Posts Tagged ‘Everything Means Nothing to Me’

Interview with Bill Roberts of “Fab” (Beatles tribute band) – - Part II

March 17, 2011

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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To make sure homeless human beings receive the food, love, and friendship they need, please donate to the Nashville Rescue Mission by calling (615) 255-2475 or by visiting NashvilleRescueMission.org.  Thank you.

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Interview with Bill Roberts of “Fab” (Beatles tribute band) – - Part II

By Dave Carew

Fab—one of the world’s finest Beatles tribute bands—performs at 3rd & Lindsley in Nashville this Saturday night at 7 p.m.  Before the gig, Fab keyboardist Bill Roberts graciously granted a two-part interview to Underground Nashville.  Here’s how Part II went (please see below for Part I):

UNDERGROUND NASHVILLE:  Having played so many more-or-less monthly gigs over the years, how do you keep your shows fresh for the band members and your audience?

BILL ROBERTS:  Firstly, all the members of the band are friends as well as Beatle fans. We have fun at rehearsals—also, it’s interesting for us to break down and analyze the songs in order to learn them. Even though we’ve all heard the songs hundreds of times, we always discover new chord voicings or instrumentation or mistakes they left in—there’s a lot more going on in these songs than meets the ear. The Beatles recorded 214 songs—we’ve learned about 118 at last count, so we’ll keep trying to learn new songs that we can hopefully play well. On stage, we just try to have fun. When everybody in the band is cooking and all the ingredients are synching up and the crowd is reacting—hey—it doesn’t get much better in this terrestrial dimension, in the words of Charlie Sheen. We’re honored that so many people leave their warm house, get in their car, drive to the club, and pay money to see us perform. So we try to give them a faithful reproduction of the songs in the playful spirit of the Beatles—hopefully a show that spans their musical and emotional range. We always vary the set list from show to show. We’ve used different approaches—an all-request night, a chronological night, celebrating different holidays, acoustics sets, and so on. I hope we never get complacent or take the audience for granted.

UNDERGROUND NASHVILLE:  One final question. I can’t resist asking this. How the heck did you EVER learn to play the solo in “In My Life” so beautifully?  Even George Martin couldn’t do that in “real time.”

BILL ROBERTS:  My piano instructors were all Bach freaks! The solo is essentially a Bach two-part Invention. I still have nightmares—I mean dreams—of them pounding Bach into me. I guess I should thank them.

Don’t miss Fab at 3rd & Lindsley in Nashville this Saturday. Show time: 7 p.m.

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.

Record Review: “An Introduction to Elliott Smith”

February 2, 2011

by Dave Carew


“Why would you want any other, when you’re a world within a world?”

- – Elliott Smith

I love Elliott Smith’s music so much that the thought of a single album sufficing as an “Introduction” to his work was initially a turn-off. I thought to myself, “How can you possibly create a sufficient ‘introduction’ to an artist who was this important, this indelible, who produced all those masterpieces?” But the word “indelible” is, after all, about remembrance, so I found myself, in the next moment, moving toward gratitude that someone (in this case, the record label Kill Rock Stars) was doing something to keep Elliott’s beautiful, haunting music alive.

In a piece published three years ago by the Nashville rock magazine Shake!, I tried to encapsulate why, to me, Elliott Smith is such an important artist. I wrote:

“[A] key aspect of Elliott Smith’s [art] is his stunning willingness to take off ‘the male mask.’ Time after time, listening to Smith’s songs, one is struck by his extraordinary bravery in openly exploring male grief, loneliness, vulnerability, frustration, and anger. In doing so, he is the antithesis of everything we associate with the slick, macho rock star.

“Elliott Smith once said his art was an attempt to convey ‘what it’s like to be a person.’ It was his special gift for voicing otherwise unvoiced feelings—particularly those resting in lonely, often alienated men—that helped give his [music] such distinct, surpassing power.”

As Anthony Davis of Expunged Records writes in the liner notes of the tribute album To Elliott, from Portland, “To his fans, Elliott was someone who told your sad story and made you feel like you were not alone. He took your desperation, your toils and torments, and he made them beautiful, and in doing so he made you beautiful.”

Elliott Smith committed suicide on October 21, 2003 at the age of 34, but not before offering the world the 14 magnificent songs on this album. If you care about what the singer/songwriter’s art can be—in its ability to paint impressions of a beautiful and painful world and make those impressions the soul’s elegy—come here. Discover a world within a world.

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.

 

 

Record Review: Laura Marling’s single “Blues Run the Game” – - Third Man Records

January 29, 2011

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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To make sure homeless human beings receive the food, love, and friendship they need, please donate to the Nashville Rescue Mission by calling (615) 255-2475 or by visiting NashvilleRescueMission.org.  Thank you.

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Record Review:  Laura Marling’s single “Blues Run the Game” – - Third Man Records

by Dave Carew

So the Nashville skyline is dark, heavy, overcast, and I’m walking into Jack White’s Third Man Records for the first time. It is a Tuesday afternoon—nothing going on, the afternoon endless, sleepy-dreamy—and then I’m standing in the forefront—about twenty feet by twenty feet—and I see on the rack the first 45 I’ve seen in a store since . . . well, another lifetime.  It is Laura Marling’s new single, and the A side is “Blues Run the Game,” a cover of a Jackson C. Frank tune, the B side Neil Young’s “The Needle and the Damage Done.”  I prove my unhip cred by thinking “I’ve never heard of Laura Marling OR Jackson C. Frank,” but I plunk down $6 anyway, thinking, “Hell, if Jack White thinks she’s cool—and wants to sign her, produce her, and carry her 45 in his store—I’m in.”  Or at least I’ll give it a spin. Which is kind of the idea behind Third Man Records.

So I get “Blues Run the Game” home and I play it on a beat-up turntable a friend has stored in my house for 300 years and . . . and . . . gold, man.  Gold.  I get INSTANTLY why Jack White is interested in this artist, why Laura Marling has recorded this obscure (to most Americans) song, the beauty and mysticism they must have felt as they brought this song back from the mists and started working on it. Written by a man (Jackson C. Frank) whose bouts with depression, mental illness, and homelessness give the song a particularly poignant authenticity, “Blues Run the Game” is rendered perfectly by Marling, in a voice seemingly no stranger to suffering or despair—or hope. If suffering and human yearning against despair can be tuneful—melodious—“Blues Run the Game” captures that poetic landscape in a way that will touch you profoundly.

“Blues Run the Game” sung by 21-year-old English folk singer Laura Marling, is available as a single (7” vinyl, 45 rpm) at Third Man Records in Nashville or by visiting: store.thirdmanrecords.com/index.aspx?page=2

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.

 

My interview with “The Vanderbilt Hustler”

October 28, 2010

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

Dave Carew

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Middle Tennessee was devastated by flooding in May from which it will take months—in some cases, years—to recover. Please join the recovery effort by contacting Hands on Nashville at Hon.org or by calling (in Nashville) 211. Otherwise, please call 800-318-9355. You can also support The Salvation Army’s relief efforts by going to Salarmy-Nashville.org of calling 800-725-2769.  Thank you.
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My interview with The Vanderbilt Hustler

by Dave Carew

After the release of my latest novel Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville, I was interviewed about my novel by The Vanderbilt [university] Hustler. I thought the reporter at the Hustler asked some particularly probing questions; I particularly enjoyed revealing why I felt compelled to write the story, why it’s set in underground Nashville, and which specific authors and filmmakers influenced my novel. I hope you might take six minutes to listen to this interview. You’ll find the podcast here:

http://www.insidevandy.com/drupal/files/author.mp3

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.

 


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