Archive for March, 2011

Record Review: Reuben Brock’s “400 Horses”

March 21, 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:  Reuben Brock’s 400 Horses

By Vince Gaetano

I’m at a loss for words. I mean that literally. I cannot find a word in the English language that means “more than talented.” I’ve been through my thesaurus six times already, and nothing seems suitable. “Adept?” Not nearly good enough. “Gifted?” Too obvious. “Cut out for?” First of all, that’s more than one word. I think that might be cheating. Second of all, it just doesn’t get across what I want to express. It doesn’t have the right feel, the right nuance, the right resonance. It doesn’t sound grandiose enough. I think I might have to borrow a word or two from the Italians; see if that helps.

Let’s see…

Rueben Brock is molto di talento.

Oh yeah, I like the sound of that.

And his molto di talento-ness should come as no surprise when you consider his background.

“Singing in church, at small town social events or with my family, I’ve been singing at a very early age,” says Mr. Brock. “There was some classical training on piano, but Grandma liked Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard and Grandpa played the fiddle at all of the local barn dances.”

Read that last paragraph and tell me it doesn’t sound like a country song.

“I started piano lessons when I was 5, and learned guitar a little later, which, like any good gateway, eventually lead to more serious stuff like playing in bands and writing and recording songs.”

His experience shows. Rueben Brock has the enviable ability to breathe new life into the stalest of country clichés. The title song off his album 400 Horses may be the best example. When I first read the title, I admit, I rolled my eyes. Country album + horses = song cowboys. I knew what I was in for, and wasn’t looking forward to it.

Well, wasn’t I surprised when the song turned out to be an ode to his first car? (In case the rhetorical nature of the question wasn’t entirely evident, the answer is yes. Yes I was surprised.) The 400 horses he was referring to was actually the horse-power of said vehicle. Neat.

If 400 Horses is any indication, I think Ruben Brock has a bright future ahead of him.

To see for yourself, just go to his website at http://www.reubenbrock.com/ and download a free mp3. Or see him live this summer on his “Stranger Things Tour.”

Vince Gaetano is an aspiring screenwriter and director who has written film and album reviews for ‘Shake! Magazine’ and ‘Underground Nashville.’ He graduated with honors from SUNY Oneonta with a major in video production.

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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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.

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

March 14, 2011

By Dave Carew

Fab is—hands down—one of the finest Beatles tribute bands in the world. Comprised of premier, Nashville-based musicians and singers, this collection of serious-minded-yet-fun-hearted guys presents a more-or-less-monthly performance of great Beatles tunes at 3rd & Lindsley that no Beatles fan—make that no music fan—should miss. As the non-Liverpool Lads prepare for their show this Saturday night (March 19) at 3rd & Lindsley, Fab keyboardist Bill Roberts granted Underground Nashville the following exclusive, two-part interview. (Part II will be presented later this week.)

UNDERGROUND NASHVILLEYou guys have played at clubs like the old Boardwalk Cafe and 3rd & Lindsley for more than a decade. When did you originally form Fab and what was the original idea behind it?

BILL ROBERTS: I was at a Christmas party in December of 1998 when Woody Bomar approached me and said, “Hey! Let’s form a band to play the Beatles!” That was it! Woody is currently president of Green Hills Music after being VP & General Manager at SONY/ATV Publishing for years. The entire idea was to take a break from the music business and have fun. We had zero expectations—just wanted to play the songs faithfully and in the spirit of the Beatles.

UNDERGROUND NASHVILLE:  I recently read that The Beatles are among the Top 5 favorite bands of EVERY demographic, from 20-somethings to 60-somethings.  As a musician, what do you think accounts for this unprecedented popularity, even among people who have no memory of The Beatles as a band?

BILL ROBERTS:  Every music producer in the world would like the recipe, wouldn’t they? It seems that strong or beautiful or unusual melodies, and interesting harmonies and lyrics, resonate with the human species somehow—The Beatles just did it better. Their melodies and harmonies grab the ear, yet are original and unique—very creative. Their song structures are varied, yet they all work. Their musical and lyrical range was incredible—from gentle songs like “I Will” and “Julia” to the raucous “Helter Skelter” and everything in between. There’s something for everyone. Most of the lyrics are timeless and range from adolescent innocence in “I Want to Hold Your Hand” to fairly sophisticated social commentary like “She’s Leaving Home” or “Revolution.” Perhaps, as Paul said, it’s because most of their songs were about “love, peace, and understanding”—their optimism is appealing. Stylistically, they successfully grew and changed with nearly every album release. They weren’t afraid to be corny or sentimental—right alongside with their edgier stuff. Again, [they offer] something for everyone. Certainly the individual Beatles were/are charismatic in their own way. Many of their chord progressions move in unexpected directions—even “wrong” if you will—yet again, they work perfectly. I’m still blown away by the intro to “If I Fell.” In short—I don’t really know why!

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.

The Poetry of Chance Chambers – – Part II

March 11, 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

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

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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The Poetry of Chance Chambers – – Part II

Chance Chambers is one of the finest poets and short-story writers working in the South today. (For more about Chance, please see below.)

Underground Nashville is honored to present the following new poem by Chance Chambers, which follows the one posted earlier this week:

Happy Buddha

By Chance Chambers

I had crazy summer hair,

curled from sweat,

when Em took my picture

and said I looked like Robin Williams.

 

It was your birthday, too, and I

was everybody’s Happy Buddha,

nobody’s MacArthur,

as the last cinder fell on Riverfront

to the star spangled music of a thousand

cars going nowhere.

 

A parking garage hour is enough

to remember the night you hated

your new haircut, short and tapered

in the back, and I drank

so much my eyes crossed.

 

Sake and vodka, that’s a lot of alcohol

for one drink, but not enough to forget

a field marshal and bass drums marching

up the theatre aisle. I could have

touched them.

 

I could have touched your hand

as we walked along darkened shops,

stopping to look at sleeping cats

and someone else’s wedding dress.

 

I could have told you, but only

stood there cross-eyed while you

and your haircut were beautiful

in the Village windows.

 

For more information about Chance Chambers, please visit ChanceChambers.com.

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.

The Poetry of Chance Chambers

March 8, 2011

Chance Chambers is one of the finest poets and short-story writers working in the South today. A Top 100 winner in the Mainstream / Literary Short Story category of Writer’s Digest’s 73rd Writing Competition for his short story “Miss October,” Chance later saw that work included in the acclaimed Muscadine Lines: A Southern Anthology. Another of his works of short fiction appeared in the anthology Gathering: Writers of Williamson County. Chance has been a quarter-finalist in Francis Ford Coppola’s Zoetrope: All-Story & New Century Writer’s Short Story Competition, a finalist in Glimmer Train’s Poetry Open, and a three-time nominee for the Sensored Starving Artist Award in fiction and poetry.  Originally from Paris, Tennessee, Chance has lived in Nashville since 1985.

Underground Nashville is honored to present this new poem by Chance Chambers, which will be followed by another later this week:

“I’m Not Interested in the Chemistry of Kisses”

by Chance Chambers

I’m not interested in the chemistry of kisses,

only the taste of you on a night broken

by the asphalt music of sirens and helicopters,

finished in a round of water meter hopscotch

in front of a stranger’s house with a fireplace

that makes your hair smell like a bonfire,

miles from any field worthy of such a burn.

 

 

Listen.

 

I have to tell you,

I no longer have much of a stomach

for gut-burning nights.

I’ll never miss the grip

loosened by the pitch and yaw

of cocktailwinds; the friends

are always true and the ride

is, more often than other, hell-of-a.

 

Still,

 

My taste is turning for salt

and tomorrow, for the water

that touches two highways named “One,”

for the sand where I’ll write our story

next to a basket boat waiting for the tide

to lift both into a sea that cares

nothing about our chemistry

or that of our kisses,

water that only wants to carry us

 

until

 

we no longer float or breath,

 

until

 

our story sinks beneath the bellies

of bottom beasts we never met,

 

until

 

the basket boat fisherman alone remembers us.

For more information about Chance Chambers, please visit ChanceChambers.com.

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.