Local attorney Bill Ramsey’s annual birthday celebration (his and the late Otha Turner’s) is now a block-party tribute to Turner, the master of fife-and-drum blues who passed away earlier this year. Those lucky enough to have attended the barbecue and beer bust in the past will remember how joyously Otha blurred the line between party and performance. His Rising Star Fife & Drum Band retrace his footsteps this year with his irrepressible 13-year-old granddaughter Sharde Thomas bearing the torch for the cane-fife tradition. Delicious, Bare Jr., The Cluster Pluckers, Slick Ballinger, Lynette Vantreese and Chakra Bleu will also perform. There’s an entry fee this year; all proceeds benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank. 1711 Sweetbriar
This week’s picks by Grant Alden, Todd Anderson, Chris Davis, Steve Erickson, Jonathan Flax, Lacey Galbraith, Paul Griffith, Jonathan Marx, Steve Morley, Noel Murray, Jim Ridley, Jason Shawhan, William Tyler, Jon Weisberger, Angela Wibking and Ron Wynn.
Shaggy/Arrested Development/Chubby Carrier For all the talk (much of it justified) about the timidity of local concert promoters, here’s a bill that’s both adventurous and eclectic. Shaggy’s pop reggae, with its electro-funk rhythms and innuendo-laden lyrics, has proven immensely popular with rock and hip-hop audiences. His vocals aren’t especially memorable, but he’s effectively cornered the novelty market among contemporary reggae acts, thanks to worldwide smashes like “It Wasn’t Me” and “Angel.” More than a decade ago, Arrested Development were heralded as the rappers to watch, for their mix of ’70s funk and blues, hip-hop sensibility and sociopolitical insights. Bandleader Speech is a compelling polemicist/lyricist, and it will be interesting to see whether he and his cohorts can regain the momentum they displayed during their hit run. Carrier, who rounds out the bill, is one of the few performers on the zydeco circuit interested in moving the music forward rather than re-creating the past. Dancin’ in the District
LA Drugs/Life Partners Mangled rock seldom sounds better than when executed by groups like LA Drugs and Life Partners, both satellites in the axis of New England’s premier experimental imprint, Twisted Village. Inheriting the queen-in-hell catharsis of Lydia Lunch and X, LA Drugs scream loudlyand with convincing miseryabout wanting to “do it in the bathroom stall.” The spastic white-boy screamo of Life Partners is just as riveting, with songs like “Neu! Sucks” likely to usher in the inevitable Krautrock backlash. Sharing the bill are Nashville’s First Ladies, The Dutchies, the ever wondrous Cherry Blossoms, the omniscient Dave Cloud and Corndawg. Springwater
Melvins Without the Melvins, grunge pretty much wouldn’t have happened. Kurt Cobain used to sneak into the Aberdeen, Wash., band’s practices, and it was their fierce independence that laid open the possibilities of music to that unhappy teenager. It was also the Melvins who taught punk rock bandsespecially the ones in nearby Seattleto play s-l-o-w-l-y. And loudly. Buzz Osborne is a sophisticated, largely self-taught guitarist, carving elegant soundscapes from noise in a very blue-collar parallel to the highly influential experiments of Sonic Youth. Tomahawk (see below) and Dalek open the show. Exit/In
Tomahawk Mike Patton has never been one to rest on his laurels. After taking Faith No More from one-hit wonders to critical darlings, he turned Mr. Bungle from indecipherable noise-rock to, well, critical darlings. His latest outing, Tomahawk, continue to take rock music to new places without forgetting how good it feels to rock hard. Taking cues from punk and metal just like the other members’ former bands (Helmet, Jesus Lizard, Melvins), Tomahawk sound full of steam without being full of shit. Exit/In
John Smift XXV As a songwriter, John Smift XXVthe performing name of local musician and visual artist Michael Enrightshares much in common with irreverent troubadours like Shel Silverstein and Michael Hurley. With its whimsical odes on a cantankerous goat and malted inspiration, as well as striking flamenco sketches, country blues and cannabis-inspired production, Smift’s self-titled CD-R is a revelatory document that deserves wider exposure. He opens for The Sadies (see below). Slow Bar
The Sadies Stories Often Told, the latest album by this Canadian quintet, explores what roots-rock means, as the group work up folksy ballads with deep twang and barely restrained rockabilly frenzy. The Sadies’ songwriting isn’t always up to their ambition, but they carry around great atmosphere and put on a dramatic show. Slow Bar.
Ben Proctor Benefit Concert The 24-year-old drummer for the Murfreesboro band Neo, Proctor has been sidelined since January with aplastic anemia. He has responded well to treatment and transfusions, but his medical costs are staggering. To help out, country hitmakers Lila McCann (“I Wanna Fall in Love”) and Mila Mason (“Dark Horse”), ace songwriters Victoria Shaw, Billy Montana, Don Ellis and many surprise guests will perform a guitar-pull benefit. Tickets are $10, available at the door, with all proceeds going toward Proctor’s treatment. Denim & Diamonds
D.C. Berman’s Burn Down Bless David Berman for giving Nashville night owls something to do after 1 a.m. besides downing coffee at the Waffle House. The poet, Silver Jews frontman and recent Nashville transplant now means to shake up the scene as an indie-rock impresario, offering all-nite bills of rising local talent until 8 a.m. Scheduled bands include lo-fi space-folkies the Spiritual Family Reunion, the pile-driving Brian Kotzur Band (back from their sojourn as Fun’iki) and Tim Chad & Sherry. The show’s at 709 Shirley St., a new downtown performance space off Eighth Avenue South, behind Kristi’s Cabaret; call 506-8884 for more information. Shirley Street Station
ZZ Top/Ted Nugent/Kenny Wayne Shepherd & Double Trouble On this weighty triple bill, only opening act Shepherd avoids the trumped-up caricature that has come to be associated with the Nuge and the Bearded Ones. Nevertheless, all concerned have considerable blues and rock pedigrees: Nugent’s roots reach back to his late ’60s beginnings with Detroit’s Amboy Dukes, while the hard-riffing ZZ Top are one of ’70s’ few surviving power trios. This is the real deal for serious rockers, despite ZZ Top’s stage shtick and Nugent’s tendencies toward excess. Shepherd, who first emerged as a Stevie Ray Vaughan wannabe, has reached a career watermark by netting Vaughan’s rhythm section, Double Trouble, who groove with the best of them. AmSouth Amphitheatre
My Epiphany This local group’s full-length debut, Unbuilt Cities...(The Great Suburban Hope), is a dynamic follow-up to their The Human Form EP, the work of an accomplished if youthful emo band ready to perform on bigger stages. By turns anthemic and reflective, Unbuilt Cities alternates rousing choruses and moody acoustic passages. Among the bands joining them for their CD release celebration will be Oliver’s Army and Silent Friction. The Muse
Tom House Those looking for a Nashville rarely heard should encounter House, a poet and musician who bleeds dark and beautifully on his new album, Long Time Home From Here. He’s also got a new full-length volume of poetry, The World According to Whiskey, which, like his songwriting, isn’t afraid to lay bare the paradoxes inherent in us all. Douglas Corner Cafe, early show at 6 p.m.
Paul Burch & The WPA Ballclub Just back from a European tour with Laura Cantrell, including an evening with BBC radio legend John Peel, Burch is busy preparing a new album for fall release. Expect to hear harder-rocking honky-tonk and Beatle-esque ballads in the new material, which Burch somehow wrote between caring for his new baby son and working at The Red Wagon, his wife Meg’s cool East Nashville restaurant. Family Wash
Phil Keaggy This world-class guitarist’s Beatles jones draws attention to his McCartney-like vocals, but that’s only one facet of his engaging solo shows. Keaggy exudes warmth and humility despite possessing some of the most formidable six-string chops around. Café Express
Henry Cory CD Release Party Longtime Nashvillians, especially those with kids, will recognize Cory’s name from his ’90s stint as a popular children’s entertainer. After a lengthy hiatus from the local scene, he has reemerged, bespectacled, to court the contemporary folk market. He’ll debut his new material at a CD release party. Bean Central
mc lyte One of the first women stars of hip-hop comes to town to guest-host the first installment of the “Rick Walker Celebrity Mixer Series,” featuring the popular deejay on 106.7 FM. Most recently seen on the UPN series Platinum, the outspoken MC has just released a new album, Undaground Heat Vol. 1. Tickets start at $25; for more information, visit www.nashvilleentertainmentgroup.com. Gibson Bluegrass Showcase
Rockin’ in SpringfieldA Tribute to Ray Peterson Peterson is best known for his 1960 hit “Tell Laura I Love Her,” and an assemblage of his fellow early rock ’n’ rollers will pay tribute to him in an effort to help defray his medical expenses as a cancer patient. It’s a bit of a drive to Springfield, located 45 minutes or so north of town, but well worth it for those who remember The Newbeats (represented here by member Larry Henley, who went on to write “The Wind Beneath My Wings”), Bruce Channel (“Hey Baby”), Freddy Weller (a onetime member of Paul Revere & The Raiders who co-wrote Tommy Roe’s hit “Dizzy”), Dicky Lee, Ronny & The Daytonas (represented here by Bucky Wilkin, who wrote the classic “G.T.O.”), Clifford Curry (singer of “She Shot a Hole in My Soul”) and many others. The show starts at 7 p.m.; for ticket information, call 383-8682. Springfield Civic Center
Fleetwood Mac Despite the contemporary production sheen, Fleetwood Mac’s new LP Say You Will resembles the lissome California rock of the band’s glory days more than the booming MOR of their nadir. Their current incarnation misses Christine McVie and her gift for airy up-tempo love songs, but draws strength from the return of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, the latter of whom is as attuned to the vibratory powers of acoustic guitar picking and light percussion as he was in the group’s rhythm-mad Tusk days. Unfortunately, Say You Will shows too many signs of superstar pretension to be a total triumph. The thick liner notes, the ridiculous cover photo and the fact that it’s a grueling 76 minutes long are as much a part of the problem as the subject matterwar, terrorism, rants like “What’s the World Coming To”all of which smacks of rich, self-important rock stars trying to stay relevant. Let’s hope their live show is heavy on the hits. Gaylord Entertainment Center N.M.
Girlesque II A smell of honey, a swallow of brine, a parade of pulchritude profane and divinethe burley-Q renaissance hits Nashville big-time in Katy K’s second showcase of exotic, buxotic local and national talent, buttressed by music and risqué repartee. Too Slim from Riders in the Sky again moonlights as the un-PC MC, “Larry Mammoth,” and Nashville’s own Gorgeous Greta, Amazon Queen of the North, serves as his stunning foil. On this bill: New York neo-burlesque champion Dirty Martini, Satan’s swizzle stick, and the World Famous BOB, the Chesty Morgan of the 21st century. Hometown girls Kicky La Rue, Felicia Gold and Panty Raid match them tit for tat, and Kristi Rose, Melba Toast and Roberto Bianco provide music under the supervision of swingin’ bandleader Jim Hoke. Short of having Tura Satana perform your next physical, this sounds like the ultimate in fleshly thrills. Exit/In
Barber Brothers Quartet If you have a serious interest in invigorating, undiluted jazz, and you still haven’t heard the Barber Brothers perform, then now is your time. The local trombone/saxophone duo kick off another series spotlighting their renditions of material from the jazz canonin this case, the music of Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. Café 123
Longwave This lush, textured pop-rock outfit got their first break last year when they were chosen as tour openers for fellow NYC throwbacks The Strokes. But while the latter skew heavily toward the edgy and melodic New York sound of the ’70s, Longwave remain tethered to dark ’80s music in the vein of The Church, Echo & The Bunnymen and early U2. Thankfully, they also transcend their retro bent on their debut LP, The Sweetest Things; it’s epic and bombastic stuff, but rarely dated. 12th & Porter
Scott Shipley, Tom Ewing, Tater Tate, Vic Jordan, Ernie Sykes and Gene Bush Ewing was Bill Monroe’s last lead singer, and three other Blue Grass BoysTate, Jordan and Sykesmake up the bulk of this fiercely trad-leaning bluegrass lineup, rounded out by mandolinist Shipley and the veteran Bush on Dobro. The Station Inn
Jazz Divas Some of the city’s premier improvisational vocalists unite on behalf of WMOT-89.5 FM, the finest jazz station in the region and among the best in the nation. The noon show begins with Paula James Chavis, followed by Diane Marino, April Barrows, Benita Hill, Liz Johnson and Julia Rich. Jazz
Jason Stewart Family Benefit Show Stewart’s a bluegrass-and-more bass player whose home was totaled in a recent storm. Mandolinist Scott Shipley has lined up a stellar crew to raise money for the family. Among the brightest: Jim Lauderdale and James Monroe (respectively, Stewart’s current and former employers), old-time banjo man and comedian Leroy Troy, dazzling modern banjoist Scott Vestal, the winsome and underrated singer Tina Adair, the even less justifiably underappreciated powerhouse duo of Keith Little & Robert Gately, and country/bluegrass singing/songwriting champs Larry Cordle and Carl Jackson. To accommodate the horde of volunteers, the show starts at 8 p.m., an hour earlier than the venue’s usual kickoff time. The Station Inn
White Light Motorcade Transformed by the “new rock” movement (though not conformed to it), this New York quartet have shared stages with the likes of The Mooney Suzuki and The Raveonettes. But despite their scene affiliations, White Light Motorcade’s Brad Jones-produced debut, Thank You, Goodnight, sounds less like gritty, riffy neo-garage than like mainstream arena rock with a higher-than-usual dose of glitz and pop, à la The Vines. Slow Bar.
Monday, 2nd-Wednesday, 4th
Gillian Welch Welch’s upcoming fourth album, Soul Journey, is as intimate as her last two records but less austere, even when she’s performing solo: It’s a warmer, looser set of songs, and the full-band “Wrecking Ball” finale (scrappy and shambling, like the Rolling Thunder Revue) points to a direction worth exploring. She and producer/partner David Rawlings will be opening for Norah Jones this summer, and by the time you read this, Welch’s local three-night stand likely will be sold out. Belcourt Theatre
Guyana Punch Line This self-described “antimusical terrorunit” wage war on their audience’s complacency and comfort by providing what they term “irritainment.” However, the South Carolina band’s music is more irrepressible than irritating and, like all hardcore, is inscribed with an ethos that minimizes any division between performer and audience. Deadly Skies and Asschapel open, along with Lady Cop. Guido’s NY Pizzeria
Barn Burning This Rhode Island band rely on a heavy dose of mandolin and fiddle, yet avoid the tired twang and hayseed referents that their alt-country-ish name implies. Instead, think The Jayhawks or Uncle Tupelo if they were able to pull off the plaintive melancholy of early-’80s Athens bands like R.E.M. and Guadalcanal Diary. Slow Bar’s New Faces Nite
Statistics A side project of Desparecidos guitarist-songwriter Denver Dalley, Statistics are far more electronically oriented, even if no one will mistake them for an electroclash band. Statistics channel their aggression into fuzzed-out synths and propulsive beats, while hanging onto guitars and Denver’s breathy vocals. Slow Bar’s New Faces Nite
Chely Wright’s Reading Writing & Rhythm Benefit A fundraiser for country singer Wright’s public-school music education foundation, featuring Terri Clark, Clay Walker, Vince Gill, Amy Grant and more. Wildhorse Saloon
Dressy Bessy Sharing members and sensibilities with Apples in Stereo, Dressy Bessy play girl-pop that’s neither twee nor overtly psychedelic, but rather foot-stomping and sing-along brilliant. Don’t be deceived by the Power Puff Girls association and the Kindercore konnection. These guys (and gal) rock in true Mod-Go-Go fashion, but never enough to overwhelm their idiot-proof melodies and “aw shucks” charm. They share a bill with The Oranges Band (see below). Slow Bar
The Oranges Band The Oranges Band match desperate, dour vocals with upbeat music that makes for oddly joyful listening. With a sound that includes horns, a groovy rhythm section and a thin electric guitar, they hark back to English new wave groups who injected sartorial flair, lyrical wit and wicked hooks straight into your hips. Slow Bar
Phillips, Grier & Flinner Guitarist David Grier, especially, is likely to provoke mirth with his sly, slippery solos, but bassist Todd Phillips and mandolinist Matt Flinner also approach their instruments with more than the usual measure of wit. Think new acoustic music, not bluegrass, and you won’t be disappointed. The Station Inn
100 Greatest Songs of Country Music A CMT taping with Vince Gill, Martina McBride, Kenny Chesney, LeAnn Rimes, Deana Carter, Sara Evans, Marty Stuart, Glen Campbell, George Jones, Steve Wariner and others performing country classics. Call 255-9600 for info. Gaylord Entertainment Center
The Parthenon As the city prepares to welcome 50 fiberglass catfish sculptures in the “Catfish Out of Water” public art project later in June, The Parthenon offers an exhibit of some of the original drawings submitted by participating artists last fall. These works on paper reveal the creative process of transforming a 7-foot fish-shaped form into a unique piece of sculpture: One catfish has been covered in wine corks, bottle tops and aluminum-can pull tabs, while another has been transformed into a bewhiskered belle named Miss Finnie Pearl. The exhibit opens May 31, and there’s an artist’s reception 6:30-8:30 p.m. June 7.
Plowhaus Art may be an investment, but at these prices, it’s not a risky one. Head over to this East Nashville gallery for an exhibition of originaland appealingart priced at under $50. Participating artists include gallery owner Franne Lee, Keith Harmon, Joe Hardwick, Lesley Patterson, Beth Gilmore, Andee Rudloff, Iwonka Waskowski and many others. The show kicks off with an opening reception, 7-11 p.m. May 31.
Rule of Thirds Nashville artist Chris Scarborough has looked at the future, and it isn’t pretty, as an exhibition of his latest works shows. Scarborough’s paintings and drawings prompt the viewer to question the direction and pace of human progress, specifically as it relates to genetic engineering and other scientific breakthroughs. Witness disconcerting images like “Squiddle,” a creature with a human head but only trailing tentacles for a body. The opening reception is 6-9 p.m. May 31, and Rule of Thirds is at 1507 Bernard Ave., just off Belmont Boulevard.
Easy’s in the Village Behind every cloud there’s a silver liningor perhaps a painting. This spring’s spate of storms inspired Nashville artist Kris Prunitsch to create a series of abstract acrylic canvases that suggest the awesome power of nature in vivid reds, greens, blues and black. Join the artist at the opening reception, 6-8 p.m. June 2.
Ted Nugent Terrible Ted did a delightful job entertaining at last year’s Swan Ball, where he was upstaged only by Martha Ingram’s “booty dance” to “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang.” But on his latest Nashville visit, the Nuge has bigger fish to fry...or should we say, elk to gut. No doubt trailing moose entrails in his teeth, the Merchant of Venison roars into the Brentwood Borders on Friday to sign his hunters’ cookbook Kill It and Grill It, the worst nightmare Bambi ever had. We dare PETA to send over somebody in a carrot suit.
Frist Fridays You might call it the thinking person’s Dancin’ in the District, or you might just call it the best idea since the old downtown post office was transformed into the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. In any case, this free event offers Nashvillians a chance to meet and mingle at the arts center while enjoying appetizers, a cash bar and live music. This Friday, the music is by Abby Burke and the Manly Band. A versatile vocalist who has performed with the likes of Patti LaBelle, Beegie Adair and Donald Byrd, Burke is also the founder/director of the Nashville Association of Cabaret Artists and an instructor at the Nashville Jazz Workshop. The center’s galleries will be open at no charge during the event, meaning that you can brush up on ancient Ottoman art, contemporary works by Nashville artist Alicia Henry and other currently running exhibits. This first Frist Fridays event is 5:30-9 p.m. May 30. Mark your calendar for future Frist Fridays on June 27, July 25 and Aug. 22.
Green Hills Rotary Bluegrass & Firehall BBQ Grab a lawn chair or blanket and head to Hillsboro High School for a lazy afternoon of perfectly paired food and entertainment. A $5 ticket buys you the music of five bluegrass bandsSouthbound, Temperance Road, Cabin Fever, Rude Dogs and Cordlessplus games and diversions for the kids. (Ages 10 and under are admitted free.) The afternoon also includes teams of firefighters from different Nashville fire halls competing in a barbecue cook-offwith free samples. Barbecue, ice cream and soft drinks will be for sale as well. The event is 11 a.m.-4 p.m. May 31 on the front lawn of the high school, and proceeds benefit Green Hills Rotary Foundation, Share Your Life Foundation and firefighter charities.
Nashville Screenwriters Conference Forget those jokes about the dumb blonde who tried to get ahead in Hollywood by sleeping with a screenwriter. The power’s in the page, and this weekend’s annual scenarist’s summit boasts its best lineup yet, including writers Daniel Waters (Heathers), Larry Karaszewski (Ed Wood), Leslie Bohem (the miniseries Taken) and Doug Jung (Confidence); directors Miguel Arteta (The Good Girl) and Michael Lehmann (40 Days and 40 Nights); FX president of entertainment Kevin Reilly; DreamWorks TV production chief Joe Aguillar; and many more industry pros. It begins Friday at the Marriott at Vanderbilt, supplemented by weekend screenings at the Belcourt. Walk-up registration is $250; for more information, call (877) 672-2003, visit www.nashscreen.com or see the story on p. 59.
Divine Intervention Keaton-esque director-star Elia Suleiman’s comic take on Palestinian-Israeli border tensions became the object of international controversy when the Oscars refused to consider it for best foreign film (since the U.S. doesn’t recognize Suleiman’s homeland of Palestine). The movie starts Friday at the Belcourt; see the review on p. 59.
Finding Nemo Pixar’s batting average remains an impeccable 1.000 with the animation studio’s latest gem, the story of a neurotic clownfish’s heroic attempt to rescue his captured spawn. Beautifully designed and detailed, a bit scarier and darker emotionally than previous outings, and voiced to perfection (by Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Allison Janney and many more), this offers more imagination and delight per minute than many entire movies muster. It opens Friday.
Bollywood/Hollywood Perhaps inspired by the Belcourt’s dinner-and-a-movie smash last year with Lagaan, the Franklin Cinema offers the same deal 7 p.m. Sunday as the first in a monthly series. Along with the local premiere of the colorful romantic comedy Bollywood/Hollywood (actually a Canadian film), patrons can dine on Indian cuisine from nearby Bistro Shakti. The $10 ticket includes both film and food. For more information, call 790-7122.
The Italian Job Three cute little Mini Coopers (driven by Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron and Jason Statham) attempt to separate Edward Norton from his ill-gotten gold in this remake of the beloved Michael Caine caper flick. It opens Friday, along with the cannibal holocaust Wrong Turn and something else just as biting and painful, Neil LaBute’s The Shape of Things. See reviews in our Movie Guide on p. 60.
Welcome to Nashville What could be more timely, at least for Music City residents, than a documentary account of Fan Fair? Local photographer Allyson Reeves directed this study of the mammoth country jamboree’s faithful fans and the hopefuls seeking their shot at the spotlight. The film is part of the Slow Bar’s “Outside Cinema” bill 9 p.m. Sunday, free of charge.
GLBT DVD Release Party Next Tuesday, the enterprising folks at MGM Home Video are putting out seven hitherto-unreleased GLBT titles with healthy cult followings. Films include Bent (with Mick Jagger doing drag), The Hanging Garden (which Madonna sampled for “What It Feels Like for a Girl”), It’s My Party (featuring Margaret Cho, Bronson Pinchot and Olivia Newton-John in one movie), Jeffrey (in which Patrick Stewart goes where no starship captain has gone before), My Beautiful Laundrette (with Daniel Day-Lewis at his rough-trade best), The Sum of Us (Russell Crowe getting down and dirty), and Wigstock: The Movie (a Whitman’s sampler of the highs and lows of ’90s drag). To celebrate, Tribe throws a release party 8 p.m. Saturday with trivia contests, giveaways, music videos and comedy by Nashville institution DJ Ron.
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Mr. Pink- I'm added that to my netflix right now.
Wonderful! We're hoping Knoxville puts something like this together, too. It's a fantastic concept!!