This New York-based, Virginia-bred trio work much the same sweat-soaked gospel/soul groove that the Staple Singers patented during their tenure at Stax. But the joyful noise the Holmes Brothers make doesn’t sound retro so much as timeless. It’s the world-class equivalent of the groaning, shouting, blues-based roots music you can still hear in sanctified churches and roadhouses throughout the Southindeed, wherever people don’t make distinctions between the sacred and the profane. The Holmes Brothers play a 7:30 p.m. show at 3rd & Lindsley Bar & Grill. Funk-soul combo the Tyrone Smith Revue take the stage later that evening at 10:30 p.m.
Picks written by Todd Anderson, Martin Brady, Chris Davis, Jonathan Flax, Bill Friskics-Warren, Jonathan Marx, Noel Murray, Margaret Renkl, Jim Ridley, Jack Silverman, Angela Wibking and Ron Wynn.
Mandy Barnett Barnett’s torch ’n’ twang serve as a much-needed reminder of just how expansive the oft-misunderstood Nashville Sound actually was. Indeed, perhaps the Crossville native’s greatest strength, along with her staggering vocal command, is her stylistic reachsomething that doubtless pleased her producer, the late Owen Bradley, who worked with singers as down-home as Loretta Lynn and Jimmy Martin and as uptown as Conway Twitty and Patsy Cline. Barnett and her band, including Bradley’s brother Harold on guitar, play at 3rd & Lindsley Bar & Grill.
The Judybats Fronted by the nasal-toned and oddly charismatic Jeff Heiskell, Knoxville’s alt-folk Judybats scored several college radio hits in the early ’90s. Both 1992’s Down in the Shacks Where the Satellite Dishes Grow and 1993’s Pain Makes You Beautiful contain real gems, in which Heiskell’s high-arch range and clever turns of phrase reach moments of pathos and humor that recall Morrissey in an East Tennessee guise. As the music industry shifted toward grunge, however, the group was one of many, many casualties to get axed by a major label. After a hiatus through the second half of the ’90s, Heiskell drafted a new cast for Judybats ’00, and the band continue to tour sporadically. They play Slow Bar with Boro-popsters Glossary.
The Porch Ghouls Fans of the rollicking stomp blues and shoestring clatter of bands like Doo Rag will absolutely flip over The Porch Ghouls, who marry the physicality of Memphis garage legends The Oblivians with the dark humor of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. Scott Taylor (formerly of The Grifters) and his cohorts don corpsepaint and blast their way through a passel of tunes that range from slow droning blues to full-tilt runaway train boogies that surprisingly never get derailed. At The End, they share a bill with Chris Crofton, whose beer-soaked ditties have been recently punked up, and the Holy Ghost.
Robert Hunter The man who put the words in Jerry Garcia’s mouth for more than a quarter-century comes to the Belcourt. Don’t be surprised if Jim Lauderdale chimes in on a few numbersthe two songsters co-wrote literally dozens of tunes during Hunter’s recent extended visit here.
Maura O’Connell The first time I ever heard Maura O’Connell sing, I was sitting at the Station Inn with the burly bassist for a local honky-tonk band, a guy who could uproot a mechanical bull with his bare hands. Within a minute of O’Connell singing Edith Piaf’s “Hymne a L’amour (If You Love Me),” my large friend was reduced to swabbing his eyes with beer coasters. If a voice that makes grown men cry, combined with a buoyant stage presence and fine taste in tunes, sounds like your idea of entertainment, don’t miss the Irish vocalist’s show at the Belcourt with Music City soulman Pat McLaughlin.
Masters of the Hemisphere/Trackstar Fans of Belle and Sebastianand of twee pop in generalwill find much to like in the simple orchestrations of both Masters of the Hemisphere and Trackstar. Masters hail from Athens, Ga., and like many of that town’s acts, anchor their expansive pop songs with melodies that meander yet never get lost. Bay Area indie-rockers Trackstar play it a little closer to the cuff, but their songs are impressive enough to make this bill at the Red Rose Coffee House one to not miss.
The Features/Character/My Tyger/De Novo Dahl If you’re a music fan and haven’t heard about any of these fine local bands, under what rock have you been living? The Features play the smartest new wave of new wave around these parts. Character emit textured, instrumental drones somewhere between white noise and melody. My Tyger and De Novo Dahl each do a credible job with slick indie pop. The chance to see all of these groups at the Exit/In is a hell of an event. Bring your dark-rimmed glasses.
The Gold Room If you liked June of ’44, Rodan and Bedhead before they gave birth to a bunch of whiny clones, The Gold Room should be right up your alley. But they’re one of the few bands in Nashville/Murfreesboro doing something that you can’t quite compare to their peers. The closer you get to putting your finger on it, the more elusive the description becomes. Heavy, but not hard, they play with Simon Brawl at the Boro.
Lori Mechem & the Horns From Hell Pianist Mechem is a tremendous accompanist and soloist regardless of context, though she’s often best backing singers or contributing to intimate trios. For this performance at Cafe 123, she’ll be operating in a different arena, serving in a group billed as the Horns From Hell. It should be quite interesting.
Fabolous After a performance on DJ Clue’s weekly NYC radio show in 1998, this Brooklyn rapper impressed the producer enough that he was signed to Clue’s Desert Storm imprint. Since then, he’s had notable guest spots with Mariah Carey (“Last Night a DJ Saved My Life”) and a string of hits from his debut Ghetto Fabolous, including “Can’t Deny It” and “Young’n.” Fabolous has been slagged somewhat for relying on the strength of his producers (among them Rick Rock), so if you have any doubts about the man’s skills, listen to his remix of Tweet’s “Oops (Oh My),” which features the filthiest line ever to pass through the FCC sifter: “There go my kids all over your face.” Did anyone at the FCC actually listen to this? Fabolous plays TSU’s Gentry Center with Charissa.
Tanya Savory Winner of the New Folk Songwriting competition at the 1996 Kerrville Folk Festival, Savory trades in the kind of closely observed, bluegrass-inflected folk-pop you’d expect to hear on public radio. Galvanized by her round, bell-toned alto, Savory’s records are deeply heartfelt, yet aren’t without a slyly subversive streakas “Nashville,” her shuffling lament for a Music City that was, attests. Savory brings an all-star band of pickers with her to The Basement to celebrate Where We Live, her new CD.
The Gypsy Hombres feat. Ava Day The Hombres use the “Hot Club” stylings of the Django Reinhardt/Stephane Grappelli and Eddie Lang/Joe Venuti guitar-violin combos as a jumping-off point, adding their own distinctive instrumental voices and compositions to the mix. They play with panache and they swing their butts off. They’ll be joined for this Cafe 123 appearance by the sultry, sassy and sometimes salacious Ava Day, who knows her way around shimmering torch ballads as well as bawdy barrelhouse sexposés. But don’t get too excited fellas...she’ll be going home with fiancé violinist/bandleader Peter Hyrka. A perfect setting for that “third date.”
J. Ivy/Tarrey Torae Windy City natives whose steamy live show embraces everything from old-school slow jams to spoken-word social commentary, vocalist Tarrey Torae and poet/rapper/bandleader J. Ivy didn’t get nearly the audience they deserved last year at the Belcourt. Those who went, though, tossed around comparisons like The Fugees and even Prince. That get your attention? Backed by their Family Jewels Band, they offer seconds of their 21st-century soul at the Hillsboro Village theater. For information, call 846-3150.
Tejendra Narayan Majumdar & Subhankar Banerjee Sri Ganesha Hindu temple hosts an evening of instrumental music by sarod master Tejendra Narayan Majumdar and his tabla accompanist, Subhankar Banerjee. The sarod is a lute-like instrument with sympathetic droning strings inside the body, and the world-class Majumdar is striking not only in his technical ability, but also in his tastefulness. A New York Times reviewer compared him to Beethoven for his motific economy and his ability to craft endless permutations from a musical theme. Banerjee, likewise, is a world-class performer, and has performed with Pandit V.M. Bhatt (who recorded a couple great records with Ry Cooder), among many others. Show time is 6:30 p.m.
Wolf Eyes These Michiganites’ squealing, scraping, often challenging music owes a debt to first-wave industrial bands like Throbbing Gristle and SPK. But underneath and around their creepy, disembodied vocals and electronic mayhem, these guys display a genuine appreciation for rock ’n’ rollwhich is fitting, given their ties to party-hard wildman Andrew W.K., with whom two of the three members have collaborated in previous projects. (W.K. did an amazing, hard-charging remix for Wolf Eyes as well.) For a band who indulge such dark tropes and uncompromising sounds, Wolf Eyes use empty space in their music effectively, recognizing that a slow, steady buildup is the best way to get under the listener’s skin and keep ’em listening. It’ll be interesting to see what happens onstage when these guys play a 10 p.m. show at Springwater with White Ghosts and the New Faggot Cunts.
Robbing Reality w/Green Rode Shotgun Cookeville modern rock act Robbing Realitypart mid-tempo balladry, part arena anthemsroll into the Exit/In. Be sure to come early for show opener Green Rode Shotgun, a stinging Murfreesboro indie-rock band founded last year by former members of The Features and The Roaries. The quintet’s debut EP, Persistence of Youth (spectacularly produced by Brian Carter), crams multiple hooks into each track, creating a joyously anarchic tone; it’s as if a big hunk of power-pop had been shattered on the floor and then glued back together by unkempt undergrads on a coffee jag. They’re halfway between the adventurous shamble of their cohorts Glossary and the careening punk prettiness of The New Pornographers, but mostly they sound magnificent and new.
Trabant Almost without meaning to, Trabant make spooky instrumental music. It’s not the notes or the key that makes their music spooky; it’s the precise cleanliness of their “songs.” Sounding like a soundtrack to a silent film, Trabant create pools of sound that are at once delicate and dense. Their new record, Promises in Shapes of Noise, is beautifully and precisely recorded. In our budding local instrumental scene, they’re already setting the bar high. Trabant play Guido’s with the Emery Reel.
Slack Though still in their early 20s, Slack have been around for so long that they’ve earned a place as elder statesmen of local pop-punk. Anyone who digs Rocket From the Crypt, The Misfits and Neil Diamond should plan on attending. Their shows of late have been bilious affairs in high gear, and they’ll spit out some of their heavy punk riffing at the Red Rose in Murfreesboro with the Imaginary Baseball League and promising newcomers Dixie Dirt.
Tennessee Jazz & Blues Society The public may not know the contributions Chuck Chellman has made to live jazz and blues in Nashville. But Chellman, for many years the president of the TJBS, was among the pioneers who believed there was a local audience for the music, and he worked tirelessly to increase opportunities for performers. His legacy will be celebrated in an early-evening gathering at Cafe 123, as TJBS hosts a celebration with free food and free jazz from 5-7 p.m.
Essra Mohawk This outstanding singer-songwriter does very few shows in the Nashville area, though there’s plenty of demand for her elsewhere. Fortunately, she occasionally brings her distinctive vocal style to Jazz@Bellevue Center, where listeners can also find copies of her albums. This Saturday-afternoon performance has special significance, as it will double as a birthday celebration.
Audity Central Spearheaded by WRVU-91 Rock, this electronica happening returns to The End with headliner Adejai, whose blend of house music, jazzy breaks and Detroit techno should be plenty funky. Local spinners Chek, Mindub and Jolby round out the bill.
Winans Family They’re arguably the gospel equivalent of the Jacksons, except that Mom and Pop Winans have also been successful recording artists. This large musical family includes Carvin, Marvin, Ronald and Michael, the four brothers who began singing as The Winans in the early ’70s in Detroit. In the years since, the siblings have enjoyed both gospel and secular hits, and they’ve been followed by BeBe & CeCe Winans, Angie & Debbie Winans, and Vickie Winans. The Winans family’s “Together We Stand” Tour comes to the Grand Ole Opry House, and music gets under way at 6:30 p.m.
Chris Whitley Whitley is the rare rootsy singer-songwriter whose eclecticism actually translates to a well-wrought expansivenessas evidenced by his fine 2001 disc, Rocket House. Even without that record’s cool hip-hop/electronica-influenced production, his live show at 3rd & Lindsley is sure to be a study in supple, sexy, swoon-worthy grooves.
Barbecue Bob & the Spareribs Blues-rock Brooklyn style, courtesy of a rumbling foursome whose latest slab of swampy stomp is called The Sacred and the Propane. Blues harmonica fans, you won’t hear this much harp again without angels nearby. The cookout’s at Bourbon Street Blues & Boogie Bar.
Rod Picott/Jimmy Lafave Picott’s earthy good looks and aw-shucks charm had the female employees of Radio Cafe keeping score of “Rod” pointsone for each time he spoke to one of them. But he’s not just another pretty face. Picott is a writer and singer of great (and pleasantly understated) emotional depth with a gruff, Tom Waits-meets-Steve Earle voice. He landed the title cut on Slaid Cleaves’ album Broke Down, and his own Tiger Tom Dixon’s Blues was hailed by Music Row magazine as the “birth of a major, major artist.” Also on the bill at 3rd & Lindsley is rootsy singer-guitarist Jimmy LaFave, whose latest release, Texoma, has garnered quite a bit of positive press.
Roguie Ray & Blue Monday Fresh off a headlining appearance at Music City Blues’ 10th anniversary extravaganza, the exciting, highly charismatic vocalist Roguie Ray is working once more with Blue Monday, a group that was among the city’s most popular blues bands for many years. They’re featured at Bourbon Street Blues & Boogie Bar.
Exit/In Talent Show The Exit/In staff struts its stuff in a showcase. Rumor says soundman Frank Sass will sing a medley from The Sound of Music, so put in a request for “Edelweiss” next time you see him.
Trembling Before G-d This Thursday night at the Belcourt, director Sandi Simcha DuBowski will host a discussion of his controversial documentary about the struggle of gays and lesbians to be accepted within Orthodox Judaism. Based on the volume of calls the theater is getting, it’ll be crowded, so get there early. (Unfortunately, Rabbi Steve Greenberg, an openly gay rabbi featured in the film, will not be attending, as we reported last week; we also apologize for listing a post-film discussion this past Monday with Shai Cherry, which had been canceled.) For more information, call 383-9140.
Trouble Every Day No one under 18 will be admitted to this dark, visually stunning twist on the vampire romance by director Claire Denis (Beau Travail), which stars Vincent Gallo and Beatrice Dalle as unfortunates afflicted with a blood disease that causes them to devour their lovers. With a haunting score by the Tindersticks, the hotly debated film opens Friday at the Belcourt; see Noel Murray’s review on p. 38.
The Blue Angel Marlene Dietrich in the role that made her an international sensation: as the sultry cabaret singer Lola-Lola, who reduces a pompous, smitten professor (Emil Jannings) to utter humiliation. Josef von Sternberg’s 1930 masterpiece opens Friday at the Belcourt in a restored print; see the article on p. 36.
Jason X Not the sequel to Malcolm X but the ninth sequel to Friday the 13ththis time in outer space! We are so there. The movie opens Friday at local theaters, along with Peter Bogdanovich’s Hollywood murder mystery The Cat’s Meow, starring Kirsten Dunst; the Angelina Jolie vehicle Life or Something Like It; Benjamin Bratt as Latino playwright Miguel Piñero; and the horrendous British comedy-drama Crush, starring Andie MacDowell.
Rhythms of Life Global Education Center and the Knowles Senior Center have collaborated on this two-day celebration of ethnic music and dance, featuring performances from the flamenco, Polynesian, Korean and African traditions. A performance for school groups will take place at Cohn Adult Learning Center Friday morning, followed by a public performance 7:30-9:30 p.m. April 27 at the Knowles Senior Center, 1801 Broadway. Featured performers include flamenco dancer Nancy Sedgwick accompanied by guitarist Marija Temo, Hula Halau Mana’o E Hawaii with guest artist Iola Valubar, and the Doalnara Rising Sun Korean Percussion Ensemble. For information, call 292-3023.
City of Light Songwriter Beverly Ross has had major pop hits with bygone-era artists such as Lesley Gore, Roy Orbison and The Chordettes; among her catchy and enduring tunes are “Candy Man,” “Judy’s Turn to Cry” and “Lollipop.” Now, after six years of development, Ross is ready to present the first staged performance of her new musical. She wrote the lyrics and co-composed the music with Emmy Award-winning arranger/orchestrator Thom Spahn. Robert Viagas, co-author of A Chorus Line, produced the script, which concerns an American girl who seeks fame as a painter in Paris in 1936 but finds romance and intrigue instead. The staged reading is free and takes place 7 p.m. April 29-30 at The Temple on Harding Road. Seating is limited, and reservations are required. Call 662-8241.
Company It was the 1970 debut of this opus that first put Stephen Sondheim on the map as supposed savior of the modern American musical. It remains debated whether he ever reached those lofty heights, but it should be interesting to see how well Company holds up some 30 years later. Bachelor Bobby visits the homes of his couple friends, giving book writer George Furth a chance to proffer sardonic observations about singlehood vs. marriage. It might be dated stuff, but there may still be some truths among the potential for kitsch. There are definitely some hummable tunes; on that front, Company ranks among Sondheim’s best. Jeff Ellis directs the ACT I cast April 26-May 11 at the Darkhorse Theater.
I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change Joe DiPietro’s popular musical about love and modern relationships comes to Tennessee Repertory Theatre, opening May 1 at TPAC’s Polk Theater. Executive producing director David Grapes handles the directing duties in a co-production between the Rep and Arkansas Repertory Theatre, where the show played successfully last fall. The cast includes Nicole Fenstad, Jill Roberts, Brian Runbeck and Jeff Whiting. Musical direction is by Donald Jenczka. Recommended for mature audiences, I Love You... will run though May 18.
Idols of the King Elvis has not only not left the building, he’s taking up residence at the Ryman Auditorium, where this tribute to the King and his passionate fans opens April 25 for a three-week run through May 11. Arriving in Nashville fresh off performances at Virginia’s historic Barter Theatre, Idols of the King was created by sitcom writer Allen Crowe and Ronnie Claire Edwards, who (believe it or not) is known by millions as Corabeth Godsey on the old Waltons TV series. Part of the BellSouth Musical Series, the show features Scot Bruce strumming and swiveling his way into audiences’ hearts as Presley; John Briggs directs.
Zeitgeist New works by Santa Fe painter Jessica Brommer and Nashville sculptor Johan Hagaman are showcased in Zeitgeist’s latest show. Brommer’s “Party Girls” series includes works in which female figures in enigmatic situations are depicted in monochromatic tones and suspended in layers of beeswax. In “Mixers,” for example, a group of women in evening dress could be seen as a social gathering, or as members of a lineup. Meanwhile, Hagaman’s cast concrete and found-object sculptures are inspired by African ceremonial altars. Meet the artists at the opening reception 6-8 p.m. April 27.
Fugitive Art Center Tennessee artist Patrick Graves explores the concept of identity and privacy in an installation called “Secret Files: Bureaucracy in Action.” Graves uses old filing cabinets as a metaphor for government invasion into our private lives, but instead of filling his files with papers, he inserts beeswax-covered portraits of people. “The containers seem almost like coffins,” he says. “Even in death, one must be led through the system of bureaucracy: Forms must be filled out, agencies must be notified and the ritual of burial must be fulfilled. In the end, we are all filed away.” Discuss that cheery concept with the artist at the opening reception 7-9 p.m. April 27.
Local Color Gallery Ron York’s art usually features bright colors, a playful style and upbeat subject matter, so his latest series represents a major departure. Instead of angels, flowers and musicians, his new works incorporate old photographs taken by the artist’s late father, newspaper clippings and text with painted images. Subjects range from the aftermath of Sept. 11 to works juxtaposing the Boy Scouts in the 1940s with the present-day controversy of gays in the organization. In addition, several photos by York’s father are presented as individual works. York notes that, “although these works explore cultural controversies, they are not intended to be anything other than the reporting of events.” Talk with York at the opening reception 5-8 p.m. April 27.
Renaissance Center The Visual Arts Gallery at this Dickson center continues its salute to women artists with an exhibit of new works by Vinci Kolodziejski. The artist uses watercolors to create large-scale botanical, still-life, architectural and landscape images of unusual clarity and depth. Her paintings are inspired by scenes in her own gardens and by travels to Eastern Europe and Greece. Join the artist for an opening reception 5-8 p.m. April 26.
Auld Alliance Gallery Works by Alabama artist Lorrie Lane are showcased in the gallery’s annual spring show. Lane’s appealing oil paintings capture arrangements of mason jars filled with flowers, landscapes with sheep glimpsed on the artist’s sojourn in Maine, and scenes inspired by her hometown of Northport, Ala. The unifying element is a skilled use of bold color. Preview the show at the opening reception 5-8 p.m. April 26.
Reading & Writing
NPT’s A Word on Words On Thursday, April 25, Nashville Public Television celebrates 30 years of John Seigenthaler’s A Word on Words. This is the perfect occasion for bibliophiles who are also NPTophiles: A tribute dinner program, which doubles as a fundraiser for NPT, will be held at the Channel 8 studios and will feature readings or commentary by a number of writers, including Forrest Gump author Winston Groom; Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Halberstam; Alice Randall, local author of last year’s controversial The Wind Done Gone; and Cathie Pelletier, whose debut novel The Funeral Makers earned ecstatic reviews. The reception begins at 6:30 p.m., program and dinner at 7:30. Call Julia Wickerham at 687-9954 for reservations.
One Hand Clapping The popular improv troupe continue to expand their creative boundaries with the debut of a new long-form show entitled Pink Freud, in which Sigmund’s grandson offers immediate therapy to some needy audience member, using hypnosis and other techniques. Meanwhile, OHC are honing their comedy act in preparation for an appearance as a part of the eventful doings at Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival in May. OHC are also playing in a new venue these days, at the Musicians Union at 11 Music Circle North (across from BMI). Fledgling improv group Hot Jelly open this Friday’s show at 7:30 p.m.
Nashville Public Library The main library on Church Street and Vanderbilt University conclude their philosophy lecture series May 1 with a topic that gives new meaning to having someone over for lunch. Vandy anthropology professor Beth Conklin will ponder the question “Is Eating People Always Wrong?” Conklin’s talk is based on her book about an Amazon rain forest tribe that practiced cannibalism as a wartime and funeral ritual up until the 1960s. The lecture is at noon and follows a free catered box lunch served at 11:30 a.m. The squeamish may want to postpone lunch until after the lecture. The event is free, but reservations are required; call 322-5252.
Chiller Cinema Taping The coolest ghoul in school, Channel 19’s Dr. Gangrene, is your horrid host for a livemake that undeadbroadcast of his popular Chiller Cinema show. Novelist Stephen J. Hill (The Music City Madman) and toy collector Michael Lester are the evening’s guests, with music provided by The Reverbians, guitarist John Hudson’s new outfit, who perform surf-style odes to Evel Knievel and other giants of world culture. The gut munching begins 8 p.m. Friday at the CATV studios on the Nashville Tech campus; it’s free and open to the (temporarily) living. Check the Web site at www.chillercinema.com.
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