As a community, we tend to overemphasize this, but it’s important for all to know… Nashville is more than just Country music. The city is flourishing with genres galore and exceptionally skilled musicians to boot.
There is a big Rock scene here, but it seems to be divided into groups. There’s the Indie crowd that caters to softer, organic Rock and Garage Rock, and then, there’s the bands you might hear on corporate Rock radio, if given their big break.
For one reason or another, the latter tends to get less media attention than the Indie world, so I decided to check out the Music City Mayhem Awards last Saturday night at The Rutledge, an event put on by Dungeon Promotions, as a way to recognize and reward local Hard Rock and Metal bands.
Having been raised in Massachusetts, I can tell you that one inherits some unavoidable characteristics from the area: a love for Boston sports, heritage pride, a distinct (yet, slightly annoying) accent that will sneak up on you no matter how well you conceal it, a palate for alcoholic beverages, and the ability to go off on anyone at any given moment.
Dropkick Murphys managed to bundle up all those traits into a unique musical medium of Celtic Punk Rock that, over the years, has served as the perfect soundtrack for pre-game pump-ups, post-game wins, nights out at the bar, or just driving around town as bored teenagers with nothing else to do. For me, nostalgia was thick in the air, but Dropkick Murphys are not just for the “Massholes.” That was proven at last week’s sold-out concert in Nashville.
In 1999, a group of college guys got a band together with the desire to create some groove music. At the beginning, the group was funk-based with vocals, but after realizing their strengths didn’t lie in singing, the band progressed to an instrumental outfit experimenting with dance and electronic styles, creating a new kind of jam band that is known today as Lotus.
Over 12 years later, Lotus is a staple on the worldwide festival circuit and is continuously touring, playing clubs and theats as well. Lotus will be playing at Nashville’s new pride-and-joy venue, Marathon Music Works, on March 2nd.
We recently chatted with Jesse Miller, who’s on Bass and Sampler for Lotus, about everything from festivals and theme shows to his side project and his love for vinyl.
Do you produce your own samples, or do you dig around and borrow?
Produce our own. It’s usually a type of thing that we can’t pull off live. Sometimes we go and record horn parts or live strings, or do different noise manipulation type of things or effects that there’s no other good way to play except triggering the sounds.
Never underestimate a little woman with a stand-up bass. Amy LaVere might seem and sound like America’s Southern sweetheart at first, but give her a minute and you’ll soon hear that there’s a lot going on in that seasoned soul.
Based in traditional Country and Americana, LaVere takes those old-school sounds to new places with touches of Jazz, Funk, and Rock ‘N’ Roll fueled with fiery lyrics and eloquent storytelling. LaVere will be opening for Rich Robinson ( of Black Crowes fame) on March 1st at Mercy Lounge, here in Nashville.
Listen through LaVere’s albums and you’ll immediately notice the range and diversity. Her 2005 debut, This World is Not My Home, is a Country-heavy project, while her 2007 release, Anchors & Anvils, explores the reverb and chordal color of a ‘50s high school dance with some interesting style change-ups in the album’s song sequencing (plus, simply kick-ass cover art of LaVere holding a glittery pistol). Her 2009 EP, Died of Love shows a more rocking side of LaVere, and her latest record, StrangerMe, is emotionally-charged capturing the mood of a mending broken heart.
Here’s something you should check out. The Road to Bonnaroo starts tonight at Mercy Lounge! Many are familiar with Mercy’s 8 off 8th series – a free Monday night concert showcasing eight local bands that play super short sets – giving audience members a crash course in what’s happening in the scene. “The Road to Bonnaroo” is the ultimate of 8 off 8ths, where the best local bands compete for a slot on the Bonnaroo bill. Say what?!
Mercy Lounge is given three spots to fill, so there are three installments of “The Road to Bonnaroo.” At each event, everyone is handed a ballot, so they can vote for the most deserving artist.
Keep your eyes on the clock and your finger on the mouse, tickets for Jack White’s first ever headlining tour go on sale today at 12 PM Central. (Remember the days when you had to wait in line for hours at a Ticketmaster location to buy concert tickets. Hooray for e-commerce!) Peep the dates below:
3/10/12 – Chattanooga, TN – Track 29 3/12/12 – Birmingham, AL – WorkPlay Soundstage 3/13/12 – Memphis, TN – New Daisy Theatre 3/15/12 – Tulsa, OK – Cain’s Ballroom 5/18 – 20/12 – Gulf Shores, AL – The Hangout Music Fest 5/26/12 – Quincy, WA – The Gorge Amphitheater – Sasquatch! 6/23 – 24/12 – Hackney Marshes, London, UK – Radio 1′s Hackney Weekend
While your waiting for the tickets to go on sale, check out Jack’s self-directed video for “Love Interruption” that premiered earlier this week.
Beginning-of-the-week bookings can be a tough gig, so it was nice to see The End bustling with a healthy crowd Tuesday night, especially for a band that is somewhat new to the circuit. From what I gather, Night Beds has been around for a few years, but has only played a couple shows with their current lineup. Judging from their performance the other night, the newly arranged Night Beds is off to an impressive start.
I went into this show with a pretty clear picture of what to expect; something soft and misty, setting a tone similar to how an underwater swim feels (if that makes any sense). Well, I got slapped in the face with something much different. Night Beds’ live versions are thicker and have more drive than the recorded tracks, which was a great transformation to make for this Rock club.
Pure White gold as usual, Jack White teases us with this tasty little track off his solo project, Blunderbuss, set for release on April 23.
“Love Interruption” intros with a Wurlitzer-like organ reminiscent of “Son of a Preacher Man” and goes into a harmonic resolution to get the upper hand on the villainous powers of love.
In a press release, Jack White states that Blunderbuss is “an album I couldn’t have released until now. I’ve put off making records under my own name for a long time but these songs feel like they could only be presented under my name. These songs were written from scratch, had nothing to do with anyone or anything else but my own expression, my own colors on my own canvas.”
“Love Interruption” will be available on 7” vinyl with a non-album B Side, “Machine Gun Silhoutette,” on February 7th, courtesy of Third Man Records. You can pre-order it now at he Third Man Record Store.
Lots of show options this week! Here are some of our top picks:
Tonight, January 30th – He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister at The Basement – 9PM
If it’s just to find out exactly what “Flamboyant Folk, Glam-a-billy, Circus Rock, Vaudeville Pop, Cabaret Blues” is, head down to The Basement tonight for He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister. This eclectic group made up of accomplished musicians, thespians, and performers blends 60’s pop, Folk, and accents of strings, Mariachi, and whatever else they feel like. Many of the members have extensive theatrical backgrounds, so you’re bound to get a great stage show. A tap-dancer as percussion? Yes, please.
The holidays are over and you’ve probably got a few gift cards lying around that you can’t see yourself using in the near future. Yes, the $25 to Best Buy from your uncle was a nice thought, but it’s not going to put as much as a nibble in that iPad price tag. Sigh.
Grimey’s “Gift Up” program might be the way to get more bang for your buck. Bring in your unused corporate gift cards, and they’ll give you a store credit for the amount of the card. The fine print: the card must be from a chain that sells music in physical formats and can not be a retailer that is going out-of-business. The amount on the card must be verifiable by phone or internet and cannot expire within six months.