Archive for June, 2012

CD Review: The Burritos’ “Sound as Ever”

June 29, 2012

By Dave Carew

Editor’s note:  The following CD review originally ran shortly after the release of The Burritos’ ‘Sound as Ever’ last year. This fantastic local band now plays at Kimbro’s in Franklin on the second Saturday of each month. Be sure to check them out!

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“Sound as ever” was a salutation Gram Parsons used when closing letters to family and friends. It’s an obscure reference—you basically have to be a Gram freak (like me) to get it, and to, hence, get the connection between Gram Parsons, The Flying Burrito Brothers, and this outstanding debut album by the Nashville-based band The Burritos.

Twenty years from now, when music historians pose the question: “Who, in Nashville during the early 21st century, most kept the musical legacy of Gram Parsons alive?” I will—if still kicking around—answer unequivocally: Chris James and Walter Egan, both of whom now are members of The Burritos. Among the many things each man has done to keep GP’s flame burning has been to play and/or host numerous Gram Parsons Tribute shows. Chris also has written at length about GP in his much-loved music magazine Shake! And Walter frequently has graced his recent shows with the song “Hearts on Fire”—which also appears on this record—which Walter gave to Gram in the early 1970s and which later appeared on Gram’s second solo album, Grievous Angel.

What really counts, though, is how much The Burritos, on this record, delve into the mystic richness of the legacy and use it to create new musical gold. Song after song on Sound as Ever is an absolute gem of the “Cosmic American Music” genre. The unforgettable songs just keep on coming—with “Beggar’s Banquet,” “Angeline,” “The Hundred Year Flood,” and “Song and Dance Man” being particular examples of writing that is—by turns—emotive, country-soulful, and just damn way-cool.

I can offer no higher compliment than this: If Gram Parsons and the original Flying Burrito Brothers could have warded off the demons and produced a great follow-up to their classic The Gilded Palace of Sin, it may very well have sounded like this fantastic new album.

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 Saturday, August 18. 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

 

 

Record Review: “Engines of Commotion”

June 26, 2012

by Dave Carew

American folk music has a pure, evocative beauty rarely heard or felt in other art forms. It is a music that can summon to the heart and mind the most gorgeous parts of nature; the deepest, richest, most enduring elements of humanity. If you’re nodding your head yes as you read this—if you appreciate the rare ethereal power and beauty of our nation’s folk music—you have a treat in store: a record entitled Engines of Commotion.

Recorded in a single day in 2010, Engines of Commotion (also the name of the band) is an outstanding collection of vocal and instrumental folk/Americana numbers in the tradition of artists such as Gillian Welch, Doc Watson, and Nickel Creek. Quietly yet passionately fueled by stellar mandolin, banjo, guitar, and fiddle work, Engines of Commotion drifts beautifully and confidently from the Avett Brothers-like pathos of lead singer Michael Hinckley’s “Never Say Goodbye” to Hinckley’s hip-yet-19th century-sounding instrumental “The Cooper’s Daughter” to the timelessness of the one non-original song on the album, Doc Watson’s and Rosa Lee Watson’s “Your Long Journey.” Throughout the record, these gems are rendered with a loving artfulness that speaks of deep devotion to this most mystical of American musical expressions.

In an informal conversation with Underground Nashville, Michael Hinckley said Engines of Commotion’s members now are scattered to the winds (some in New York, some in Nashville, some elsewhere) and don’t regularly perform together. That’s a pity.  If Engines of Commotion is an indication of what this gifted collection of musicians can render, anyone who cares about folk and Americana music would welcome a second helping.

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 Saturday, August 18. 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

 

ParkLife—the concert for Lambscroft—coming Saturday, August 18

June 21, 2012

by Dave Carew

ParkLife—the annual benefit concert for Lambscroft—will be held this year on Saturday, August 18 in Sevier Park in 12South.  Lambscroft is the local charitable organization covered by the Associated Press, The Tennessean, and other media that helps the homeless in Nashville.  Proceeds from the concert will go toward completion of The Cookery, a training facility under construction on 12th Avenue South that will offer culinary arts (cooking) training to the homeless as a safe, effective pathway off the streets.

Tentative hours for the multi-artist concert are 3 to 10 p.m. Last year’s inaugural event drew nearly 1,000 people and raised funds that allowed construction of The Cookery to get under way.  Bands to perform at this year’s ParkLife concert will be announced in a later Underground Nashville posting.

For more information on Lambscroft and how it helps homeless men and women in Nashville, please visit Lambscroft.org.

As more concert details are determined, they will be posted on the ParkLife web site at ParkLifeConcerts.org.

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 Saturday, August 18. 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

 

Showcase Review: Devlin Pierce’s “Fade Into Silver”

June 19, 2012

by Dave Carew

Last Monday I caught Devlin Pierce’s first-ever Nashville showcase, held at The Listening Room Café.  Because Devlin has almost no Nashville following, the crowd was modest but—to Devlin’s great credit—he nevertheless put on an impassioned performance. He presented himself artfully as a memorable, compelling vocalist who punctuates his rootsy Americana music with a guitar sound perfectly complementing his lyrics.

Devlin performed several songs from his 2011 record Fade Into Silver, as well as newer, not-yet-released songs such as “Devil in the Records.”  On the track “Riverbed” he unleashed a singing howl that riveted the room, transforming the lyric into an indelible haunting. And on the seminal track “Fade Into Silver” and other songs, he brought to Nashville what he previously had promised Underground Nashville he would: “something fresh and without pretense.”

Devlin Pierce’s musical journey has taken him a long way, especially for someone so young.  With a voice and sound like this, I’m betting his journey won’t be over any time soon.

Special Discount Note:

For the next week, Devlin Pierce’s entire album Fade Into Silver is specially discounted to just $2 as a digital download through CD Baby. A previous EP, Rebury Dress, also is discounted at $1.50.

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

 

 

 

Jim Callahan lands airplay on Irish radio

June 15, 2012

by Dave Carew

Big kudos and congratulations to our friend Jim Callahan, who on Thursday secured international airplay for one of his songs for the first time.  Jim’s tune “Hard Street Blues,” a favorite with live audiences in Nashville and elsewhere, was spun on Full House Radio Hour with Noel Casey, a popular program in Dublin, Ireland.  Performed and written by Jim Callahan, the track is from Jim’s recently released album The Poet.

Asked by Underground Nashville how it felt to achieve this milestone, Jim responded that it was particularly meaningful that his first-ever international airplay be in the land of his ancestors.  He went on to say, “I decided years ago to celebrate the little victories, the small accomplishments, and to be satisfied and proud of the journey. Too many people wait and worry an entire lifetime for one big ‘grand prize,’ that never gets delivered. Today was a major milestone, a proud moment, a wink and a nod … telling me that I’m on the right path, I’m doing the right thing.”

You sure are, Jim.  Keep up the good work.

For more information about Jim Callahan, visit JimCallahanSongs.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

 

 

John Mayer’s “Born and Raised”

June 14, 2012

by Dave Carew

As I write this, John Mayer’s new album Born and Raised is sitting at a nifty #1 in the national charts. This surprises me somewhat—not because the album isn’t good (it’s way better than good), but because the album is such a stark departure for Mayer.  From a guy from the Northeast who has built his reputation as, arguably, the finest pop/rock artist of his generation, we get an album that owes way more to Nashville and the thread of what Gram Parsons called “cosmic American music” than to the elite Manhattan/L.A. ethos with which Mayer has been associated. This is John Mayer’s Harvest; John Mayer’s visionary trip into the heart of the American heartland.

The other day at lunch a gifted young Americana artist told me, “I think Born and Raised is really, really interesting. It’s the first time I can remember when a rock guy of my generation has put out an Americana album like this. He’s going to really legitimize what many of us are doing here in Nashville and elsewhere; really open a lot more eyes and ears to it.”  The fascinating thing—to me—is that John Mayer has done that—reached into a musical realm not at all associated with him previously—to create what is, beyond a doubt, his most personal and revealing testament. 

To hear key tracks from Born and Raised, go to YouTube and search for John Mayer and Shadow Days / John Mayer and Born and Raised / John Mayer and Queen of California / John Mayer and Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, January 1967.

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

 

Roy E. Perry’s thoughts on “Gone With the Wind”

June 12, 2012

by Dave Carew

Former Tennessean book reviewer Roy E. Perry is—far and away—the best-read person I have ever met. Now 76 years old and a year into his retirement, Mr. Perry tackles more books in a month than most of us do in a year.

Recently, he fulfilled a long-standing dream by reading that behemoth of American literature (all 1,037 pages of it), Gone with the Wind.  Here are some of Mr. Perry’s observations about the work, sent recently to friends in an e-mail:

“GWTW is a thoroughly fascinating, enjoyable work of fiction—and, surprisingly, a much better work than I had expected. On the penultimate page of the novel one reads, ‘[Scarlett] had never understood either of the men she had loved and so she had lost them both. Now, she had a fumbling knowledge that, had she ever understood Ashley, she would never have loved him; had she ever understood Rhett, she would never have lost him. She wondered forlornly if she had ever really understood anyone in the world.

“In many respects, Scarlett O’Hara was an eminently pragmatic, practical woman—possessing loads of common sense and amazing survival skills. And yet, in other respects, she was like a child, living in a fantasy world, unable to perceive that her romantic obsessions with Ashley Wilkes would, and could, never be realized.

“Scarlett is the real heroine, and anti-heroine, of this novel. At times we are moved to sympathize with her and pull for her as she struggles against a hostile world. At other times, we marvel at how slow she is to recognize the weakness and/or strengths of the people whom she encounters—thereby causing us to feel pity, mixed with contempt, for her . . . .

“We praise Scarlett’s strenuous efforts to provide food, shelter, and clothing not only for herself, but also for those depending on her. In the end, however, we feel sorry for her, and sigh because of her obstinate, headstrong blindness, which leads to the loss of everyone she loves.

“And yet … and yet … Scarlett still has her beautiful antebellum mansion, Tara, and the very last words of the novel imply that she remains a survivor: ‘After all, tomorrow is another day.’”

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

 

 

Devlin Pierce to perform at Listening Room Café Monday, June 11

June 7, 2012

by Dave Carew

Great news for fans of folk and folk-rock!  Devlin Pierce—the compelling singer-songwriter whose musical journey has taken him from the folk clubs of Boston to the budding music scene of Springfield, Missouri—brings his edgy, rootsy sound to Nashville for the first time on Monday, June 11.  Devlin will play a one-hour showcase at The Listening Room Café starting at 4:30 p.m. His playlist likely will include songs from his 2011 record Fade Into Silver (see special discount note below), as well as the new songs “Devil in the Records,” “Irreverent,” and “Got a Ticket.”

So why should you go see Devlin Pierce at The Listening Room Café on Monday?  We put Devlin on the spot, and asked him that very question (and a couple of others first) in this exclusive Underground Nashville interview:

UNDERGROUND NASHVILLE:  When people come to your showcase on Monday, what kind of music will they hear? What’s distinctive about your music?

DEVLIN PIERCE: I was raised by The Beatles, James Taylor, and Elton John. I became an adult to Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Metallica. I learned responsibility to Nada Surf, Modest Mouse, and Sunny Day Real Estate. I learned respect for my forbearers from Neil Young, David Bowie, and John Hartford. I’ve taken the traditionalism of folk and country and blended it with the irreverence of indie and alternative rock. All of my influences show up somewhere or another. Think Dylan and Vedder and Enigk’s love child to Young’s unabashedly mediocre guitar work.

UN:  What are you hoping to accomplish professionally with your showcase?

DP: I’m a songwriter first and a performer second. I love to craft words and Nashville is the mecca of word-craft. I think my performance can speak for itself, but I would love to be able to bring something fresh as a songwriter to a city choked by a veritable smog of hopeful hits.

UN:  What is the #1 reason why people should come to your showcase?

DP:  I’m not from Nashville, not steeped in Nashville, have no aspirations to take Nashville by storm. I’m a songwriter and a performer because I love it, not to impress anyone, not to score a huge record deal. There is absolutely no pretense to what I bring to the stage.

Special Discount Note:

For the week leading up to Devlin’s appearance at The Listening Room Café, his entire album Fade Into Silver is specially discounted to just $2 as a digital download through CD Baby. A previous EP, Rebury Dress, also is discounted at $1.50.

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 becoming a touring musician

June 4, 2012

by Dave Carew

Do you dream of being a touring musician (or other type of artist)? Would you find it AMAZINGLY COOL to wake up in New York … or Austin … or Dublin … or London … and realize you have a SHOW there that night?

Well, you can make it happen. And here’s the first step:

One both Saturday and Sunday, June 9 and 10, Suzahn Fiering is presenting her popular seminar “How To Be an Independent Touring Artist: A Master Class for Musicians, Songwriters, and Artists of all Genres.”  Among the things you’ll learn:

  • How to talk to promoters, agents, and venues to get a “yes”;
  • How to find gigs and fans and keep them wanting more;
  • Writing and pitching for film & TV;
  • An overview of the music business, including copyrights, publishing, media, the affiliates, distribution, and licensing.

Why should you listen to Suzahn Fiering on this topic? 

Because Suzahn is now living that “touring dream.” She travels the world as a jazz vocalist, guitarist, composer, and artist.  Suzahn’s songs have appeared on more than 20 TV networks and in many indie films. As part of her work at the world famous Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts, she has twice met the Institute’s founder, Paul McCartney. And she has worked with artists such as Roger Daltrey, Shawn Colvin, Suzanne Vega, Pete Seeger, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Reba McEntire, and Julian and Sean Lennon.

Asked by Underground Nashville what the top two benefits of this seminar will be for participants, Suzahn responded, “They will walk away with a skill set and a ‘how to’ list to structure their art like a business. And they will gain a true sense of who they are and what they have to offer.”

Sounds like a good deal to us. 

SEMINAR SPECS:

“How To Be an Independent Touring Artist:
 A Master Class for Musicians, Songwriters, and Artists of all Genres”

Sat June 9th & Sun June 10th

12:00 – 5:00 PM both days

$130 advance  / $150 at the door

 
For more information, email musicmasterclasses@yahoo.com or call 615.385.9349.

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

 

 


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