New Orleans trumpeter Nicholas Payton first caught the attention of jazz fans as a 9-year-old guest soloist with the young Tuxedo Brass Band. No less a figure than Ellis Marsalis tutored him as a teen, and a few years later Elvin Jones made Payton his music director before the trumpeter had turned 20. Thus far, his finest date on record remains his 1997 collaboration with Doc Cheatham, a stunning merger of vintage and contemporary approaches. Payton’s recent tribute album to Louis Armstrong isn’t quite as breathtaking, but there aren’t many players of his generation with a better command of the instrument, and few are as thoroughly schooled in the Armstrong tradition. Payton appears at Vanderbilt University’s Langford Auditorium as part of the ongoing Louis Armstrong Centennial Celebration.
The Gold Room/ Submethod/Born Against Murfreesboro’s newest band, The Gold Room, are quickly becoming one to watch. They play heavy music that’s smart and not obnoxious. Their beats, harmonics and strained-whisper vocals at times evoke a trance-like moodlike a rocking Bedhead or more tangible June of ’44. Their four-song, self-titled release is absorbing, thanks in large part to the fine recording of Brian Carter. The Gold Room play the Red Rose with the more obviously heavy Submethod and Born Against.
Dead Set The local Grateful Dead tribute act celebrate their fifth anniversary with a show at Exit/In, featuring special guests from the world of classic rock (but no actual Dead members, alas).
Thursday, 6th-Saturday, 8th
Annie Sellick One of the great things to observe this year in local jazz circles has been the continuing emergence of vocalist Sellick as an outstanding live performer and as a confident, expressive stylist. She’ll be appearing with pianist Beegie Adair Thursday at F. Scott’s, then working Cafe 123 solo on Friday night and with organist/soul-jazz stomper Moe Denham on Saturday.
Popshot Magazine Launch A day that will live in infamy in Nashville publishing, this marks the partial debut of musician/Scene contributor Todd Anderson’s ambitious new magazine Popshot. The mag combines irreverent interviews, profiles and record reviews with political commentary from the likes of local Libertarian candidate David Carew (who spends part of his first column bashing the Scene, the bastard). Anderson will be handing out facsimiles of the glossy end product at the Red Rose Coffeehouse in Murfreesboro; joining the celebration are Slack, Feable Weiner and When I Was a Teenager. The magazine won’t be on local newsstands for another month, but a taste of Popshot’s content can be had at http://popshot.net/index.php?p=preview.html.
Imagine No Handguns Benefit Once in a while, all the stars align for a worthy cause. For several years now, an array of Nashville veterans have gathered on or near the anniversary of John Lennon’s death not only to pay tribute to the music of a legend, but also to raise money for handgun control. In light of recent catastrophic events and George Harrison’s passing, this year’s show at Exit/In should be especially touching. The lineupwhich almost always includes such luminaries as Bill Lloyd and 20/20’s Steve Allenhas the diehard Baby Boomer vibe about it, but God bless ’em for it. This is always a fun time and, moreover, an event worth supporting.
Road Trip Superstar New York DJ Micro headlines this summit meeting of coastal electronic-dance talent and contenders from all points in between. Dave Audé and DJ Enrie from L.A.’s Moonshine Music join Ontario block-rocker Mike Price and Hartford, Conn.’s Knowledge, with Nashville represented by trance DJ Dave Apuzzo (who recently signed to San Francisco’s Bang Records). The promoter, 9 Lives, promises “Over $75,000 in Intelligent Lighting and Lasers,” so be prepared to squint. For more info on the two-room event at 328 Performance Hall, call 871-7323.
O-Town Earlier in the evening at 328 Performance Hall, The Party-102.5 FM presents a Christmas concert featuring the prefab pop stylings of O-Town, the stars of the curiously entertaining documentary series Making the Band (formerly on ABC, now only on MTV). Show up just to see if the cameras are still following the boys around; it’ll likely be more entertaining than listening to their well meaning but soulless music. Also on the bill are Vitamin C and True Vibe.
Laron’s Back From Germany & He’s Got a New Bag of Nuts The former Utopia State drummer is indeed back from his home in Germany, and he emcees another of his multi-artist grab-bag performance nights at Springwater. Expect anything from spoken-word performers and slam poets to David Cloud and Paul Booker.
Eakin Onstage Nashville Mandolin Ensemble and Victor Mecyssne headline a benefit for Eakin Elementary School with Delicious Blues Stew, Isla and The Pilot Lights. The show starts 7 p.m. at Eakin Elementary, 2400 Fairfax Ave.; tickets are $12 at the door. For information, call 292-4126.
Starlings, TN Made up of former members of the Methadone Actors and the Louisiana hardcore outfit Habitual Sex Offenders, this quasi-psychedelic acoustic ensemble till the rocky back 40 where ’shine is stilled and weed is hidden in the holler. Their CD The Leaper’s Fork is a shimmering blend of traditionals and winsome originals played with shambling, entrancing spirit on bouzouki, mandolin, electric dulcimer and other rootsy instruments. It won’t be out until early next year, but the group are playing a joint CD release party with their collaborator, multi-instrumentalist David Schnaufer, at the Pancake Pantry.
5th Annual Bill Monroe Appreciation Night Hosted by radio favorite Traci Todd, this year’s annual tribute to the Father of Bluegrass boasts an embarrassment of richeseveryone from Monroe’s son James and former Blue Grass Boy Roland White to the Nashville Mandolin Trio and the much celebrated acoustic duo of Gillian Welch & David Rawlings. Also on the bill at the Station Inn are the Monroe-inspired David Peterson & 1946, Keith Little and Robert Gateley, Jason Carter, Pat Enright, Mike Compton, Robert Bowlin, Charlie Smith, Bob Fowler & Dave Cameron, and J.T. & Paul Gray.
Cody McKeithan New local talent McKeithan and her four-piece acoustic ensemble perform eclectic alternative folk music at Kijiji Coffee House. Musically, the songs have a Latin and blues flavor, with a drop of jazz; lyrically, McKeithan sings about dark emotions in an uplifting way. She describes herself as a little bit of Ani DiFranco and a little bit of Sade, but she reminds me more of Paula Cole and Jeffrey Gaines. Either way, there’s little question that she has a passionate voice and makes passionate music.
Fair WarningA Tribute to Van Halen So you prefer Sammy Hagar to David Lee Roth as Van Halen’s frontman, eh? Go suck on a New Coke, jughead, before we toss your gonads to ravenous pigs. Without Diamond Dave, Eddie’d be noodling off into Jazz Odyssey Land, and Alex and Mike would be making sure your pizza arrived in less than 30 minutes. Or worse, they’d be playing with Sammy. But don’t take our word for it: Check out this note-perfect VH cover band, who pretend the Sammy years were a bad dream, just like OU812. Their scheduled debut in September was canceled in the immediate wake of the WTC attack, but they will be here for sure this weekend at 12th & Porter to dance, dance, dance the night away.
Pegasi 51 From the east (well, Knoxville anyway) come this goth-punk fearsome foursome, dedicated to putting the guitar back into gloomy but danceable rock, in the manner of Joy Division or early Cure. They have a crisp sound with a smack of regional twang, which raises the music a notch above the standard post-punk imitators; plus, they have a lot more energy. The echo effects will be pushed to the max when Pegasi 51 storm Springwater.
Major Tuba Jazz Project Tuba bands are few and far between, which makes the Major Tuba Jazz Project something quite out of the ordinary. Here’s a group that can play anything from marching band fare to pre-rock pop and blues. They’ll be appearing at Trevecca Nazarene University in an intriguing bill with the Trevecca Percussion Ensemble and Madrigalians. Things get under way at 7:30 p.m.
A Craig Murphy Christmas When he isn’t fronting the hilariously vile Boo Boo Bunny, Murphy sometimes does an entire show of nothing but Tom Jones material. Will this be one of those nights? It’s probably worth a drive to The Boro in Murfreesboro just to find out. Opening acts are the freshly squeezed Orange Juice Kids and their lemony pals, Sourpuss.
Saturday, 8th-Sunday, 9th
Teren Bose/Michael Ripoll and Nusoul Blues, soul and jazz are all on the menu this weekend at Jazz@Bellevue Center’s local artist series. Teren Bose smoothly combines blues and R&B influences with some rock and pop elements, and he’ll be on tap for the Saturday show, beginning at 1 p.m. Ripoll and Nusoul appear Sunday at 2 p.m., with a sound that meshes soul, blues and jazz.
Snakehips Already available here and in Memphis (their other hometown), Snakehips’ rollicking third album Turn You On will reach out to the rest of the world next January. In the meantime, Mark Harrison and company close out the year with a performance at Springwater. Count on a sparkling concoction of smart Southern groove-pop, awash in idiosyncratic personalitylike R.E.M. fronted by Alex Chilton, or Stephen Malkmus finally playing out his Creedence jones. Also on the bill are Reigning Sound, featuring Greg Cartwright, formerly of blistering Memphis punk group The Oblivians.
2nd Annual Benefit for the Homeless Regardless of the season, there’s not a listening room in town any cozier than The Station Inn, and charitable deeds just make it all the cheerier. The 12th Avenue club’s second annual benefit for Room in the Inn (one of two in town this week; see below) assembles a sturdy lineup of bluegrass and folk players, including the wizardly old-time showman Leroy Troy, The Cluster Pluckers, The Larry Stephenson Band, Tim Graves & Cherokee, Sally Jones & the Sidewinders with Chris Jones, The Nashville Mandolin Trio, Dale & Don Wayne Reno, and Eddie & Martha Adcock, just to name a few. Tickets are $15.
Cousteau This London quintet play jazzy, adult Britpop with undercurrents of gospel and overtones of Bowie...quite nice, really. Their eponymous debut LP, released by Palm Pictures, has been recorded twice, and the second version has been slowly garnering international attention. Cousteau will be swaying deeply and gently at 3rd & Lindsley, in a gig sponsored by WRLT-100.1 FM’s Nashville Sunday Night program.
Porter Wagoner At 74, the Thin Man From West Plains is an ageless wonder, a longtime fixture on the Opry who, unlike any number of his superannuated peers, is hardly a candidate for the country wax museum. Indeed, the title of Wagoner’s 2000 album, The Best I’ve Ever Been, wasn’t so off the mark, and his set at the Exit/In during Fan Fair last year more than proved that he and the Wagonmasters could hold their own with twangsters one-third their age. Wagoner appears in the round with Randy Van Warmer and Parker McGee at a taping of Live From the Bluebird at the Bluebird Cafe.
Natalie Merchant On occasion, the former 10,000 Maniacs vocalist can be a dose of audio Sleepytime Teatwee comfort music for waifs who find Stevie Nicks too “edgy.” But there’s precious little comfort to be found on Merchant’s new T-Bone Burnett-produced record Motherlandat least in the lyrics. The grooves are as lulling as always, but Merchant’s voice sounds deeper and huskier, haunted. And if the songs aren’t Delta blues, their content certainly is: The record is studded with dark prophecy and dead loves and dealings with the devil. I wish the sound came close to matching the rawness of the emotionsthe material’s better suited to a jug band than to string sectionsbut Merchant will likely wring every drop of drama from these tunes at the Ryman Auditorium.
Melted Men/Flux Information Sciences/Banjoland Part Dada performance art, part playful sound collage, the one-of-a-kind Athens, Ga., duo Melted Men have gained notoriety for live shows that tread the line between confrontation and absurdist humor. It’s just this sort of confrontation that got them banned from Manhattan’s trendsetting record shop Other Music (for allegedly beating audience members with fish). Surely, it’s not to be missed. Touring with the Men are Flux Information Sciences, another duo of post-industrial, psychotronic proportions. These Brooklyn-by-way-of-Marseilles experimentalists are said to be similarly dynamic in a live setting. Rounding out the bill are local improv ensemble Banjoland, who combine tribal drum duos with a wash of deranged guitar; they’ll be enhanced on this night by Dave Cloud’s trumpet. The show’s at Springwater.
Cry Baby Cry On their CD Jesus Loves Stacey, a joint release between Skoda Records and the veteran punk label Dischord, this D.C.-area quartet use whiplash dynamics and contrasts to dramatic effect, careening from lo-fi drone to metal riffage to near-folkie harmonizingsometimes within the same song. Show up for their gig at The End, and you might end up in drummer Jenn Thomas’ tour video (or at least in their online road diary, at www.crybabycry.com). And check out the amazing 16th track on their 14-track CD, the best Magnetic Fields rip we’ve ever heard. Opening acts are Moody and Strategery.
Parade of Pennies Concert Country hit-makers Diamond Rio, Trace Adkins, Chely Wright, Andy Griggs and Cyndi Thomson headline this annual Christmastime benefit at the Wildhorse Saloon. Tickets are $9.98.
David Ball Ball’s latest single, “Riding With Private Malone,” has held down the No. 2 spot on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart for the past few weeks. There’s nothing so unusual about Ball having a hit; his honky-tonkin’ “Thinkin’ Problem” also reached No. 2 in 1994. But while the earlier record was released on a major label, Ball’s new single came out on Dualtone, a local indie label that’s also home to the less-than-commercial likes of Chris Knight and Jim Lauderdale. What it all means is anyone’s guess, but coming hot on the heels of Mark McGuinn’s recent indie smash “Mrs. Steven Rudy,” it could be an early sign that country radio is looking beyond the Nashville assembly line to enliven its lackluster playlists. Ball plays the WSM Radio Show at the Bluebird Cafe with Wood Newton, Luke Reed and Thom Shepherd.
NASHVILLE UNLIMITED CHRISTMAS CONCERT The visually and acoustically inviting environs of the Christ Church Cathedral sanctuary at Ninth and Broadway should provide an ideal venue for this benefit for the Room in the Inn program, which provides meals, showers and temporary housing for Nashville’s homeless population. Hosted by bassist/producer Dave Pomeroy and singer-songwriter Don Henry, the 7 p.m. show features Nashville luminaries Maura O’Connell (the subject of a story on p. 37), Darrell Scott, Jon Randall, the Nashville Mandolin Ensemble, Rob Ickes and Lorianna Pomeroy. An opportunity to enjoy fine acoustic music in a fabulous room and to polish your karma shouldn’t be passed up.
Ellipsis Union One of the most original and most powerful heavy rock bands in Nashville have regrouped and are playing out like crazy. The Union have always blended their angular loud/louder dynamics with a straight-ahead rock attitudemeaning that they never come off as pricks pretending to be smarter than their audience. They just rock hard and loud and pretty strange sometimes.
Sleeper The funniest movie anywhere near theaters this week. In the year 2173, cryogenically frozen health-food-store employee Woody Allen awakens to do battle with malfunctioning jet packs, bourgeois flake Diane Keaton and a giant pudding. Allen’s 1973 sci-fi farce is his funniest film, maybe because it’s more indebted to KeatonBuster, that isthan to Chaplin or Bergman. It has his wildest physical comedy, including a classic update on the old slip-on-a-banana-peel kneewhacker, and it’s propelled by a merry Dixieland jazz score. The movie screens this week as part of the Belcourt’s monthlong Allen tribute; see Noel Murray’s appreciation of his films on p. 41.
Beyond the Clouds This 1995 quartet of erotic vignettes may be the last finished work we get from Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni (Blow-up, L’Avventura), who made the film in collaboration with Wim Wenders at age 83. So it’s all the more momentous that the Watkins Film School is giving the movie its first local screening, even if it’s on video. With a cast that includes John Malkovich, Marcello Mastroianni, Jeanne Moreau and Sophie Marceau, it shows 7 p.m. Friday, free and open to the public.
Ocean’s 11 George Clooney is Frank Sinatra, Brad Pitt is Dean Martin, Julia Roberts is Angie Dickinson, and director Steven Soderbergh mans the camera for this update of the Rat Pack lark about 11 pals who plot to knock over a Vegas casino. The caper comedy opens everywhere this weekend.
Tape Richard Linklater follows his Waking Life with another cinematic experiment: a shot-on-digital pressure-cooker drama set in a single hotel room, where three longtime acquaintances (Uma Thurman, Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard) confront an ugly secret from the past. The movie starts Friday at Green Hills.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation/A Christmas Story The Belcourt launches its month of Yuletide screenings with two relatively recent Christmas standards. Chevy Chase decks the halls with the mother of all light displays in the Griswold family’s 1989 outing, while 1983’s neo-classic A Christmas Story details one boy’s episodic quest for a Red Ryder BB gun. Fa ra ra ra ra! Consult our Film Listings for more information.
If These Walls Could Talk 2 Vanessa Redgrave, Sharon Stone, Ellen DeGeneres and Chloë Sevigny star in this anthology film, which relates three stories of lesbian couples in different time periods linked by the same house. The movie screens 7 p.m. Sunday at the Rainbow Community Center, 961 Woodland St. For more information, contact the Nashville GLBT Film Group at email@example.com.
Babylon 5: The Gathering/In the Beginning The first DVD release of J. Michael Straczynski’s beloved TV space opera comes in the form of a fine two-disc set, featuring the tentative two-hour pilot for the series and a two-hour prequel that aired years later and set up major plot points. This should make a fine introduction to a cult fave, despite the complete absence of extra features.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Dismissed as a thin remake of the 1964 farce Bedtime Story upon its release in 1988, this Steve Martin/Michael Caine/Glenne Headly roundelay picked up legions of fans when it migrated to home video, where the film’s mild charms and the sharp performances of Martin (as a loutish American con man) and Caine (as his suave British counterpart) played better. The new DVD edition features a commentary by director Frank Oz, a minor filmmaker who has always demonstrated skill with slight productions.
Ghosts of Mars John Carpenter’s cheesy sci-fi thriller may have underwhelmed audiences and criticsand may, in fact, have been a pretty mediocre moviebut all of that is forgotten now that the DVD is available. Carpenter has been involved with some of the more entertaining DVDs on the market, from The Thing to Big Trouble in Little China. For Ghosts of Mars, he offers one of his typically forthright and illuminating commentary tracks, as well as behind-the-scenes featurettes and special effects “deconstructions.”
Almost Famous/UntitledThe Bootleg Cut If you bought the first DVD edition of Cameron Crowe’s rock ’n’ roll bildungsroman, you have every right to feel like a chump. This “bootleg” edition has all the extras that were missing from the original release: a Crowe commentary track, deleted scenes, making-of footage, samples of Crowe’s writing as a teenage Rolling Stone correspondent, and the long-rumored, significantly extended “director’s cut” of the moviealong with the theatrical version.
LIME CREEK CHRISTMAS Wyoming ranch life and the spirit of Christmas merge together in this unique collaboration between country superstar Garth Brooks and versatile stage, film and TV actor Anthony Zerbe. Lyricist-author Joe Henry’s novel Lime Creek is the source material for Zerbe’s dramatic readings about a gathering of cowboys and their families during a Western winter holiday season. Brooks provides the musical setting, featuring acoustic renditions of Christmas songs and other appropriate selections. Lime Creek Christmas was originally presented with Brooks and Zerbe 10 years ago in Sheridan, Wyo. It’s resurrected here for the first time since, in a one-shot performance, 7 p.m. Sun., Dec. 9, at the BellSouth Acuff Theatre.
SEASON’S GREETINGS/SANTALAND DIARIES A double bill of wacky holiday humor is presented Dec. 6-22 by Tennessee Repertory Theatre, as the company temporarily leaves its usual TPAC environs and takes to the stage at Hillsboro Village’s historic Belcourt Theatre. Both scripts derive from short stories written by noted humorist David Sedaris. Brenda Sparks directs the performances by Brandon Boyd and Julie Rowe. Santaland was a huge local hit last year. There’s no reason to think it won’t be again, but this time audiences also get the added fillip of another strangely comical Sedaris take on Christmas cheer. The production, part of The Rep’s Off-Broadway Series, is highly recommended as an alternative to more traditional seasonal fare.
Attic Gallery James Brown will always be the hardest-working man in show business, but Nashville’s Mr. Hooper is staking a claim as the hardest-working painter in town. His folk-art-influenced paintings of Hank Williams and others are favorites with art and music lovers alike, and nowjust in time for the holidayshe’s created a whole new series of works featuring blues and country stars. Joining Mr. Hooper’s musically inspired works are those of Sheila B., a local film and music video art director who has created her own series saluting country music stars. Join both artists at the opening reception, 6-9 p.m. Friday.
Cheekwood Self-taught Atlanta artist Kojo Griffin majored in psychology, and it shows. His most recent works, on view at Cheekwood’s Temporary Contemporary gallery, use human figures with teddy bear or rag doll heads to address such issues as love, abuse, comfort and tension. Griffin’s black-and-white drawings in simple, tightly cropped compositions remind us that our actions have consequences in the lives of others. He has had more than 30 exhibitions nationwide, was included in the 2000 Whitney Biennial, and recently had his first solo show at a major New York gallery. Join the artist at the opening reception, 6-8 p.m. Dec. 7, and hear him discuss his work at 6:30 p.m.
Local Color Gallery This Broadway gallery has hundreds of works by dozens of local and regional artists on view every day. Each month or so, though, it spotlights new works by a particular artist in its changing exhibit space. This Saturday Jennifer Padgett’s paintings are accorded that place of honor for the fourth consecutive timeshe’s the only artist in the gallery’s 11-year history to score such a coup. Padgett’s accomplished style and accessible imagery of outdoor cafes, cozy restaurant interiors and rainy European streets make that easy to understand. See for yourself and meet the artist at the opening reception, 2-4 p.m. Saturday.
Caldwell Collection Looking for a unique gift for the home this holiday season? You might consider a handcrafted silver or copper serving piece with real antler accents by local metal artist Ben Caldwell. His work is for sale regularly at this shop on Bandywood in Green Hills, but this Saturday he’ll be unveiling his latest creations. Drop by and see what Caldwell has come up with now.
Leiper’s Fork Holiday Walking Tour Musicians and artists have been moving to the nearby little town of Leiper’s Fork for a few years now. Their presence, together with the efforts of longtime area residents, has helped turn it into an arts destination. This weekend, the streets will be decorated for the season, and merchants will be serving up free refreshments and live music. Browse through the collectibles at Leiper’s Fork Antiques, look for garden ornaments at Hummingbird Haven or pick up a handcrafted piece of jewelry at Timeless Creations. Art fans can enjoy new paintings by Anne Collie at Leiper’s Creek Gallery, art by Patrick Brown and Larry Montgomery at Leiper’s Fork Fine Arts, and hand-painted furniture at Inyo Gallery. If you work up an appetite, stop by Puckett’s Grocery for a burger dressed with local organic produce, try The Country Boy Restaurant for a meat-and-three lunch, or satisfy your sweet tooth with baked goodies from Granny Fire’s Bake Shop. The open house is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
12 South Open House The stretch of 12th Avenue South between Linden Avenue and Sevier Park is fast gaining a reputation as an eclectic arts, dining and shopping destination. This weekend you can explore the area’s shops while enjoying holiday refreshments. For antiques and gifts, stop by The Iron Gate, quaintly housed in a former auto repair shop. For art, try the Attic Gallery, specializing in affordable folk and local art. (See above for information about the gallery’s current show.) Pick up an inspirational gift at 21st Century Christian Bookstore or a more offbeat reading selection at Halcyon Books. You’ll also find upscale clothing at Serendipity, yoga lessons at 12South Yoga, haircuts at PhD, flowers and gifts at Cattails florist, a diverse and interesting selection of music at Off 12th Records, and baked treats at Becker’s Bakery. Have a gourmet lunch at Mirror or relax with coffee and a sandwich at Natalie’s.
This week’s picks written by Todd Anderson, Martin Brady, Bill Friskics-Warren, Mark Mays, Noel Murray, Jim Ridley, Jack Silverman, William Tyler, Angela Wibking and Ron Wynn.
"Reagan-era greed and excess" is a conceit that exists only in the minds of brain-dead…
I love this poem!
OMG! I would love to see this! Let us all know what we can do…
What should happen over the summer...Someone needs to buy Scarlett a pair of cute ballet…
"his soul patch slides off of his face and splashes in his mimosa." made me…