Archive for May, 2012

Should your property taxes be raised?

May 31, 2012

by Dave Carew

Is Mayor Karl Dean correct when he says property taxes in Nashville must be raised? Is his rationale legitimate—or is there a better way to fund Metro government?

I don’t think the answer is obvious—one way or the other. But I also think the mainstream Nashville media has been remiss in not allowing the opposition more opportunity to express its viewpoint.  To partially counter that, Underground Nashville asked Ken Marrero of the Nashville Tea Party to answer questions about the controversy:

UNDERGROUND NASHVILLE: Why does the Nashville Tea Party oppose Mayor Dean’s proposed property tax hike?

KM: It is irresponsible for the mayor to increase taxes on Davidson County residents to pay for pay raises for Metro employees and to extend and expand demonstrably failed programs when the economy is in such bad shape and when everything has not been done to address the root causes for the programatic failures. The mayor seems to be acting on the premise that it is the right and privilege of government to continually expand and the joy and privilege of citizens to simply pay for everything government demands.

In forcing the largest tax increase in Nashville history down the throats of taxpayers, the mayor has shown complete and utter disregard and contempt for the wishes and desires of those he was elected to represent. This is Karl Dean’s budget, not a Nashville budget. Dean could have presented his budget weeks or months earlier and let us know what his thoughts and intentions for the city’s future were. We then could have had an extended and public debate about what we wanted and were willing to pay for. This would have been the action of a statesman. Instead, Dean waited until the last possible moment to announce his draconian tax increase and left basically no time to respond. Worse, given the way Metro’s budget process operates by charter, it left little time for any alternative to be drafted, considered, and passed. This is the action of a dictator.

UN: What do you believe would be a more effective alternative? 

KM: It is difficult to state what, exactly, I would like to see as an alternative. Not because I don’t have any thoughts on the matter. But because the mayor’s deliberate efforts to limit and curtail public input from the very people he is forcing to pay for his $100 million expansion of government make it very difficult to do so.

In case you are unaware, let me explain that, by Metro Charter, once the mayor proposes a budget, unless the Council can propose and pass an alternative budget by midnight on June 30, the mayor’s original budget automatically is adopted. Thus, every last citizen in Nashville could oppose the mayor’s plan and every last Councilman could oppose it as well—but unless a viable alternative can be developed and passed, the budget unanimously hated by all would still become law. The mayor knows this and, while he has had months to develop and craft his budget, has left any opponents only six weeks to develop an alternative. In addition, any alternative must come from a Councilman. Citizens cannot propose one. Further, the time that a Councilman might have to develop any alternative was intentionally and seriously curtailed by the mayor, since he delayed getting the line-item budget to the Council until the day before the Council was to begin both public hearings and departmental reviews. With personal and professional lives, departmental reviews, public hearings, AND trying to understand the current budget and develop—not just an alternative budget but one that would pass the Council and to do so in just six weeks—the mayor has handicapped any attempt to make serious changes or revisions to his proposal. Again, with his budget being set to become law regardless, it is an intentional, calculated ploy on the mayor’s part to do it this way.

My desired alternative—a lengthy conversation between Karl Dean and his bosses, the taxpayers—is thus impossible due to Dean’s fait accompli in budget presentation shenanigans. My other desired alternative—for Karl Dean to put the interests of Nashville taxpayers ahead of his own personal ambition—cannot happen, either. Dean should never have spent millions of dollars on parks, greenways, and other nice, but unnecessary things and should never have restructured the city’s debt to give us the balloon payment next year. This would have meant any increase he asked for to be significantly less than $100 million. If things are so dire that we need a $100 million increase this year, how did Dean miss this two, three, and four years ago? He would have served the people of Nashville better had he proposed a more modest tax increase four years ago and started this discussion then. Instead, he kept an ill-advised campaign promise and then spent profligately for years and now wants to hand taxpayers the bill. Were a corporate CEO to do this, he’d be tarred and feathered by stockholders. Instead, Dean is buying votes and killing time until he gets what he wants, and not what is best for Nashville taxpayers.

UN: Is there an opposition entity that has proposed a specific alternative budget?

KM: Practically, the Beacon Center of Tennessee has identified any number of expenses that could and should be cut from the budget, to make Dean’s irresponsible increase unnecessary or, at a minimum, less destructive to the property and incomes of Nashvillians. These expenses and other factors are being considered and used as the basis to propose an alternative to the mayor’s central-planning nightmare. The hope is that reasonable and courageous Councilmen can be found to support it. Reasonable in that—unless you are a Metro employee being bought off by the mayor—there is clearly no need at all for $100 million more dollars next year than this year. Not unless the mayor and his staff have been asleep for four years and/or are incompetent. Which is also an argument not to give such people what they are asking for. Enabling incompetence is worse than the incompetence itself. Courageous in that, in true statist fashion, the mayor appears to be pulling out all the stops to “protect” his budget. This includes threatening Councilmen that, if they don’t support his agenda, their Districts won’t see a dime for the remainder of his time as mayor. The Council is being threatened with either a huge tax increase, getting nothing from the huge tax increase, or both. I don’t envy the Councilmen their agonizing over their choices.

UN: What does the Nashville Tea Party plan to do to fight Mayor Dean’s proposed tax increase?

KM:  There are two main tracks that the opposition is taking. The first is to educate and inform Nashville as to what’s about to happen. Both in terms of the tax increases they will face this year and next year, as well as the dangers of having a mayor who simply ignores the welfare of his city and citizens when making decisions of great import. The tax increase by itself would be bad. But an unengaged and unconcerned mayor who holds the power the Nashville Charter gives our mayor is far worse and far more dangerous. The mayor has demonstrated an attitude that is dismissive and out of touch with the people of Nashville when it comes to the most important decisions of his tenure. From the Convention Center to the Fairgrounds and now the tax increase, the mayor has championed the opposite of the will of the people he is to represent. Only where the mayor was forced to listen to the people in terms of the Fairgrounds did he back down. That was a much more open-ended fight, with time to mobilize and make known our opposition to his out-of-touch viewpoint. The mayor learned that lesson and intentionally left Nashvillians basically no time at all to fight him on this. Karl Dean is the man in the joke who, when he and his friend are confronted by an angry bear says, “I don’t have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you!” In the budget fight, Karl Dean doesn’t have to take the time to confront angry taxpayers. He just has to make it until July 1 without doing so. Then it doesn’t matter.

Secondly, we are working to organize the broad spectrum of Nashvillians who oppose the tax increase. Policy wonks, businessmen, Council members and other politicians, activists, regular citizens and taxpayers, property owners, investors, landlords, renters, students, the elderly—black, white, brown, male, and female—the breadth of demographics of people who oppose the mayor’s plans is staggering. Consider that just in 2009—when considering exactly this sort of property tax increase—77 per cent of Nashvillians said they didn’t want it without having it put to them for a vote. Three short years later, Karl Dean is not only raising taxes by the most they’ve ever been raised, but doing so by intentionally, refusing to give Nashvillians a say in the matter. It doesn’t take a genius to see that people, in large numbers, are not going to be happy about that.

The goal is to force Karl Dean’s budget out with a valid alternative. The goal is to require Nashville government to be responsive to the needs and wishes of its constituents. The goal is to have local government here in Tennessee more closely mirror state government—cut taxes and spending—thereby putting our city in the fiscal place from which we can grow and prosper. We have the examples of high tax/irresponsible spending cities and states like Detroit, Illinois, and California to guide us. There is no need for Nashville to follow such demonstrably failed and destructive policy. Incredibly, that’s what Karl Dean wants for Nashville. He needs to be stopped.

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, journalist, and advertising/marketing/public relations writer.

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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 Lambscroft.org.  Please also consider coming to ParkLife, the benefit concert for Lambscroft, to be held in Sevier Park in 12South on a Saturday in August or September (date TBA soon). Thank you.

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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, offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”

Dave Carew

 

Can chocolate make you healthy and wealthy?

May 29, 2012

By Dave Carew

One of the most . . . um . . . delicious health movements to come along in years is that of “healthy chocolate.”  According to its advocates, “healthy chocolate” can be both an avenue to rejuvenated health (for the eaters) and a potentially lucrative, home-based business opportunity (for the providers).

To get a deeper understanding of “healthy chocolate,” Underground Nashville reached out to Patrice Gordon, M.P.I.A., Ph.D, one of the foremost local advocates and providers of Xocai (pronounced “show-sigh”) healthy chocolate. Here’s how our interview with Patrice went:

UNDERGROUND NASHVILLE:  What are the most important health benefits of “healthy chocolate”?

PATRICE GORDON:  The most important thing about Xocai dark chocolate is the antioxidants it pours into your body on the “cellular” level.  Antioxidants are our body’s defense against the free radicals inside of us that cause aging, sickness, and disease. If your cells are getting healthier, so are you, even if it takes a little bit of time to notice any difference.

UN: How often do people need to eat the chocolate to enjoy the benefits?

PATRICE GORDON:  To enjoy such benefits as increased energy, weight loss, and better health, it is recommended that individuals eat at least 3 servings of any of our products daily. 

UN:  What if you are diabetic?

PG:  Xocai products are diabetic-friendly and made from  XoVita™, a proprietary high-antioxidant blend of cacao, açaí, and blueberries, an ingredient combination exclusive to Xoçai.

UN:  What is the nature of the Xocai chocolate home-based business opportunity?

PG: MXI, Marketing Xocolate International, based in Reno, Nevada, is the parent company of Xocai.  Xocai is a direct-sales company based primarily on referral marketing.  You can become either a customer or distributor for as low as $25 to $39 annually plus the cost of purchasing as little or as much of our products monthly as you’d like.

UN: What does the average Xocai distributor earn in extra income?

PG: Throughout MXI’s distributorship base worldwide, the average check paid out to Xocai’s distributors averages around $1,000 per month.  However, since the company opened for business in 2005, 14 people have become millionaires and the average income for an associate at the company’s top Ambassador level is $923,603 per year. 

For more information, call Patrice Gordon at 615-554-6764 or visit
BrentwoodWellness.MyHealthyChocolateBlog.com and/or PatriceGordon.com.

Editors Note: Under federal government guidelines, MXI and Xocai Healthy Chocolate make no claims to diagnose or to cure any disease. Dave Carew has no financial interest in Xocai (or any other) healthy chocolate company.

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, journalist, and advertising/marketing/public relations writer.

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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 Lambscroft.org.  Please also consider coming to ParkLife, the benefit concert for Lambscroft, to be held in Sevier Park in 12South on a Saturday in August or September (date TBA soon). Thank you.

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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, offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”

 

Dave Carew

 

 

EP Review: Val & the blue Cap’s “Two Lovers”

May 24, 2012

by Dave Carew

Valerie Larsen is a gifted, New York City-based singer-songwriter who performed her compelling—sometimes quirky—music at the Liahonaroo festival in April. Prior to her performance, Val met with me briefly (after I had presented a morning seminar), and gave me a copy of her new, three-song EP Two Lovers? by Val & the blue Cap.  I told Val I’d be happy to review her EP, but hoped she would do something for me in return: answer the three crucial questions I had asked all musician-participants at my workshop to answer. I explained to her I felt this three-question exercise was a crucial meditation for all musicians who want to connect with a deeper sense of who they are as artists. In turn, it helps them more effectively communicate who they are to the media and to potential new fans.

Val accepted my invitation, and, after some serious reflection, sent me her answers. But before we get to them, let’s go back to her EP for a moment:

To listen to the three songs on Two Lovers? is to meet a very promising new artist. From the opening piano strands of “Like That” you realize you are in the hands of a rising young talent who could give Ingrid Michaelson or Sara Bareilles a run for her money. Delivering “Like That” and “Stand a Chance” in a voice that is at once assured and vulnerable, Valerie Larsen offers not only compelling, jazz-influenced piano pop, but a sign post to an obviously promising future.

And then there’s a surprise: Just when you feel you have Val’s sound down, she ends her EP with “Two Lovers?,” a song so quirky, funny, and playful it could easily fit on the Juno soundtrack beside bouncy ditties by the Moldy Peaches.

Nice stretch, Val!

To hear and/or download Two Lovers? by Val & the blue Cap, visit valandthebluecap.bandcamp.com.

*     *     *     *     *   
A brief “Underground Nashville” interview
with Valerie Larsen

UNDERGROUND NASHVILLE: What do you feel is unique and distinctive about your music?

VALERIE LARSEN: I think the most distinctive element to my music is my voice. People are often surprised that such a big sound comes out of a little white girl.  I’d also say my lyrical content.  I’m heavily influenced by my theatrical background. Often my songs are telling a story or are dramatically directed to one very specific person.

UN: Why do you feel compelled to write and perform music?

VL: For writing, it’s about working out the big questions in my head, finding the perfect words or images to describe and communicate exactly what I’m experiencing. The more specific I am, the more people relate and say “that’s exactly how I felt; I just didn’t know how to say it.”   I’ve experienced that with my favorite artists and, for one thing, that’s why they’re my favorite, and for another, that connection inspires me to find those hard words that will connect me with others.

As far as performing, specifically, when those connections happen in real time with several people in the same space, the energy is amazingly fulfilling, and binds all those present together, through the common experience.  Humans need that and live performance supplies it.  I like being an instigator of such a good thing.

UN: Why should we, as listeners, care about Valerie Larsen’s music?

VL: This question seems like an opportunity for me to sell something.  But honestly, I don’t think anyone “should” be interested in any particular artist’s music unless there’s something about it that moves or inspires them. So rather than say listeners “should” be interested BECAUSE of something, I say the listener WILL be interested IF a sincere connection is made between the art and the experiences of its audience. Some people won’t connect with what I have to say or how I choose to say it, and that’s okay. My goal is to reach as many as I can and provide an opportunity for those connections to happen.

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.

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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 Lambscroft.org.  Please also consider coming to ParkLife, the benefit concert for Lambscroft, to be held in Sevier Park in 12South on a Saturday in August or September (date TBA soon). Thank you.

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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, offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”

Dave Carew

 

 

A Better Beatles “White Album”

May 22, 2012

by Dave Carew

The debate has raged since 1968: Would the Beatles classic “White Album”—initially issued as a double album with 29 songs on it—actually be even greater if it had been “pruned back”?  Would even the greatest rock band of all time have benefited from a “less is more” perspective regarding the number of tracks on their all-time best-selling album?

If you’re Paul McCartney, the answer is a firm “no.” In the film documentary The Beatles Anthology, McCartney argues that the number and diversity of the songs is part of the album’s appeal. That’s almost certainly true, but it doesn’t directly answer the question: Could there have been an even “whiter White Album” . . . an even better one?

For me, the answer is categorically “yes.” But I didn’t want to leave it in the abstract. So what, specifically, would have been a better “White Album”? Which tracks stay and which get elbowed?  Here’s my answer, with the songs in the order in which I would have compiled them:

“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” /  “Mother Nature’s Son”  / Savoy Truffle” /“Martha My Dear”  / “I Will”  /  “Julia”  / “Honey Pie”  / “Blackbird”  / “Back in the U.S.S.R.”   /  “Dear Prudence”  /  “Cry Baby Cry “

If you make yourself a compilation CD (or retro cassette) of “the White Album” with these songs, in this order, you will—quite simply—hear an even BETTER version of the album you love. It turns out that—even with The Beatles—less is more.

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.

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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 Lambscroft.org.  Please also consider coming to ParkLife, the benefit concert for Lambscroft, to be held in Sevier Park in 12South on a Saturday in August or September (date TBA soon). Thank you.

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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, offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”

Dave Carew

 

 

 

CD Review: David Ditrich crafts compelling Christian pop

May 18, 2012

by Dave Carew

Allow me to be brutally honest: A lot of records I’m asked to review leave a lot to be desired.  Often they are created by young musicians whose talent doesn’t quite live up to their ambition . . . or whose talent is readily apparent, but who haven’t quite flowered.

That’s why reviewing David Ditrich’s Home is such a joy.

In nine beautifully crafted, highly melodic pop/rock songs, David has created an album that reflects the very best of contemporary Christian music.  Tunes as finely worked and memorable as “Better as You Go,” “Love is Here,” and “What If We” would be at home on albums by 10th Avenue North or Casting Crowns. Concurrently spiritual and contemporary, the songs reflect not only David’s desire to glorify Jesus, but also to do so with genuine artistry and a craft rarely seen in someone of his age.

If you enjoy Christian pop/rock—or haven’t heard it in a while, and want a taste of some of the best of it—this album should be on your must-have list.

For more information about David Ditrich and Home, visit FaceBook.com/DavidDitrichMusic.

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, journalist, and advertising/marketing/public relations writer.

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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 Lambscroft.org.  Please also consider coming to ParkLife, the benefit concert for Lambscroft, to be held in Sevier Park in 12South on a Saturday in August or September (date TBA soon). Thank you.

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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, offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”

 

Dave Carew

 

 

Secrets of cool musician photos

May 16, 2012

by Dave Carew

Jamie McCormick remembers it vividly: the moment that changed her life.

“I went for a day-long hike with a tour group in the Atacama Desert in North Chile, and we were heading up a huge sand dune to see sunset over La Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon). I was shooting down the side of the sand dune, capturing people’s footprints in the sand, when I looked up ahead of me.”

As she did so, she saw a young man walking across the sand dune. This was the moment, the image. She snapped a photo of him, and, in doing so, changed her life.

“I looked up and saw it, gasped a little bit, and shot what I saw,” Jamie says. “And then I started to realize—after three weeks of traveling and shooting and writing—that I wanted to do that [professionally]. So I jumped in head first.”

Underground Nashville recently met Jamie at the Liahonaroo music and arts festival, where she served as official photographer. We were curious about her job: What does it take to create outstanding photos of musicians performing?  We asked Jamie.

UNDERGROUND NASHVILLE:  What is the MOST important thing to be mindful of when taking shots of performing musicians?

JAMIE McCORMICK: The most important thing is angle. Making a photo look interesting, and like nothing they’ve ever seen before. That will distinguish you from all the “friends with cameras” who could take an easy, simple photo of them for free. Standing out and taking a new, unique shot requires seeing the scene a little bit differently.

UN:  What distinguishes GREAT shots from just so-so ones?

JM:  The phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” was first said, and has achieved permanence, for a reason. Photos have a sound to them. They tell a story. You can certainly just point a camera in the direction of the stage, and—if you have decent equipment that you use properly—probably get a decent, usable shot. But photography is art, and art is not about usability or pragmatism. It is about detail and communication. My job in shooting live music is to make the photos sound and feel like the performers they represent; to showcase the unique details of that performer or particular experience. It should be their sound and style in microcosm. If you can tell me the genre of the band from my photo, then I have accomplished something.

UN:  What would the average non-photographer be surprised to learn about taking photos of performing musicians?

JM: The lighting in most venues is awful, because the camera doesn’t see and adjust the way the human eye does. Getting well-exposed photos, without the harsh and photo-destroying wash-out of a flash, is by far the biggest challenge of shooting live music performances. You have quickly moving people who are very spread out from each other, making for a wide depth of field, and they’re all in low light conditions. It’s a trifecta of lighting concerns that often handicaps what you are able to shoot.

For more information about Jamie McCormick, visit SeriesofStills.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, seminar and workshop leader, journalist, and advertising/marketing/public relations writer.

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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 Lambscroft.org.  Please also consider coming to ParkLife, the benefit concert for Lambscroft, to be held in Sevier Park in 12South on a Saturday in August or September (date TBA soon). Thank you.

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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, offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”

Dave Carew

 

 

“Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide” picked up by Country Music Hall of Fame and Berklee bookstore

May 14, 2012

by Dave Carew

The Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide by Eric Normand—the ultimate real-world guide for anyone who desires a music career in Nashville—is now available at both the Country Music Hall of Fame bookstore and the bookstore at Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Asked by Underground Nashville how it felt to have his self-published book “picked up” by such world-famous institutions, author Eric Normand said, “I am both honored and excited to now have my book for sale as these prestigious organizations. This will greatly help the book get into the hands of people who need this information. Self-publishing your own book is a hard road, so these new developments represent a milestone for me and the project.”

The Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide has been hailed as “awesome … required reading for any musician moving to Nashville” by CD Baby founder Derek Sivers.  In our recent review of the book, Underground Nashville said, “This book is like having your own personal, guided tour through the Nashville music industry.”

Now go grab yourself a copy!

For more information, visit SurviveNashville.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, seminar and workshop leader, journalist, and advertising/marketing/public relations writer.

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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 Lambscroft.org.  Please also consider coming to ParkLife, the benefit concert for Lambscroft, to be held in Sevier Park in 12South on a Saturday in August or September (date TBA soon). Thank you.

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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, offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”

 

Dave Carew

 

“Future Break” offers beautiful intimations of Nashville’s future

May 13, 2012

by Dave Carew

Before moving into a critical life transition—childbirth, college, first job, marriage, retirement—individuals often reflect on their circumstances and pray for the blessings of wisdom and hope as they move forward. I thought about this as I took in Saturday’s illuminating, profoundly moving presentation of Future Break at The Frist Center.

Future Break is a series of performances by Nashville writers, poets, musicians, essayists, and other artists, bestowing the blessings of their art upon the audience through performance of special works, even as those works—in the same moment—invite art to paint and color and bless a brighter future. The values expressed in each of the disparate works reflect the deepest of human yearnings: acceptance of individuality, love of self and others, peaceful resolution of conflict, tolerance borne of a courageous, proactive desire to understand the other.

As one listened to the performances—each offering a singular vision of what its creator hoped Nashville’s future would look and feel like—one was struck by how universal our desires are.  Poets and essayists and musicians and visual artists colorfully spoke of a world not governed by a sense of how you and I are not alike, but by a profound and courageous embrace of compassion and acceptance for all people of good will. As artists and thinkers, they reached out their hands in a helpful, hopeful way to fellow travelers in a painful, confusing world, offering healing and hope seeded by their diverse art forms. No one could leave Saturday’s Future Break without feeling more hopeful about Nashville’s future.  It is not utopian to speak of a more loving, more tolerant, more compassionate future . . . when you’re already witnessing it at Future Break.

For a complete list of upcoming Future Break performances, please see “Future Break to ‘paint Nashville’s future’ below.

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, journalist, and advertising/marketing/public relations writer.

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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 Lambscroft.org.  Please also consider coming to ParkLife, the benefit concert for Lambscroft, to be held in Sevier Park in 12South on a Saturday in August or September (date TBA soon). Thank you.

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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, offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”

 

Dave Carew

 

What’s important about your music?

May 9, 2012

by Dave Carew

Last month I had the honor of leading a workshop for singer-songwriters at the first-ever Liahonaroo festival.  The title of my workshop was “5 Tips for Getting Publicity,” and an important facet of what I taught was how to work most effectively with the media.

One of the crucial things I taught was how vital it is for musicians to be able to talk clearly and intelligently about their music. I asked the singer-songwriters and band members to take some “down time” and truly reflect on these three questions:

*  What is your music all about?

*  What’s unique about it?

*  Why do you believe people should care about it?

Anyone who can answer those three questions—clearly, concisely, intelligently, and without arrogance—will have a decided advantage in cultivating positive relations and communications with the media . . . and, by extension, with current and prospective fans.

Here’s how David Ditrich—a gifted, up-and-coming Christian pop artist who attended my workshop—answered those three questions:

UNDERGROUND NASHVILLE: What is your music all about?

DAVID DITRICH:  I want my music to be a positive message and to be full of hope. Everyone has a story—and a past full of hurt and pain—but no matter what you have gone through, or might be going through, there is hope that your situation can change and things can get better. I want my listeners to be encouraged and reminded that hope is never lost or gone, only forgotten. It’s been here the whole time, so hold onto it and don’t let go!

UN: What’s unique about your music?

DD:  I feel what makes it unique is that, while having a positive message, it still remains kind of edgy. For example, if I start a song off kind of dark, by the end of it I want to resolve it with a message of hope.

UN: Why do you believe people should care about your music?

DD:  A couple of reasons: First, I think people are wanting more than what they are [currently] hearing. There are too many songs in the world that leave people feeling angry, sad, or depressed. And there are far too many songs about things that do not really even matter, like money, sex, and drugs.  I believe my music—even with it being edgy—still can keep my purpose of encouraging and speaking a message of hope, which people can connect with in a real way.

A review of David Ditrich’s (very fine) album’ Hope’ will appear soon in Underground Nashville. In the interim, visit FaceBook.com/DavidDitrichMusic.

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, journalist, and advertising/marketing/public relations writer.

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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 Lambscroft.org.  Please also consider coming to ParkLife, the benefit concert for Lambscroft, to be held in Sevier Park in 12South on a Saturday in August or September (date TBA soon). Thank you.

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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, offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”

 

Dave Carew

 

 

Future Break to “paint Nashville’s future” through words, music, and art — May 12 – 27

May 7, 2012

by Dave Carew

Can the beauty and power of words and music reshape Nashville’s future?

The writers, musicians, and thinkers who are about to stage the performance series Future Break are answering with an ardent and unequivocal “yes.”

In seven unique, upcoming performances—to be presented in May at The Frist Center, the downtown Nashville Public Library, Cheekwood Gardens and The Dark Horse Theater—all Nashvillians are invited to join in this visionary artistic experience.

Each Future Break performance will present a series of staged monologues, readings, essays, songs, and spoken-word pieces from many of Nashville’s most gifted writers, musicians, and thinkers.

“The ‘big idea’ behind the event is that we can speak a world or reality into existence through words,” said one of its directors, Valerie S Hart. “Or, as founder/ executive director of Southern Word, Benjamin Smith, said in his Call for Submissions for the event, ‘writing can formulate the shapes and curves of our future realities.’”

Asked how audience members will be enriched by Future Break, Ms. Hart responded: “They’ll hear a group of creative people who are involved with Nashville—either mining its history, documenting its present, or envisioning its future.  They’ll hear from artists who straddle many creative forms and genres.  They’ll hear new creative work, with all the excitement and energy that comes from such endeavors . . . creative work that’s inspired by and created by people who are invested in a place: Nashville.”

UPCOMING “FUTURE BREAK” PERFORMANCES

Saturday, May 12

Frist Center for the Visual Arts Auditorium

2:00p
919 Broadway
Free

 

Thursday, May 17

Nashville Public Library Auditorium

6:00p Reception, 7:00p Show
615 Church St.
Free

Saturday, May 19

Sigourney Cheek Literary Garden at Cheekwood

1:00 – 1:30p
1200 Forrest Park Drive
$12 Adult; $10 Seniors
$5 College (w/ID) & Youth (3-17)


Thursday, May 24th
, 7:30p

Friday, May 25th, 7:30p

Saturday, May 26th, 7:30p

Sunday, May 27th, 6:30p, with finale celebration at 8:30p

Dark Horse Theater

4610 Charlotte Ave.
$5 ($3 – 21 and under)

FUTURE BREAK PERFORMERS
& DIRECTORS

The seven unique Future Break performances will feature a total of more than 65 noted writers, musicians, and thinkers, including Jody Nardone, Jerry Navarro, Minton Sparks, John Egerton, Bill Brown, Nashville in Harmony, Sam Davidson, Barry Scott, Kent Agee, MC Squared, Christine Mather, Rashad thaPoet, Ross Falzone, Phil Madeira, Stephanie Pruitt, Jackie Welch Schlicher, Cheley Tackett, Diallo, Joe Scutella, and Jene India.

The performances are directed by Mary McCallum, Shawn Whitsell, Kelly Falzone, and Valerie S Hart.

Future Break is sponsored through the generous support of the Metro Nashville Arts Commission, Tennessee Arts Commission, Nashville Public Library, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, and Cheekwood.

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, journalist, and advertising/marketing/public relations writer.

 

 

 

 


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