Nashville denizen and country music royalty — and gifted songstress in her own right — Holly Williams appeared on last night's Tonight Show, where she played "Let You Know" from her forthcoming The Highway. The record will be out Feb. 5 via Georgiana Records, and if the above rendition of "Let You Know" is any indication, the record just might grant a little glimpse of her outlaw roots: It isn't as honky-tonk as the music of her grandpa Hank, as good-ol'-boy-friendly as the output of her daddy Hank Jr., or as punkabilly as the tunes of her half-brother Hank 3, but it's got a mean, dark sort of twang to it.
Anyway, we'll have more on The Highway soon enough, but have a look at Williams' performance above, and head after the jump to see Williams' brand-new video for the tune "Drinkin'." Williams will play The Belcourt on Tuesday, Feb. 12.
Harrumph. Were [the] Eagles fascists? Maybe. Let's let Mr. Crofton explore it. Too many hands, y'all. It's The Chris Crofton Show, Episode 120. Hear it after the jump.
It's exciting and humbling that, even in the tiny sliver of scene in my purview, I had a hard time picking just five songs to discuss, and that's not counting several of my all-time favorites already mentioned by the estimable mssrs. Rodgers and Gold in our first two Best Local Rock Songs Ever installments. Whether mainstream or not, our cup runneth over with mad skills in songwriting and rocking. Fear not, those of you whose memories run longer: The next few installments promise to break out of The Aughts. But without further ado, make the jump and feast your ears on Best Local Rock Songs Ever, Spring Break '06 Edition!
The Spin has always regarded Cowboy Jack Clement as the rock 'n' roll, country and folk exception that proves virtually every rule of those American styles — of course, the first rule is that rules are meant to be creatively bent, if not broken. We wrapped up tight against a cold winter wind and made our way to the War Memorial Auditorium for Honoring a Legend: A Tribute to Cowboy Jack Clement, a multi-artist show that promised to connect folk, pop, rock 'n’ roll and country. Ducking into the venue, The Spin immediately sensed a rockabilly-tinged atmosphere that was convivial and perhaps a little chaotic.
We found this convivial chaos appropriate for a show honoring one of popular music’s most accomplished, idiosyncratic figures. As any adept of Jack Clement’s work knows, chaos is best furthered by using the finest musicians, and we sighted such players as keyboardist and singer Donnie Fritts and legendary guitarist Reggie Young in the audience, along with a brace of well-known figures who were scheduled to perform: Kris Kristofferson, T Bone Burnett, John Prine and Charley Pride. Also on board were many of the cast members of the Nashville TV show, including Connie Britton, who really does look like a country star.
A little less than a year ago I began writing about Nashville’s record stores. It all started with the idea of doing one story about just one store: Phonoluxe Records on Nolensville Road. I’d been shopping at Phonoluxe since they opened in 1987, and for a short while in the early 1990s, I worked there part-time when my day job was just up the street. I knew there was a great story to be told. Owner Mike Smyth was a treasure trove of great stories and knowledge about early rock music and rhythm & blues, but his aversion to self-promotion meant that few knew his background or how the store came to be. And even though used CD sales had taken a nose-dive in the past 10 years, the store’s sales were still good since Phonoluxe had gotten back to Smyth’s original vision: a quirky shop that catered to record collectors.
That first story ran in the Scene last March, and I had such a good time writing it that my next thought was to tell the stories of Nashville’s longtime survivors and newer upstarts of the record biz. After all, if you looked outside Nashville, the story everywhere was that brick-and-mortar stores were prehistoric creatures that had long since sunk into the digital-sales tar pits. And the few that remained were just struggling to gulp air before sliding down to their doom.
Meanwhile here in Nashville, we still have a number of great record stores, despite the dire prognostications of music industry doom emanating from Music Row. Almost all the chain stores were wiped out by the mass extinction events of the past decade, but three longtime shops celebrated significant anniversaries in 2012 — 25 years, 35 years and 65 years respectively for Phonoluxe, The Great Escape and Ernest Tubb Record Shop — and the younger kids, Grimey’s and The Groove, are both going gangbusters from the revival of interest in vinyl records.
Wayward Son: Performer Willy Mason returns home, searches through the fog, and carries on (Playing Monday, 4th at The High Watt)
Faces in the Crowd: The xx gets even more personal on their sophomore set (Playing Thursday, 31st at the Ryman)
Snack Attack: Local comic/musician Sean Parrott unleashes a bevy of songs about sad stuff and snacks (Songs About Sad Stuff and Snacks is available now)
Master and Commander: Performer and educator Rodney Whitaker schools a new generation of players in the ways of jazz (Rodney Whitaker and the Jazz Music City All-Stars playing Saturday, 2nd at the Steinway Recital Hall)
In The Spin: John McCauley and Robert Ellis at The Stone Fox, Yo La Tengo at Mercy Lounge
Plus Critics’ Picks on Deadstring Brothers, the Thre3style DJ competition, Rio and The Radikalz, Leagues with Nikki Lane, Funkonauts’ album release, Front Bottoms, Dee Goodz, The Willies, Young Widows, Grass Widow, U.S. Girls and more
You may have noticed that Turbo Fruits frontman and local handsome guy Jonas Stein won't be throwing his high-times-on-the-high-seas punk-rock festival Bruise Cruise this year. But if you're still interested in attending a Stein-thrown February rock 'n' roll party, you're in luck: The head Froot and his record-spinning cohort David Bermudez will celebrate the one-year anniversary of their Sparkle City DJs with a last-minute party this Friday, Feb. 1, at FooBar. There's a Facebook event page, and here's what the dudes have to say:
We can't believe it, but it's been 1 year since Sparkle City has cum to life. We would like to invite YOU to our first annual Birthday Party, so here's what we're gonna do- We are providing FREE SHOTS at midnight and free kisses ALL NIGHT. Bring your dancing shoes and dress sexy or... undress sexy. Thank you for all your lust and support. Let's have a good fucking time. -LOVE, LUST AND DUST.
Free, no-strings-attached shots? I've been lured in with that line before, and I just don't think I can have my heart broken like that again. Don't break my heart, Sparkle City! We just want to be loved, and also get some free shots! Anyway. Everybody party responsibly and stuff. Happy birthday, Sparkle City.
Night Beds, Country Sleep
Winston Yellen's outfit Night Beds has already been featured in all sorts of places, and his debut record, Country Sleep, isn't even out yet. Sleep will be out on Feb. 5 via Bloomington indie Dead Oceans, but you can already hear the whole damn thing over at Pitchfork. It's a lush record that at times resembles the output of fellow introspective, folk- and country-rooted indie crooners like, say, Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver and Phosphorescent. But Yellen has his own thing going on, and his voice — perhaps his greatest strength — rings clear and pure throughout Country Sleep, occasionally ensconced in reverb or bolstered by subtle backing vocals. Give it a listen. Oh, also, Night Beds will be on Fallon Feb. 8. Dude puts out his debut record and plays Late Night three days later? Somebody in Yellen's camp is doing his or her job.
First up you have Arizonan indie outfit Calexico, who will be appearing alongside Bahamas tonight at Mercy Lounge. I wrote a Critic's Pick on that one — allow me to share it with you via the modern miracle known as "copy and paste":
Arizona’s Calexico has been making what many refer to as “desert noir” for going on two decades now. Indeed, when it comes to windswept, cinematic Western folk with lonesome characters and delicate arrangements that swirl like some desert cyclone, the outfit proves with last year’s full-length Algiers that they haven’t lost their touch. Calexico made headlines in 2011, when their “Slowness” was selected as a wake-up song for the crew of the space shuttle Endeavour by the ship’s commander, Mark Kelly. “Slowness,” from 2008’s Carried to Dust, is reportedly a favorite of Kelly’s wife, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and its use as a wake-up call to the shuttle crew carried special meaning — Giffords recovering from her gunshot wound in the hospital, her husband floating through the infinite vacuum thousands of miles above. Hell of a selection too, because — like many of the tracks on Algiers — “Slowness” unfurls patiently and beautifully, its arrangement heavy with purpose. —D. PATRICK RODGERS
"Desert noir" ain't your cup either? That's fine. There's more.
You may recall that The Spin recently hit up Western Medication's EP release show at Jeffery Drag Records bastion and house-show hot spot Mt. Swag. Well, the Meds' The Painted World EP hit racks both physical and digital today, and you can purchase the tracks via iTunes or the 7-inch (on mixed-marble or teal vinyl) via Jeffery Drag.
Western Medication also has a brand-new music video — directed by frontman Justin Landis — for The Painted World's titular tune, and you can view that above. "World" is a wailing, lo-fi, washed-out punk number with a rubbery tempo and a psychedelic music video to match. East Village Radio is currently streaming The Painted World, and you'll find a streamable pair of the EP's tracks below — the latter of which of course had a video that recently premiered at Stereogum. All right. Is that everything? I think that's everything, and thus concludes today's Western Medication media takeover.
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I love art! I looooooove art! I looove art! Broken crayons are the best crayons.