You’re from Texas, which is a perfectly good place to start a troubadour career. How did you end up here in Nashville as opposed to, say, heading to Austin?
I’ve been obsessed with the Nashville songwriter community, and how all my heroes at least went through town at some point in time. I’m obsessed with Harlan Howard and Willie Nelson and Mickey Newbury and Tom T. Hall, that whole crowd. So I kinda just wanted to try it here.
* Colorfeels, described as a blend of "old rock and chamber-pop," performed their tune "Fun Machine," and I have to commend TN Mornings' sound person/people: The mix is good, and the clarinet is mic'd perfectly. To hear the original, visit the Fields' Bandcamp page. There's also a web-exclusive performance of the tune "Shapes," which I think is probably Colorfeels' best tune — penalty-attracting in length though it may be.
* Andrew Combs has a new record out tomorrow, and he'll play a Grimey's in-store to celebrate (more on that before long). But in advance of his appearance at Musicians Corner a couple weeks back, Combs stopped in at Tennessee Mornings to play his tune "She's Only Lonely." He was of course joined by his trusty backers Jeremy Fetzer and Spencer Cullum Jr. — the boys of Steelism, as you should know by now. Solid performance.
* And finally, Nashville's most publicized a cappella outfit, Street Corner Symphony, also made an appearance. I have to be honest: I am wildly averse to a cappella. It's probably partially because I was raised Church of Christ and therefore subjected to a shit-ton of instrument-less renditions of "As the Deer" and "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," and partially because ... well, beat-boxing and melisma in tandem make me want to die forever. But hey, Street Corner Symphony was on The Sing Off, and they're good at what they do. So if an a cappella take on Otis Redding's (or The Black Crowes') "Hard to Handle" sounds like something you're interested in, stream away. They also did "Shenandoah."
As a rule, supergroups are generally not all that super (Velvet Revolver, Chickenfoot, et al.). As an exception, Diamond Rugs are most excellent. A veritable Traveling Wilburys of indie rock (or better yet, a scuzzy Southern-rock Rockpile), Diamond Rugs (translated in “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”-speak as I’m-on-Drugs) features Deer Tick frontman and recent Nashville transplant John McCauley, his DT bandmate Robbie Crowell, Black Lips’ Ian Saint Pé, Dead Confederate’s Hardy Morris, Six Finger Satellite’s Bryan Dufresne and, as an out-of-left-field wild card, Los Lobos keyboardist/saxophonist Steve Berlin.
The ragtag ensemble’s self-titled debut is a loose 14-track romp through panoramic, day-drunk dirges, hung-over heartland rock and tripped-out country psychedelia, making for the one of most satisfying low-key listens of 2012. Tonight, The D Rugs make their Music City debut, and they’ve assembled one helluva top-shelf local-rock undercard featuring Turbo Fruits, Ranch Ghost, Denney and the Jets, and James Wallace and the Naked Light.
While night two of With Your Friends Fest on the riverfront didn't warm up for us much, The Spin at least caught two sweet breaks: First, we were at least dry, as the frosty mist that plagued Friday was no longer a problem. Second, we scored a couple of artist passes — as general admission is of course our sense of entitlement’s worst enemy. So, rather than freeze with the plebes, we enjoyed a heated lounge with an open bar. And rather than watching from the back of the flock, we got a sweet view from side stage.
Despite a week of absolutely ideal weather, temperatures in the 40s and bitter-cold mists decided to descend upon Nashville on Friday — the first day of With Your Friends Fest. The Spin & Co. faced down the gales, striding toward The Lawn at Riverfront Park and the sound of Dillon Francis dropping the bass on his “Low Rider” remix. With its vendors, art installations, tents and an honest-to-God carnival ride, The Lawn looked like Bonnaroo’s Which Stage had been dropped in the middle of Downtown Nashville. Making our way through admission, we swiftly realized that our seasonally appropriate overcoat might very well have put us among the most conservatively dressed people in the whole place. But after seeing all the bikini-clad, elven coeds and sleeveless-shirted masked bros shivering together in the wind, we felt OK about our wardrobe choices.
So, local lo-fi witticist Brett Rosenberg and his Quichenight opened up for The Figgs Thursday night at The High Watt. I unfortunately didn't catch it, as I was checking out Poetry Sucks! at Dino's and Steelism's release show at The Basement (both great). As my way of saying "Sorry for missing" — or really, as my way of saying "Hey, listen to this" — check out Quichenight's latest number, "Scum," above or via the Quiche's Soundcloud page. According to Rosenberg, it's "the longest Quichenight recording to date." And according to me, it's a characteristically breezy power-pop tune with plenty of lithe guitar work and big, brainy vocals. "On the horizon," says Rosenberg, "an EP. A feature-length film. The official opening of the Quichenight Building, at Douglas and Gallatin next to the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market." Sounds legit.
It’s been 12 years since The Nashville Network morphed into The National Network (and later into the dude-centric Spike), effectively pulling the plug on our fair city’s two-decade experiment in using cable as a cultural ambassador. Jim Owens Entertainment, which in 2008 effectively revived the original TNN’s popular Music City Tonight program by producing a new eponymous show with its hosts, Crook and Chase, has purchased the rights to the network’s name and insignia, and is set to relaunch next Thursday, Nov 1.
Their partner in the venture, Luken Communications, has remained tight-lipped about network affiliation, and there has been no word yet on where to find the programming. Rejoice, you who long for the days when your ability boot, scoot and/or boogie was a more essential element of country fandom than, say, whether or not she thinks your tractor’s sexy: From the network’s Twitter feed, it appears as though some of the new TNN’s airtime will be devoted to reruns of classic programming. The schedule will also feature some new programming, including the televised version of The Rick and Bubba Morning Show and Robin Shea’s Southern Fried Fitness.
Coming down the pipeline late, but not too late, it's number One-Oh-Ten. Worried about your blind trusts? Just pop down to your dock and christen a few yachts — then throw on the latest CCS. It's The Chris Crofton Show, Episode 110. Hear it after the jump.
As local fans of dreamy indie pop of course already know, Brooklyn's Hospitality rolled through town earlier this week. In addition to a full and proper set at The High Watt, frontlady Amber Papini and her crew of C86-channeling popsters did an acoustic-heavy in-store at Grimey's. As per usual, Cream contributor Lance Conzett was there with his camera, and he caught the above performance of — appropriately enough — "Eighth Avenue." You know, since Grimey's is located on Eighth Avenue. I see a trend developing here. Grimes plays Grimey's. A band with a song called "Eighth Avenue" plays Grimey's. I think it's time to start a band called "Wedgewood Exit and the Mike Grimes Experience" — see if we can have an in-store residency.
Marti Jones and Don Dixon may have been the great unheralded couple of 1980s pop. Jones was the singer in the A&M act Color Me Gone in the heyday of college radio, before moving on to a solo career marked by her smoky vocals and exquisite taste in material (from the likes of Elvis Costello, John Hiatt, Marshall Crenshaw and Graham Parker). Dixon, her husband, was one of the architects of R.E.M.'s jangly, mellifluous early sound, captured for the ages on the classic Murmur LP he co-produced. His own solo albums showed how much records like The Smithereens' Especially for You benefitted from his love of '60s psychedelia, garage rock and Merseybeat.
They both poured their strengths into her 1990 RCA label debut, Any Kind of Lie — a pure-pop jewel that focused on her songwriting and their studio chemistry (highlighted by a niftily nasty duet called "My Tears Are Poison" too hooky and ebullient to come off bitter). Over the past decade, however, her attention has turned more toward a burgeoning career as a painter — examples of which you can see here.
At 6 p.m. this Saturday, at LeQuire Gallery, 4304 Charlotte Ave., she'll exhibit a selection of her work in a show entitled "3D: Drinking, Dining and Dancing." The evening doubles as a CD release party for Irish singer-songwriter Kelley Ryan, whose new album Cocktails inspired the paintings on display. Jones (now going by Marti Jones Dixon), who's been co-writing with her, will perform with Ryan backed by Don Dixon and his longtime percussionist Jim Brock. The paintings will remain up through Nov. 10 — but the Saturday show sounds like a rare chance to see two of 1980s pop's most underrated artists, in a celebratory setting.
Below, a clip of the Dixons duetting on Dan Penn & Chips Moman's magnificent soul standard "The Dark End of the Street." (By the way: Why don't more people listen to Graham Parker these days? Start here.)
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