Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Billy Block in Hospice, Family Responds via Facebook [Updated]

Posted By on Wed, Mar 11, 2015 at 12:03 PM

Update: According to a Facebook post from his wife, Billy Block has now died. He was 59 years old.

Despite multiple reports to the contrary, Nashville musician Billy Block, who has melanoma, has not passed away. According to his wife Jill, Block is currently in hospice and not taking visitors at this time. Though it's unclear how the rumor started, last evening, there was an explosion of Facebook posts from fans, friends and radio stations sending "rest in peace" messages and thoughts and prayers to the family, some of which have been deleted. This confusion prompted Jill — and her and Billy's two sons, Rocky and Grady — to post status updates informing everyone that Billy was still alive.

Around 8:30 this morning, Jill posted another status update on her personal Facebook page, noting how Billy — renowned for his cheerful disposition and sense of humor — would have loved the outpouring of support for him and his family, and she promised to share these messages with her husband when she visits him today:

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Monday, March 9, 2015

Numbah 4,080: Dee Goodz, Starlito, L'Orange x Jeremiah Jae

Posted By on Mon, Mar 9, 2015 at 10:41 AM

Dee Goodz
  • Dee Goodz
Dee Goodz feat. Chase N. Cashe, "Bustin' Moves"

Dee Goodz teams up with Chase N. Cashe on "Bustin' Moves," the latest single from his upcoming mixtape, Don Madden. Dee and Chase deliver steely, focused verses on the venomous-yet-trance-like track, produced by Zuki Mondunkwu. Stream it below.

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Friday, March 6, 2015

Third Man Records to Reissue Elvis' First Recording for Record Store Day

Posted By on Fri, Mar 6, 2015 at 3:37 PM

Elvis fans and other avid record collectors might have noted an auction held at Graceland on what would've been Presley's 80th birthday, Jan. 8. Among the noteworthy items on the block was the only known copy of The King's first recording, a lacquer acetate featuring a couple of vocal standards, "My Happiness" and "That's Where Your Heartaches Begin," tracked at Sam Phillips' Memphis Recording Service on July 18, 1953. The single sold to an undisclosed bidder for $300,000.

Earlier today, Jack White was revealed as the mystery buyer in an interview that will appear in the upcoming issue of Billboard, which hits newsstands March 10. That's the day the master list of special releases for Record Store Day 2015 is due, and that's no coincidence. Last year, White participated in RSD by recording the world's fastest studio-to-store record, and this time out, he's making this historic, one-of-a-kind single a part of the festivities, which are set for April 18. You might have heard these recordings of "My Happiness" and "That's When Your Heartaches Begin" before as part of a compilation, but not quite like this: Using the audio as it exists on the 10-inch 78 RPM lacquer, pops, crackles and all, Third Man Records will offer a small number of facsimile copies — accurate right down to the labels, typewritten on the back of extras from a run of Prisonaires singles.

Curious about what that sounds like? Take a listen to the teaser above. If you prefer your audio a little cleaner, stand by: Later this year, a 7-inch 45 RPM version will be produced from a careful restoration, to be overseen by restoration expert Alan Stoker at the Country Music Hall of Fame.


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Cream Premiere: Buffalo Rodeo’s ‘Butterfly Knife’ [Fresh Track]

Posted By on Fri, Mar 6, 2015 at 1:13 PM

Buffalo Rodeo
  • Buffalo Rodeo
Buffalo Rodeo is the next best thing to a local band, hailing from the same Bowling Green, Ky., rock scene as Cage the Elephant. A couple years back, Buffalo Rodeo was describing itself as “progressive indie rock,” implying an affinity for shape-shifting, Byzantine song structures that was never all that evident. In the quintet’s current self-description, “prog” is out and “psychedelic” is in — and that’s more like it.

All but one of the half-dozen songs on the group’s bewitching new EP, 123 Water, clock in well under four minutes. What’s more, the members don’t waste any time arriving at willowy, mesmeric melodic hooks, cocooning their coed vocals in a haze of reverb. It’s not for nothing that the opening track is titled “Lana Del Rey” — she’s got a dramatic way of veiling her hooks too.

Tomorrow night, the band plays a Nashville EP release show for 123 Water at The High Watt — Kansas Bible Company and Twiggs open. In advance of the gig, we’re premiering the killer 123 cut “Butterfly Knife.” No, it’s not a PUJOL cover, but, with static-y, simmering guitar, bass, organ (and even snare drum) tones, a bevy of vocal hooks and a driving groove, the song rocks nonetheless. Hear for yourself below.

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Friday, February 27, 2015

Former Opry Staff Guitarist Jimmy 'Spider' Wilson Dies at 79

Posted By on Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 6:03 PM

Jimmy Spider Wilson in 2011.
  • Photo:
  • Jimmy "Spider" Wilson in 2011.

Jimmy “Spider” Wilson, one of Nashville’s most storied sidemen, has died. A Nashville native, Wilson played guitar in the Grand Ole Opry house band from 1953 until 2006, backing a half-century’s worth of country legends who graced the Opry stage. Before that, Wilson played in Little Jimmy Dickens’ band and toured with Ray Price. In the studio, he played on recordings by Dickens, Price, Dolly Parton, Marty Robbins, Faron Young, Bill Anderson, Buddy Emmons and others, while he played foil to host Ralph Emery on Emery's long-running morning TV show on then WSM-Channel 4.

“It is an understatement to say that Spider Wilson's twin-guitar harmony work in the ’50s with Howard Rhoton gave the defining touch to the best damn band Little Jimmy Dickens ever had,” guitarist Chris Scruggs tells the Scene. “No one ever had quite that sound before and I've never heard it the same since. Spider's decades of work both in the Opry staff band and on television made many of the biggest stars in our business shine just a little bit brighter. In my opinion, Nashville has just lost one of the last ‘real’ guys from country music's greatest era.”

In 2006, Wilson told Associated Press that he left the Opry because of “humiliating” treatment, claiming he was being excluded from Grand Ole Opry Live telecasts (which paid higher than WSM-AM broadcasts) by musical director Steve Gibson. “I’ll miss it because it’s been the biggest part of my life for a lot of years,” Wilson said. “My work at the Opry over the years has been the next thing to a religion to me.”

James Edward “Spider” Wilson died yesterday, Feb. 26, of complications resulting from cancer, according to He was 79 years old. A visitation is scheduled for this Sunday, March 1, from 2-8 p.m. at Woodbine Hickory Chapel.

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Numbah 4,080: Gee Slab, Alocodaman, Ro Marquez

Posted By on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 at 4:41 PM

Gee Slab, Man Before Rapper

The tumble to the bottom often spurs the most inspiring climb back to the top. Such is the case with Gee Slab, whose third LP, Man Before Rapper, dropped late last month. Gee Slab has been a familiar face in the local hip-hop scene for years now. Still, he says this album feels like his first album. After a year of adversity and triumph — homelessness and the birth of a baby daughter — it’s not hard to see why he feels like a new man.

Man Before is blue-collar rap. And though that description is sometimes applied too liberally to certain hip-hop, here it sticks. Slab is both humble and unapologetically aggressive in his approach. He’s proud of his roots; the album is laced with interludes from family members sharing anecdotes on Gee the nephew or Gee the son. And it’s also heavily steeped in the rich tradition of Southern rap, with an assortment of some of the region's most underrated beat-makers, namely Bandplay, Zuki Modunkwu and Mike Ewing. They handle production duties, which sound at times visceral and solemn, and at times playful and aggressive, but always full of bounce, like good trunk music should be. As personal and vulnerable as Gee leaves himself on these tracks, you can almost envision yourself sitting alongside the rapper in his Cadillac as he spits his personal story at you.

Among the album's standouts are the previously released single “Embarrassin’ Us," which features Petty. There’s also “NGS,” with Corduroy Clemens, and party-starter “Young Nigga,” which features Alocodaman.

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Remembering Songwriter and Session Great Bobby Emmons

Posted By on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 at 1:12 PM

Bobby Emmons
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  • Bobby Emmons
Bobby Emmons, who died in Nashville Feb. 23 at age 72, was one of the most prolific of the Memphis-trained session musicians who came to Nashville in the '70s. A keyboardist whose light touch enhanced the work of country singers, soul shouters and singer-songwriters, Emmons was also an accomplished songwriter himself. In the great Memphis-to-Nashville tradition, Emmons had a career that included a stint with Elvis Presley bassist Bill Black’s band as well as Music City success as co-writer of Waylon Jennings’ 1977 “Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love),” a canonical country song. Emmons always played what the song called for: Trained as an R&B-oriented musician, he knew how to work with a rhythm section, and his songwriting knack grew out of his experiences as a groove-conscious player.

Emmons was born in Corinth, Miss. on Feb. 19, 1943, and got his start playing with Black before making his mark as a Memphis session musician. Working with guitarist, songwriter and producer Chips Moman at Moman’s American Studios, Emmons was part of that studio’s famed rhythm section — a group that included guitarist Reggie Young, bassists Tommy Cogbill and Mike Leech, pianist Bobby Wood and drummer Gene Chrisman. The American Studios rhythm section — sometimes called “The Memphis Boys” — lent their restrained, elegant style to records by such luminaries as Dusty Springfield, Bobby Womack, Merrilee Rush, B. J. Thomas and Presley himself.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Hear Meth Dad Get 'So Real' on Emotional New Single

Posted By on Tue, Feb 24, 2015 at 2:29 PM

Local DJ, producer, promoter and all-around scenester Tyler Walker (aka Meth Dad) has a new single. It's called "So Real" and it's a triumphant-yet-slow-tempo, yearning emotional ride, boasting a hodgepodge of bongo drums, moody piano chords and a rather emolicious vocal chorus histrionically belting out platitudes like "And I will make it. Yes I will." and "And in the end, it's what we've done. Not who believed." It's heart-on-sleeve dance music. tailor made to get you through a dull Tuesday afternoon at the office or a messy breakup on the dance floor.

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Monday, February 23, 2015

John Legend Accused of Stiffing Nashville Tour Bus Company

Posted By on Mon, Feb 23, 2015 at 4:45 PM

John Legend may have topped the charts with “All of Me” last year, but a Nashville company claims the Oscar and Grammy winner didn’t pay all of his bill.

Tour Bus Leasing LLC filed suit in Davidson County Circuit Court on Jan. 29, alleging that the singer-songwriter and actor’s touring company breached its contract with the Murfreesboro Pike company. The 36-year-old Springfield, Ohio, native allegedly failed to pay roughly $10,000 in “overdrive” fees.

Both parties entered into a roughly five-week leasing agreement last summer, beginning on July 21.

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Defunct Nashville Thrashers Asschapel Re-Release First Demo on Bandcamp

Posted By on Mon, Feb 23, 2015 at 11:45 AM

From the Department of Lost Classics Unearthed: Daylight at the end of a long, dark night came for O.G. Nashville headbangers last week in the form of rumblings on defunct, long-ago-loved local thrash metal horde Asschapel's Facebook page. At high noon on Friday the 13th, the former Springwater stalwarts, who called it a day nearly a decade ago, quietly posted their debut demo cassette for digital consumption on Bandcamp.

Originally recorded between 1999 and 2000, the long-out-of-circulation Music City metal nugget, which features early versions of such could-have-been-classics as "Chapel of Ass/In Sickness," "Burn the Eyes" and "Death March," was handed out at a few shows during the band's early days (when they performed under the "Ass Chapel" moniker), but has since become a rarity lost in attics or eaten by tape decks.

Now even darker and heavier, this is the first time the demo (which, for the occasion, has been digitally remastered by Dan Emery of Black Matter Mastering) sees an officially release. It's been over a decade since these turn-of-the-century Nashville flagship ragers released anything, but for those who missed out on all the mayhem, these five tracks show the band in their raw, primordial stage. Stream it below.

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