Archive for April, 2012

Reflections on Liahonaroo from Shantell Ogden

April 30, 2012

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

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Do you want to help homeless people in Nashville learn culinary arts and other employment skills that provide a specific, effective path off the streets? Please visit Lambscoft.org.  Thank you.

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Reflections on Liahonaroo from Shantell Ogden

by Dave Carew

On April 20 and 21, the first-ever Liahonaroo festival graced the Wilson County Fairgrounds, bringing approximately 30 gifted singer-songwriters, bands, and other artists together in a two-day celebration of music and the visual arts. Primarily created and coordinated by local singer-songwriter Shantell Ogden, the event was billed as the family-friendly alternative to Bonaroo, and drew media coverage from WSMV-TV Channel 4, The Tennessean, and other blogs and newspapers.

In this exclusive interview with Underground Nashville, Shantell Ogden reflects on Liahonaroo and its impact on the local community.

UNDERGROUND NASHVILLE: What do you think were the greatest human and spiritual accomplishments of Liahonaroo?

SHANTELL OGDEN: A key accomplishment of the event is that we connected a community of talented and like-minded artists. It was particularly rewarding to see artists meet and then become friends through the festival. We had two different acts come down from New York City, and they were introduced at Liahonaroo. Those acts will now be able to stay in contact in the future, and perhaps even share shows in the New York area. The fans were able to enjoy the music in a family-friendly setting and connect directly with the artists, as well.

UN: What do you feel Liahonaroo brought to people, in terms of personal enrichment, that they may not have had otherwise?

SO: To me, music is a reflection of the artist who writes and performs it. I think it’s always enriching to ‘gift’ your music to an appreciative and enthusiastic audience—like the audience we had at Liahonaroo. For our artists, we hosted a series of workshops aimed at helping them develop their careers, and our artists were able to take away some important knowledge about marketing, media relations, and vocal techniques.

UN: In 50 years, what will you most remember about Liahonaroo?

SO: I’ll remember that if you have a vision, find people who believe in that vision, and dig in and work hard, incredible things can happen. Those of us organizing Liahonaroo learned a lot about producing and promoting a festival of this kind. Our artists promoted the event and invited their friends and family. We all worked together to make it successful, and to me, that is something I’ll always remember.


To see photos and video highlights from this year’s Liahonaroo, please visit FaceBook.com/Liahonaroo.

David M. (Dave) Carew is writer/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 book editor, publicist, seminar and workshop leader, and advertising/marketing/public relations writer.

Cowboy Junkies mesmerize at The Belcourt

April 26, 2012

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

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Do you want to help homeless people in Nashville learn culinary arts and other employment skills that provide a specific, effective path off the streets? Please visit Lambscoft.org.  Thank you.

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Cowboy Junkies mesmerize at The Belcourt

by Dave Carew

So I’m sitting at my desk on Tuesday afternoon and I get an e-mail from my buddy. “Just won two free tickets to the Cowboy Junkies show at The Belcourt tomorrow night. Wanna go?”

This one is exceptionally easy to answer. With their dark, hypnotic alt-rock supporting the haunting voice of Margo Timmins, the Cowboy Junkies still are—in their consummately anti-show-business way—one of the world’s must-see concert bands.

The first half of the show featured material from the band’s new The Wilderness album. Before performing it, Margo Timmins seemed to almost apologize that the first half of the show would feature new material rather than Cowboy Junkies classics (which the band played later in abundance).  Margo didn’t need to apologize.  As my friend posted to FaceBook during the performance “Margo kept saying, ‘I know people want to hear the old stuff, it’s coming later,’ but the new stuff is absolutely brilliant. Better than the old stuff in my opinion.”  I wouldn’t completely agree with my friend—simply because I like the old stuff so much, too—but he was dead-on in saying the new Cowboy Junkies material is brilliant.

After a brief break between segments, the Junkies returned with the swirling sonic darkness of their classic “Sweet Jane,” followed soon by other indie-rock gems such as “Common Disaster” and “Anniversary Song.” The show concluded, in a tip of the hat to Nashville, with a beguiling version of Patsy Cline’s Walking After Midnight, transmogrified by the Junkies into a three-chord swamp blues that took you way, way past midnight.

As we left the show, my buddy and I tried to answer the question: How would you describe the Cowboy Junkies sound? We came up with words like “mystical,” “haunting,” “evocative,” and “hypnotic” . . . but didn’t feel we ever quite got there.

Maybe we weren’t supposed to get there. Maybe the Cowboy Junkies are about taking you on a journey that never quite ends, to a sonic landscape inhabited by ghosts and shadows and poetry and artistry. If so, they do that better than anyone else around.


David M. (Dave) Carew is writer/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 book editor, publicist, seminar and workshop leader, and advertising/marketing/public relations writer.

 

 

 

Interview with Will James, Executive Director of the Gram Parsons Petition Project

April 25, 2012

By Dave Carew

Earlier this week, Will James confirmed that Nashville will again this year be a site of Gram InterNational, the annual concert publicizing the grass-roots effort to induct the legendary Gram Parsons into the County Music Hall of Fame.  Will told Underground Nashville that the concert will be at the Exit/In on Friday, November 2, the Friday closest to Gram Parsons’ birthday (November 5).

In this exclusive interview with Underground Nashville, Will offers more detail about the upcoming Nashville concert, and what impact the annual event has had, thus far, on the movement to induct Gram Parsons into the Hall.

UNDERGROUND NASHVILLE:  Do you have any update regarding artists confirmed for the show?

WILL JAMES:  It’s still early, but Donna Frost—who was phenomenal last year and also helped out a lot with MC duties and general support—will be there again. And I’ve just booked Casey James Prestwood and the Burning Angels. I’m not guaranteeing anyone else this early. I will say that Walter Egan of “Magnet & Steel” and “Hearts on Fire” fame has been at all four Nashville Gram InterNationals so far, last year with the latest Burritos incarnation, and I can’t imagine one without him. But keep in mind that I like to bring in new talent every year. It’s a bit like American Idol, Americana style.

UN: This will be the fifth year in a row that Gram International will be held in Nashville. What impact have these concerts had to date?

WJ:  The concerts have brought attention to the Petition to Induct [at GramParsonsPetition.com], which started the entire movement for me, by getting mention in both local and national press. For example, Paste Magazine noticed and highlighted the petition, and locally we’ve been a “Critic’s Pick” in the Nashville Scene several years in a row, as well as receiving notice in The Tennessean and Shake! Magazine. Combined with constant social media mention, I feel we’ve made some headway toward our goal of induction. Incidentally, we’re closing in on 7,300 signatures on the online petition, with a goal of 10,000 by the 40th year since Gram’s death, which will be September 19 next year.

I’ve always assumed this to be a long-term process, but I do believe we’ve had a great short-term multiplier effect on Gram Parsons’ legacy. Every day I hear from new folks that never had heard of Gram before—many young kids—and just about all are, shall I say, very dedicated.

UN:  Is there anything else you’d like to convey at this time about Gram InterNational?

WJ:  I have a new WordPress site where you can find a lot, with links to my other sites, etc. It’s at GramInternational.Wordpress.com. There’s a blog there that I wrote on Gram’s songwriting that has received a lot of attention. Mostly, I’d just like to invite everyone out to the show, and join us for an evening that is always a total blast for performers and audience alike. See you there!


To sign the online petition to induct Gram Parsons into the Country Music Hall of Fame, visit GramParsonsPetition.com.

For additional information on Gram InterNational, visit GramInternational.Wordpress.com

David M. (Dave) Carew is writer/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 book editor, publicist, and advertising/marketing/public relations writer.

 

Gram Parsons event coming to the Exit/In in November

April 24, 2012

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

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Do you want to help homeless people in Nashville learn culinary arts and other employment skills that provide a specific, effective path off the streets? Please visit Lambscoft.org.  Thank you.

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Gram Parsons event coming to the Exit/In in November

by Dave Carew

Will James, Director of Gram InterNational, announced this morning that Gram InterNational V Nashville will be held on Friday, November 2 at the legendary Exit/In. The annual concert event, which takes place in Nashville and other cities, is now in its fifth year. The event publicizes the international movement to induct Gram Parsons into the Country Music Hall of Fame. (The online petition can be found at GramParsonsPetition.com.)

Booking for the show has just begun. “So far the only bands I’ve booked are Donna Frost and Casey James Prestwood and the Burning Angels, who will do a 20-minute open and come back for a full set of Gram material,” Will James said. Other artists who have played the show in the past include The Burritos (featuring Chris James and Walter “Magnet and Steel” Egan) and Chris James’ The Gram Band.

A lengthier interview with Will James will be posted on ‘Underground Nashville’ later this week.

R.I.P. Chris Ethridge

In another Gram Parsons-related news item, Underground Nashville extends our sincere sympathy to the family, friends, and fans of Chris Ethridge, who passed away on Monday in Meridian, Mississippi.  Along with Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman, Mr. Ethridge was a founding member of the Flying Burrito Brothers in the late 1960s. One of his many claims to fame was that he wrote the music for the Flying Burrito Brothers’ classic “Hot Burrito #1,” which Gram Parsons then wrote the lyric for and recorded all in the same night.  Chris Hillman is on record as saying he believes “Hot Burrito #1” is the best song Gram Parsons ever (co-)wrote and Gram’s best-ever vocal. Chris Ethridge will be sorely missed.

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 book editor, publicist, and copywriter.

 

 

CD Review by Vince Gaetano: “Go People” by Blended 328

April 23, 2012

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
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Do you want to help homeless people in Nashville learn culinary arts and other employment skills that provide a specific, effective path off the streets? Please visit Lambscoft.org.  Thank you.

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CD Review by Vince Gaetano: “Go People” by Blended 328

by guest music critic Vince Gaetano

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Promise you won’t tell?

The secret is this: I am not really a fan of country music.

Did you feel that? Don’t let it spook you. It was only the earth being rocked beneath you by the severity of that revelation.

I am, of course, kidding. About everything. (If the earth did happen to quake at that exact moment, it was most likely a very odd coincidence.) But I’m not kidding about not enjoying country music. That much is true. It’s just never appealed to me. Which is what makes Blended 328’s album Go People such a delightful surprise. They’re country, yes; no doubt about that. But I like it. I like it a lot.

And why shouldn’t I? Why shouldn’t anybody? (Those were rhetorical questions, but I’ll answer them anyway. Because that’s just the kind of guy I am.)

The short answer is this: of the six members of Blended 328, not one is in any way bland or generic. These guys (three of which are gals) know exactly what they’re doing. Their vocals never fall short of beautiful, their lyrics are playful and evocative, and—last but certainly not least—their songs are pretty catchy. Everything the body needs.

Go People is Blended 328’s first album. I only mention this because it sounds too good to be a first album.

Now that I think of it, that one line sums up about everything I can think to say about Blended 328. And with that in mind, let me repeat it for emphasis:

Go People sounds too good to be a first album.

And there you have it.


With three guys and three girls of different enthnicities, Blended 328 has created a synergistic form of “country music for the world” that is truly unique and enticing. For more information about Blended 328, visit Blended328.com.

Vince Gaetano is an aspiring screenwriter and director who has written film and album reviews for ‘Shake! Magazine’ and ‘Underground Nashville.’ He graduated with honors from SUNY Oneonta with a major in video production.

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 book editor, publicist, and copywriter.

 

Luna Chica Records closes in Nashville

April 19, 2012

By Dave Carew

In a mass e-mail sent out early this morning, Brenda Cline, who until then served as COO of Luna Chica Records in Nashville, wrote, “It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you that Luna Chica Records has officially closed.”

Spotlighted in a recent cover story in Shake! Magazine, Luna Chica was founded in 2003, originally only for Burrito Deluxe, a band co-formed by “Sneaky” Pete Kleinow who, along with Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman, was a founding member of the legendary Flying Burrito Brothers.  In recent years, the indie record label had expanded by signing several other Americana and blues artists.

The reason for the closing, according to Cline’s e-mail, was fundamental: “These are tumultuous times in the music industry, and everyone is struggling in every area of the business,” Cline wrote. “We here at Luna Chica Records have struggled as well.  In the beginning, we were very optimistic that our new, unique business model and progressive thinking would sustain us . . . [But] when your businesses success depends on music sales—and consumers can get music free—that makes it really hard to survive.”

On a personal note, when I asked dozens of people to come to the Listening Room Café last December to hear Lynda Lucas (the Eva Cassidy of Dublin, Ireland), Brenda Cline and two of her associates from Luna Chica were the only industry insiders who readily agreed to come out.

Luna Chica—with its passion for great Americana music and its artists-nurturing spirit—will be missed.

David M. (Dave) Carew is writer/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 book editor, publicist, and advertising/marketing/public relations writer.

 

Gram Parsons Tribute Concert coming again to Nashville

April 16, 2012

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
************
Do you want to help homeless people in Nashville learn culinary arts and other employment skills that provide a specific, effective path off the streets? Please visit Lambscoft.org.  Thank you.

***********

Gram Parsons Tribute Concert coming again to Nashville

By Dave Carew

Good news for Gram Parsons fans! Will James, Executive Director of the Gram Parsons Petition Project and Tribute Night, has confirmed for Underground Nashville he again will be hosting the popular annual Gram Parsons tribute concert (Gram InterNational V) in Nashville this year. And Will is offering this tantalizing tidbit: the concert MAY be held—for the first time ever—at a particularly legendary Nashville venue, although its identity, for the time being, must remain a secret.

The concert date is not yet finalized, although Will is strongly leaning toward Friday, November 2, because of that date’s proximity to November 5, Gram Parsons’ birthday.

This will be the fifth year in a row that Gram International will be held in Nashville, as a means of publicizing the international movement to induct Gram Parsons into the Country Music Hall of Fame.  The other primary instrument of the induction-advocacy movement is the petition Will James spearheaded and oversees, located online at GramParsonsPetition.com.

Asked how the induct-Gram-into-the-Hall process is going, Will said, “The concerts have brought attention to the Petition to Induct, by getting mention in both local and national press. For example, Paste Magazine noticed and highlighted the petition, and locally we’ve been a “Critic’s Pick” in the Nashville Scene several years, as well as receiving coverage in The Tennessean and Shake! Magazine. Combined with constant social media mention, I feel we’ve made some headway toward our goal of induction. Incidentally, we’re closing in on 7,300 [signatures], with a goal of 10,000 by the 40th year since Gram’s death, which will be Sepember 19 next year.”

An exclusive, full-length interview with Will James will appear later this week in ‘Underground Nashville.’

To sign the online petition to induct Gram Parsons into the Country Music Hall of Fame, visit GramParsonsPetition.com.

David M. (Dave) Carew is writer/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 book editor, publicist, and advertising/marketing/public relations writer.

 

 

 

The Chesser Cats battle seniors’ loneliness and isolation through the uplifting power of music

April 11, 2012

By Dave Carew

For many of us, the most amazing, healing, and transcendent music is the music we loved as children and youth. That’s the simple-yet-powerful idea behind The Chesser Cats, a group of local musicians who bring classic, beloved 1930s and 1940s live jazz music directly to local nursing homes, assisted living communities, VA hospitals, and special care centers. In this way, The Chesser Cats have embarked on a (pardon the pun) concerted effort to fight loneliness and isolation among our aging friends and neighbors.

Fronted by popular local attorney and former Tenessee State Senate candidate James Chesser, The Chesser Cats are, for seniors, the next-best-thing to having the ghost of Benny Goodman or Duke Ellington or Cole Porter drop by your living facility and play you a collection of classics.  As revealed in the following exclusive interview with James Chesser, the results can be nothing short of spectacular.

UNDERGROUND NASHVILLE: In your view, what is the prime purpose of The Chesser Cats?

JAMES CHESSER:   I have sometimes thought that in Western culture the only difference between used tires and old people is that used tires bounce when you throw them away.  We want to confront the chronic problem of isolation and loneliness of seniors in a fresh, effective way.

UN:  How do you do that?

JC: Firstly, we seek to build goodwill and friendships with seniors by performing quality jazz music from the 1930s and 40s directly at their residence, whether that be a nursing home or assisted living community, VA hospital, or special care center.   There are some wonderful, but very isolated seniors living amongst us here in Nashville that we never get to meet.   The Chesser Cats focus on being their neighbors, not simply their entertainers, and visiting their community/nursing homes with a welcome gift: the music they were young to, and to which they fell in love.

We use arrangements from the American masters they once enjoyed—Ellington, Gershwin, Goodman, Mercer etc.—whose works today are too seldom played.   The effects are amazing!   [The seniors] laugh, cry, dance, sing—even some of the very sick, and ones who can scarcely talk or walk.

UN: What kind of support are you hoping to get from the local community and various civic organizations?

JC: We ask the local community to join us by standing up for the seniors.    To our friends in gregarious civic organizations such as Lions, Elks, and Rotary Clubs, we say, come on out with us for an hour on Saturday afternoon and meet seniors in a light-hearted way.   You can bring children, friends, or out-of-town guests, and enjoy an hour of American jazz treasures without charge; and in the process you’ll get to know some extraordinary folks who could always use more smiles, singing, and dancing in their lives.  To our musician friends who are experienced in performing or arranging jazz in the 1930s/40s style, we say, sit in with us.     And to those who can neither attend nor perform, we ask them to consider supporting any one of several Foundations which are actively involved in serving the seniors on a grass-roots level, such as ours.   These concerts have out-of-pocket expenses associated with them that, while modest in nature, should not consistently be placed on the backs of local working musicians.

UN: What philosophy drives The Chesser Cats’ approach to performance for seniors?

JC:  Our philosophy is simple:  If seniors can’t go to the community, then the community can go to them.   We’re coming with great, timeless music—our national treasure.   But we’re also coming with community—not the type that involves government organizations and taxes, but the type that involves real neighbors who support seniors through kind hearts and local participation.

UN: What particularly sensitized you to the need The Chesser Cats is designed to meet?

JC: The five other musicians I perform with in The Chesser Cats—Roger Parker, Al Cheatham, Duane Kilby, Jon Tapp, and Bob Ervin—are not only accomplished jazz players but, more importantly, men with great hearts for community service.   It is rare to find such an extraordinary group of individuals with whom to perform, and it is primarily the energy and commitment of this ensemble that has awakened my interest in confronting senior isolation locally.

In addition to working with inspiring musicians, I am also moved continually by the seniors themselves.   Prior to the formation of the Cats, I had the opportunity to visit a number of senior communities within our county as part of a state [Senate] election campaign.    I was impressed to meet so many patriotic and colorful personalities, who certainly asked some profound and disturbing questions about our political system, and our advancement as a nation.  By degrees I became keenly aware that it was our loss, and our shame, that we did not make more of an effort to know our senior residents.   Too often they were left isolated, sick, and forgotten by the community.

Nashville will inevitably need to acknowledge the problem of senior isolation, as our nursing homes, hospitals and assisted living communities are beginning to overflow with older residents.   Yet for the moment there remain those who steadfastly believe in the status quo, and that seniors have no real challenges that the mainstream population doesn’t already face.    I am proud to be with those who disagree, and who are willing to put our time, talents, and energy into that debate.    We ask others to join us by supporting our experiment within the next year, and by helping us forge links with complementary organizations such as the [Nashville] Jazz Workshop, civic groups, and local foundations.  Our performances will be ever improving, but it is not music that most inspires us.  We are most encouraged by others who stand with us, and who help us support the seniors in an uniquely American way.

To learn more about The Chesser Cats, please visit Facebook under “Chesser Cats” or write to chessercats@proworld.com

David M. (Dave) Carew is writer/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 book editor, publicist, and advertising/marketing/public relations writer.

 

 

CD Review: Jim Callahan’s “The Poet”

April 5, 2012

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
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Do you want to help homeless people in Nashville learn culinary arts and other employment skills that provide a specific, effective path off the streets? Please visit Lambscoft.org.  Thank you.

***********

CD Review:  Jim Callahan’s “The Poet”

By Dave Carew

The first country album I ever bought was Kris Kristofferson’s The Silver Tongued Devil and I. I didn’t give a whit about country music at that time—just that Kristofferson seemed like the real deal and that already I’d liked a song or two of his. I appreciated that Kristofferson’s music seemed in no way contrived . . . in no way slick or otherwise divorced from the painful and beautiful world he saw around him. Jim Callahan’s The Poet reminds me of that album.

The songs on this record, in fact, arise from one of the most painful and frightening experiences a human being can have: a battle with cancer. “After winning a battle with cancer in January of 2010,” Jim writes in the album’s liner notes, “I began to evaluate my life. I looked at what I have done, what I have not done, and what I needed to do. Much of that conversation with myself shows up in these songs.”

The conversation must have brought him closer to what mattered to him most—not only the desire to express a spectrum of emotion and feelings through music, but to ask that people respectfully listen to that expression. In everything from the wistful yearning of “The Poet” to the slightly Dylan-y “Other Than That” to the hurts-so-good vibe of “Coming Home,” Jim Callahan is like the ardent street minstrel who catches your eye, and makes you feel it’s important—very, very important—to listen to what he has to say.

If music is—to use the word Jim uses in “The Poet”—the most “mystical” of art forms, then it can be the “painting” from which we derive the most playful joy and the most painful reflection. And that—all of that—is what The Poet feels and sounds like. No fan of Kristofferson, John Prine, or Guy Clark should miss this record.

David M. (Dave) Carew is writer/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 book editor, publicist, and advertising/marketing/public relations writer.

 

 

Former “Tennessean” book reviewer Roy E. Perry discusses the works of Thomas Mann

April 3, 2012

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
************
Do you want to help homeless people in Nashville learn culinary arts and other employment skills that provide a specific, effective path off the streets? Please visit Lambscoft.org.  Thank you.

***********

Former “Tennessean” book reviewer Roy E. Perry discusses the works of Thomas Mann

By Dave Carew

“It is most certainly a good thing that the world knows only the beautiful opus but not its origins, not the conditions of its creation; for if people knew the sources of the artist’s inspiration, that knowledge would often confuse them, alarm them, and thereby destroy the effects of excellence.”
- – Thomas Mann

Roy E. Perry was a freelance book reviewer for the Nashville Banner and The Tennessean for more than thirty years. Now retired to his long-time home in Nolensville, Tennessee, Mr. Perry remains a passionate reader of great literature. In a recent series of email conversations with Underground Nashville, Mr. Perry discussed his current love of the works of Thomas Mann, particularly Death in Venice and Other Tales.

Mr. Perry notes that “there’s a common psychological theme running through [several of] these stories: the artist as an outsider—an ‘underground man,’ if you will—who is misunderstood and unappreciated. Whether he is ‘born different,’ or has chosen to be different, the fact remains that he is indeed ‘different from others.’ He has aspirations and ambitions of ‘the interior life,’ an appreciation for art, music, poetry, and literature, and is bored with bourgeois banalities which characterize people who lead what—from his perspective—are lives that are superficial, inane, and insipid.”

Mr. Perry notes that this creates a “tension” in the protagonists; both a happiness and a torment.

“In one sense,” he says, “the protagonists are ‘happy’ to be different from the unthinking multitude; yet, on the other hand, they are tortured, divided, and lonely individuals, who both despise and covet ‘bourgeois happiness.’”

Whatever resolution there can be takes place, says Mr. Perry, “when the artist resigns himself to his alienation from ‘the unthinking mob,’ and wanders in the lonely path he treads. He yearns to be understood, appreciated, loved—but knows that, in the final analysis, he must pay the price of the ‘gift’ with which he has been blessed (or cursed). He persists in the hope that one day he will find some kindred spirit to share his ‘different kind of love.’”

David M. (Dave) Carew is writer/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 book editor, publicist, and advertising/marketing/public relations writer.


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