Archive for June, 2014

Book Review by Roy E. Perry: Donna Tartt’s “The Little Friend”

June 27, 2014

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Editor’s Note: Roy E. Perry, the self-described “amateur philosopher of Nolensville,” wrote book reviews for “The Tennessean” and “Nashville Banner” for thirty years. He is a regular contributor to “Underground Nashville.”

BOOK REVIEW BY ROY E. PERRY:

Donna Tartt, winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, begins The Little Friend in the fictional town of Alexandria, Mississippi, where the dead body of a nine-year-old boy, Robin Cleve Dufresnes, has been found hanging from a black-gum tupelo tree. At the time of Robin’s death, his sisters—Allison and Harriet—are four years old and six months old, respectively.

The story resumes twelve years later, when Harriet makes it her consuming mission to solve the baffling cold-case murder: “This was Harriet’s greatest obsession, and the one from which all the others sprang,” Tartt writes. “For what she wanted, more than anything, was to have her brother back. Next to that, she wanted to find out who killed him.”

Twelve-year old Harriet, the central character of the tale, frequents the local library and loves Dickens, Kipling, Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Arthur Conan Doyle. Her heroes are the super-sleuth Sherlock Holmes and the escape artist Harry Houdini. She will need all her wits, intelligence, and derring-do to survive the dangers that threaten her.

The lion’s share of the book is devoted to interpersonal relationships within the Cleve and Dufresnes families, which have been devastated by Robin’s death. Central characters include Harriet’s father, who has deserted the family and is living with a mistress in Nashville; Harriet’s mother, who has become a shadowy recluse; and Harriet’s grandmother, great-aunts, and aunts.

Four ne’er-do-wells—members of the “sorry,” low-life, white-trash Ratliff family—are the antagonists of the drama, especially one Danny Ratliff, Robin’s “little friend,” whom Harriet comes to suspect as Robin’s murderer. A stash of crank (methamphetamine) hidden in the town’s abandoned water tower leads to a white-knuckle, nail-biting confrontation between Harriet and Danny Ratliff.

Near novel’s end, we read, “Never had it occurred to [Harriet] that she might be wrong in her suspicions about Danny Ratliff—simply wrong. What if he hadn’t killed Robin after all?” With this doubt came a sickening “fear that she’d stumbled blindly into something terrible.”

The Little Friend is a WHO-dunit and a WHY-dunit, with neither a “who” nor a “why.” The story’s promising complications have no satisfying resolution. Was the final chapter inadvertently misplaced by the author or carelessly deleted by an editor? For this reason, I give this absorbing novel four stars rather than five.

A final comment: One wonders how much Alexandria, Mississippi, resembles Donna Tartt’s girlhood home of Grenada, and to what extent spunky, resourceful, independent, tomboyish Harriet is a mirror image of Donna Tartt.

MORE ABOUT DONNA TARTT

Donna Tartt was born on December 23, 1963 in Greenwood and grew up in nearby Grenada (both in north-central Mississippi). She has published three novels: The Secret History (1992), The Little Friend (2002), and The Goldfinch (2013), the latter work winning the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

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

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Chakra Bleu releases sweet, sultry “All of Me”

June 10, 2014

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By Dave Carew

In the early 2000s, when the East Nashville rock scene was infinitely less potent than it is today, one of the bands bravely carrying the pop/rock torch across the river was Chakra Bleu. Described by some as “Nashville’s answer to Fleetwood Mac and Heart,” the band galvanized its die-hard fans with electric female harmonies, soaring guitar solos, and a uniquely uplifting songcraft it dubbed “empower rock.”

Fast forward to 2014: Today the mantle of Chakra Bleu is carried by lead singer/songwriter “Bleu,” who has released a string of solo albums and singles that have lit up Indie and Americana charts. Now—on the heels of the particularly acclaimed Souvenir—Chakra Bleu has released the R & B-flavored All of Me, described by its principal creator (Bleu) as “sweet and sultry with a shake of sass!”

“I aimed for All of Me to embody an exquisite five-course meal, delighting the listener in a savory listening experience,” says Bleu. “That experience includes (1.) soulful songs (2.) rich vocals (3.) lush production (4.) top-notch musicians and (5.) a special dessert, including the ‘empower song’ ‘The Shadow,’ which is food for thought, upbeat, and insightful.”

All of Me features stellar production work from Nashville pro John Billings, who also engineered and played bass on all tracks. Mr. Billings played with Donna Summer and the Monkees, among many others. Another stand-out contribution is offered by saxophonist Dana Robbins, who has played with Aretha Franklin, Delbert McClinton, Chaka Khan, and others.

It all adds up to a welcome surprise for Chakra Bleu fans . . . with equal emphasis on “welcome” and “surprise.” If the “old” Chakra Bleu sounded like Fleetwood Mac or Heart, this entrée is like an Anita Baker album splashed with Bleu’s patented lyrical vibe of love, hope, and good will. It’s a new direction for the beloved artist, and one she walks with inviting confidence.

For more information, please visit:
http://www.chakrableu.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

 

 

 

Ryan Weaver to play CMA Fest this week

June 2, 2014

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By Dave Carew

Nashville-based Ryan Weaver—the “all-American rockin’ country music artist”—will play two shows in MusicCity this week. He will be headlining a non-CMA Fest-affiliated concert at Margaritaville on Wed, June 4th at 10:30PM after the CMT Award Show, then performing on the Samsung Galaxy Stage in Hall of Fame Walk Park for CMA Fest on Saturday, June 7th at 12:05PM.

Asked by Underground Nashville to comment on his fast-rising career, Ryan said “I have played a few showcases during CMA Fest downtown in the past, but since moving to Nashville and having my ‘Crank It’ music video and song out in the national television and markets, a lot of great things are starting to happen. Now I’ve released my second single, ‘New Set of Tires,’ and become an official CMA Fest performing artist. This is a huge step in the right direction. It’s always amazing to see my dreams come to life after working so hard to get here.”

Ryan’s just-released single “New Set of Tires”—the follow-up to his first Top 100 Music Row charting single “Crank It”—was penned by Hall of Fame songwriters Jeffrey Steele and Bob DiPiero. The single is available for sale on iTunes and Amazon.

MORE ABOUT RYAN WEAVER:

Ryan Weaver served as an active-duty Blackhawk helicopter pilot, Chief Warrant Officer 3, in the U. S. Army. The small-town Florida native jumped into the music scene after a chance meeting with hit songwriter Jeffrey Steele in Fort Rucker, Alabama. Steele soon became Ryan’s musical mentor.

For more information, please visit:
http://weavercountry.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