Our Critics Picks 

CMA Music Festival Fan Fair, Thurs. 8th-Sun. 11th

When Fan Fair changed its name in 2004, it did so with a grand pronouncement that it would one day encompass a host of genres.
When Fan Fair changed its name in 2004, it did so with a grand pronouncement that it would one day encompass a host of genres. The proposition ruffled more than a few feathers and has yet to happen, but the expansions made since have created a four-day festival that celebrates every corner of country music. Where else can you find Mel Tillis sharing the stage with teenager Erika Jo and actor John Corbett? (See them on the Riverfront stage, Saturday at noon.) The splashy Coliseum concerts each night at 8 p.m. offer up country’s biggest stars. Opening night Thursday presents a pitch-perfect example of country’s past, present and future: the always rowdy Hank Williams Jr., newly crowned ACM Top Female Vocalist Sara Evans and rising stars Little Big Town, whose outstanding Road to Here album, one of 2005’s surprise highlights, was just certified gold. Trisha Yearwood, Wynonna and Trace Adkins take the Coliseum stage Friday. (Could Yearwood’s new husband Garth Brooks be the promised “surprise guest”?) Saturday’s show features television-born stars Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood and traditionalist favorites Brad Paisley and Josh Turner. On Sunday, the curious combo of Los Lonely Boys with Ronnie Milsap helps close out the show. The Festival also offers a rare chance to catch up with former radio stars still toiling around town. Highlights include a trio of top-notch female singer-songwriters: Chely Wright, whose first indie album, The Metropolitan Hotel, revealed a darker, more folk-influenced sound, plays Thursday at 4 p.m.; fan favorite Carolyn Dawn Johnson performs Friday at 2 p.m.; and Rebecca Lynn Howard, whose 2002 smash “Forgive” showcased her almost impossibly powerful voice, Saturday at 2 p.m. And remember the catchy “Mrs. Steven Rudy” from a few years back? Mark McGuinn plays tunes from his forthcoming album at the Gaylord Friday at 4:15 p.m. Among the can’t-miss up-and-coming artists at the Riverfront: Charismatic Chris Young, one of the most promising Nashville Star winners yet, Friday at 10 a.m.; Star’s house band member and fiddle virtuoso Megan Mullins, whose debut album is out this summer, Friday at noon; and Jace Everett, who penned Josh Turner’s smash “Your Man” and is on his way to solo success, Thursday at 10. And if you’re looking for a slice of that old Fan Fair spirit, look for legends like The Oak Ridge Boys and Tanya Tucker on Friday at 4 p.m., or T. Graham Brown on Saturday at 4 p.m. For a complete listing of artists and schedules, check out www.cmafest.com —KATIE DODD MUSIC THURSDAY, 8TH P.M. DAWN Fifteen years after P.M. Dawn’s debut, Of the Heart, of the Soul and of the Cross: The Utopian Experience, the record sounds as essential to pop-music history as the first records by Public Enemy or De La Soul. Sampling The Doobie Brothers and Spandau Ballet to great effect and writing thoughtful lyrics that combined post-adolescent angst and sexual frustration in a kind of sighing plain-speak, Attrell and Jarrett Cordes used hip-hop to create a pop hybrid capacious enough for their most unbridled fantasies. Like that of another great brother act, The Beach Boys, P.M. Dawn’s music could seem crass, inspired, self-pitying and heroic all at once, and Of the Heart’s “If I Wuz U” and “Paper Doll” stand as some of the decade’s most seductive, pillowy pop. The follow-up, 1993’s The Bliss Album…?, was just as strong, with a stunning cover of “Norwegian Wood” that suggested the duo were on their way to concocting one of the great pop syntheses, with commercial clout to match. It didn’t happen, even if their take on “You Got Me Floatin’” did justice to Hendrix and their 1998 Dearest Christian, I’m So Sorry for Bringing You Here. Love, Dad added guitar parts and ever more cunning harmonies to the basic formula. After a lengthy hiatus, they’ve been readying a new set of songs for release sometime this year. Don’t miss this chance to see one of the era’s great pop groups, period—these guys transcend mere hyphenation. ( www.pmdawn.net ) Exit/In —EDD HURT THE WAYBACKS The Waybacks are a colorful amalgam. Less savvy listeners have at times—strictly on the basis of instrumentation—incorrectly dubbed them a bluegrass band: they happen to lack a banjo player, while they do have a drummer. “We’ve been looking at our sets recently and thinking, ‘Well, did we do anything bluegrass in that set? No, we didn’t did we do any bluegrass that whole tour,’” quips guitarist and vocalist Stevie Coyle. To call the virtuosic quintet eclectic is certainly trite, but if any band deserves that descriptor, it’s The Waybacks. Coyle, James Nash (guitar, mandolin and vocals), Joe Kyle, Jr. (bass), Chuck Hamilton (drums) and Warren Hood (fiddle and vocals) are known for their lively stage banter, their unpredictable song choices (their latest album, From the Pasture to the Future, includes covers of both Chick Corea and the Kinks) and their sparkling musicianship. 3rd and Lindsley —JEWLY HIGHT FRIDAY, 9TH FOXY SHAZAM! The adventure of cruising downtown after dark to catch a show at The Muse will be reinforced by the adventure of listening to the wild and woolly music of Cincinnati’s Foxy Shazam! The songs off their new CD, Flamingo Trigger, are multi-sourced in a way that post-modern doesn’t even come close to describing. This is punk cabaret music, and almost every element of 20th century pop music gets testosterone-fueled enthusiastic treatment. Constants are the lead singer’s leather-throated delivery and melodies often ripped from the Joe Jackson or the Squeeze songbook, that is, when you can discern the melody amongst the tumult. Imagine if The Beatles had grown up as fans of Frank Zappa and the Pixies as well as Elvis. Openers Cryptorchid Chipmunk add an element of estrogen and raise the level of musical chaos a notch. ( www.foxyshazam.com , www.cchipmunk.com ) The Muse —COLLIN WADE MONK BENITA HILL The Nashville cabaret singer gains a richer tone and more sensitive control of her burnished voice with each outing. Hill’s new I’ll See You in My Song takes a romantically sultry turn through well-chosen jazz tunes without drawing on the same old warhorses. She mixes material by Rodgers and Hammerstein, Mel Torme, Sammy Fain and Bob Dorough with six co-written originals, all of them timeless enough for Peggy Lee yet as fresh as a just-poured cosmopolitan. She works with the city’s best jazz players, both on record and in person. She’ll premiere the record with two local shows tonight and Monday the 12th at a new jazz venue with a glimmering downtown view located in the same building that once was home to the Italian restaurant Sole Mio. ( benitahill.com ) Ga’Dang —MICHAEL McCALL SATURDAY, 10TH TAPES ’N TAPES Worshipping at the altar of Pavement is nothing new, but the Minneapolis band Tapes ’n Tapes manage to do so while putting their own luster on the proceedings. Venturing into those regions of MIDI keyboard sound once unthinkable to well-mannered indie tastes, TNT take some cues from East River Pipe and Destroyer, decking out their irony-wrinkled pop songs with oddly uncool sounds like fake timbales. Though they’ve been called the new Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, most of the time Tapes ’n Tapes sound less like Rusted Root and more, on songs like “Buckle,” like an aloof incarnation of fellow corner brighteners The Shins. Their album The Loon is unequivocally the best album named after a state bird in recent memory, and for sheer indie pop pleasure, it’s definitely got a leg to stand on. This is a band that has the knack and is definitely worth watching. ( www.tapesntapes.com ) The Basement —STEVE HARUCH JACK PEARSON In a town not lacking in guitar talent, Jack Pearson stands out. Best known for his on-and-off work with the Allman Brothers Band, Pearson has been a mid-state fixture for over 25 years. Unlike other guitarists that spend their weekend nights spanking-the-plank for blues and classic-rock bands in every corner of the country, Pearson is one of the few who can still breathe fire into old clichés. Pre-metal guitar licks that have seen better days retain all their original bite and glory in Pearson’s hands. Quiet and unassuming in appearance, he also sings with a bluesy gusto, but it’s his fingers that do the real talking. Add a heaping helping of jazz, a little Spanish guitar, maybe a dash of his mandolin chops, and it’s a night for the ears. Pearson’s wife, Elizabeth, plays bass and the chance of harmonica-ace William Howse sitting in puts the fourth ace into the hand that pays the cover charge. ( www.jackpearson.com ) 3rd & Lindsley —COLLIN WADE MONK BOB DELEVANTE Delevante’s raspy yet sweet tenor remains one of American music’s most distinctive voices, and on his new Columbus and the Colossal Mistake, he continues to create songs with such catchy buoyancy that they should be as common around beaches and pools as inflatable floaties and iced-down bottles. As in the past, Delevante combines chiming pop melodies with rootsy rhythms, bringing his back-home Jersey shore to his down-home residence in contemporary urban Nashville. The album includes five black-and-white prints from Delevante’s other career as a photographer, where he shows that his eye for the telling detail mark him as someone who can craft an evocative story in more ways than one. Proof of Delevante’s standing is in his album’s guest list—participants include Emmylou Harris, Buddy Miller, Southside Johnny, Walter Egan and E Street bassist Garry Tallent as well as respected locals like pianist Jody Nardone, guitarist Kenny Vaughan, drummers Bryan Owings and Paul Griffith and multi-instrumentalist Fats Kaplin. Expect a similarly stellar band live. ( bobdelevante.com ) Family Wash —MICHAEL McCALL SUNDAY 11TH PETER BRADLEY ADAMS The male voice behind the alt-country-folk duo Eastmountainsouth is kicking off his first national solo tour in Nashville not all that far from Sewanee, where he first ventured to study music formally. Though pumped up by post-production effects, his simple melodies, split between guitar and piano leads, flow gently. His confessional lyrics, more concerned with a loose emotional feel than precise pictures, are somewhat studied: he can nearly quote the lines following John Lennon’s euphoric mantra, “Everybody had a wet dream,” while somehow purging the lines of any crude self-parody and making them seem like an pure outgrowth of his personal release from solitary angst. A certain blurry, art-house atmosphere in his songs makes them a good fit for indie-scaled romantic films like Cameron Crowe’s Elizabethtown, which features some of his music on its soundtrack. His debut release as a solo artist, Gather Up, is a diverse palette of songwriting that interweaves its mildly fluctuating moods with the times and places that spurred them. ( www.peterbradleyadams.com ) 3rd & Lindsley —BILL LEVINE STRAYS DON’T SLEEP Matthew Ryan and Neilson Hubbard aren’t the most obvious of creative partners. As solo rockers, Ryan’s known for streetwise, pinched-nerve anthems while Hubbard creates brainy, melodic pop. As Strays Don’t Sleep, they create a dreamy yet tension-filled sound unlike anything either has previously created. Beautiful yet unsettling, their self-titled album due out June 13 features an accompanying disc with an art-house short film for each of the new tunes. Ryan and Hubbard share vocals and co-writing credits, yet they stress Strays is a band, with guitarist Brian Bequette, bassist Billy Mercer and drummer Steve Latanation filling out the lineup. The band have already built-up momentum through exposure on One Tree Hill and a heady Internet buzz, and they’ve just returned from a overseas tour that gained shining reviews from The London Times and other publications. So anticipation is high for the band’s record release party, which kicks off a month-long tour of the Midwest and East Coast. ( straysdontsleep.com ) 3rd & Lindsley —MICHAEL McCALL MONDAY, 12TH PHILLIP POMEROY The kind of multi-instrumentalist that makes auteurist music critics go weak in the ears, Phillip Pomeroy has been quietly amassing a body of work over the past few years that is provocative, puckish and of the moment to such a degree that when experiencing his material, it always feels like the first time. A guitar and pans seem like a symphony; multiple computer programs coalesce into one single note. Rumored in his spare time to meddle in the temporal affairs of the universe and occasionally known to front Nashville’s own Guided by Voices cover band, Teenage FBI, Pomeroy’s live performances are stuffed with heaping portions of whimsy, madness and honesty. Springwater —JASON SHAWHAN ROGUE WAVE You can hear the California sunshine and smarts in Rogue Wave, the Bay Area pop band lead by Zach Rogue. On their second Sub Pop release Descended Like Vultures, the band splits its time between campfire acoustic numbers (“Salesman at the Day of the Parade”) and go-for-baroque pop explosions (“Publish My Life”). Rogue, a former Web developer who turned to music full time in the wake of the dot.com bust, is able to knit together the sensitive singer-songwriter movement of the ’70s with the celestial power chords of the Pixies, but Rogue’s fey lyrics are easier to swallow thanks to melodies that remain fresh after several repeats. ( www.roguewavemusic.com ) Exit/In —WERNER TRIESCHMANN THE STILLS In an indie rock world dominated by maudlin droning and post-punk barroom revelry, Montreal’s The Stills are an anomaly, producing a fresh, substantive sound. The band’s latest, Without Feathers, incorporates the ambience and introspection of loneliness and lost love prevalent in their 2003’s Logic Will Break Your Heart into a framework of brazen power chords and irresistible hooks. With jangling riffs and syncopated percussion, songs like the ironically titled “In the Beginning” and the poetic “Helicopters” are both cinematic and punchy. The rousing, Kinks-inspired “Oh Shoplifter” finds the band’s co-leaders David Hamelin and Tim Fletcher harmonizing to create a surreal vocal landscape, while the incendiary “It Takes Time” features a British invasion backbeat, hard rock guitars and a horn section. With explosive rhythms and experimentation, The Stills soar, swagger and just plain rock out. (www.thestills.net) Exit/In —TRACY M. ROGERS TUESDAY, 13TH TONY GILKYSON/I SEE HAWKS IN L.A. Gilkyson’s greatest fame is as the guitarist in Lone Justice and in latter-day X. But his second solo album, Goodbye Guitar, marks him as a worthy frontman and songwriter who’s currently making more potent albums than his former bandmates. His work has a rough, roadhouse rock feel behind polished songs and sharp arrangements. Gilkyson’s touring the country with fellow L.A. alt-country act I See Hawks In L.A., whose new California Country adheres closely to the classic Byrds and Burritos sound. The two headline a particularly strong Western Beat evening that includes Arizona’s Harry Luge & Haywire, a country rock band led by a charismatic vocalist and performer that just finished up a new album produced by Mavericks’ bassist Robert Reynolds. Also on the bill are Canadian roadhouse stompers Corb Lund & the Hurtin’ Albertans, buzzworthy Austin alt-country singer Lisa Hayes and L.A. singer-songwriter Sarah Dashew, whose title track from her new Jealous Girl album was recently featured on the TV sitcom My Name Is Earl. 12th & Porter —MICHAEL McCALL TEA LEAF GREEN Defined by Trevor Garrod’s songwriting and keyboards, Tea Leaf Green are often lumped in with jam bands who depend more on lengthy instrumental sections than concise songs or structural musicianship. Although they have played Bonnaroo, and love to jam out on tunes like “Sex in the ’70s” on stage, this California quartet’s instrumental sections signify, and Garrod’s songs can be agreeably gnomic. On their new Taught to Be Proud, Tea Leaf Green achieve a complexity of tone worthy of a prog-rock classic like Genesis’ Selling England by the Pound, with Josh Clark’s guitar often filling in the gaps left by Garrod’s oblique narratives. The title track lays distorted guitar under a series of Fender Rhodes riffs, while “If It Wasn’t for the Money” lopes along in the lightly funky sprung rhythms of forebears like the Dead or Spirit. So, while the band’s music has a distinctively Californian vibe, “The Garden (Part III)” could almost be a modernized bit of pub-rock, except that Garrod’s vision of the good life doesn’t depend on irony. “It reminds me of the time I told you long ago / ‘Darlin’, let’s let our hair grow long / We can work on a farm / Maybe live on a mountain.’ ” There are moments when they skirt the genteel, but a lyric like, “I’m in Mississippi now / It’s unusually cold / I’m laughing ‘cause I’m wrong / I’m not what I’ve become,” combines the mythic and the literal as effectively as does their music. ( www.tealeafgreen.com ) 3rd & Lindsley —EDD HURT WEDNESDAY, 14TH DEVOTCHKA Who says classical instruments can’t rock? On their new EP Curse Your Little Heart Colorado quartet Devotchka take Lou Reed’s “Venus in Furs,” drench it in violin and make it sound like the intense, exotic soundtrack to a brilliant foreign film about something sinister. I think Reed would approve. Like violinist Andrew Bird, Devotchka are looking to expand the vocabulary of what pop music can be by making a bizarre brand of indie rock with their old-school tools. Beyond the seeming novelty of classical instruments in rock clubs played by musicians in suits and ruffled shirts, Devotchka’s music is beautiful and charming (two elements often in short supply on the contemporary landscape). Lead singer Nick Urata has a smooth, expressive voice that matches the lush, folky soundscapes of his band’s music. And there is something wonderfully subversive about their expansion of the musical lexicon and their chameleonic neo-classical-indietastic-folk-world-gypsy-rock—all from a band that got their start playing backup for a burlesque show. ( www.devotchka.net ) The Basement —LEE STABERT OH NO! OH MY! This Austin band can’t currently call any label home, but their breezy, wistful pop and lo-fi sound would fit right in with the Elephant Six Collective, which celebrated a similar sonic palate with string-filled, sunny bands like Apples in Stereo and Beulah. Oh No! Oh My! employ the usual suspects like organs, tambourines, handclaps—and a handful of extra members on standby—which means their songs surge and coo with the kind of flourishes that make the headphone listen a must. The band also can’t currently call Nashville home, though they’re here for nine months while two of their members attend audio engineering school at the SAE Institute off Music Row. The mighty Pitchfork gave the band’s self-titled debut and their DIY ethics a rave, but gave the 615 a swipe: “However, Nashville ain’t no Brooklyn, and certainly no one’s spotting David Byrne or David Bowie at their gigs.” While they’re in town, the band are looking for new songs, new members (a solid bass player and keyboardist) and direction on a new location. Check them out and try to woo them on Nashville before they move somewhere further west this September. ( myspace.com/ohnoohmyband ) The Basement —TRACY MOORE REEVES GABRELS After spending the post-Let’s Dance ’80s drifting toward the mushy middle, David Bowie’s work rather suddenly became sharp, relevant and original again in 1989. One reason was the Thin White Duke’s own instinct for regeneration, but the other was his newfound partnership with guitarist Reeves Gabrels, beginning with the unfairly maligned group Tin Machine. Through two albums with that outfit and a succession of Bowie solo records, the New York native’s aural swoops, squalls, smears and sirens both reconnected his employer with the avant-garde and helped him to fit in with the bang and clatter of ’90s hip-hop and techno. Gabrels and Bowie parted ways after 11 years, and the guitarist has recorded several solo albums—including last year’s Rockonica—filled with his trademark dive-bombing, shape-shifting fretboard fireworks. He’s playing at the Family Wash every Wednesday night in June. Family Wash —CHRIS NEAL THE DEADSTRING BROTHERS The Deadstring Brothers sound like a bar band, but an unbelievable bar band—one so good that they need to make records so you can take their unpretentious, rollicking sound home with you when you go. With pedal steel, organ and piano filling out a bluesy, guitar-driven sound and Kurt Marschke’s confident, unadorned delivery, the Deadstring Brothers’ music is delightfully rich and hearty. Starving Winter Report is part Exile on Main St., part Gram Parsons, but also thoroughly modern in the way it plays with those influences. Perhaps best of all, it really feels like an album: by the time the last track (of a lean 10) has run out, individual songs don’t necessarily stick out but the listener is left with a feeling of exuberance and redeemed faith in the potential for rock to be joyous, raw and heartbreaking all at the same time. Opening are Nashville’s own Hands Down Eugene, who recently released their very own rich, textured rock record Madison. ( www.deadstringbrothers.com ) Mercy Lounge —LEE STABERT THEATER THE DOYLE AND DEBBIE SHOW As co-creator (with Coke Sams) of the 1999 Nashville indie film Existo, Bruce Arntson is a well-known local commodity. An actor, writer and musician, he scored four of the Ernest movies for Disney, in addition to scripting and performing in some of the films and related TV spin-offs. Arntson re-enters the world of live theater with the launch of this new comedy on June 9 at Bongo After Hours Theatre. Arntson works the cliché of the cornball country singer making a comeback, and he has the eminently gifted Jenny Littleton onstage as his comic foil. The multitalented Matthew Carlton perches nearby, at the ready with a guitar and the computer keystrokes that roll out prerecorded song tracks. The show runs through June 24. For tickets, phone 385-1188. —MARTIN BRADY ALL MY LOVE, ALWAYS Chaffin’s Barn Dinner Theatre owner/producer John Chaffin is also the playwright and director for this comedy about modern-day men (from Mars) and women (from Venus). Romance and some of its contemporary complications plague the love-struck lead character, who is named (presumably with irony) Ron Hubbard, though Scientology doesn’t appear to figure into the scenario. The cast includes local favorite Adam Burnett, Stephanie LaMura, Lane Wright and Barn newcomers Eric Pasto-Crosby and Hailey Collier. Opens June 13 for a run through July 15. For reservations, phone 646-9977. —MARTIN BRADY THE GRADUATE The history of this stage version of the 1967 Mike Nichols film is certainly star-crossed; critics seemed to find that British director/adapter Terry Johnson managed to mix and match the original Charles Webb novel and the Calder Willingham/Buck Henry screenplay to sullen effect. When the show first opened in London in 2000, Kathleen Turner re-created the role of Mrs. Robinson, with full frontal nudity (well, for a tantalizing 20 seconds or so). Turner brought the show into New York in 2002 with big box-office numbers—in case you haven’t heard, sex sells. Other big-name actresses followed in her footsteps: Lorraine Bracco, Anne Archer, Amanda Donohoe former Dallas star Linda Gray and Kelly McGillis, who bared herself in the 2004 national tour that played at TPAC. Besides monkeying with some of the story’s critical motivations and characterizations, which undercut some of its essential human thrust, Johnson’s production also dared to minimize the movie’s classic Simon & Garfunkel score, inserting The Mamas & the Papas and Beach Boys recordings to help recapture the ’60s ambience. The first-ever regionally produced mounting of the show opens at Clarksville’s Roxy Regional Theatre on June 14 for a run through July 8. It might be worth a trip, if only because the coming-of-age tale is so iconic. And perhaps star Leslie Greene can muster for audiences the same 20-second thrill. For tickets, phone (931) 645-7699. —MARTIN BRADY ART UNTITLED: “HEAT” Each quarter, the Untitled artists’ group borrows an interesting space somewhere in town and puts on a one-night show. Their summer outing takes place in the Anchor, a 160-year-old church building just south of Broadway. The show itself should be everything you expect from Untitled—upward of 100 artists working with a wide variety of media, content and style, and an even bigger crowd taking it all in along with music, food and drink. The Anchor is at 29 3rd Ave. South. The exhibit will be open from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, June 9. For more information, visit www.untitlednashville.com. —DAVID MADDOX “THE QUEST FOR IMMORTALITY: TREASURES OF ANCIENT EGYPT” OK Nashville, this is it: the big one. When the Frist Foundation decided to create a major facility for temporary and traveling art exhibits, surely they wanted to enlighten and challenge viewers, but they also wanted blockbusters, the kind of thing people would stand in line for—like this summer’s exhibit of artifacts from Cairo’s Egyptian Museum. The show first hit U.S. shores at no less than the National Gallery of Art in Washington, and it brings together over 107 objects, most from the centuries of the 18th Dynasty (1552-1296 BCE) through the period of Roman domination early in the Christian Era. The items include everything that fascinates people about Egyptian art—gold funerary masks, exquisite jewelry, sarcophagi, statues and paintings of the pharaohs and the panoply of Egyptian gods, and everyday objects for the dead to use in the afterlife. If these weren’t riches enough on their own, the Frist Center has a busy schedule of talks and events scheduled during the exhibit, which opens to the public on Friday, June 9 and runs through Oct. 8. For information on ticket prices and availability, call the Frist Center at 1-866-68-EGYPT or visit www.egyptatthefrist.org/tickets. —DAVID MADDOX BOOKS CATHY HOLTON If you crave Southern chick-lit, but are weary (and wary) of the Ya Yas and their saccharine sisterhood, you might reject Cathy Holton’s Revenge Of The Kudzu Debutantes based on its title alone. Which would be a shame, as Holton’s sharp, smartly written debut novel (despite its dopey title and a book jacket adorned with—groan—magnolia blossoms) is much, much better than it looks. The plot, involving three feisty pals who avenge themselves on a passel of no-good husbands, starts like the lamest kind of paint-by-numbers genre fiction. But in Holton’s capable hands, a tired story about justice being served and love conquering all comes vividly to life. There are no cardboard villains and no cookie-cutter heroines in Ithaca, Ga., where Eadie, Nita and Lavonne have just learned the icky truth about their husbands’ yearly hunting trips. Eadie, the ringleader, steals the show, but Nita (whose addiction to x-rated romance novels fuels her crush on her carpenter) and Lavonne (who quits drowning her sorrows in brownies once Eadie introduces her to the joys of tequila before noon) are a supporting cast to reckon with. Despite an abundance of clichés (Eadie’s a former beauty queen; Lavonne’s the token Yankee who can’t quite assimilate), Holton’s characters never flatten into two dimensions—their quotidian lives are as compelling as the revenge they ultimately exact upon their dull husbands. And guess what? Eventually, justice is served. And love conquers all. But by the time you’ve logged a few chapters of this addictive book, you’ll be too busy turning the pages to object. Holton reads at Davis-Kidd Booksellers on at 6 p.m. June 8. —FERNANDA MOORE DARNELL ARNOULT Arnoult is a member of the remarkable cohort of writers (including such luminaries as Kaye Gibbons and Jill McCorkle) clustered around Chapel Hill, N.C., though she now makes her home in tiny Brush Creek, Tenn. An award-winning poet, Arnoult has just published her first novel at age 50. Sufficient Grace, brought forth by the prestigious Free Press imprint of Simon & Schuster, is an engaging seriocomic tale of one woman’s visionary madness and its liberating effect on the people around her. Arnoult’s diverse cast of characters find spiritual connection and emotional healing, even as their lives are disrupted and their pat assumptions are called into question. Arnoult will read from and sign Sufficient Grace at Davis-Kidd Booksellers on Tuesday, June 13 at 6 p.m. (NOTE: The date for this event was listed incorrectly in last week’s Scene.) —MARIA BROWNING W.E.B. GRIFFIN On the surface, W.E.B. Griffin’s popular Men at War series is most definitely men’s fiction; in his war, all the men are steely and the women beautiful and willing. But there is another layer to the books, one built on real chapters from World War II, and Griffin—who served during the postwar occupation of German as well as the Korean War—has received numerous honors from military organizations and praise from fellow veterans. In The Saboteurs, Griffin, writing with his son, journalist William E. Butterworth IV, incorporates German subs landing off the U.S. coast, heinous Nazi “medical” experiments and courageous resistance forces. At the center of the story are the exploits of Bill Donovan’s agents—particularly the cocky and effective Dick Canady—in the developing OSS, the precursor to the CIA. Griffin and Butterworth discuss and sign The Saboteurs, 7 p.m. June 14 at the Brentwood Barnes & Noble. —MICHELLE JONES FILM FALLEN ANGEL: GRAM PARSONS Every cult figure should be given as clear-eyed a treatment as 1970s country-rock pioneer Parsons gets from German director Gandulf Hennig in this eye-opening BBC documentary. Hennig avoids the morbid romanticizing that surrounds the gifted singer-songwriter’s death at age 26, balancing myth with the sober, somewhat exasperated reminiscences of family, friends and collaborators, from his duet partner Emmylou Harris and Keith Richards to former bandmates Chris Hillman and a bracingly acerbic Bernie Leadon. The evenhandedness of Hennig’s approach really pays off in the section regarding Parsons’ infamous death and subsequent immolation by road manager Phil Kaufman in the California desert: rock ’n’ roll legend looks a lot different through the eyes of grieving relatives left with 35 pounds of half-burned remains. The movie screens one night only at the Belcourt, 8 p.m. Saturday, with current Nashvillian Hennig on hand for a discussion afterward. —JIM RIDLEY A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION As savory a combination of sweet and sour as the long-running radio program, Robert Altman’s movie has the feel of a final statement: so many of its tangents and even jokes concern death, remembrance and the impermanence of legacy that you can be forgiven for worrying about the 81-year-old director’s health. (He’s said to be working on a fictionalized version of the truck-tontine documentary Hands on a Hardbody, so don’t worry too much.) Keillor plays himself, the Altman-like ringmaster of his public-radio carnival; the marvelous cast includes Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin as singing sisters, John C. Reilly and Woody Harrelson as yodeling cowboys, and Virginia Madsen, along with Tommy Lee Jones, Lindsay Lohan, L.Q. Jones and Kevin Kline as man of mystery Guy Noir. It opens Friday exclusively at the Belcourt and Carmike theaters. —JIM RIDLEY CARS I can’t improve on my friend Jeff Franklin’s succinct description—“Doc Hollywood with cars”—except to say that as always with Pixar, the joy’s in the detail work. Self-centered hot rod Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) cares about nothing but winning and endorsements, until a mishap strands the souped-up bolt-bucket in the sleepy desert town of Radiator Springs. The voice cast includes Bonnie Hunt, Paul Newman, Larry the Cable Guy, Click and Clack, and Pixar’s genius story artist Joe Ranft—who, in a horrible irony, died during production last year in a car crash. It opens Friday. —JIM RIDLEY THE PROPOSITION With doom rocker Nick Cave’s name on the script, it ain’t gonna be an invitation to tea. Summoning the ghost of Sam Peckinpah, Cave drafts a grim, gory down-under Western about a lawman (Ray Winstone) who promises to spare outlaw Guy Pearce’s younger brother—if he guns down his older one (Danny Huston). John Hillcoat, who directed Cave’s early feature Ghosts...of the Civil Dead, returns with a cast that includes Emily Watson, Noah Taylor and John Hurt. Opens Friday at Green Hills along with Deepa Mehta’s Hindi period drama Water. —JIM RIDLEY LOOK BOTH WAYS/SOMERSAULT The coincidence of three Australian movies in limited release opening in one Nashville theater the same weekend is too weird to escape notice. Maybe they just gravitate toward Nicole Kidman. Another interesting coincidence: these two were directed by women. Joining The Proposition this week at Green Hills are animator Sarah Watt’s live-action comedy-drama Look Both Ways, an audience favorite at the recent Nashville Film Festival, and Cate Shortland’s erotic coming-of-age drama Somersault.—JIM RIDLEY OUR BRAND IS CRISIS OK, you’re the wealthy former president of Bolivia, and you really need a second term in the bag. Who do you call? The Bill Clinton Mafia—James Carville, Bob Shrum and a gringo spinmeister squad of image consultants, who decide the best way to sell the candidate is by scaring the hell out of the populace. (At least it can’t happen here.) Sadly, Christopher Guest is nowhere to be seen: it’s a regrettable true story, documented by director Rachel Boynton with what-were-they-thinking candor. The film gets a four-day run at Belcourt starting Sunday. —JIM RIDLEY

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