Archive for February, 2010

Interview with Nashville-based pop/rock artist Chakra Bleu

February 26, 2010

Editor’s Note: “Underground Nashville” covers artists, authors, musicians, poets, political figures, and other compelling people and happenings not typically covered by the mainstream Nashville media. It also presents reflections and commentary from an underground/indie perspective. As I told ‘The Tennessean’ in 2008, “since moving to Nashville twenty-five years ago, I have met people whose lives do not remotely reflect the caricature of what many outside our city presume to be a ‘Nashvillian’ or the Nashville experience.” “Underground Nashville” thus explores the soul of the city, not its surface—offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”

Dave Carew

************

More than 4,000 men, women, and children now are homeless in Nashville—a significant increase since The Great Recession began. To make sure these human beings have the food, shelter, and love they need, please donate to the Nashville Rescue Mission by calling (615) 255-2475 or by visiting Nashvillerescuemission.org.  Thank you.

************

Interview with Nashville-based pop/rock artist Chakra Bleu

by Dave Carew

Hailed by fans in the 2000s as “The Fleetwood Mac of Nashville” for their vibrant, female-centered pop/rock sound, Chakra Bleu became a mainstay of the Nashville club circuit for more than five years, until leaving for the past several years for a performing hiatus and to concentrate more fully on songwriting. Returning in late 2009 as a solo artist rather than a band, Chakra Bleu offers a unique blend of pop/rock that is upbeat, tuneful, thought-provoking, and uplifting. Calling her music “Empower Rock,” Chakra Bleu’s mission, she says, is to “invite [my] audiences to move forward…with pioneering and empowering attitudes that dare to open the mind and heart.”

“Underground Nashville” recently caught up with Chakra Bleu (pronounced SHOK-ruh BLUE) to talk with her about her performing hiatus, her return, and her new album You’re the One:

UNDERGROUND NASHVILLE: After performing dozens of live shows in Nashville during the first half of the 2000s, you dropped out of the club scene for several years. What prompted that move away from performing…and your return now with You’re the One?

CHAKRA BLEU: It seemed at that time that [my] efforts were just hitting a wall. The exposure was still strong, in that many folks were familiar with Chakra Bleu. However, it was frustrating that I wasn’t able to reach the music biz. Music City USA and its music biz still primarily focus on country music. Although, some of my roots embrace that [Americana] style, my past two CD’s were pop/rock. In fact, my 2003 CD, Seize the Day, had the single “Hopelessly In Love” promoted on the Adult Contemporary charts by Tom Mazetta, who’s promoted hits for Elton John, Heart, Paul McCartney, Delbert McClinton, Tim McGraw, Martina McBride, etc. Unfortunately, this CD didn’t catch the attention here in Nashvegas…my beloved town that I just won’t give up on.

Meanwhile, I had made several changes in my band that weren’t feeling quite right. I decided to veer away from the “band thang” and solo it out awhile. Jeez…I mean [being in a band] is like being married to five people at once! [Laughs.] One lover at a time for me is enough, let alone deal with my own schtuff! Being ‘Chakra Bleu’ [just by myself] was such a relief. I felt synced into this comfortable new identity, and took a brief exit from performing live, so that I could fire up very commercial pop and Americana songs that would be favorable to all age groups. I spent weeks at a time in mountain and lake cabins, concentrating on coming up with at least 40 new songs to choose from for the next two CD’s. I chose a CD Planning Committee to help chose the best commercial direction on this new CD, included [selecting] the songs, the theme of the CD, the ‘vibe’, the photos, etc.

UN: In what ways is You’re the One distinctive from earlier Chakra Bleu albums? And in what ways does it walk the same pathway as your earlier work?

CB: This album has 16 songs, of which only two are “food for thought”/introspective songs. The direction of this CD was “light-hearted love songs,” which were youthful, upbeat, and hopeful—especially to off-set, if you will, the counter-active struggles of today’s economy, and the stress that is obviously affecting 95% of us.

The fourth cut on this CD, “Sunflower of My Dreams” became the under-current of this album, in that the sunflower itself, and its symbolism, became the theme. The symbol of the sunflower includes that of hope, success, fulfillment, prosperity, health, devotion, peace, and happiness.

The comments from the fans so far consistently have been that, indeed, this CD is uplifting and hopeful…a light in this darkened time of their lives. So, this CD is on the same “path” as the previous. Each CD contains, first and foremost, the vibe of an uplifting and empowering quality. Also, each CD contains particular songs that offer introspective, message-related qualities. They surpass religious agendas/dogmas, and allow all to question life, hopefully leading to further insights that can bring one more awareness into their life…more joy, simply put!

Coming next week in “Underground Nashville”: Part II of our interview with Chakra Bleu, and our review of her new album “You’re the One.”

For more about Chakra Beu, and to listen to her music, visit chakrableu.com

David M. (Dave) Carew is editor of “Underground Nashville” and the author of the novels “Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville” and “Voice from the Gutter.” He also is a freelance publicist and copywriter.

Sara Beck joins (the) Kevin Costner for European tour

February 19, 2010

Editor’s Note: “Underground Nashville” covers artists, authors, musicians, poets, political figures, and other compelling people and happenings not typically covered by the mainstream Nashville media. It also presents reflections and commentary from an underground/indie perspective. As I told ‘The Tennessean’ in 2008, “since moving to Nashville twenty-five years ago, I have met people whose lives do not remotely reflect the caricature of what many outside our city presume to be a ‘Nashvillian’ or the Nashville experience. “Underground Nashville” thus explores the soul of the city, not its surface—offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”

Dave Carew

************

Every single minute, an American dies from heart disease. Now you can fight back. Join us on Saturday, February 20, at 7 p.m. for the “Heart & Soul Benefit” for the American Heart Association. For more information, please visit Nashvilleheartandsoul.com.

************

Sara Beck joins (the) Kevin Costner for European tour

By Dave Carew

I first met singer/songwriter Sara Beck in early 2000 at the legendary (and sadly now defunct) Nashville club The Sutler. She was a Vanderbilt student at the time, 18 or 19 years old, and just starting out. That first time I saw her, she played for about three people, one of whom (as the stale joke goes) was the bartender.

How things have changed. By virtue of sheer hard word, determination, and a seemingly bottomless well of musically-diverse talent (pop, R & B, Americana, folk), Sara has emerged as one of the best (and still most under-publicized and under-appreciated) singer/songwriters in Music City. Her “Music for Lovers & Fighters” CD Release Party last April at 12th & Porter was—hands down—the best concert I attended in 2009.

Now—according to an e-newsletter Sara sent out this week—Sara is headed out on a 30-city European tour with Oscar-winning actor Kevin Costner and his band Modern West. Sara’s e-mail, read in part, “I am on my way to Europe [with] Kevin Costner & Modern West, where I will be the acoustic opener in addition to singing a featured duet with Kevin and the band each night! That duet, ‘Let Me Be the One,’ is a beautiful love song written by John Coinman, and it is the first single off of Modern West’s new album, “Turn It On” (available February 22nd in Europe and Spring 2010 in the US). The complete tour schedule [will include] Spain, France, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Germany, Austria, and maybe a few more I’m forgetting!”

Congratulations, Sara. It couldn’t have happened to a more talented artist!

For more about Sara Beck, and to hear her music, visit Sarabeck.net.

David M. (Dave) Carew is editor of “Underground Nashville” and the author of the novels “Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville” and “Voice from the Gutter.” He also is a freelance publicist and copywriter.

Nationally popular comedic blog “The Petty Chronicles” comes to Bongo After Hours Theater

February 10, 2010

Editor’s Note: “Underground Nashville” covers artists, authors, musicians, poets, political figures, and other compelling people and happenings not typically covered by the mainstream Nashville media. It also presents reflections and commentary from an underground/indie perspective. As I told ‘The Tennessean’ in 2008, “since moving to Nashville twenty-five years ago, I have met people whose lives do not remotely reflect the caricature of what many outside our city presume to be a ‘Nashvillian’ or the Nashville experience. “Underground Nashville” thus explores the soul of the city, not its surface—offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”

Dave Carew

************

Nashville is being stalked by a deadly killer. In fact, it’s the #1 killer in Music City. Now you can fight back. Join us on Saturday, February 20, at 7 p.m. for the “Heart & Soul Benefit” for the American Heart Association. For more information, please visit Nashvilleheartandsoul.com.

************

Rachel Gladstone brings nationally popular comedic blog—in play form—to Bongo After Hours Theater this Friday-Sunday

By Dave Carew

Some people are just damn impressive. After Rachel Gladstone went through an extremely painful divorce several years ago, she decided she—as a woman and writer—could do one of two things: Either settle for cynicism and disillusionment…or turn the situation around, by using the very pain and anger she felt to create a hilarious (and touching and poignant) novel—and then blog—called The Petty Chronicles. Fortunately for us, Rachel chose the latter path.

Today, through sheer hard work and determination, Rachel has built the national reputation of her Petty Chronicles blog (at Firstwivesworld.com) to a point where it enjoys the enthusiastic weekly following of more than 25,000 readers nationwide.

Now Rachel is bringing The Petty Chronicles, in play form, for a world premiere performance at Bongo After Hours Theatre (upstairs from Bongo Java coffeehouse) this Friday, February 12, at 7:30 p.m. There also will be performances Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. and a special Valentine’s Day performance at 5 p.m. Plus shows the following weekend.

I was lucky enough to be invited to see a rehearsal of the play two weeks ago, and had (easily) about 40 LOL moments during the 80- to 90-minute performance. So I highly recommend it.  For more information, visit Bongoafterhours.com

David M. (Dave) Carew is editor of “Underground Nashville” and the author of the novels “Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville” and “Voice from the Gutter.” He also is a freelance publicist and copywriter.

Review of The Flying Burrito Brothers’ “The Gilded Palace of Sin”

February 5, 2010

Editor’s Note: “Underground Nashville” covers artists, authors, musicians, poets, political figures, and other compelling people and happenings not typically covered by the mainstream Nashville media. It also presents reflections and commentary from an underground/indie perspective. As I told ‘The Tennessean’ in 2008, “since moving to Nashville twenty-five years ago, I have met people whose lives do not remotely reflect the caricature of what many outside our city presume to be a ‘Nashvillian’ or the Nashville experience. “Underground Nashville” thus explores the soul of the city, not its surface—offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”

Dave Carew

************

As we head into February, please do not forget those less fortunate than you. To make sure homeless human beings receive the food, love, and friendship they need, please donate to the Nashville Rescue Mission by calling (615) 255-2475 or by visiting Nashvillerescuemission.org.  Thank you.

************

Review of the Flying Burrito Brothers’ “The Gilded Palace of Sin

By Dave Carew

Here in underground Nashville, we often gravitate toward literature and music that’s a bit off the radar screen. Or, at least, not in vogue. We read novels by Hermann Hesse, Charles Bukowski, and David M. Carew <smirk>, and listen to bands like The Flying Burrito Brothers.

Blessed by a fleeting greatness, the Burritos produced one album that is both universally praised and hardly ever listened to—by anyone. It’s called “The Gilded Palace of Sin” and it’s a f&%king masterpiece. Here’s why:

Unlike any album that preceded it, “The Gilded Palace of Sin” brings late 60s-rock-hippie sensibilities to country music. True to the pioneering musical vision of band founder Gram Parsons, “The Gilded Palace of Sin” offers what I call “hippie country music” or what Gram Parsons—much more famously—referred to as “soul country…Cosmic American Music.”

But it’s not just the sound and the genre that matter here. The songs—particularly the originals from Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman—are absolute gems, pretty much DEFINING moments in hippie country music. Listen to (or YouTube) “Sin City” and you hear country music (not “country/rock” or “progressive country,” thank you) that offers lines seemingly influenced by LSD and the Bible at the same moment:

“On the thirty-first floor, a gold-plaited door,
Won’t keep out the Lord’s burning rain.”

And in the draft-dodging country-ditty “My Uncle,” that particular Uncle (Sam) is lampooned in a chorus that goes:

“So I’m heading for the nearest foreign border,
Vancouver might be just my kind of town,
‘Cause we don’t need the kind of law and order,
That tends to keep a good man underground.”

Later, in the same song, The Burritos sing:

”Now I don’t know how much I owe my Uncle,
But I suspect it’s more than I can pay.”  . . .

In so doing, the Flying Burrito Brothers send out a line that is both political protest and funny as hell at the same time.

I could rant about “The Gilded Palace of Sin” all day long, but I’ll end here, with one additional thought: If you’re interested in what country music can be in the hands of gifted young men who refuse to sell out to Music Row or to anyone else, check out The Flying Burrito Brothers and “The Gilded Palace of Sin.” But be warned: You may not want to listen to much else for the next year or so.

David M. (Dave) Carew is editor of “Underground Nashville” and the author of the novels “Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville” and “Voice from the Gutter.” He also is a freelance publicist and copywriter.

Bernie Leadon’s interesting comment about Gram Parsons

February 1, 2010

Editor’s Note: “Underground Nashville” covers artists, authors, musicians, poets, political figures, and other compelling people and happenings not typically covered by the mainstream Nashville media. It also presents reflections and commentary from an underground/indie perspective. As I told ‘The Tennessean’ in 2008, “since moving to Nashville twenty-five years ago, I have met people whose lives do not remotely reflect the caricature of what many outside our city presume to be a ‘Nashvillian’ or the Nashville experience. “Underground Nashville” thus explores the soul of the city, not its surface—offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”

Dave Carew

************

As we head into the New Year, please do not forget those less fortunate than you. To make sure homeless human beings receive the food, love, and friendship they need, please donate to the Nashville Rescue Mission by calling (615) 255-2475 or by visiting Nashvillerescuemission.org.  Thank you.
************

Bernie Leadon’s interesting comment about Gram Parsons

By Dave Carew

Two years ago, a friend of mine—a Nashville-based musician—found himself on a plane back home with Bernie Leadon. (For those of you originally from another galaxy, Leadon was a founding member of The Eagles who, prior to that, played in The Flying Burrito Brothers with Gram Parsons and three other original members of that band.)  Because my friend is such a huge Gram Parsons and Burritos fan, he quickly fell into a conversation with Leadon about Gram.

I’m sure the conversation went on for (at least) several minutes, but the one comment made by Leadon that my friend found most interesting, memorable, and thought-provoking was the following. (Leadon was talking about Gram’s place in the history of American music):

“You know, originally they didn’t give Gram enough credit. Now they give him too much.”

David M. (Dave) Carew is editor of “Underground Nashville” and the author of the novels “Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville” and “Voice from the Gutter.” He also is a freelance publicist and copywriter.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 41 other followers