Like his frequent collaborator John Scofield, organist Larry Goldings not only is comfortable in many musical styles, but excels in pretty much all of them. Whether it’s Jimmy Smith-style soul jazz, blues, pop, hard bop or funk, Goldings plays with authority and impeccable taste, which helps to explain his impressive résumé, including touring and/or recording work with Jack DeJohnette, Jim Hall, Pat Metheny, Maceo Parker, Madeleine Peyroux and James Taylor. (As his 2006 CD Quartet shows, he’s also a mean piano, Wurlitzer and accordion player to boot.) Goldings’ trio will feature a couple of Nashville’s own standout jazzers, Pat Bergeson and Marcus Finnie. (In a 2001 Vintage Guitar magazine story, Chet Atkins named Bergeson—who’s worked with Lyle Lovett, Peter Frampton and Bill Frisell, to name a few—as one of his top 12 favorite guitar players. And besides being a stalwart of the local jazz scene, Finnie’s a hard-grooving drummer who’s toured with Donna Summer, Larry Carlton and the late Billy Preston.) It’s always exciting to see homegrown talent play alongside a high-profile jazz name, and you can bet Finnie and Bergeson will be bringing their “A” game. 8 p.m. at the Nashville Jazz Workshop —JACK SILVERMAN
VICTROLAS Far be it from a lowly writer to tell a band its business, but there are more than one Victrolas out there in cyberspace. These Victrolas are a quartet who started in Huntsville, Ala., before settling in Nashville. Conventional rock structures, strummy guitars and tight harmonies are this band’s meat and potatoes. Their slower songs, like the sweet melancholy of “Forgiveness,” are more memorable than the up-tempo ones. And sure, there’s something a little dated about this band (heck, the name hints at that) but even rock audiences need a little comfort food. (myspace.com/victrolanation) Mercy Lounge —WERNER TRIESCHMANN
J. T. GRAY BAND/THE GET UP JOHNS Own the world’s premier bluegrass club and you’ll never lack world-class musicians to back you up at your own show. The Station Inn’s J. T. Gray plays every few weeks, and with stellar musicians and his bracing lead and tenor vocals, the results are always enjoyable. This show features a couple of added attractions. Openers The Get Up Johns are a Twin Cities duo who embrace the brother duet tradition. Their debut, Trouble in Mind, offers earnest harmonies on an assortment of chestnuts from The Delmore Brothers, The Monroe Brothers and the early days of honky-tonk, as well as a couple of idiomatically consistent originals. Sitting in later are Kathy Louvin and Pamela Hayes, whose rendition of The Louvin Brothers’ “I Wish You Knew” was one of the brightest highlights of the Grammy-winning tribute, Livin’, Lovin’, Losin’. The Station Inn —JON WEISBERGER
MUSICARES BENEFIT In a country whose government shows little concern for health care for the masses or support for the arts, MusiCares provides a lifeline for musicians struggling with medical, financial or personal emergencies. To aid the cause, Gypsy Girl Productions, a.k.a. Nashville artist manager/promoter/booker Jen Ross, has organized this fundraiser. Treva and the Suits are folk-rockers at the core, though the song “Everything” on their MySpace page reveals a grittier, bluesy edge. Katie Herzig’s 2006 CD Weightless is an enchanting piece of dreamy indie pop featuring imaginative, offbeat arrangements and Herzig’s angelic, at times elfin voice. Rocker Jeremy Lister, who’s busy working on his major-label debut since signing with Warner Bros. last year, plays moody, introspective rock and uses his impressive vocal range to full effect. Of course, the real draw may be Bodhicitta Bellydance Troupe, featuring the Gypsy Girl herself. The Basement —JACK SILVERMAN
ROMEO AND JULIET French composer Charles Gounod was torn between spirit and flesh. His religious zeal was so great that he once entered a Carmelite monastery, yet he was also known for kissing people indiscriminately, which earned him the nickname “philandering monk.” Naturally, he wrote the perfect opera for Valentine’s Day. Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet is filled with spicy chromatic harmonies, sweet melodies, vivid orchestrations and sensuous vocal writing. It also includes some exquisite love duets, which husband-and-wife team Jonathan Boyd (tenor) and Malinda Haslett (soprano) will perform in this Nashville Opera production. The two February shows will feature audio commentary, downloadable from iTunes. Technophobes and other Luddites can prepare the old-fashioned way, by reading the libretto and listening to a good recording—Placido Domingo’s 1995 rendition with Ruth Ann Swenson is especially recommended. (Among other things, it features NSO music advisor Leonard Slatkin conducting the Munich Radio Orchestra.) Curtain times are 8 p.m. Jan. 26, Feb. 2-3 and 2 p.m. Jan. 28. Tickets are $17-$80. Call 832-5242. TPAC’s James K. Polk Theater. —JOHN PITCHER
THE HIDDEN HAND Underground metal legend Scott “Wino” Weinrich has been plying his doom-laden trade for more than two decades now, most famously with mid-’80s SST label heavies Saint Vitus. The Hidden Hand is his latest exercise in pulverizing riffs and down-tuned stoner rock, shot through with a keen sense of melody and texture. Wino and bass player Bruce Falkinburg match their bone-crushing sound with equally weighty subject matter, mixing ancient lore with modern day social and political concerns. The band are touring in advance of the February release of their third full-length, The Resurrection of Whiskey Foote, a semi-concept album involving a mythological figure of mixed ethnic background fighting for survival in Colonial America. Savannah sludge-metal merchants Kylesa are also on the bill, so be prepared for an evening of nonstop ear-bleeding scuzz. (myspace.com/thehiddenhandmusic) Springwater —JASON BENNETT
RICHIE OWENS AND THE FARM BUREAU Fans of ’80s Nashville rock will remember Owens and guitarist Robert Ocker from the tense, modern sounds of The Movement, but the East Tennessee natives have pursued a rootsier, more acoustic sound for well over a decade now. As The Farm Bureau, Owens plays banjo, mandolin and harmonica, while Ocker trades between his acoustic and lap steel guitars, with vocalist Rebecca Seavers adding harmony to Owens’ lead. They play spiked-up mountain music and melodic, sweet-toned originals that show off Owens’ melodic and lyrical know-how. A relative of Dolly Parton’s, Owens comes by this music honestly, and the fact that Parton uses him as a producer and a backing musician in the studio and on the road speaks of his talent for putting it across. Family Wash —MICHAEL McCALL
THE MATTOID Nashville’s resident Finlander, Velvet Underground obsessive, and self-proclaimed inventor of his own “sango” style certainly isn’t lacking in the personality department. Nor is he wanting for the hyperbolic critical acclaim that invariably gets bestowed upon anyone with the guts to be an individual, no matter how contrived that individuality might be. With The Mattoid, whose real name is Ville Kiviniemi, the beauty lies in not being able to tell gimmick from sincerity—and in eventually not caring. Sloppy yet purposeful, Kiviniemi—a trained opera singer who prefers “third grade”-level lyrics—recalls mold-shattering thriftmongers like Moondog and Baby Bird. And strangely enough, by providing a refreshing contrast to the unassailable presence of roots and country, his dance-inflected anti-folk sounds right at home here. Springwater —SABY REYES-KULKARNI
SHANNON WADE BENEFIT A veterinary technician at Bellevue Animal Hospital, Wade was trying to rescue an injured dog in traffic last November when she was hit by a car and thrown through its windshield. Not only were both her legs broken, one requiring intensive surgery, but a subsequent MRI discovered a cyst in Wade’s brain. Brain surgery and longtime health care—and no health insurance—have left Wade with dire medical expenses. To help out, Pig & Pie BBQ in Bellevue Center Mall is hosting a buffet, benefit show and silent auction 6 p.m. Saturday. Performers include Blue Larry Blue, Gary Culley, Mark Elliott and Bill Keck, and Blue says Wade might make an appearance if she’s feeling up to it. A fund has been established in her name at AmSouth Bank; contributions can be made at any branch. Call 356-3060 to reserve a spot. —JIM RIDLEY
SPOKEN NERD 2007 promises to be a busy year for Spoken Nerd. A new album (The Lion, the Fish and the Mustache) is forthcoming on Phoenix’s Modurn Languaj Asosiashun Records, and summertime will bring an ambitious bicycle tour. Nerd and fellow MC Bobby Exodus will tour for two weeks by bike, cycling to venues as far as Alabama and Mississippi. They’ve dubbed it the 21st Century Transportation Tour and hope to promote health and spiritual well-being, which are ultimately the heart of Spoken Nerd’s rhymes. You won’t hear profanity on his records—instead you get “dangerously positive” satirical flurries of speech about everything from the apathy of Americans to ill-fitting superhero costumes. The tracks are the work of Murfreesboro producer 247, and evoke the “deep digging” sample usage of early DJ Shadow and Prince Paul. (myspace.com/spokennerd) Springwater —ERIC WILLIAMS
AGENT ORANGE Armed with a promise to play their 25-year-old songs “faster and tighter than ever,” this seminal Orange County, Calif., surf-punk trio return from the same not-quite-gone-for-good limbo that more and more classic punk, hardcore and metal bands keep returning from. Like any resurrected act, Agent Orange come shrouded in a keen sense of their own history, but it’s a history worth revisiting. The band’s original works succeeded Dick Dale, ran parallel to Black Flag and foreshadowed Green Day, and when the alternative is an Agent Orange lick copped by an nth-generation band with a tenth the inspiration (see The Offspring and one of their hits, which shall remain nameless), the genuine article seems much more appealing. And kudos to Mike Palm and his newer recruits for sparing us the hard-guy posturing so prevalent with the rest of the we-were-there-when hardcore set. Mercy Lounge —SABY REYES-KULKARNI
BAD FRIEND This show marks the last Bad Friend appearance of their monthlong residency among the barflies at Springwater, where the band have spent Mondays in January playing with locals who revel in the same outsider aesthetic Bad Friend employ. They craft simple, straightforward songs reminiscent of post-Cale era Velvet Underground—songs such as “Lemonhead Loser” are so lo-fi they could pass as Sebadoh b-sides. As such, the band’s live show is, almost by default, wildly inconsistent, so much so that it might take a month of shows for an audience to really get it. But that’s part of the charm. Joining them will be former Spin.com “Band of the Day” LYLAS, who are currently in the process of recording their follow-up to last year’s well-received delicate pop release, Lessons for Lovers. (blacklabelempire.com/badfriend, myspace.com/lylas ) Springwater —MATT SULLIVAN
LAST TOWN CHORUS Megan Hickey, the central figure of this small Brooklyn combo, plays Hawaiian lap steel as if she’s trying to conjure ghosts. Her airy voice is entrancing and reserved, but the long, mournful notes she draws from her instrument cry with unrestrained emotion. Though the band’s acoustic tone is traditional, the execution is modern and urban, capturing how loneliness is different in a crowded city than in a remote location. With achingly unsentimental ballads and slow, stinging blues, Last Town Chorus strip down the music to focus on the feeling evoked by a resonant note and a hypnotic tone. Hickey and her ever-evolving band draw raves in England, both for their live show and for their most recent recording, Wire Waltz. They stop in Nashville as part of their premier U.S. tour. The Basement —MICHAEL McCALL
MOUNTAIN HEART Personnel changes are a given in bluegrass, but replacing a band’s lead singer is always a tricky business. Mountain Heart, the explosive sextet that’s done about as well as any bluegrass-based group in reaching out to younger, broader audiences, showed creativity and finesse when it recruited 23-year-old Josh Shilling. Though his background’s stronger in pop and R&B than in mountain music, the Virginia native wowed the normally staid Opry audience earlier this month when he made his debut, crooning an original, country-flavored ballad with a soaring tenor faintly reminiscent of Vince Gill’s. When banjo man Barry Abernathy, mandolin genius Adam Steffey or fiddle phenom Jim Van Cleve take over on the lead, Shilling brings it as a harmony singer, too, so it looks like this particular change is a good one for all concerned—including audiences. The Station Inn —JON WEISBERGER
METAL CHURCH Largely overlooked but legendary nonetheless, Metal Church released a string of four vital albums during thrash metal’s most visible period. Though the band are often cited—and cite themselves—as a thrash band (and certainly leaned more heavily in that direction than, say, Armored Saint or Raging Slab), Metal Church in fact straddled the line of traditional metal with a keen sense of balance. The band’s first two albums should be ranked among the most influential in the genre, and the band sustained their popularity for two more albums through the early ’90s, when the lines still blurred between grunge, hard rock and metal, and Seattle peers like Soundgarden and Alice in Chains were still being marketed in the latter category. Though an attempt was made in 1998 to reunite the original lineup, things didn’t hold together for long, and the band continue currently with principal songwriter Kurdt Vanderhoof as the only original member. The Muse —SABY REYES-KULKARNI
ALADDIN In its renaissance as a full-service community arts venue, the Belcourt Theatre has always kept the kids in mind. The local Olde Worlde Theatre Co. has been a major part of that effort, with Richard Stein and his mirthful minions turning out delightfully enjoyable adaptations of children’s classics. Here the troupe tackles the adventurous Arabian tale from The Book of the One Thousand Nights and the One Night, in which an impoverished lad goes from rags to riches with the assistance of a genie (or djinn) in a bottle. Performances are Jan. 27 and Feb. 3 and 10. For tickets, phone 383-9140 or visit online at tickets.belcourt.org. —MARTIN BRADY
THE WILL ROGERS FOLLIES The life story of the legendary actor-writer-vaudevillian is told in throwback musical style, featuring showgirls, rope tricks, snappy choreography and a score written by Cy Coleman, Betty Comden and Adolph Green. The production, under the direction of Sondra Morton-Chaffin and Jamey Green, opens at the Boiler Room Theatre Jan. 26 and runs through Feb. 24. Phone 794-7744. —MARTIN BRADY
CLOSER British actor-writer-director Patrick Marber, 42, has plied his trade successfully in radio, television, the stage and film. He’s even performed as a stand-up comic. His plays have included Dealer’s Choice (inspired by his personal experience with gambling addiction), After Miss Julie (an update of the noted Strindberg play) and Closer, a 1997 comedy that won the Olivier Award for Best New Play. Closer has been translated into some 30 languages, and a 2004 film version, directed by Mike Nichols, starred Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman and Clive Owen. The play offers a study in sexual politics, dissecting the complicated interrelationships among four Londoners who meet under unusual circumstances. GroundWorks Theatre presents the Nashville premiere of this funny but also quite serious work, which is under the direction of José Ochoa, moonlighting from his day job as superintendent of cultural arts for Metro Parks. The cast features Chris Basso, Jack E. Chambers, Laura K. Marsh and Sara Youngblood-Ochoa. Performances are Jan. 25-Feb. 3 at the Darkhorse Theater. For tickets and further information, phone 262-5485. —MARTIN BRADY
PROOF This David Auburn play won the Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2001; it was also mounted with style in 2003 by Tennessee Repertory Theatre. It’s a strongly crafted work and tells the engaging story of a confused young woman coming to grips with her future as well as the legacy of her brilliant father’s madness. Franklin’s Pull-Tight Players stage the production through Feb. 3, under the direction of Heather Bottoms. Natalie Irby and Woody Woodruff co-star. For tickets, call 791-5007. —MARTIN BRADY
FRED CLARKE AND FUGITIVE ARTISTS, “PRESSING PAUSE” Fred Clarke refers to his work as “humanitarian documentary photography.” This phrase calls to mind his mission of creating awareness about overlooked humanitarian crisis zones, but it also separates his new photographs from his years of work as a photojournalist at The Nashville Banner and subsequently in war-torn locales around the world. “Pressing Pause” will pair Clarke’s photographs with video, sculpture, painting and drawings by artists from the Fugitive collective. The result is an artistic dialog about globalism, poverty, war and hope. The show runs through March 3 at the Zeitgeist Gallery and will open on Saturday, Jan. 27, with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. —JOE NOLAN
“ALTERED VISION: ARTISTS LOOK BEYOND SIGHT LOSS” To raise awareness about people who suffer from vision problems such as glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration, Prevent Blindness Tennessee asked 14 artists to create works while wearing glasses that simulate those vision conditions. The participants were some of the best artists in town, including Lain York, Jane Braddock, Carrie McGee, Trent Boysen, Richard Feaster, Julia Martin, Lanie Gannon and Terry Thacker. In addition to drawing attention to the experience of people living with such physical concerns, this unusual experiment may well provide new insights into the work of these artists. The opening reception is 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27 at the Nashville Public Library. The show runs through March 15. —DAVID MADDOX
50 YEARS OF JANUS FILMS: WEEK FOUR Thanks in part to traffic from the blockbuster opening of Pan’s Labyrinth (see below), the third weekend in the Belcourt’s Janus Films retro had surprisingly strong turnout for some of the event’s least-known films. This week brings out the big guns, er, swords:
• The Seven Samurai (Jan. 26-28) The Rosetta stone of modern action cinema, Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 classic anticipates the team-building formula of The Dirty Dozen, the slow-motion bloodbaths of Sam Peckinpah and the innocent depending on the uncertain loyalty of mercenaries in Star Wars. Introducing the 7 p.m. show Jan. 26 will be David Bennett, martial arts disciple and recently ousted executive director of the Tennessee Film, Entertainment and Music Commission, who should have plenty of insights into facing long knives.
• La Strada (Jan. 26-28) Winner of the first Oscar for best foreign language film, Federico Fellini’s 1954 drama places a simple waif (Giulietta Masina, who else?) at the mercy of a cruel circus strongman (Anthony Quinn), who seethes with rage at the high-wire artist (Richard Basehart) who loves her.
• Fires on the Plain (Jan. 28-30) An antiwar film (and a horror movie) like no other, Kon Ichikawa’s hellish 1959 drama about Japanese soldiers facing slow death, starvation and cannibalism in the Philippines at the end of World War II makes a savage counterpoint to Clint Eastwood’s Letters from Iwo Jima. Not to be missed.
• Gimme Shelter (Jan. 29-31) In which the infamous 1969 Rolling Stones concert at Altamont is revealed as a pretty good show, apart from the knife murder, the surly bummer mood and the death of ’60s idealism. Featuring the Stones, Jefferson Starship, the Grateful Dead and Ike & Tina Turner; Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin directed.
• High and Low (Jan. 31, Feb. 2-4) Kurosawa’s 1963 police procedural, adapted from an Ed McBain thriller, squeezes mogul Toshiro Mifune in a moral vise: whether to pay off the kidnappers who mistakenly grabbed his chauffeur’s son, or to keep the money that will save him from personal ruin. Brian Gordon, artistic director of the Nashville Film Festival, introduces the 7:30 p.m. show Jan. 31. For more information, see belcourt.org. —JIM RIDLEY
BERNEE While Thong Girl grabbed the headlines, this locally produced feature from Hendersonville filmmaker Jon Russell Cring also set up shop in Gallatin last year. The comedy stars Nashville stand-up comic Heather Horton as a sassy single-mom waitress struggling to make ends meet in a small town, with no help from her tactless ways. The premiere 7 p.m. Thursday at Gallatin’s Palace Theatre is also a kickoff for Cring’s wildly ambitious Extraordinary Film Project, a plan to make 12 feature-length films in 12 months. The first one, Ought, a thriller about a lawyer haunted by a hit-and-run accident, begins shooting Feb. 1, with the flashback-heavy drama Budd to follow in March. “If nothing else, I’ll have a hell of a eulogy,” Cring says of his daunting schedule. Co-starring Buddy Farler, Jenson Goins, Chris Whitsett and Alicia Ridley (no relation), Bernee will also be available the same day on DVD; see extraordinaryfilmproject.com for more information. —JIM RIDLEY
PAN’S LABYRINTH The premiere of the Guillermo del Toro fantasy set a new box-office record for a regular-engagement release at the Belcourt, with sold-out shows throughout the weekend and lines snaking around the block; the previous recordholder was reportedly Last Tango in Paris in the early 1970s. Even on only 609 screens, the movie vaulted into the national Top 10 over the weekend—all but unheard of for a Spanish-language film—and it’s considered a strong contender for the Oscars next month. The movie enters the second week of what’s looking like a nice long run. —JIM RIDLEY
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Wonderful! We're hoping Knoxville puts something like this together, too. It's a fantastic concept!!