Posts Tagged ‘Gram Parsons’

Gram Parsons concert switches back to Douglas Corner

October 8, 2012

by Dave Carew

In a previous Underground Nashville post, we reported that this year’s Gram International—the popular concert and “one-night mini-festival” publicizing the international effort to induct the legendary Gram Parsons into the Country Music Hall of Fame—was to be presented at 12th & Porter.  That now has changed, according to Will James, Executive Director of the Gram Parsons Petition Project and the concert’s founder and coordinator.

The new date and venue for Gram InterNational V Nashville will be Friday, November 2 at Douglas Corner.

This is the fifth year in a row that the concert has been presented in Nashville, with each show attracting larger crowds and more media attention.  And the goal of electing Gram Parsons to the Country Music Hall of Fame? How is that going?

Let’s put it this way: When Will James first started these concerts in 2008, virtually no one (except Will) was talking about inducting Gram into the Hall. And now?  Even such mainstream web sites as CMT.com mention Gram Parsons as someone who MUST be considered.  I’d say Will and his concerts are having a pretty decent impact.

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,” both now available from XLibris. 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 and consider making a financial contribution. Any amount is very helpful and appreciated. 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

 

 

 

New Gram Parsons biography officially released

September 25, 2012

by Dave Carew

Here at Underground Nashville, we avidly support “all things Gram Parsons.” So we’re excited to let you know the (already highly acclaimed) new book about GP has now officially been released. In Calling Me Home: Gram Parsons and the Roots of Country Rock, award-winning journalist Bob Kealing sheds eye-opening new light on GP’s groundbreaking contribution to American music and culture. Mr. Kealing draws on dozens of new interviews, uncovering information that even Gram Parsons’ most rabid fans will find fresh and revealing.

In a brief, exclusive interview with Underground Nashville, Mr. Kealing shared his feelings upon his new book’s official release:

“I’m quite proud of the reaction and reviews I’m getting, especially from those already familiar with Gram Parsons’ story,” Mr. Kealing said. “Even they are finding new revelations in this attempt to cast his story in a decidedly Southern context.”

When I asked Mr. Kealing how people may order his book, he replied, “I always urge people to support your local brick-and-mortar independent book store.” We do, too.

But if you prefer to order online, please visit UPF.com (the web site of the University Press of Florida) or Amazon.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 and consider making a financial contribution. Any amount is very helpful and appreciated. Thank you.

***********

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

 

New Gram Parsons book sheds fascinating light on GP’s visionary musical contribution

August 20, 2012

by Dave Carew

For years the debate has raged: What was Gram Parsons’ REAL contribution to contemporary American music? Is he over-rated? Under-rated? Why has the fascination with this thoroughly unique musician—who lived mostly on the periphery of the music scene during his brief 26 years—grown stronger and stronger with each passing year?

A new book, Calling Me Home: Gram Parsons and the Roots of Country Rock by Bob Kealing explores GP’s groundbreaking contribution to American music and culture. Shedding eye-opening new light on GP’s legendary life and career, Mr. Kealing has drawn on dozens of new interviews, uncovering information that even Gram Parsons’ most rabid fans will find fresh and revealing.

In this exclusive two-part interview with Underground Nashville, Mr. Kealing, a central Florida resident, discusses his new book:

UNDERGROUND NASHVILLE: What sparked your initial interest in Gram Parsons?

BOB KEALING: Gram is central-Florida born and spent a lot of his teen years in Winter Haven. The more I dug into this story, the more I realized how Gram is the thread to tell the story of so many important musicians and entertainers who grew up in [central Florida]. The list is long. Add to that Gram’s upbringing—part old South aristocracy, part free-wheeling musician, part trail-blazing visionary, part addicted child of alcoholics—and you have the makings of a fascinating story and cautionary tale.

UN:  Why did you feel there is a critical need for Calling Me Home? What is distinctive about your new book vis a vis other books about Gram Parsons and his music?

BK: In other writings about Parsons, he seems to receive particularly harsh treatment because he overdosed and died young. If time has taught us anything, it’s to blame the addiction, not the addicted. What resulted [in the book], was a cathartic journey tracing the entire arc of Gram’s career, but from a uniquely Southern perspective.

In 2009, at the Newseum in Washington D.C., I uncovered the Ted Polumbaum photos of Gram Parsons at Harvard. This is the first time they’ve been published in a book. I was [also] given the first access to quote from a memoir written by Gram’s little sister Avis. Her words are often heartbreaking. But they clearly spell out how she and Gram felt about their mother, father, and later, their adoptive father.

There are new interviews with key figures in Gram’s career, who’ve been hesitant to speak out: Jim Stafford takes us to the very living room where he gave Gram the advice to pursue country music. Roger McGuinn gives a new take about Gram’s brief but historic time in the Byrds and their landmark album, Sweetheart of the Rodeo. I interviewed a guy who snuck backstage before the Byrds’ performance at the Ryman, and interviewed the Byrds for his college newspaper. He has some keen, up-close insights on Gram’s experiences that historic night.

Part 2 of our exclusive Underground Nashville interview with author Bob Kealing will be posted later this week.

Calling Me Home will be officially published on September 23, but may be pre-ordered now at Amazon.com and other online vendors. 

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 and consider making a financial contribution. Any amount is very helpful and appreciated. Thank you.

***********

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: The Burritos’ “Sound as Ever”

September 20, 2011

By Dave Carew

Sound as ever” was a valediction 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, and advertising/marketing/public relations writer.

Newly launched band “The Burritos” to carry on the musical tradition of Gram Parsons and The Flying Burrito Brothers

June 3, 2011

By Dave Carew

A new Nashville-based band including local musician Chris James and Walter “Magnet and Steel” Egan, calling itself The Burritos, has been signed by SPV Records in England, and will release its first album in July.  The new record will feature all original songs, written in the musical tradition of the legendary Gram Parsons and The Flying Burrito Brothers.

The Burritos played a set at 3rd & Lindsley in Nashville last week, and will be a featured act on Monday (June 6) at the RiverFest in Wichita, Kansas.

Chris James was kind enough to share some of the band’s back story with Underground Nashville:

“I was contacted by SPV Records in England about a year ago and asked if I might be able to put together a new version of The Flying Burrito Brothers for their label,” James says. “Their requirements were that we cleared each proposed member’s resume with them . . . .  The other determining factor with the record label was that we had to make a real strong album. I agreed that our best defense against those who might claim we have no business calling ourselves The Burritos is to be so darn good at it that it’s hard to knock. If the record wasn’t great, SPV wasn’t going to put it out.

“Fortunately they (and certainly we) feel that we delivered an excellent album.”

The band’s line-up is Chris James (keys & vocals), Walter Egan (guitars & vocals), Rick Lonow (drums & vocals) and Fred James (Chris James’ brother, pedal steel guitar, guitars & vocals).  It is the first time that a band in lineage with The Flying Burrito Brothers actually has real brothers playing in it.

The band is so new its web site is still under construction.

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 copywriter.

 

Under-publicized event provides enjoyable, enriching night of Gram Parsons’ music

November 15, 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 in May from flooding 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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Under-publicized event provides enjoyable, enriching night of Gram Parsons’ music

by Dave Carew

Earlier this month, the Gram Parsons Tribute Concert—promoted heavily on this blog and, seemingly, hardly anywhere else—was held at The 5 Spot in Nashville. Despite a crowd that never topped 50-or-so, due to the lack of publicity, the night was a huge musical success, with Walter Egan and Chris James’ “Grampyres” being particularly stand-out.  The interesting—perhaps sad—truth is that Walter and Chris perform Gram Parsons tunes at a much higher level than Gram or The Flying Burrito Brothers ever did.  (Don’t get me wrong; I love the Burritos. They just typically left a lot to be desired as a live band, thanks, in no small art, to Gram’s illegal smile.)

One curiosity about this show was why The 5 Spot…or the people handling publicity for the show…and/or The Tennessean would choose to bill this concert as “Gram National” in the newspaper listings.  “Gram National” means… um…approximately nothing to anyone but those behind the event. And listing the event that way in the newspaper guaranteed that even hard-core Gram Parsons fans in Nashville (of whom there are hundreds if not thousands) would have absolutely no idea a Gram Parsons Tribute Concert was being held at the 5 Spot that night.  Which was a pity.  Last year, when the simple words “Gram Parsons Tribute Concert” was used in the newspaper, the resulting crowd was (at least) three times larger.

The inability of most musicians to intelligently publicize themselves never ceases to amaze me.

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.

Gram Parsons Tribute Concert (“Gram National”) coming this Friday to The 5 Spot in East Nashville

November 3, 2010

Gram Parsons Tribute Concert (“Gram National”) coming this Friday to The 5 Spot in East Nashville

by Dave Carew

Don’t forget that “Gram National”—the annual Gram Parsons Tribute Concert that advocates for Gram’s induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame—will be held this Friday, November 5, at The 5 Spot in East Nashville, starting at 8 p.m.

Included in the lineup are Underground Nashville favorites Walter Egan and Chris James—along with Rick Lonow and John Terrence—who will be playing as “The Grampyres.” (They are scheduled to go on at 10:40 p.m.)

Other outstanding artists hitting one of Nashville’s favorite stages will be The Coal Men, Jennifer Brantley (who recently was chosen to record the only unrecorded Hank Williams, Sr. song), Derek Hoke, Don Gallardo & How Far West, American Aquarium, and more.

This is always one of the coolest live shows of the year. Don’t miss it!

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.

Gram Parsons Tribute Concert Coming to Nashville on November 5

October 6, 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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Gram Parsons Tribute Concert Coming to Nashville on November 5

By Dave Carew

Our friends at “Gram National”—the annual Gram Parsons Tribute Concert that advocates for Gram’s induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame—have sent word to me that there WILL, in fact, be a Gram Parsons Tribute Concert in Nashville this year. (Previously there had been some confusion about this.)

An e-mail I received a few days ago reads, in part:

“Just to note that Gram National will be in Nashville again this year at The 5 Spot on Gram Parsons’ birthday, Nov 5. Included in the lineup are Walter Egan & Chris James (as the Burrito Brothers), Derek Hoke, Don Gallardo & How Far West, Jennifer Brantley (who played our first Gram National and recently was chosen to record the only unrecorded Hank Williams, Sr. song), American Aquarium, The Coal Men, and more. Please join us once again at The 5 Spot for a very special evening.”

As someone who attended both previous “Gram Nationals” in Nashville, I can personally vouch for the quality of this great annual concert.  So mark your calendar, and prepare to be part of the celebration of Gram Parsons’ life and indelible contribution to American music and culture.

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.

Lynda Lucas dazzles on new demo recordings

September 21, 2010

Lynda Lucas dazzles on new demo recordings
By Dave Carew

Several weeks ago, I received in the mail the new, 13-song demo from Dublin, Ireland-based singer-songwriter Lynda Lucas. Lynda had absolutely knocked me and hundreds of other people out when she opened the Gram Parsons Tribute Concert held last September in Nashville at The 5 Spot.  After that, I asked her to send me anything she might record in the future.

After I received her new demo, I asked Lynda via e-mail what her plans are for it. She responded: “I am not sure what I am doing with the CD yet, but I have a few gigs lined up in Dublin. As you know, performing live is what I truly enjoy. I am still sending copies of the CD around to people, and hopefully I will get around to recording with a full band. I am on the lookout for a producer . . . hopefully T Bone Burnett will come to my rescue. Ha!”

Lynda may be kidding about ole T Bone, but the legendary record producer could certainly do a lot worse. When I think back on live performances I’ve seen over the past few years in Nashville—including from Conor Oberst, Mindy Smith, Mary Gauthier, and others of that ilk—the performance by Lynda Lucas at The 5 Spot last year easily ranks beside those of those much-better-known artists.

I also asked Lynda about various songs she performs on the demo CD, which includes cover and originals. I found particularly interesting her personal connection to the Gram Parsons-associated tune “Image of Me” (which you can see Lynda performing at The 5 Spot on YouTube).  Lynda responded:

“I first heard Gram Parsons sing this song, and [at first] thought he had written it. In 2007 I was in Crete, Greece at a songwriting seminar. There was a band there with Kevin Montgomery from Nashville. Kevin’s father is Bob Montgomery, who sang with Buddy Holly. Tommy Allsup, who also played with Buddy and who is 77years old, was with Kevin, and one night during a session singing around the pool, I was asked to sing a song. I sang “Image of Me,” and, afterwards, Tommy told me he had played on that track. That’s how I found out it was not a Gram [-written] song.”

Well, no matter who wrote it, it’s certainly never in better hands than when Lynda Lucas sings it. Which can be said of a heckuva lot of other songs, too. Here’s hoping someone in Dublin or London or Wherever wakes up to the amazing talent we saw last year in Nashville, and signs Lynda Lucas.

For more about Lynda Lucas, and to hear three new songs from her demo, visit  Myspace.com/lyndalucasmusic

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.

Lynda Lucas records 13-track demo in Dublin

August 20, 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

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

Middle Tennessee was devastated in May by flooding 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.com of calling 800-725-2769.  Thank you.

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Lynda Lucas records 13-track demo in Dublin

By Dave Carew

It’s not every day I receive a package from Dublin, Ireland, but that’s exactly what happened a few days ago.  When I opened it, I discovered, to my delight, it was the new 13-song demo CD from Lynda Lucas, the Irish singer-songwriter who dazzled at last year’s Gram Parsons Tribute Concert in Nashville. Lynda was kind enough to include me on the mailing list to receive her new work.

To me, the mark of a truly great singer is someone whose voice is so completely compelling it doesn’t NEED much instrumental backing . . . so compelling you’re barely AWARE there is no band supporting the vocal. That’s exactly the experience you have when you listen to Lynda’s newly recorded covers and original tunes.

I’ll have lots of additional thoughts about Lynda’s new demo next week in “Underground Nashville.”  Until then, do yourself a favor and go to YouTube, then enter “Lynda Lucas — Image of Me” in the search engine. “Image of Me” was written by Gram Parsons and was featured on Burrito Deluxe, the last of The Flying Burrito Brothers albums featuring Gram.  This version by Lynda Lucas is, to me, the finest, most heart-felt version of this song ever recorded.

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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