As the fog of COVID continues to lift, there is excitement in the air. It could be felt all Memorial Day weekend, with Sunday and Monday's weather — sunny and 75 — about as perfect as it gets. An outdoor party in a park consisting mostly of cover bands previously might not have been somethin…

If you’ve been to one of the often-packed shows headlined by Nashville pop standouts R.LUM.R or Phangs, you likely experienced a performance awash with dramatic lighting and danceable, beat-driven instrumentation. But for Tuesday night’s show in The Lounge at City Winery — the second of the …

In the dog days of last year's COVID summer, seated in front of my TV scrawling out notes on one of the many local-band livestreams I covered for the Scene, I wondered what my first intimate in-person concert would feel like. Sunday’s triple bill with Styrofoam Winos, Josh Halper and Abby Jo…

The last time I caught a Ron Gallo show was mid-pandemic, on the internet via NPR’s World Cafe. In that setting, his lyrical commentary about the negative side of contemporary tech-fueled life felt more impactful than usual. On Saturday, I watched Gallo and his band perform in real life — al…

Watching John Mailander’s Forecast live is a bit like trying to watch gravity. You know there’s a force holding it all together, even if you can’t see it, even when the jazz- and bluegrass-inspired collective teeters on the edge of spinning out of orbit. Those spacey improvisations took cent…

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Eve Maret belongs at the forefront of any discussion about synthesizer-based music in Nashville. Since she returned to Music City from a 2019 stint at Mills College in Oakland, Calif. (which announced last month that its 2023 graduating class will likely be its last), the quality of the 27-y…

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Nashville is the capital of country music, and it's also a musical environment that makes it easy for Americana artists to excavate bits and pieces of country's history. Sunday night, in a performance filmed at Nashville's American Legion Post 82 — itself the site of an active retro-country …

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In 2020, East Nashville's Queen Ave Collective — which resides in the same spot that was once the DIY venue simply called Queen Ave — made its public debut. The production crew contributed visually striking, excellent-sounding live-in-studio performances by area artists to local virtual fest…

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In spite of how much brighter the future of live music seems now compared to a year ago, the outlook for house shows as we knew them — roomfuls of sweat-soaked strangers and friends packed shoulder to shoulder — remains hazy. I know I’m missing house shows’ communal spirit. Friday night's st…

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With their minimal yet potent ingredients — voice, piano and Telecaster through an armada of effects pedals — Julien Baker's 2015 debut Sprained Ankle and 2017 follow-up Turn Out the Lights offered comfort food for troubled souls. Her third, Little Oblivions, does too, but more colorfully. O…

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In his eight years as Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit's stud lead guitarist, Sadler Vaden has helped scale Isbell's nakedly personal songs into arena-worthy epics with his versatile and colorful axmanship. On the side, the Palmetto Stater (whose CV also includes a stint with Southern rock cult…

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Circuit Benders' Ball — Nashville's biennial summit for noiseniks, synth obsessives and gear-builders and tinkerers of all stripes — took its act online over the weekend. CBB is the brainchild of Tony Youngblood, who founded it in 2010 and curated the first three editions before handing the …

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Just a week before the United States began to go into COVID lockdown, country songsmith Brandy Clark released her critically acclaimed third studio album Your Life Is a Record. Exactly one (very long) year later, Clark returned to the stage for a socially distanced celebration on Saturday, a…

The rain poured down in sheets against the roof while I waited for Vera Bloom’s Sunday night livestream from The 5 Spot to begin. I could hear the wind swirling through the trees, trying to force itself through the door. Even with the volume all the way up, my computer speakers struggled to …

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Joe Kenkel, Trevor Nikrant and Lou Turner all have outstanding solo records, but their self-titled debut as Styrofoam Winos shows their strength as a unit. Styrofoam Winos marks the trio's first set of songs written together after six years as members of each other's backing bands. To commem…

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In the Scene's Q&A with Nashville trio My Wall last week, the group broke down some of the influences behind its ultra-intense new 12-inch “The Event” backed with “Abuse.” Recorded by drummer Carlos Ortiz, mixed by Yautja's Shibby Poole and mastered by Mikey Allred at the venerable Dark …

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Cage the Elephant’s jukebox-like approach to songcraft has made the band a modern anomaly — a rock band that has enjoyed sustained mainstream success. The pride of Bowling Green, Ky., now residing mostly in Nashville, Cage boasts a deep catalog of energetic, clever tunes dating back to their…

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Each streaming performance from The 5 Spot is like a new keepsake being tucked into a time capsule that represents a music scene rising to the occasion. Since co-owner Todd Sherwood got his multi-camera rig up and running in the summer, the Five Points neighborhood bar and venue has hosted m…

With his “mom, dad and Mee-Maw” among the few — but loud and proud — in the socially distanced, sold-out crowd, Morgan Wallen headlined the Ryman for the first time Tuesday night, in a show you can also watch via his YouTube channel. Bro-country’s current kingpin praised his family, fans and…

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Jason Isbell’s New Year’s Eve livestream from Brooklyn Bowl Nashville succinctly summed up what musicians and music lovers missed out on in 2020. Here was an artist in the prime of his career, performing material from an excellent album he and his band can’t tour on, at a pristine new venue …

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The freeze on live music has been rough on touring-reliant DIY musicians, but it’ll take more than a global pandemic to stop Lauren “L.G.” Gilbert. Back in 2016, the Southern-rock firebrand hatched a frankly preposterous plan to play 31 generator-powered shows over 29 days in locations acros…

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In last week’s feature on Get Behind the Mule — Nashville’s annual wintertime Tom Waits tribute concert and Second Harvest Food Bank benefit for 15 years running — I talked with organizer Mary Sack about how Waits’ music balances grit and beauty, joy and sadness like few others can. On Satur…

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Friendship Commanders’ songs are best experienced live. They deserve to be heard from the front row, where sludgy, chugging guitar that’s blasting through a Sunn amp can reverberate through your guts. 

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“Cheers to you, and cheers to 2020 almost being over,” Maren Morris proclaimed, holding up her margarita-filled cup from the stage of Brooklyn Bowl Nashville during Friday’s livestream. The country star has kept plenty busy during this unpredictable year, winning three CMA Awards, releasing …

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The 2020 installment of Knoxville’s Big Ears Festival was called off in March, just a few weeks before it was set to begin and just days after SXSW pulled the plug. The annual experimental-improvisational summit was among the first dominoes to fall in this sad year, devoid of in-person live …

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The Country Music Association leaves a lot on the table every year with its annual awards ceremony. There’s seldom any substantial recognition of people who aren’t white men. Black and brown musicians get the least attention, in no small part because few are ever afforded the opportunity to …

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Rahsaan Barber's impact on the Nashville jazz scene has been immense on several levels: He's a vital wind-instrument soloist, label head, composer, prolific session player and an educator. Barber is now studying for his doctorate at the University of Memphis while maintaining his ties to the…

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I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who feels caught in COVID-19 time — that dilatory, deceptive distension of the very time-space continuum we take for granted. I remember catching one of the first shows at the all-ages, do-it-together performance space Drkmttr after the venue made the …

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"That’s what we're here to do — spread love and education," Devon Gilfillian told viewers Thursday night as he kicked off There’s an Election Going On. The rising soul champion, whose debut full-length Black Hole Rainbow dropped in January, served as host and the main performer of the show, …

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Drive 25 miles west along the Ohio River from Paducah, Ky., and you’ll see the sign: “MONKEY’S EYEBROW: HOME OF KELSEY WALDON.” If that alone isn’t enough to establish the hometown heroine’s country bona fides, this should be: John Prine was so taken with Waldon’s songcraft and perspective —…

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For the past decade, Musicians Corner has been a marker for the changing of seasons in Nashville. The free outdoor concert series has ushered in the end of spring and the end of summer with collections of shows that have a more laid-back vibe than other popular festivals like Live on the Gre…

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Musicians from around the globe have graced The 5 Spot’s stage since the cozy, low-lit venue in the heart of East Nashville neighborhood Five Points opened in 2003, but co-owners Todd Sherwood and Travis Collinsworth, who took the reins circa ’06, have always put locals first. In the immedia…

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Among the pandemic's many lessons has been the importance of the ephemeral experiences in life, the moments that happen once and cannot be recreated or lived again. Nashville's now-struggling independent music venues have long been hosts for these moments, where a performance of a song — eve…

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Not many of us in our 30s can point to something we wrote as a youngster and say we’re still proud of it. On Thursday, Virghost was the exception that proves the rule. He warmed up for his performance, the latest installment of the Scene’s No-Contact Shows series, by firing off some bars he …

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“I hope everybody’s had a blast,” said Lilly Hiatt, standing center stage at Exit/In midway through a dynamite set. “This has been a treat for us. This is what we love to do most. I feel the band will agree when I say this makes us happier than anything. Thank you and rock on forever.”

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Monday night, the long-running weekly Song Suffragettes showcase of women who write songs held the third installment of its special series celebrating the women's suffrage centennial. Accounting for the COVID-19 pandemic, the show has recently taken place in front of a limited-capacity audie…

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Neptune, N.J.-raised singer-songwriter-guitarist Nicole Atkins has called Nashville home since 2015, but you can’t take the New Jersey out of the girl. During our pandemic summer, Atkins returned to the land of Springsteen, Sinatra and Snooki for her second livestream series of the year. Liv…