in which players adjust, or “slacken,” the strings of their instruments to create any number of unique, and uniquely soulful, tunings. The best-known practitioner of the idiomwhich grew out of the cowboy, or “vaquero,” tradition that came to the islands by way of Mexico and Spain nearly 200 years agois Gabby Pahinui, who along with his sons Cyril and James recorded with guitar globetrotter Ry Cooder in the ’70s. Cyril has carried on the family tradition since his father’s death in 1980, emerging as a major artist in his own right. Led Kaapana is a former mainstay of the popular Hawaiian trio Hui Ohana. In addition to his emotive playing, Kaapana is an engaging singer and accomplished yodeler. The two men play two shows at what should be one of the year’s more memorable club dates at the Radio Cafe.
Dirty Dozen Brass Band The Dirty Dozen Brass Band have maintained a reputation as the hippest Crescent City marching unit in existence for over 15 years. DDBB not only strut, prance, and entertain with abandon, but they cover everything in the pop vernacular from polkas to cartoon themes, blues to avant-garde. They are one of the prime attractions in a great Uptown Mix bill on Wednesday. Nashville’s headiest fusion unit Schfvilkus are also on tap, as well as Gran Torino. Be on the corner of 20th Avenue and Division Street at 6 p.m. to experience the results.
XBXRX Spastic Mobile hardcore noisemakers XBXRX have developed a strong local following and a national reputation owing to their energetic and disorienting stage show. The music on their Albini-produced CD crystallizes their frenetic skree into 12 short capsules. Their distinct voice and theatrical bent share something in common with costume-era Oingo Boingo and Devo, though with more of a garage approach. You can catch them at the Red Rose Coffee House in Murfreesboro.
Some Awful Bridge Nashville “art-rock terrorist” Mark Reynolds and his death squad bring the noise at their first full gig as a quartet, featuring new guitarist/keyboardist Olaf Prout. 60 Cycle Hum and Earshop round out the bill at The End.
Quadrophenia Set against the lethal feuding of natty Mods and leather-clad Rockers in 1960s Britain, Franc Roddam’s electrifying 1979 cult movie expands upon The Who’s concept album, following a young Mod, Jimmy (Phil Daniels), on a Vespa-powered quest for pills, birds, and a place to belong. Restored with new sound, this reissue is playing only a handful of cities in America, and Nashville’s one of them; the movie opens for a one-week-only run Friday at the Belcourt. See the review on p. 31.
Rat Race A group of wacky strangersincluding Rowan Atkinson, Cuba Gooding Jr., Seth Green, Whoopi Goldberg, and Jon Lovitzbecome bitter rivals when a Las Vegas casino owner enlists them in a race cross-country for $2 million. Jerry Zucker, of the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker team responsible for Airplane!, directed this all-star farce in the tradition of It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World; it costars John Cleese, Kathy Bates, Amy Smart, Breckin Meyer, Dave Thomas, and Kathy Najimy. See the review in our Film Listings.
Chac: The Rain God Rolando Klein directed only one movie, perhaps because the filming of this one was so arduous. His hallucinatory 1975 film was shot on remote locations in the Chiapas region of Mexico, with local villagers as actors; they play tribesmen who turn to a warlock-like mystic for help when their village is racked by drought. Described by some as a leisurely peyote trip of a movie, it opens Friday at the Belcourt as part of the ongoing Milestone Films series.
Confessions of a Psycho Cat Something Weird Video, a stellar source for cinematic sleaze, has been issuing super DVD packages of long-forgotten grindhouse classicsloaded with classic exploitation trailers, drive-in ads, short subjects, and sometimes even a second feature. This 1968 jaw-dropper stars Jake “Raging Bull” LaMotta in the tale of a neurotic vixen who offers three men $100,000if she doesn’t hunt them down in the streets of Manhattan and kill them within 24 hours. As a bonus, there’s a second skin flick, Hot Blooded Woman; a gallery of sexploitation stills; and trailers for blacktop bodice-busters like Ride the Wild Pink Horse and Olga’s House of Shame. Check out their website at www.somethingweird.com.
Flowers of Shanghai/The Puppetmaster DVD isn’t the best way to watch the films of Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsiao-hsien. But it’s the best way available if you missed Nashville Premieres’ screening last year of his Flowers of Shanghaia sexless but sensual evocation of life in a 19th-century Chinese brothel, filmed in fixed long takes of firelit beauty and suppressed emotion. The movie arrives on DVD this week along with The Puppetmaster, Hou’s radically unconventional 1993 portrait of actor/puppeteer Li Tian-lu, which many consider his finest film.
Fly Away Home Caleb Deschanel’s cinematography and Carol Ballard’s nimble naturalistic direction highlight this family film classic, about a little girl (the sublime Anna Paquin) who helps a flock of geese to migrate with the aid of a glider designed by her father (Jeff Daniels). The new DVD edition contains commentary by Ballard and Deschanel, as well as a second track with the thoughts of composer Mark Isham. Also included are a handful of featurettes about the true story that inspired the film, and about the difficulties of the production.
Josie & The Pussycats A well-meaning but slipshod pop music satire, this good-spirited comedy was unfairly maligned upon its release earlier this year, and it slipped out of theaters before much of its target audience got a chance to check it out. But Josie may well have a second life on video, where its cult appeal will melt away some of the filmmaking flaws. The DVD edition contains a sure-to-be-puffy making-of featurette, and a perhaps overly apologetic commentary by the filmmakers.
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters No conventional biopic, Paul Schrader’s stunning 1985 film about the life, art, and ritualistic suicide of Japanese novelist Yukio Mishima (played by Ken Ogata) intercuts the last day of the author’s life with fragments from his works, rendered in elegant, vividly stylized vignettes by cinematographer John Bailey. The movie comes to DVD with a Schrader commentary and a behind-the-scenes documentary.
Waiting for Guffman In conjunction with Blaine, Mo.’s sesquicentennial celebration, relocated “Off-Off-Off-Off-Broadway” actor/director/choreographer Corky St. Clair (Christopher Guest, who also co-wrote and directed) mounts the original musical Red, White, and Blaine with a cast of quirky townsfolk led by Eugene Levy, Fred Willard, Catherine O’Hara, and Parker Posey. The 1997 improvised pseudo-doc comedy (à la This Is Spinal Tap and Best in Show) finally comes to DVD this week with welcome trimmings: a commentary track by Guest and Levy, 14 deleted scenes with optional commentary, production notes, the theatrical trailer, and all those glorious production numbersespecially the sidesplitting “Stool Boom”in Dolby 5.1 digital sound.
Fisk TV Current events and programs at Fisk University form the basis for this new weekly show on CATV-Channel 19, produced by Chris Franklin and WFSK-FM radio host Bobby Poole. Franklin says the show will bypass the usual host-centered format, concentrating instead on footage and interviews with figures such as Race Relations Institute Director Raymond Winbush and WFSK General Manager Washington Dobbins. The show airs 7 p.m. Tuesdays, 10 a.m. Wednesdays, and 10:30 a.m. Saturdays.
Variety Show Those who appreciate their live performance a bit on the way-out side might want to trundle on down to Murfreesboro, where the Blue Moves Modern Dance Company presents an evening of diverse, raucous entertainment. Besides the host troupe’s comical modern dance, the performances will also include a drag show by Evil Lynne; a parade of “stupid dancer tricks”; music performed by the Blue “Nasty” Moves Band; and monologues by members of the theatrical comedy troupe NASNNIP. The one-night-only show contains content that may be considered offensive to some. For those who dare, it’s a steal at $5. The event begins 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 22, at Murfreesboro’s Wall Street Bar.
The Attic Gallery The most character-revealing line in the film Pollock comes when abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock praises his future wife Lee Krasner as a “damn good woman artist.” Sixty years later, sexism remains a reality in the art world, though it’s less blatant perhaps than in the 1940s. Still, art lovers often have to wait for group shows like “This Woman’s Work,” opening Aug. 22 at The Attic Gallery, to see what artists of the same sex as Krasner are producing these days. Not that this 12 South neighborhood gallery has exactly ignored women in its past shows. In fact, some of the artists in this show, including Nashville outsider artist Lilian Webb and clay artist Asia Wallace, have been showcased in previous exhibitions there. This time, though, the emphasis is on new gallery faces like Natalie Cox, a popular Nashville illustrator; Chere Senieur, a New Mexico artist now living in Idaho; San Francisco photographer Annabelle Breakey; and half a dozen others. No doubt, even Pollock would be impressed. (Concurrent with this show, the Attic Gallery will also be displaying works by the same artists at the Bank of America branch on Music Row.)
Arts Company You might call it the last great garage sale of the summer when this downtown art gallery stages its annual “Avant-Garage Sale.” You’ll find terrific original artwork at discounted prices, plus miscellaneous decorative items and props from various sources. Gallery owner Anne Brown and staff will be serving up cold lemonade to quench your thirst as you rummage through the treasures, 2-6 p.m. Aug. 18.
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum Learn why Bob Wills is still the king (of Western swing) when the museum hosts a salute to the great state of Texas, Aug. 18, to kick off the formal opening of its first limited-engagement exhibit, “Nashville Salutes Texas! Country From the Lone Star State.” Little ones can learn the Texas two-step at a family dance workshop, noon-2 p.m. Next, sit in on a performance demonstration/discussion with former Bob Wills fiddler Johnny Gimble at 2 p.m. The celebration concludes when Gimble and his band put on a full-fledged Western swing concert and dance at 7:30 p.m., followed by a performance by another veteran fiddler, Buddy Spicher, and his Nashville Swing Band.
Picks written by Martin Brady, Doug R. Brumley, Chris Davis, Bill Friskics-Warren, Noel Murray, Jim Ridley, Jack Silverman, Angela Wibking, and Ron Wynn.
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Not the first time Mario Lopez has been snubbed (see Kapowski, Kelly).