Book Review by Roy E. Perry: “Wild Harmonies: A Life of Music and Wolves” by Hélène Grimaud

February 27, 2015

Helene

Hélène Grimaud, the forty-five-year-old, world-famous classical pianist, has written in Wild Harmonies an intelligent, heart-warming memoir. Hélène confesses to being an “un” child—uncontrollable, unmanageable, unsatisfied, undisciplined, unadaptable, and unpredictable—and a restless person subject to sudden passions. Her parents enrolled her in martial arts (judo), tennis, and dance, but she was unfit for all. And school bored her to tears. “[There was] something in me,” she writes, “that wanted to get out, to express itself, to escape.”

One day her father formed an hypothesis, “Perhaps it’s an excess of mental rather than physical energy,” he said. “What if we were to enroll Hélène in a music class?” Later, as her music teacher played a piece by Schumann, Hélène, age seven, encountered the piano and the kind of music that would change her life. The rest, as they say, is history: Ms. Grimaud went on to win international fame, playing concerts in the major cities of Europe and the United States.

”The Romantic repertoire [e.g., Brahms, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Schumann, Debussy, Chopin, and Liszt],” she writes, “has always enchanted me.” Her other favorite composers include Bach, Mozart, Ravel, Strauss, Gershwin, Bartok, Berg, and Shostakovich.

Ms. Grimaud experienced a personal epiphany when Alawa—a she-wolf with glowing eyes—crossed her path on a road in Florida. With this barely domesticated animal she immediately bonded. Thus began the second great passion of her life, a love that led her to found the Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem, New York.

This memoir is the engaging story of a stunningly talented young woman who is inhabited by the spirit of wolves. A wild vitality, a ferocious passion, animates her life and music. What a remarkable human being is Hélène Grimaud!

Editor’s Note: Many of Ms. Grimaud’s performances can be enjoyed at YouTube.com. Mr. Perry especially recommends her renditions of these piano concertos: Brahms First, Rachmaninoff’s Second, and Beethoven’s Fifth. DC

For other book reviews by Roy E. Perry, please visit: http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/A2MVUWT453QH61/ref=cm_cr_auth/002-6294896-4602409?%5Fencoding=UTF8

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 at Amazon.com and XLibris.com. Dave is also a freelance book editor, publicist, seminar and workshop leader, journalist, and advertising / marketing / public relations writer.

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Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville by Dave Carew—which was praised by The Tennessean as “beautiful, haunting, powerful”—is now available in an all-new paperback edition. For more information, please visit:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/191-4818370-7728230?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=David+M.+Carew

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Do you want to help homeless people in Nashville learn culinary arts and other employment skills that provide a specific, effective path off the streets? Please visit Lambscroft.org (link below) and consider making a financial contribution. Any amount is very helpful and appreciated. Thank you.
http://www.epiclifecreative.net/LambsCroft/

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

 

Yes Dear delivers excellent debut album

February 16, 2015

Yes Dear Album Cover

by Dave Carew

Back in the day—the early 2000’s to be exact—one of the coolest Saturday nights you could come up with in Nashville was catching The Josh Jackson Band at the old Sutler. The “JJB” regularly packed the joint, and gave its big fan base a musical treat time after time after time.

Now Yes Dear—featuring the same Josh Jackson—follows that “musical treat” tradition by releasing its outstanding debut album. Distinctly more country-nuanced than the old JJB—but staying safely clear of Music Row—Yes Dear is a deeply satisfying album you easily could place beside stand-outs from Poco or Pure Prairie League. Brimming with smart, strong songs, electric harmonies, and excellent production, Yes Dear is, in fact, the record you wish the bright lights of country-rock were making today.

In a collection of eight songs featuring no weak link, the two MOST stand-out tracks, for my money, are “Things That Little Girls Do,” and the reworked (from the Josh Jackson Band) “Rosa.” Upon first hearing “Things That Little Girls Do,” I thought “That’s got ‘hit’ written all over it.” Perhaps I might revise that to “instant classic.” Like this entire album, the song demonstrates what gifted people can do when they are serious-minded about music as an art form—but refuse to leave the fun behind.

For more information please visit:

https://www.facebook.com/yesdeartheband/info?tab=page_info

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 Amazon.com and XLibris.com. Dave is also a freelance book editor, publicist, seminar and workshop leader, journalist, and advertising / marketing / public relations writer.

************
Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville by Dave Carew—which was praised by The Tennessean as “beautiful, haunting, powerful”—is now available in an all-new paperback edition. For more information, please visit:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/191-4818370-7728230?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=David+M.+Carew

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Do you want to help homeless people in Nashville learn culinary arts and other employment skills that provide a specific, effective path off the streets? Please visit Lambscroft.org (link below) and consider making a financial contribution. Any amount is very helpful and appreciated. Thank you.

http://www.epiclifecreative.net/LambsCroft/

***********
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

Book Review by Roy E. Perry – “Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn: A Father, a Daughter, the Meaning of Nothing, and the Beginning of Everything” by Amanda Gefter

February 12, 2015

Einstein

Editor’s Note: Roy E. Perry wrote book reviews for “The Tennessean” and “Nashville Banner” for more than thirty years. “Underground Nashville” is always proud to present Mr. Perry’s latest book review for our readers.

In Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn, Amanda Gefter has written a wise and witty narrative of the current state of theoretical physics and cosmology, the latter being “the branch of philosophy dealing with the origin and general structure of the universe, with its parts, elements, and especially of its characteristics as space, time, causality, and freedom; the branch of astronomy that deals with the general structure and evolution of the universe.”

The basic problem explored by Ms. Geftner’s narrative is the conceptual gulf between Einstein’s general theory of relativity (which he later regretted not calling his “general theory of invariance”) and quantum mechanics. The “holy grail” for physics would be to find a synthesis (reconciliation) of these two theories—a viable theory of quantum gravity. The thorny question is: Does ultimate reality demand invariance, that is, is the universe observer-independent? Does the universe exist prior to, and apart from, anyone observing it?

Here’s where “weird” gets “weirder than weird.” According to quantum mechanics, time, space, and—yes, even the universe itself—are relative to the observer’s perspective; in other words, ultimate reality is radically observer-dependent. Each person’s universe is different from any every other person’s universe, an astonishing claim reminiscent of the position articulated by 18th-century Anglo-Irish philosopher George Berkeley, who asserted “To be is to be perceived”—a subjective idealism haunted by the specter of solipsism.

The heart and soul of Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn are the interviews and correspondences conducted by Ms. Geftner with some of today’s most brilliant theoretical physicists, including Stephen Hawking, Joseph Wheeler, and David Gross (among numerous others).

The author writes: “I was fifteen at the time, and my father had taken me out for dinner at our favorite Chinese restaurant . . . . I was pushing a cashew around my plate with a chopstick when [my father] looked at me intently and asked, ‘How would you define nothing?’“ “How would you define nothing?” Thus began the author’s all-consuming hunt for ultimate reality, as explored in this book. Along the way, Ms. Gefter earns her credentials in spades, proving herself a gifted science writer who often explains physicists’ ideas better than they do. By all means, read this engaging, intelligent, and funny book, and learn about the weird, bizarre world of quantum mechanics.

ABOUT AMANDA GEFTER

Amanda Gefter is a writer specializing in fundamental physics and cosmology and a consultant for New Scientist magazine. She previously served as books and arts editor for New Scientist magazine, and founded “CultureLab,” New Scientist’s books and arts blog. This is her first book.

For other book reviews by Roy E. Perry, please visit: http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/A2MVUWT453QH61/ref=cm_cr_auth/002-6294896-4602409?%5Fencoding=UTF8

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 at Amazon.com and XLibris.com. Dave is also a freelance book editor, publicist, seminar and workshop leader, journalist, and advertising / marketing / public relations writer. ************

Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville by Dave Carew—which was praised by The Tennessean as “beautiful, haunting, powerful”—is now available in an all-new paperback edition. For more information, please visit:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/191-4818370-7728230?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=David+M.+Carew ***********

Do you want to help homeless people in Nashville learn culinary arts and other employment skills that provide a specific, effective path off the streets? Please visit Lambscroft.org (link below) and consider making a financial contribution. Any amount is very helpful and appreciated. Thank you.

http://www.epiclifecreative.net/LambsCroft/ ***********

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 and Judy Rodman to Release New Americana Album

February 4, 2015

Rodmans

By Dave Carew

Judy Rodman—the Academy of Country Music Award-winning artist and hit songwriter—and her husband John will release Here We Are, their debut album as a duo, on Tuesday, March 24. John Rodman is an acclaimed drummer/songwriter with thousands of performing credits, from the symphony to amphitheaters to the recording studio to television.

Produced by Judy and John at Mainframe Studios, the album will offer an eclectic mix of Americana sounds, from Memphis blues to pop-infused tunes to funk, culminating with the artful instrumental “Sweet Dreams.”

“This album is bringing us back full circle to who we have been from the beginning, making music together,” says Judy. “At the same time it’s new! We’re doing things we have never done before—writing, recording, and performing as a duo.”

An exclusive listening party will be held at the Nashville Musician’s Union on March 17 at 7:00 p.m. The album will be released worldwide on CD Baby and iTunes one week later.

For more information please visit:

http://www.johnandjudyrodman.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,” both now available from Amazon.com and XLibris.com. Dave is also a freelance book editor, publicist, seminar and workshop leader, journalist, and advertising / marketing / public relations writer.

************
Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville by Dave Carew—which was praised by The Tennessean as “beautiful, haunting, powerful”—is now available in an all-new paperback edition. For more information, please visit:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/191-4818370-7728230?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=David+M.+Carew

***********
Do you want to help homeless people in Nashville learn culinary arts and other employment skills that provide a specific, effective path off the streets? Please visit Lambscroft.org (link below) and consider making a financial contribution. Any amount is very helpful and appreciated. Thank you.

http://www.epiclifecreative.net/LambsCroft/

***********

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.”

BCMA award-winning Pete Kennedy to headline in Ireland

January 27, 2015

Pete-Kennedy
by Dave Carew

Pete Kennedy gained international recognition when he won “Album of the Year” at the British Country Music Awards in 2012 for his outstanding The Nashville Session, Vol.1.

Now based in Nashville, Pete has spent the past year honing his songwriting chops with some of Music City’s top-shelf songsmiths, including Earl Budd Lee (Garth Brooks, Blake Shelton), Jan Buckingham (Lee Greenwood, Whitney Houston), Beau Fuller (Kristy Lee Cook, Jesse Keith Whitley), and American Idol and Grand Ole Opry star Ayla Brown.

For the first time ever, Pete is about to embark on a headlining tour of his native Ireland. Before he hopped on the plane, Underground Nashville caught up with Pete for this exclusive interview:

UNDERGROUND NASHVILLE: Why did you decide to tour your native Ireland, starting in February?

PETE KENNEDY: I’ve performed all throughout the country, but I have never had the opportunity to tour until now. I am so excited to kick off my first headlining tour in Ireland! I feel like the timing is right. I’ve received tremendous support from radio, TV, and the media. Also, I have some incredible fans and I think this will be a great opportunity to connect with them. I’m even more excited to share what I have been working on over these past few months.

UN: Why did you decide to move to Nashville?

PK: From a very young age, I have always dreamed of moving to Nashville, to pursue my career in the music industry. Some of my very first memories of Nashville were from watching Music City USA, a TV show hosted by Shay Healy that featured the top country music videos of the week. I remember watching all the greats—Garth Brooks, Vince Gill, and Alan Jackson. I knew that if I was going to make it in this business, I needed to be in Nashville. I’ve been living in Nashville for over a year now, and I absolutely love it here. I’ve met some really amazing people and have had some incredible experiences. I truly believe this is where I am meant to be. I am so grateful for the opportunity to live in Music City.

UN: What has been your greatest musical thrill to date?

PK: I’ve had a lot of incredible experiences throughout my musical career; however, one of the most memorable and exciting times was immediately following the release of my first U.S. studio album, I Am the One on May 16th, 2014. I received an email from my manager with the news that the album was being featured as “New & Noteworthy” on the iTunes country store! To see my name amongst great talents, such as Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, and Hunter Hayes, was an immense honor. That was definitely a moment that I will never forget!

For more information, including tour cities and dates, please visit:
http://www.petekennedy.net/

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 at Amazon.com and XLibris.com. Dave is also a freelance book editor, publicist, seminar and workshop leader, journalist, and advertising / marketing / public relations writer.

************
Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville by Dave Carew—which was praised by The Tennessean as “beautiful, haunting, powerful”—is now available in an all-new paperback edition. For more information, please visit:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/191-4818370-7728230?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=David+M.+Carew

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Do you want to help homeless people in Nashville learn culinary arts and other employment skills that provide a specific, effective path off the streets? Please visit Lambscroft.org (link below) and consider making a financial contribution. Any amount is very helpful and appreciated. Thank you.

http://www.epiclifecreative.net/LambsCroft/

***********

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

 

David Brooks invites us to “The David Motel”

January 21, 2015

DAVID-MOTEL

by Dave Carew

What do you do when you’re an Americana singer-songwriter named “Dave” . . . whose guitar player is named “Dave” . . . and whose drummer is named “Dave”?

If you’re David (“Dave”) Brooks, you call your project The David Motel.

During my career as a reviewer and interviewer, I’ve been fascinated by the question, Why did this artist release this particular album at this particular time? David Brooks answers that question about The David Motel: People, Places, Things in particularly revealing detail:

The David Motel offers tales of weariness originating from too many nights spent in hotel rooms, too much heartbreak, the inevitable passage of time, and the unceasing struggle to keep up,” Brooks says. “These songs embody the roller coaster of emotions I’ve experienced over the last several years. There have been highs and lows. And this collection really puts that journey into perspective.”

Working with acclaimed producer/songwriter David Coleman (The Coal Men), David Brooks has created an album that is—like the best of Americana music—revelatory and artful in a decidedly simple—or seemingly simple—way. From boot-stomping rockers like “Green Eyes” and “Ain’t That How It Goes” to wistful ballads like “Sing Me to Sleep” and “Little Girl From Natchez”, The David Motel memorably paints not only the state of one man’s soul in early 2015, but an arresting pathway for those who cherish what the most authentic Americana music can offer.

When reviewers at Rolling Stone especially like a new album, they spotlight it under the headline “Buy This Now.” I’d slap that label on The David Motel. You’ll be glad you’ve punched this Cosmic American Music ticket.

For more information please visit:
http://TheDavidMotel.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,” both now available at Amazon.com and XLibris.com. Dave is also a freelance book editor, publicist, seminar and workshop leader, journalist, and advertising / marketing / public relations writer.

************
Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville by Dave Carew—which was praised by The Tennessean as “beautiful, haunting, powerful”—is now available in an all-new paperback edition. For more information, please visit:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/191-4818370-7728230?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=David+M.+Carew

***********
Do you want to help homeless people in Nashville learn culinary arts and other employment skills that provide a specific, effective path off the streets? Please visit Lambscroft.org (link below) and consider making a financial contribution. Any amount is very helpful and appreciated. Thank you.

http://www.epiclifecreative.net/LambsCroft/

***********

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

 

Michael Hinckley releases outstanding “Hang a Black Cloth”

January 8, 2015

hinckley-itunes

by Dave Carew

Several years ago, when I reviewed the eponymous album by Engines of Commotion (of which Michael Hinckley was a member), I wrote that Michael’s Americana music is “rendered with a loving artfulness that speaks of [his] deep devotion to this most mystical of American musical expressions.”

That devotion is newly evident in Hang a Black Cloth, Michael’s outstanding solo debut. In 11 masterfully chiseled songs, the Nebraska-born singer-songwriter again reveals his intense personal commitment to musical authenticity and a simple-yet-profound poetry.

Right from its first track, this album aims for the heart and finds its mark. Michael’s uniquely compelling voice takes us across mystic landscapes previously sanctified by real-deal artists like Gram Parsons, Bob Dylan, and the Avett Brothers. But while Michael’s artistic journey may echo those artists, it does so squarely on its own terms. As listeners we feel we’ve been invited to the heart of something very precious and vulnerable here—to a region intensely human and uniquely compelling, accessible to anyone who cherishes the quiet, burning illumination manifest in the best of Americana music. Highly recommended.

For more information please visit:
http://michaelhinckley.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,” both now available at Amazon.com and XLibris.com. Dave is also a freelance book editor, publicist, seminar and workshop leader, journalist, and advertising / marketing / public relations writer.

************
Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville by Dave Carew—which was praised by The Tennessean as “beautiful, haunting, powerful”—is now available in an all-new paperback edition. For more information, please visit:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/191-4818370-7728230?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=David+M.+Carew

***********
Do you want to help homeless people in Nashville learn culinary arts and other employment skills that provide a specific, effective path off the streets? Please visit Lambscroft.org (link below) and consider making a financial contribution. Any amount is very helpful and appreciated. Thank you.

http://www.epiclifecreative.net/LambsCroft/

***********

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

 

 

Markéta Irglová dazzles at The City Winery

January 6, 2015

Marketa

by Dave Carew

The incredible rags-to-riches dance of the film (and now Broadway show) Once is a story of incredible human passion, talent, and love. Made on a tiny budget of $100,000 and seemingly destined to find a small audience at best, the independent, 2007 film went on to be hailed by (as they say), “theatre-goers everywhere,” culminating with a Best Song win at the Oscars for the film’s stand-out “Falling Slowly.”

One of the wondrous elements of Once and its music was that it brought the previously obscure Markéta Irglová out of the shadows of the Czech Republic and Ireland to the world stage. The world is much the richer for that, as evidenced in—among other works—the singer/songwriter’s new album Muna, which she was touring behind when she performed at Nashville’s City Winery in late 2014.

“Ethereal” . . . “very moving and beautiful” . . . “sacred” . . . these are some of the phrases I remember hearing from concert-goers after the show had ended. In a performance that consisted of most of the tracks from Muna along with a couple from Once and The Swell Season (Markéta’s project with fellow Once singer/songwriter/actor Glen Hansard), Markéta took the audience to a beautiful emotional plane where pop music intersects with holiness and a noble, church-like beauty. If her contributions to Once proved Markéta Irglová a prodigious musical talent, Muna is further proof of that gift—a gift we now all can unwrap and cherish.

Stand-Out Tracks:

“Without a Map”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dFp4SIMlbs

“The Leading Bird”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaTsGAtT_sw

For more information please visit:
http://2014.marketairglova.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,” both now available at Amazon.com and XLibris.com. Dave is also a freelance book editor, publicist, seminar and workshop leader, journalist, and advertising / marketing / public relations writer.

************
Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville by Dave Carew—which was praised by The Tennessean as “beautiful, haunting, powerful”—is now available in an all-new paperback edition. For more information, please visit:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/191-4818370-7728230?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=David+M.+Carew

***********
Do you want to help homeless people in Nashville learn culinary arts and other employment skills that provide a specific, effective path off the streets? Please visit Lambscroft.org (link below) and consider making a financial contribution. Any amount is very helpful and appreciated. Thank you.

http://www.epiclifecreative.net/LambsCroft/

***********

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

 

 

Book Review by Roy E. Perry—John Gardner’s “Mickelsson’s Ghosts”

January 2, 2015

John-Gardner

BOOK REVIEW BY ROY E. PERRY

Editor’s Note: Roy E. Perry wrote book reviews for “The Tennessean” and “Nashville Banner” for more than thirty years. “Underground Nashville” is always proud to present Mr. Perry’s latest book reviews for our readers.

“Lord, what fools these mortals be.”
—Puck, in William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

On page 286 of John Gardner’s novel Mickelsson’s Ghosts (1982), the protagonist, Peter J. Mickelsson, says to Jessica Stark (Ph.D., Sociology), “I like order.” Ironically, Mickelsson’s life is in great disorder. His life is spinning out of control: rationality collapsing into irrationality, cosmos crumbling into chaos.

A professor of philosophy, Mickelsson mourns the lost love suffered in a divorce from his wife, Ellen. He is in financial ruin, virtually bankrupt because of alimony payments, is hounded by the IRS for three years of unpaid taxes, and is reduced to writing bad checks that begin to bounce. His teaching career at the university is in shambles, and he wolfs down Di-Gels like candy.

So what is Mickelsson to do? He purchases an old, run-down, ramshackle farmhouse, reputed to be haunted, near Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, in the Endless Mountains, at which he works like a dervish to renovate, in a desperate attempt to escape his many problems and silence his demons.

Mickelsson suffers psychotic episodes, “seeing” in the house (which was once occupied by Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of Mormonism, and at which a murder was committed) the spirits of long-dead people. Turning from community in a hermit-like seclusion, he suffers tortured bouts of weariness, depression, misery, gloom, despair, and agony.

Mickelsson’s world is haunted by dream-thoughts, flash-backs, fantasies, memories, and dreams—images teeming in his tortured brain, which float in the ocean of his consciousness as in Nietzsche’s sea of eternal recurrence.

One of Mickelsson’s worst obsessions is that he is a compulsive womanizer. Witness his ill-advised infatuations: with a 17-year-old-girl, Donnie Matthews; his involvement with one of his philosophy students; and his desperate hunger for Jessica Stark’s affection.

We cringe as Mickelsson’s once-brilliant mind descends into darkness. He himself realizes that his teaching career has been a fraud, and that he is in danger of becoming a buffoon, wearing the jester’s ridiculous cap and bells.

In A Treatise of Human Nature, the Scottish philosopher David Hume sums up, in a nutshell, Mickelsson’s fatal flaw, “Reason is . . . the slave of passion.” In spite of Mickelsson’s many failures to live up to his own ethical ideals, however, one pulls for him, hoping he can extricate himself from his morass of troubles.

In The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx (with assistance from Friedrich Engels) writes, “A specter is haunting Europe—the specter of communism.” Likewise, a specter haunts Mickelsson’s Ghosts—the specter of Friedrich Nietzsche. Gardner quotes Nietzsche on numerous occasions, so often that one loses count. To a lesser degree, the ghosts of Martin Luther (Nietzsche’s bête noir) and Ludwig Wittgenstein (one of Nietzsche’s “children”) flit in and out of the book’s pages.

A powerful psychological/existential tale of the slings and arrows that flesh is heir to, Mickelsson’s Ghosts is a brilliant philosophical novel that will intrigue anyone with a philosophical bent. Gardner’s last novel may very well be his best.

ABOUT JOHN GARDNER:

Born in Batavia, New York, in 1933, John Champlin Gardner, Jr., was a novelist, essayist, literary critic, and university professor. He was killed on September 14, 1982 in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, when he lost control of his Harley-Davidson motorcycle. He is probably best known for his novel Grendel (1971), a best-selling retelling of the Beowulf myth from the monster’s point of view. Among his other best-selling and widely respected works are The Wreckage of Agathon (1970); The Sunlight Dialogues (1972); Nickel Mountain (1973); October Light (1975); Mickelsson’s Ghosts (1982); and The Art of Fiction (1983).

For other book reviews by Roy E. Perry, please visit:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/A2MVUWT453QH61/ref=cm_cr_auth/002-6294896-4602409?%5Fencoding=UTF8

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 at Amazon.com and XLibris.com. Dave is also a freelance book editor, publicist, seminar and workshop leader, journalist, and advertising / marketing / public relations writer.

************
Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville by Dave Carew—which was praised by The Tennessean as “beautiful, haunting, powerful”—is now available in an all-new paperback edition. For more information, please visit:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/191-4818370-7728230?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=David+M.+Carew

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Do you want to help homeless people in Nashville learn culinary arts and other employment skills that provide a specific, effective path off the streets? Please visit Lambscroft.org (link below) and consider making a financial contribution. Any amount is very helpful and appreciated. Thank you.

http://www.epiclifecreative.net/LambsCroft/

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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

 

 

Artlightenment 2014 Art and Film Festival coming November 13-15

November 6, 2014

Arty

Artlightenment, the annual multi-media art show and film festival that showcases dozens of visual artists, painters, sculptors, and filmmakers, is slated to run November 13, 14, and 15 at The Celebrity Centre (Old Fall School Building), 1130 8th Ave. S., Nashville, TN, 37203.

Created by painter, sculptor, and film producer, Robyn Morshead in 2009, this three- day event also features workshops, live music, and a fashion show, making it a vital force in Nashville’s creative community.

The theme of this year’s Artlightenment is “The Light Side of Art,” and will feature the work of underwater photographer and filmmaker Christy Rogers, a visionary artist who uses the refraction of light on her subjects to create beautiful images reminiscent of the paintings of Rubens and Caravaggio.

Ms. Rogers’ work, which is being shown internationally, is currently on display at the Angers Nantes Opera House in Angers, France, and this will be the only opportunity to see her large-format prints in Nashville. Join her as she hosts a special pre-show seminar, “My Career in Underwater Photography and Film” on Thursday, November 13 at 5:30 pm.

This year’s festival also will highlight the work of landmark photographer Raeanne Rubenstein, whose work has graced the pages of publications such as People magazine and The New York Times. Attendees can hear Rubenstein speak on “The Funny Side of Art and Film” on Thursday, November 14 at 7:00 pm.

Actress Carla Christina Contreras will be kicking off Artlightenment’s Film Festival on Saturday, November 13 at 6:30 pm with her talk “A Long and Successful Acting Career.” Carla’s recent film work includes Two Eggs (with Tom Skirret), Self Offense (official selection in eight film festivals), Static (eleven awards, including Best Actress), as well as the feature film Summer Snow. Some of her other work includes Army Wives, America’s Most Wanted, and a co-starring role in Following Her Heart, which starred Ann-Margret, George Segal, and Brenda Vacarro.

The festival is proud to feature The MTSU Paris Project, three films produced by well-known documentary filmmaker Tom Neff and shot by student filmmakers from MTSU’s Electronic Media Communications Department. The films center on the unlikely cross-cultural exchange between Paris, France and Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The MTSU student-filmmakers traveled there to make these extraordinary documentaries about contemporary French artists, their work, and methodology.
Three-day tickets for this groundbreaking event are $15. Ticket holders have access to all exhibits and workshops, as well as to the film festival and closing-night awards and fashion shows.

For more information and/or to purchase tickets, please visit:
http://www.artlightenment.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,” both now available at Amazon.com and XLibris.com. Dave is also a freelance book editor, publicist, seminar and workshop leader, journalist, and advertising / marketing / public relations writer.

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Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville by Dave Carew—which was praised by The Tennessean as “beautiful, haunting, powerful”—is now available in an all-new paperback edition. For more information, please visit:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/191-4818370-7728230?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=David+M.+Carew

***********
Do you want to help homeless people in Nashville learn culinary arts and other employment skills that provide a specific, effective path off the streets? Please visit Lambscroft.org (link below) and consider making a financial contribution. Any amount is very helpful and appreciated. Thank you.

http://www.epiclifecreative.net/LambsCroft/

***********

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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